by Dan Gibson
I like Top Chef. I enjoyed the first season, and I think I've watched every episode since. I was given a Top Chef cookbook as a gift from which I've made a few delicious meals. The show seems quite successful. People talk about it. In the midst of a glut of cooking competition shows, Top Chef was the one that actually seemed to feature talented, generally sincere, chefs showing off what they do well. The formula was working, the judges were likable, intelligent and interesting.
So, of course, Bravo has to screw with the show and add Emeril Lagasse:
Bam! Emeril Lagasse will be kicking "Top Chef" up a notch. He has cooked up a judging gig on next season of the Bravo food competition.
Joining the Cajun-style chef, who has hosted cooking shows on the Food Network since the late 1990s, will be Hugh Acheson who competed on "Top Chef Masters."
But fans shouldn't worry. "Top Chef" staples Padma Lakshmi, Tom Colicchio and Gail Simmons will remain on the Bravo competition when it returns in the fall.
Another aspect of the show which will change for its ninth season is it will travel between three Texas cities — Austin, San Antonio and Dallas — instead of usually remaining in just one.
Lagassee has already been spotted dining in local restaurants with Lakshmi, Colicchio and Simmons in San Antonio, where "Top Chef" began filming in late June.
I like Hugh Acheson a lot, and I don't have the general hatred for Emeril that some foodie types do, but why does the show need more people talking? Five judges all fighting to get a word in? That seems like a disaster, but then again, the show has decided to celebrate the food of Dallas and San Antonio (I'll give Austin a pass), so I guess disaster is part of the theme. Oh well.