Top Chef Masters coming to Bravo this summer

Not sure if you’ve heard, but there will be a Top Chef Masters series starting June 10th on Bravo. This bit of news lit the Twitter and blogosphere world’s on fire. Why not? Combine the skill of top level chefs with the polished gloss that Bravo puts on their reality shows and you have a winner.

I’ll admit that I don’t watch much Top Chef. I’ll check out an episode or two, but I’d much rather watch the skill of folks that are already at the apex of their career, where the term ‘chef’ is actually appropriate. To me, some of the contestants of Top Chef are still feeling themselves out and this frustrates me! That’s why I loved it when the Food Network had their ‘The Next Iron Chef‘ competition show; they paired really talented chefs that were already successful at running their restaurants. To me, I always consider chefs to be akin to CEOs – talented, but also skilled at juggling all aspects of the business. High-level, creative and driven. I may be wrong, but I never got that impression with 99% of the Top Chef folks.

That’s why I’m excited for Top Chef Masters. To take some very, very, very good chefs and put them in unique kitchen environments. And these folks really know their way around a kitchen. Bravo pulled a line-up of two dozen chefs from different backgrounds and areas of expertise. There are a bunch of chefs that I’m not too familiar with, but the ones I am, I do appreciate their work:

  • Wylie Dufresne – Chef at WD-50 in New York, Wylie is one of those guys that pushes the molecular gastronomy envelope. It will be interesting to see how his talents translate in the competitions.
  • Michael Chiarello – Most people know him as the host of Easy Entertaining on the Food Network, but Michael is also behind the NapaStyle empire and his take on Italian has resulted in his Bottega restaurant in Yountville, California.
  • Rick Moonen – I was able to go an event at Amazon where Chef Moonen, of RM Seafood in Vegas, talked about his book, Fish Without a Doubt. It was interesting to learn about his skill and talent with fish. He has an informative nature about him and he was a really nice guy to talk with. Personally, I’m pulling for him.
  • Rick Bayless – Probably the most ‘well-known’ of all the chefs with his own show on PBS and his adoration of the Obamas. Chef Bayless also has some of the most renowned restaurants in Chicago. In fact, his Topolobampo was recognized by Saveur as one of the ’12 restaurants that matter’.

I am looking forward to watching Top Chef Masters. There are a few months before the season begins, but this allows for some time to do some research on all the chefs. I do have one question though; who were the chefs that weren’t able to do it? I love the world of food.

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