As many of you know, the season premiere of “Top Chef All-Stars” airs this Wednesday on Bravo TV, and I’m champing at the bit. Not only because I’ve followed every season so far and I’m pumped to see so many familiar and talented chefs return, but also because I’m taking over the role of Top Chef re-capper here at Food and More.
Though the future Mrs. Watson indulges me on many of my food related pre-occupations, after a few years of making her watch TC with me every week we decided to make it interesting.
I mean, why just watch TV when you can also gamble on it, right?
Thus, Fantasy Top Chef was born. At the beginning of the season, each player drafts a team of cheftestants and every week your players earn points according to how they perform. All that is left to do after that is to set your wager. Both seasons that we have played, the loser owed the winner a nice dinner out.
Obviously, that didn’t bother the person that lost both times too much (me), so feel free to change it up if you want that loss to sting a little more. Or you can just do it for pride, if wagering isn’t your thing.
This game is great for a couple of reasons. First, if you have a non-foodie significant other, this can be a great way to get them involved. And for those of you that couldn’t read between my trying-not-to-sound-too-sexist lines there, I’ll break it down: Ladies, this is a good way to get your boyfriend/husband to actually care about this show and watch it with you.
It definitely gets you more invested in the show, which makes it more fun. You get a little more heated when there is something on the line. Trust me, if you think that Robin from Season 7 – or “dead weight”, as I called her – pissed you off, just imagine how it would have felt if she was costing you a $150 dinner at Craft.
There are 18 chefs on this season, so the ideal numbers of participants should be 2, 3, 6, etc. Should you find yourself with an odd man out, you can drop the last contestant(s) to be picked from the game completely, draw straws, or dole out some compensatory points.
Here is the breakdown of the suggested points system, but don’t be afraid to play around with it. I’ve had friends try this with a points scale for comments made about their food or specific behaviors – i.e. your player loses a point if their dish is too salty or if they cry on camera – but that can get a little confusing.
+3 Win Quickfire
+5 Win Elimination Challenge
-5 Packed their knives and went (eliminated)
+2 Top 3 of elimination challenge
-2 Bottom 3 of elimination challenge
+ 10 Making it to the final 3
+ 15 Top Chef winner
I suggest keeping score on a spreadsheet/printout, and I’m working on putting a grid together for the blog to help keep track of everyone’s progress throughout the season. This point system probably isn’t perfect, and the ratios have changed over the years, so I’d love to hear of any improved systems or suggestions that you guys come up with. If you are going to play along, let me know!
- Jon Watson writes about Popular Eats for the AJC Dining Team. He also publishes his own blog, Live To Feast