How’d I Do?

by Amanda Mattos

On the first day of The IFA, I made some predictions about how this season’s Top Chef cast would fare, based on their bios alone. But a few hours away from the finale, let’s see how well I guessed.

Lauren Hope
My prediction: “Between her bio and photo, Lauren seems to fancy herself the middle ground between Elizabeth Hasselback and a Manic Pixie Dream Girl. I predict that she will rub me the wrong way.”

Reality: She did! And her food sucked too.

Patrick Dunlea
My prediction: “This guy seems a) like someone who would fit in well with the IFA crowd, and b) the guy who’s going to get really annoyed with some of the other contestants. He’ll observe silently for a few weeks, then start an eye-rolling and loud-exhaling campaign, with a grand finale of some huge in-your-face argument over a group challenge. It will be surprising because he was so soft spoken in earlier episodes!”

Reality: Didn’t get a chance to find out; he was axed in the first outing.

Jill Snyder
My prediction: “Jill hails from Ben Miller’s hometown of Baltimore, MD. She will probably shiv somebody and get DQ’d. Just kidding. She’ll come in next to last in a challenge based around Chesapeake seafood ingredients, and be completely beside herself as a result. Then get kicked off the next week.”

Reality: I honestly don’t remember Jill well enough to judge the prescience of my prediction. Anybody?

Richard Sweeney
My prediction: “Richard seems like a nice guy, but I’m going to go ahead and pick him as the first victim of judge’s table in season 5. Don’t get too attached to our bearded friend.”

Reality: Not first, but not long either.

Alex Eusebio
My Prediction:”By virtue of his hat, he’ll likely be around for at least the first 5 weeks or so.”

Reality: Sent home on week 5. Damn I’m good.

Danny Gagnon
My prediction: “Top Chef is rolling two of it’s mainstays into one person this time around — stereotypical New Yorker and Asian fusion fanatic. His motto is: “No Guts, No Glory, No Gold!” He will be kicked out by episode 4.”

Reality: Made it to week 6. And he wasn’t too terribly grating.

Melissa Harrison
My prediction: “The conspicuous absence of her age from her bio, combined with her misguided shoe choice gave me a slightly off first impression. But after reading about her childhood on a farm and how she cooks to make people happy, she seems like a pretty solid contestant. Team player, will make it to the middle of the pack or so.”

Reality: She turned out to be perfectly nice but perfectly weak in the kitchen.

Eugene “Gene” Villiatora
My prediction: “We are going to love Gene. And, he’s got a non-traditional background — catering and menu planning not just in restaurants — so he’ll probably handle the challenges well. He will be in the finals.”

Reality: I was completely wrong.

Ariane Duarte
My prediction: “Between her bio and her brightly colored pants, she actually seems genuinely pleasant and enjoyable. She may have some sleeper bitch tendencies (like previously sweet-seeming Betty), but my money’s on actually nice person. And she owns and cooks for a four-star restaurant, so she might be crazy skilled too. I see her going pretty far.”

Reality: She was, in fact, really nice (I think). She gained many nicknames at our Top Chef dinners (Courtney Cox, Mom, etc.), and people were generally miffed when she was sent home. But week 9 is nothing to scoff at.

Radhika Desai
My prediction: “She might be this year’s Elan, whose got a favorite style of cooking and doesn’t stray from it unless she absolutely has to. I’m imagining a line from Tom at judge’s table along the lines of, “Yeah, she knows how to use curry. But this is the 3rd dish in a row from hers that tastes exactly the same. It’s done well, but I’m over it.””

Reality: DEAD ON.

Jamie Lauren
My prediction: “Our first overtly “edgy” cheftestant of the season! Is that a faux hawk I spy? Jamie is obsessed with onions, which means I would probably like her food quite a bit. She’ll either be out very early or stick around a long time, I can’t quite decide.”

Reality: The latter. And one of this season’s most consistently impressive cheftestants.

Leah Cohen
My prediction: ““She counts salt, olive oil, butter, garlic and any pork product as her must-have ingredients.” PREACH! Leah, you are welcome to cook in my kitchen any time.”

Reality: I was completely wrong.

Jeff McInnis
My prediction: “He could swing Sam-style wunderkind, or Marcel-style pain in the ass. I’m not sure yet. I think, though, that he’s supposed to be The Cute One this season. I will have to reserve judgement on that matter until I see him in action. And hear his voice.”

Reality: Pretty indeed. And much more talented than he seemed at the outset. But oddly plagued by a need to put 27 things on a plate.

Fabio Viviani
My prediction: “WILLIAM SHATNER’S PRIVATE CHEF. I couldn’t decide if he was going to be obnoxious or charming until I read that line at the very end of Fabio’s bio. I think a lot of our most memorable lines from this season will come from this Italian-born Californian who thinks of cooking as a craft.”

Reality: Wow! I’d forgotten about the Shatner thing. But, I was dead on with the most-memorable-lines thing. Monkey ass in a clam shell for everyone on top pussy!

Carla Hall
My prediction: “WOO D.C.! Carla hails from the same city as all of us IFAers do, so she and her awesome, awesome hair will be our hometown favorite. She places a big emphasis on the quality of her ingredients, so she might have a challenge-related meltdown at some point.”

Reality: We had no idea going into this season how much we’d grow to love Side Show Bob. She is the IFA hands down favorite going into the finale, and that is a big surprise to all of us.

Hosea Rosenberg
My prediction: “I don’t know how to pronounce your name, Hosea, but you seem like a dude that I’d actually like to hang out with.”

Reality: I was completely wrong.

Stefan Richter
My prediction: “Maybe it’s just the name, or the self-serious look on his face, or the summers spent hunting in his native Finland. But Stefan seems like the guy that overestimates his talents and skills, like Stephen before him.”

Reality: Full of himself, yes. Overestimating, no. The man can cook and has a well-deserved spot in the finale.


3 responses to “How’d I Do?

  1. Love it.

  2. I am impressed since I misjudged several of the contestants. However, I do take issue with the idea the fictional character that most matches Carla, in either looks or attitude, is Sideshow Bob. In my mind, it is plain as day: she is Jar Jar Binks. That is all.

  3. Have fun with Leah in your kitchen

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