I am absolutely loving this season of Top Chef. The Las Vegas setting has been fun and, though at first I was wary of the "golden chip" high stakes quickfires, they haven't been used every week and this week even brought a "punish the loser" quickfire elimination (plus the "one bite to save your life" challenge for the bottom three).
There's only one thing that has been dampening my enjoyment of this season, though... the seemingly pre-ordained Top Four: Jennifer, Kevin, and brothers Bryan and Mike V. No one else comes close to their achievements (off the show... Eric Ripert's chef de cuisine, two James Beard Award nominees, and chef de cuisine at Michelin star-awarded restaurant!) and their consistency of high quality food and/or innovation on the show.
I'd almost feel bad for the other contestants if the women besides Jennifer weren't so comparably poor (seriously, the first four cheftestants eliminated were women... and no defenses could be made in any of their cases of the judges choosing the wrong person to pack up their knives and go...) or if the men besides those three and loud-mouth / semi-villain Mike I. had made an impression.
For now, it's just nice to sit back and watch to see (a) if any of the "ringers" will screw up, and (b) if anyone will come out of nowhere and surprise like last season's Carla.
Are you loving this season?