Do you have $200 and a desire to spent it on something you can get for free? Then the brand, spanking new Top Chef University may be for you. The eternally plotting masterminds behind the show have rubbed their sweaty little hands together and come up with an online cooking school whose “instructors” are, naturally, past contestants who will teach you to cook just like the (heavily edited) pros!
You can get a taste of what the program entails by visiting the website, where Kevin Gillespie declares that Top Chef University “is the most comprehensive culinary school on the Internet,” not that there’s a great deal of competition.
In exchange for your $199.95, you get 12 courses covering topics like “Cooking Techniques 1: Sauté, Boil, Grill,” “Vegetables, Eggs, Dairy,” and “Global Cuisine.” The video demo on the website shows Spike Mendelsohn sprinkling salt and olive oil over a standing rib roast, throwing it in the oven, and proclaiming, “that just looks delicious.” Given that the Food Network also shows you people pretending to cook 24/7, and that, cable bills aside, you can watch that for free, this doesn’t seem like the greatest return on one’s investment.
But can the experience of having Marcel Vigneron show you how to make braised beef brisket or Richard Blais demonstrate the technique behind “Bouilla-BLAISE” really be measured in dollar amounts? Judging by how eager the show’s erstwhile cheftestants seem to be to sign away their lives and dignity to Bravo, well, yes it can.