Top Chef Masters premiered its new season last week, and there were some key changes this time around. Gone: hostess Kelly Choi, and judges Gael Greene and Jay Rayner. In their place: the ubiquitous Curtis Stone and famed critic Ruth Reichl. Also out the window is the star system that had the judges rating each experience on a scale of one to five stars, with the highest vote getters advancing to a finals round (where then the game would change and the lowest star earner would go home). Now Masters simply whittles down the pack in classic Top Chef style, with the winner each week earning money for charity and the loser going home.

And so I must ask: do we like these changes? On the one hand, the new format allows for a familiar, streamlined experience that perhaps ups the stakes. The tradeoff is the originality of the star system (not to mention the joy of hearing James Oseland coo, “FOUR STAHS!”). Also, I’m not sure we’ll be missing Jay Raynor terribly, but our dearest Gael? She was my favorite part of the show! On the upside, Ruth Reichl seems to be doing quite nicely. Why not have a power duo of Ruth and Gael?

And lastly, there is the Curtis Stone factor. On the one hand, the Aussie chef seems to be everywhere — do we really need him taking over Bravo? But then on the other hand, he’s a bit more natural in front of the camera than the Choi-bot (but oh how we love our robotic Asian hostesses).

Where do you stand on the issue?

10 replies on “YEA OR NAY: ‘Top Chef Masters’ New Revamp”

  1. Having just watched this week’s episode I can’t say it’s any better or any worse. Just glad Top Chef Masters is still there.

  2. I’m okay with the changes. I like that we will get to be more invested in the chef’s when before they were just on for one episode. And I could sit and listen to Curtis read ingredients off a box of mac & cheese, so I am more than fine with him!

  3. Curtis needs to take a time out from one of his 6000 TV appearances. I don’t mind they way he looks but something about the mumbling way he talks grates on me. It’s like he has marbles in his mouth.
    I love Jay and his pouty mouth comments – Dana Carvey would do a great impersonation.
    But I miss Gael’s hats and haughty superior laugh. Plus she hates cottage cheese as much as I do.


  4. When Curtis was on his first show, Take Home Chef, I prayed that he would suddenly appear in MY grocery store and come home with me and prepare a wonderful meal for me. Now he’s like that relative who came for a little while and just won’t go away no matter how many hints and outright suggestions you give him…

  5. I love love love Curtis. He’s so great to look at. Yum.

    Also, I know a few of the chefs from other cooking shows, like Tio competed for NIC on Food Network and Sanvir (sp) was a judge on ICA. I’ve heard of Traci des Jardins, though I’m not sure from where. I think I watch too much food tv.

    Was anyone impressed with the fact that Kelis is a trained cook? I was. Though, her milkshake was slightly upset by the mistake of a dill garnish for a fennel garnish as des Jardins (I believe) pointed out. Lol. Anyway.

    I’m enjoying the new format. Also, I can’t leave without noting that I missed the first few minutes and was wondering how the hell Hugh Acheson got back on the show. Then I watched the immediate re-airing and my question was answered. Anyhoo.

    1. I’m pretty sure Hugh Acheson got back on the show through the power of his magical unibrow.

  6. Don’t like it. Curtis Stone is the male Sandra Lee, both taking over Food TV. I didn’t know one chef. I’ll stop watching Top Chef now.

  7. I’m an avid fan of the Top Chef series and spin-offs. I tried to watch the first episode of the new season of Masters and just couldn’t finish it. I couldn’t get into it. While I like the new eye candy addition of Curtis Stone, he wasn’t even exciting enough to keep my interest for the hour. Maybe I was just burnt out after finishing All-Stars? Anyway, I think I’m skipping this season of Top Chef Masters and like you said, Celebrity Apprentice is the best show on right now and that’s all I need!

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