I hate Padma. She is the worst reality TV show host I have ever had to watch. I can’t believe Gail Simmons has never leapt over the judges table to strangle her. I mean seriously, Gail has more foodie credibility in her little pinky than Padma has in her entire toothpick of a body. This has never been more obvious and infuriating to me as it was this week.
In case you have no idea what I’m talking about- Top Chef. It’s a reality TV show for food and drama lovers everywhere. Each week contestants battle in what always seem like mind-bogglingly difficult challenges to prove they are the best chef. The chef who fails to keep up, goes home. As you can imagine, there is also plenty of drama. As the saying goes, “Too many cooks in the kitchen. . .”
So, my boyfriend and I are in Seoul, South Korea. We watch the shows a couple days behind because, sadly, there is no Bravo TV in Seoul. Alas, I was quite excited to see Kristen kill the other team in the infamous Restaurant Wars challenge. This cook is flawless. The show is only in week 11, and she has already won something like $60,000 in prizes. Not to mention, the other team lost a player to elimination the week before and looked like a pretty hopeless bunch that would let their arguing get in the way of their cooking.
Even before the judges entered the restaurant, there was trouble brewing in Kristen’s kitchen. She has this utterly horrid cook/player, Josie on her team. Time and time again, Josie’s weakness has always proven to be her lack of time management and yet she has not been eliminated for it. This challenge would be no exception. She failed to manage her time well, causing her executive chef, that’s Kristen, to lose faith in her and make an on-the-fly decision to change a dish. What seemed like a small decision turned into a chaotic series of events that led me to fall ill to a horrible condition I have when I watch Top Chef that I call WIHP (Why I Hate Padma).
From the time of Season 2 when Padma took the stage as the host, my WIHP began. I didn’t particularly care for the first season’s host either, Katie Lee; but I could already tell Padma was going to crush my soul. (Side story: My boyfriend always told me this legend of a girl who was a cocktail waitress at his University of Miami- Oxford that married Billy Joel. As I referenced Wikipedia for the name of the Season 1 host, turns out it was that same girl.) I could see that Padma was merely a pretty face with a theater major, whose only contribution to the restaurant industry was a cookbook entitled Easy Exotic: A Model’s Low Fat Recipes From Around the World. The book is much like Padma herself. The outside cover looks promising (I mean who doesn’t want low-fat Indian food recipes?), but the content constantly fails to prove that she knows a thing about food. Here’s a review from Amazon that pretty succinctly describes what I mean:
This isn’t a bad cookbook but it isn’t the greatest one either, if you don’t buy it you’re not missing out on anything except the pictures of Padma. The recipes aren’t that difficult and the Indian ones which are her specialty are the best in the book. For people who aren’t the best cooks but want to make some decent Indian dishes, Padma’s book is pretty good for that. If I had a dollar for every time she mentions Daniel and her mom, I would be a millionaire…and I could have done without the narratives that are so shallow that you know that they came from the mind of a model. For example, “there I was in a beautiful Chanel gown eating a tuna fish sandwich.” Someone please tell Padma her village called, apparently their model is missing. One more thing, all her recipes are available on the food network website FOR FREE.
Woefully, I have put up with her for the past 8 seasons. Tom Colicchio and the previously mentioned Gail Simmons save the show for me. The WIHP subsides when they remind me of how delightful it is to hear real food critics talk about serious food. I came close to calling it quits with the show last season when they voted off Beverly Kim (coincidentally another Korean chef, like Kristen), but I just had to see if Beverly would come back (which she did but was again ousted a week later). Padma even won some credibility with me when she defended Beverly saying that she deserved to stay.
But not this time.
At the judges table, Padma attacked Kristen like the NRA attacking the president. I couldn’t help but notice Padma’s attitude was that of a 5-year brat whose kid sister wanted to come along and play. As another blogger put it:
Also, why was Padma the one gunning so hard against Kristen? She couldn’t handle another model in the kitchen?
My boyfriend calmly stroked my hair and assured me that there’s no way Josie would stay. That Padma’s advice is always secondary to the real judges at the table. Just carry on and keep eating the delicious apple pancakes I made. So, I did. Then, I almost choked on my delicious apple cakes when the strongest feeling of WIHP ever experienced occurred. Not only did she use a teaser saying “Josie. . . you are safe.” But she said it with such a large sense of accomplishment that I swore at the TV until my throat bled. And then, I wrote this post.