Top Chef: The cheftestants are overthinking everything

TOP CHEF -- "Meet You at the Drive-In" Episode 1805 -- Pictured: Jamie Tran -- (Photo by: David Moir/Bravo)
TOP CHEF -- "Meet You at the Drive-In" Episode 1805 -- Pictured: Jamie Tran -- (Photo by: David Moir/Bravo) /

In cooking competition show like Hell’s Kitchen, Chopped, and Tournament of Champions, many of the choices are made for you and all you really have to do is make great food. The ingredients, what type of dish, and how long you have are all decided beforehand. And for the chef, the challenge is to make an outstanding dish within those parameters. This isn’t the case for Top Chef.

By contrast, on a show with a format like Top Chef, it leaves a lot of the choices as to what to make to the chefs themselves. They still have a time limit but what they prepare and what they make it with are all up to them.

You would think that would be a great thing for the cheftestants. That it would enable them to make really great dishes that impress the pants off Padma Lakshmi, Tom Colicchio, and Gail Simmons at the Judges’ Table.

And in the beginning, that’s exactly what happens. For the first few episodes, the chefs are making great food with endless options open to them. But inevitably, all that choice has an unintended effect and the chefs start to second guess and doubt themselves.

The Top Chef contestants need to get out of their own heads.

For the cheftestants of Season 18, the overthinking and doubt reared their collective head in Episode 5. One chef after another began to have reservations about what they were making and if they had what it takes to be on Top Chef in the first place.

Episode 5 saw the chefs battle it out in the drive-in-themed team Elimination Challenge. And even the most confident chefs who had been frontrunners to win it all were having problems.

Maria had the worst case of it by far. She was firmly mired in the middle of the pack and so far had received no feedback from the judges. It was playing havoc with her confidence and making her rethink every decision she made. Even Shota, who had dazzled the judges so far, made a few missteps and errors that could have sent him home.

In the end, though, it was Jamie who was told to pack her knives and hit the bricks. Why? Because she doubted herself and instead of listening to her gut about how to cook, she acquiesced to the opinions of her team about how long to fry her chicken wings. As a result, they came out with no crispness or flavor and it ended up sending her home.

It’s amazing how a chef who runs a kitchen and has received numerous accolades can suddenly question everything they do when they arrive on Top Chef. Hopefully, the remaining cheftestants will remember how good they are and they will be able to get out of their own heads before it’s too late.

Excepts for Gabriel. He’s a horse’s ass and needs to go home as soon as possible.

Related Story. Top Chef: Sara and Shota are the early favorites to win it all. light

What do you think Guilty Eaters? Do you think the cheftestants on Top Chef can get back to what made them successful in the first place? Leave a comment below and let us know or join the conversation on our Twitter and Facebook pages.