When a gaggle of showgirls ran through the kitchen on Episode 1 of Top Chef: Las Vegas (Bravo, Wednesdays, 9 p.m.), I steeled myself for the inevitable—that television’s best reality show was going to fill its sixth season with obvious and stereotypical Vegas iconography. Turns out I needn’t have, at least not yet. The rest of the debut focused sharply on what matters: food and cooking. The contestants don’t appear to have been chosen for their ability to party and frolic in a hot tub; collectively they seem like the most talented collection in the show’s history. And the first two challenges had nothing to do with buffets or steak & eggs; a preparation relay was a welcomed-back oldie, and a “vices”-themed showdown wasn’t a terrible way to Vegas-ize the franchise. Of course, it’s early, so there’s plenty of time for Oscar, Wayne, Penn and Teller to stick their noses into our fondue. But so far, at least, Top Chef: Las Vegas tastes good.
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