Top Chef Countdown, Day 2: Bring on the B-A-C-O-N

Forget fancy knives and tools that make foam, bacon is many a chef’s secret weapon.
Photo: Sixy Beast / Flickr

In preparation for the Top Chef: Las Vegas season premiere at 9 p.m. Wednesday, we’ve been counting down with daily musings on the show, its competitors and topics related to the Bravo phenomenon. Today, an examination of an ingredient that makes the judges weak in the knees: bacon.

There’s surf porn, food porn and porn porn, and now, thanks largely to Top Chef, there’s bacon porn. I’m not talking people about wearing bacon bras having sex. I mean the gratuitous use of bacon anywhere possible. Asian shrimp salad? Yes, please. Breakfast sandwich? Duh. With dessert? Bring it on.

Is this taking the whole pig product obsession thing a little too far? We didn't think so.

Is this taking the whole pig product obsession thing a little too far? We didn't think so.

As Top Chef Masters judge and Savuer editor James Oseland put it in a recent blog, “bacon is the new black.” I’m not sure there’s anything new about bacon being the most fashionable ingredient this side of Kobe beef -- we’ve been turning to Top Chef for our vicarious bacon fix for at least a few seasons – but if the salty strips are tré trendy, then Top Chef is New York Fashion Week.

Chef’testants often turn to bacon on the show for an extra ounce of fatty flavor. Wrap it; fry it; crumble it – some do whatever they have to do to get at least one salty strip of the stuff onto the plate. There’s almost a wink and a nudge that goes with the crutch ingredient. “Hey, Tom, I put this bacon here just for you.”

In fact, you’re probably starting to salivate slightly at the mere mention of the word “bacon.” One more time: Bacon.

Top Chef: Las Vegas won’t have Hosea and Leah’s sexual tension, Fabio’s charming accent or Stefan’s frustrating pairing of arrogance and excellence; new dramas and personalities will replace the ones we’ve gotten to know, love and hate. But there will always be bacon -- sizzling-hot, delightfully smoky and totally unrefined.

I’m hungry already.

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