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Top Chef

Top Chef,

Top Chef is one of the best of all the reality shows - which, obviously, isn't the highest bar to top. Uploaded by

Whether you’re a fan of reality television or think it’s the medium’s all-time curse, there’s no reason not to like Top Chef. As the name implies, it’s a competition in which professional chefs execute a variety of cooking challenges to see who comes out on top. Each week, one of the competitors is told to “Pack your knives and go.”

Top Chef,

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Typically, the first part of each show involves a “Quickfire Challenge,” in which the chefs have a limited time (an hour or less) to execute some specific task. Then everyone participates in a more complex assignment, say preparing food for a wedding reception, in the “Elimination Challenge.” A group of professional judges from the food and wine industry tastes the samples, and finally someone is sent home from the “Judges Table.”

Tom Colicchio (Craft Restaurant, New York) and Gail Simmons (Food & Wine magazine) have been judges throughout the show’s run. The other spots have been taken by celebrity chefs like Eric Ripert, Anthony Bourdain, and Emeril Lagasse. Padma Lakshmi has managed to tear herself away from Hardee’s long enough to host the show. It’s fun to pick favorites and watch them agonize over whether they’re going to get that poached salmon plated before time’s up. Okay, that may sound dumb, but watch it. You’ll get hooked.

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