«Top Chef»: Chambrage, «great regret», psychology … A return rich in emotions

Cinema 25 January, 2017

Top Chef returns this Wednesday evening (21h) on M6 for an eighth season. A return particularly tasty because the culinary contest decided to spice up its concept. This year, leaders Hélène Darroze, Philippe Michel Sarran Etchebest and each form their teams and try to get their candidates as far as possible. In other words, some The Voice in the kitchen.

The program this Wednesday will be entirely devoted to the selections. The fifteen participants – twelve men and three women – will be divided into three groups of five. Each of these groups will face a different event during which the chefs will choose their darling or their pampering. The two who have not been selected will go “last chance”, the ultimate challenge that will allow to pick three of the six candidates rejected previously.

“A Wrath of the Chiefs”
“When I was announced this new concept, I was not surprised, it was exactly what had to be done,” enthuses Hélène Darroze. Facilitator Stéphane Rotenberg shades: “It has not necessarily been very easy to get to the leaders, mine of nothing. We knew it was going to create something, “he says. By “something”, one must understand small frictions and large recesses. “Teasing spirit, it has been from the beginning,” says Hélène Darroze, who confides that she was afraid that this season “will become the war of the chiefs”. “It was rather a bugger,” she said.

Jeremy Fazel, program director at Studio 89, which produces Top Chef , agrees: “They do not make war but fought well to see who was going to take that in his brigade. “Hélène Darroze has not yet digested – months after the filming of this first stage – as a” great regret “- having seen a candidate she had chosen to join another team.
For as in The Voice , where “talent” is coveted by two jurors, it is for him to choose the one he wants to join. What to destabilize leaders who did not necessarily need this to have their landmarks turned upside down. “In the selections, they did not know what was waiting for them, it’s funny,” says Stéphane Rotenberg. Everyone had their own method. Michel Sarran, for example, had equipped himself with a blue notebook. “I noted the first names of the candidates. We did not know anything about them before, we really discovered them in the starting clay, “he explains.

“I did not expect so close to the candidates”
Better therefore be careful not to let the rare pearl spin. “They looked at everything: gestures, behaviors,” recalls the animator. “There had to be a lot of psychology to” feel “the candidate, taking into account that it was the first test and that there was therefore a particular stress. Some were somewhat paralyzed by seeing us, “says Michel Sarran. Philippe Etchebest perceived it as a “test that allowed to see how the candidates endured the pressure, because the contest is harder still thereafter. ”
For the chiefs too, the hardest was to come because they were necessarily attached to the members of their brigades. “That’s what scared me at first. We had to keep a certain distance on the trials, not tell them what they had to do. Inevitably, we wanted the guys or girls of our brigade to win, but we had to think that it was the contest of the candidates and not ours, “confesses Philippe Etchebest. “I did not expect so much closeness to the candidates,” says Michel Sarran, “nor so much respect, rigor, values ​​to which I attach great importance. ”

“Before each elimination, one had to take the leaders with tweezers”

Result: the emotional charge during the eliminations is much more intense than in previous seasons. A fortiori when the rule of the game has its perverse sides: during the last chance tests, the chefs tasted blindly the dishes of the participants in the hot seat and they could very well contribute to the departure of one of their protégés. “The chiefs were very nervous before each elimination. It was necessary to take them with tongs, advances Stéphane Rotenberg. Sometimes the candidates were eliminated logically, knowing that it was time for them to leave. Sometimes they went out because they had just stumbled upon an ordeal. When you see that the candidate has it across the throat, for the chief, it’s hard. ”
If there is one who did not put the spleen on the court-bouillon, it is Jean-François Piège. The chief remained at the rendezvous of the show of M6, but he did not have to compose his brigade. He only took part in the deliberations of the last chances, and he fully agreed to play the referees. “It’s a different role. My gaze came at the last moment, considering the level, it was interesting. It gave me total freedom, “he says. In this “battle of the chiefs,” he signed the armistice at the end of his fork.