So this season’s Top Chef candidates kind of suck.

With only 9 contestants left, this was the week to step up their game (a game that already should have been way higher than it was). But no one did. In fact, this week there were 2 chefs who barely contributed at all.

And this new judge is terrible. Toby Young contributes nothing helpful at the judges’ table. He speaks in painful cliches, shows a lack of understanding of the contestants and is unfoundedly harsh. This week he made an off the cuff and unfair comment about Ariane, saying “she can’t cook”, to which Padma immediately responded by defending Ariane’s previous work and subtly pointing out that the new guy doesn’t know what he’s talking about. Gail (whom Toby is replacing) was the complete opposite, always fair and helpful as well as tough. So not only are this year’s contestants failing to impress, the judges panel is lacking as well.

My thoughts on the 8 remaining underwhelming contestants are as follows:

Jamie: though a little full of herself, Jamie is one of the best of the lot. Too bad that the best of this season can’t compare to the middle of the last pack.

Stefan: even more full of himself than Jamie (and everyone else for that matter), he’s so obnoxious that I don’t care if his food is any good at all (and I don’t think it’s as good as he thinks it is anyway).

Carla: ok, so she’s a little crazy but at least she’s humble (a rarity in this group), and she makes good pastry.

Radhika: boring, mediocre, blah.

Fabio: I think Fabio may be my favourite. He’s consistently good, not too pushy, not too crazy and kind of amusing.

Jeff: always overcomplicating, Jeff can’t seem to form a coherent dish, but he often saves himself with inspired side dishes that the judges love (fried green tomatoes, vegetable sorbets, etc…)

Leah: ew. She’s boring, mediocre and blah (like Radhika) but she’s also conceited, immature, kind of bitchy and a little whorey. Again, I say ew.

Hosea: and I thought I liked Hosea but then in this episode he seemed stuck in the mud and unwilling to accept blame or failure. Stefan didn’t win the quickfire challenge because Hosea gave him an ingredient, he won it because his food was better; Hosea tells the story differently. Why are these people all so immature?

Where’s the innovative Richard or the clam cool and collected Antonia or the fun and easy going Stephanie? All of whom were phenomenally talented chefs who could wipe the floor with this season’s lot.