Bravo’s “Top Chef Duels” isn’t really like “Top Chef” at all. In fact, its only resemblance, really, is that it uses former “Top Chef” contestants — sorry, cheftestants — in an entirely new cooking competition.
The format of the show would feel much more at home on the Food Network — “Duels” is more like someone at Bravo realized that its former “TC” contestants are now taking their fame to other networks and wanted to bring them back to capitalize on it.
“Duels” is like a mixture of “Chopped” and “TC” quickfire challenges, but without the dramatic backstories or Padma Lakshmi. The first two rounds are designed by each contestant (presumably to throw their competitor off their game) and the third is a three-course challenge from the judges.
“Top Chef Masters” host Curtis Stone does another capable job of hosting and judging, while fellow judges Gail Simmons and Wolfgang puck do their judgy thing just as well as they do on every other iteration of the show. There are also random slow-mo shots of the chefs cooking. This seems notable, if only for the randomness of it all. Now you know.
Ultimately, the premiere, which featured the lovable Richard Blais (and his extremely expressive face) going up against the love-to-hate-able(?) Marcel Vigneron, was only fun if you have an emotional attachment to the chefs from previous seasons of “Top Chef.” Otherwise, it’s just another cooking show you can put on while doing chores around your house.
What did you think of the premise? Did you like the premiere? Will you watch more, or was that first episode enough? Did the right chef win?
“Top Chef Duels” airs Wednesdays at 10 p.m. ET/PT on Bravo.