Last night saw the debut of Top Chef: All-Stars, a season featuring the bring-’em-back device of many an aging reality show, which had me very dubious. But judging by the first installment, I’ll quite enjoy this trip through Judges’ Table history. For starters, Anthony Bourdain, who should be on every TV show, has been elevated to regular judge. For another, at least the first episode did a good job of crafting worthwhile challenges based on the show’s history. The “remake the dish you lost for” challenge was brilliant, and the battle-of-the-seasons Quickfire illustrated how much the quality of competition seemed to improve in later seasons. Pursuant to which: Hey, Los Angeles*—a shrimp and pea-green guacamole on an apple slice is not a taco. It is a nightmare.
I’ll be covering the season more in future weeks, but for now, did All-Stars hit the spot, or was it unwelcome leftovers?
[*Quick question that will probably piss off my West Coast readers: has a reality show ever been improved by moving to L.A. for a season? Top Chef, The Real World, The Apprentice?]