Ok look..About first season... I didn't want like Dave, Steven, or Tiffany to win season 1 ok. I agree, Dave had too many issues, but my favorite in every reality show are contestants are good & creative in their craft but also want to grow from their experiences and be more, have an actual personality, and just happy to be there (in this case, in the Top Chef Kitchen).
Isaw great cooking skills incontestants like Harold, Ilan, CJ, Tre, & Howie, but nothing else. None of them ever seemedparticularly thrilled to be on the show, they didn't really care about makingpeople who eat their food happy,or wanted to become better chefs. Harold& Ilan won because they very skilled & creative chefs. Well, except for CJ did learn, but I only saw that in his goodbye speechafter he was eliminated.Harold always said "I'm a chef." Well that's all he was, nothing more. He did not show a lot of leadership in Top Chef. The chefs who worked for him in the finale only did so well because they liked him. It wasn't on account of Harold running his kitchen staff really great. Lee Ann was the only chef of season I wanted to win because she was a great cook, always wanted to extend herself, and did not turn into a total robot in the kitchen.
I'd like to see Bryan win Top Chef, because while he has had his ups & downs all season, he so far always tried to be more. He' attempted to be an entertainer & leader, though not entirely successful. If not him, Sara then.
Yes, I did like Lee Ann and thought she was really balanced. She's a top chef in my book. I disagree completely that Harold and Ilan didn't care about making people who eat their food happy or that they didn't want to become better chefs. Why would they be on this show if they didn't want to make people eat their food happy or become better chefs? Why did they win then? First off, to win you have to make people who eat your food happy, the drama is beside the point, the food is the main point. Also, this show has guest judges which are supposedly from the best of the field, either best critics, writers, or chefs out there. You go through each quick fire challenge, and elimination challenges to listen to the judges' advices. Either you end up on the top or on the bottom their advice will help you move on if you survive.
Your assessment of what a Top Chef is is slightly off based. A top chef is not a top entertainer, a top waiter, a top matride, or a engine that could (Miguel, Mikey, Brian(sorry Brian)); a Top Chef has to be someone that is focused on being a good chef, in the back of the house before he tries to be a front of a house kind of guy. A chef is a chef, he has to be able to cook first, and be able to focus on that. It's the fundamentals and when you lack that you aren't a top chef. Look at Marcel, his passion is molecular gastronomy, and he tries to expand on it, but a lot of the really good molecular gastronomist out there are very good with the fundamentals. They master all 5 pallets, sweet, salty, sour, bitter and umami; then they play with their food.
The front of the house is only important when you can deliver fine food all the time. Brian is a front of the house kind of guy, but he didn't cook. This is a cooking competition... Also, so far he's only made 2 meat dishes. Spam, and steak, and his steak didn't blow Tom away, who's famous for Craft's Steak.
My picks for the final 3 are Hung, Casey, and either Sarah or Daile as the dark horse. Hung has always been on the top mainly because of his training. I believe that Casey's always been a great chef because she has a great pallet, it's just in the beginning there were so many chefs and when you're in the middle they barely show you on the air. I didn't know anything about Lia until she was on the bottom.
Sarah, it looks like she's a lot more than cheese, and there's more than 400 different French cheeses out there.
Dale, he's always been a guy who's done bold things. Fortune favors the bold, and unlike Dave who does bold flavors, he doesn't cry over spilled milk.