For its eighth season, Top Chef objective changed almost everything. Even Philippe Etchebest decided to twist his look with a mustache! Rest assured, this is not the most innovative culinary competition has to offer from this Monday, September 5 at 6.40pm on M6. The academy that opened last year has closed its doors, making way for the ephemeral restaurant. From now on, anonymous customers can taste the personality of the dishes offered by the candidates.
Among the guests are David Douillet, Jérémy Frérot, Diane Leyre, Tibo Inshape and Juju Fitcats, but also large families, dancers from the Moulin Rouge, bikers and firefighters. “We have a kitchen that is the same vector of efficiency but we also want proximity, an easy kitchen that is close to our daily life”, justifies Guillaume Charles, general manager of M6 programs. At the end of the competition, the price remains unchanged: the winner will join the blue brigade of Main chef next year.
Pierre Chomet to the rescue
Outside of a new filming location (chosen to allow Philippe Etchebest to shoot the show during the day and be in the kitchen of his restaurant at night), guests give their opinion and even hold of decision-making power. . “They are not there to be extras”, warns the chef. During the first test, anonymous people and celebrities chose the plate they liked best. Automatically, the person who created it will be sent to the elimination session.
Although he had no right to manage them, a new kid was there to collect their impressions. This is Pierre Chomet, symbolic face of the twelfth season of Main chef, reached the quarter-finals. “When I left, many people met me telling me that I did well on TV, it stayed in my mind”, he testified. So when the channel asked him if he wanted to go with Philippe Etchebest, who didn’t even know what this show was, the chef immediately accepted. After casting and seeing the images inside, he joins the adventure.
New mechanics for a “better read” public
“Until now, I was alone, I had to meet the families, talk to them, explained Philippe Etchebest. The arrival of Pierre relieved me from the daily shooting and allowed me to concentrate more on the culinary part and to train the youth”. Because there is also a change with a significant reduction in the number of participants (from 108 candidates last season to 60 this year) and a new mechanic. Each week, six competitors compete and one of them is eliminated each day. Last Friday, the two finalists tried to get their ticket to the national final.
What pleases Philippe Etchebest is entering the competition “from the beginning” by first joining the candidates in pairs, then seeing their abilities when they cook alone. The changes for the audience are that they can get attached to the cast more easily. “Before, I saw all the candidates but maybe the audience forgets the first one who came to the show, knew the jury of Main chef. There, we can see them, we can recognize them and it is easier to follow them. This allows a better reading on the part of the audience “. The chef, therefore, also coaches them more diligently.
A high level of requirement for additional results
This cast, precisely, does it have a level to integrate Main chef ? The question did not even arise for Philippe Etchebest. “I received three-star chefs who were amazed at what was presented,” he promised. Candidates are conditioned, I push them to go further and I myself wonder where they will go. The room for improvement is clear. And if none of them bluff you from the first stages, this is also the case with the chef. “Maybe my demands were too high from the beginning, but that’s why we got results,” he said.
The bar has been set high and things could not have been otherwise. The mentor swears by it, he would not “support” that a person integrates into the contest because it is telegenic. “What interests me is culinary, I don’t have time to waste on people who can’t do anything in the program,” he said. And it is with the same saying that the restaurateur will put pressure on the cooks to try and stress them out. Such a situation will destroy more than one candidate, and soften more than one viewer.