Power and Politics - I am Not the Yellow Peril

The life and times of an Asian American activist who tells all the truth (and dishes news and analysis) but with a leftwards slant.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Top Chef Hung all the way

I looooove watching Top Chef, even if it makes me hungry at night. This episode was the final four and we had been expecting an elimination down to two final competitors, but midway through, Tom Colicchio said that because of the talented chefs, it was going to be 3.

The guy i've been rooting for the most, despite his crazy snarky antics and cockiness is Hung Nguyen. Yeah, he's APIA but he's also technically the best chef - and I would kill to have knife skills like his - poetry in motion! The other reason why I like him is that he wants to bring it for the immigrants, and for his mom who taught him how to cook. And he grew up in Pittsfield, MA, which is pretty much the middle of nowhere. He has the fierce immigrant drive, and when he talks about his mom, all the light comes into his eyes. So yeah, sometimes he says catty things, and the producers edit it to make him look like a bad guy, cos let's face it, viewers looooove the drama - it's the spice of the show. Plus, check out this metromix interview with Dale about how people get portrayed.
Then let me ask you some questions about you competitors, if you could describe each one as one particular dish …

I don’t know if I can. All their personalities are so complex. Some people look a little different than they do in real life.

Like who?

Hung [Huynh], for instance. His onscreen personality … he was portrayed in a certain way. He was my roommate throughout the entire series—actually, him and Brian. We thought it was funny that the little boys room lasted until the end. Everyone on the series was nice. We all did get along. Whether we liked to cook together or not, that was something different. As far as roommates and friends, we all had a great, great time together. I think that was very surprising to the producers.

Because they like a little more tension?

Yeah, and the one thing we did was that we were our own tension relievers. Even if we didn’t get along in the kitchen that day, we still got along at home because we were in such a stressful situation.

Hung is made out to be the cocky one. Is that true?

I would say it is a reality show and whatever you see on the camera is real. He’s definitely extremely confident.
So yeah, do they get annoyed by Hung when he doesn't go help a competitor finish up their dish? Yes, but Hung is right in that this is a competition, and he's not actively backstabbing anyone. He even helped Sara Nguyen early on when she was given $200 to buy food, and she wanted to buy 20 $10 steaks. He told her to watch out cos that was the full amount, and then she wouldn't be able to buy anything else. So he's not the Marcel - if you notice that when they all give each other hugs after staying in the game, he's very much a part of it. (Although I did think that his complaining that his potato dauphine fell flat because no one else helped him plate it was lame, especially since he had 30 extra minutes than everyone else, and he also refused to help another contestant plate beforehand.)

This episode, they got to go home and pack up the items that they were going to bring with them to Aspen, only to be informed after the quickfire challenge that only the winner got to use their special ingredients.

So exciting! I am thinking it's either Casey or Hung, but to date Tom Colicchio has only picked white men to be Top Chef, so hopefully we'll get a winner whose food is both yummy, and they as a person will add some diversity to the winners. Bring it!

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