On “Top Chef”, in this season 15, everything changes and nothing changes. The jurors, now equal, are at the head of two brigades: Philippe Etchebest, Paul Pairet and Glenn Viel, on the one hand, and Hélène Darroze, on the other hand, joined by Stéphanie Le Quellec, winner of season 2, and Dominique Crenn, whose restaurant in San Francisco (United States) received three Michelin stars. The Frenchwoman has just opened a restaurant in Paris and published Memoirs of a Rebel Chef (Le Cherche Midi, 2023).

But there remains the unmistakable dramaturgy specific to reality TV shows, the “musical” accompaniment which highlights moments of emotion, victory or “godichonnerie”, and the very boring lexicon of commonplaces specific to this rhetoric: “Chuis chaud boiling hot! », “It’s crazy hot! », “Chuis in the starting blocks! », “Here to win! “, etc.

We find the “characters” distributed as in the theater: the good comrade, the heartthrob − in fact, there is quite a collection of them this season −, the basic fan of one of the male jurors, the girl who has no no intention − and with good reason − of being bothered by his male colleagues, the crazy-looking fool, the youngster…

New culinary techniques

And the stubborn and the pretentious: we − that is to say, for example, the great Pierre Gagnaire − advise them to be wary of leek greens, too fibrous: they still put it in their dish (for the sake of eco-responsibility); they are warned that the crispness of a crusted pastry risks being compromised by the stuffing: they do as they please, lose their bet and are ejected, but are surprised to be misunderstood…

However, as one of the guest chefs in episode 2 says for the formidable test of reinventing Parisian broth and bistro dishes – their plates are mixed with those of the candidates without judge Eric Frechon knowing: “It’s heavy! » Indeed, the general level of this fifteenth edition is high, very high even, as we could see from the first episode.

And, during the second, the test which consisted of reconstituting meat dishes without the slightest particle of animal tissue showed that the candidates, including the claimed “viandards”, had mastered these new culinary techniques which, through ingredients and natural processes, give the illusion of meat products – ordinary “tasters” have all fallen for it.

This type of sequence has the educational virtue of showing the vegan public that it is possible to cook ersatz meat without purchasing these substitutes with which supermarkets increasingly stock their shelves, full of clean additives. to processed foods.

Despite the quality of this season, the audience figures are, for the moment, below the average of the previous one (2.7 million viewers, 14% audience share): episode 3 only brought together 1.94 million viewers for an 11.8% audience share, and “Top Chef” never regained its score from season 12, that of confinement (3.28 million viewers and 15.8% audience share).