Bravo's Top Chef, Season 7: My World Continues to Shrink

Bravo’s “Top Chef” has offered me added interest this season, ever since I discovered that one of my old CIA instructors, Lynne Gigliotti, was a contestant. I had “Chef G” for my Skills III class, which meant that she was just my second culinary instructor at the CIA. Coincidentally, my very first CIA instructor was Chef Theo Roe, who was one of the subjects in Michael Ruhlman’s 2007 book, “The Reach of a Chef: Professional Cooks in the Age of Celebrity” (as one of Chef Roe’s very first culinary students, I was also mentioned in Ruhlman’s book, though only in passing). It’s truly amazing how small the culinary realm can sometimes become, and this season’s installment of “Top Chef” represents the second time that I’ve encountered one of the show’s contestants: In the past, I’ve also had the severe misfortune of knowing Marcel Vigneron, that insufferable putz from Season 2. During my first year at the CIA, Marcel was schtupping my roommate, and so I had to experience chronic first-hand exposure to that cretin (normally, my buddy Phil “The Puppet-Master” would’ve never even let his kind into the house).

In contrast to Marcel, I have absolutely no issue with Lynne (as she’s now known to most), and she’s certainly my sentimental favorite on the show. And why not? Spending three weeks in her Skills III class provided for lots of great chef school stories, many of which might only be entertaining to those who were there. To place things in some context, Skills III is a big milestone for all CIA students; it’s the very first class in the curriculum where the students actually begin cooking food for other people. That fact, in itself, is bound to produce some interesting results. Skills III is the moment where, after 12 introductory weeks of classroom work and knife skills, all of the silly posturing is finally put aside. Those kids who’ve been bragging for the last three months about how they were the kitchen legends at their hometown Outback — well, they finally have to cook something from scratch. The drama served up on Day One of Skills III would become far more visceral (to me, at the time) than anything that I’ve ever seen on “Top Chef.”

As for predictions, I suspect that Lynne will probably finish in the top-middle of the pack, fairly anonymous, but without shame. That’s my hope, anyway. I do happen to know that a few of my old classmates are vehemently rooting against Chef G (Phil “The Godfather” included), hoping that she’ll crash and burn in front of a national audience. Look, I can appreciate that sentiment as well — there were definitely some ugly moments in Skills III. But since I’m still paying good money to the CIA, I’d rather not have my “degree” tarnished any more than it has been (let’s be frank, by many people’s standards, culinary schools are merely trade-school diploma mills). We’ll see how it goes this season on “Top Chef” 7. I think we all know that Angelo, as pompous and unsavory as he is, is the clear front-runner. Hopefully, he’ll choke and finish second-best, out of the money, just like Marcel!

6 comments to Bravo’s Top Chef, Season 7: My World Continues to Shrink

  • Jobu

    FYI: our classes were only 14 days, not 3 weeks, though many seemed to take an eternity to get through. I still dream about chicken fines herb day at CIA. Nothing better! Phil only let that (fill in your fav expletive) Marcelle in his house bc he was worrying too much about us taking his money at poker than watching the vermin slip in under his nose. Love you godfather…

  • godfather

    As long as you don’t write about that scantron issue you can tell any lies that you want to.. Should I start on the 4 months on Stella St.?????

  • Sarge

    My favorite memory from Skills III is “Chef G” nearly setting off the Ansel system during a seared beef demo. Bovine embers glowing on her toque as she threw Jobu under the bus for having the oil too hot. Classic.

    “Chef G” you can pack your knives and go. Good call sir on her middle of the road exit.

    Any thoughts on a 5 year? I am up for good game of hold’em in the Quarter. Sans Marcel.

  • Thirsty Reader

    I thought she would last a couple episodes longer, but no way was she going the distance. That bit at the end about letting a younger chef was a ridiculous and petty comment. She undercooked the pasta — the dish failed because of her!

  • godfather

    Amen to you and sarge. I guess that Jason will be next,or perhaps Abby– she is a cia grad. Reunion next mardi gras in new orleans

  • Jobu

    As it so happens… March 6 is Bacchus parade and we all know why that day is great!! Not just Bacchus… 5 year is on. I’m trying to look for a big place on St. Charles for all of us to stay, with the help of Godfather of course. More info to follow, via email and calls.

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