I'm an admitted Top Chef addict, but with one major reservation: I can't taste the food. The "cheftestants" dazzle us with technique and presentation and Padma's satisfied mmms, but we, the loyal viewers, don't get a bite. And as a serious eater, I have to wonder: Is the food any good?
Earlier this month, I had a chance to find out. Marcel Vigneron, the spiky-haired molecular gastronome of season two, put on a tasting dinner at the Astor Center in New York City, where he served three courses and two cocktails to a heavily female crowd.
No sooner did Vigneron take the stage than Hung Huynh—season three champion—sauntered in, taking a seat in the audience. The tension was palpable: the two Culinary Institute–trained, technique-focused, oft-maligned gastronomes in one room. The runner-up cooking for the crowned champion? It boggled the mind.