T-minus a few hours until 10 p.m., when Bravo airs the third episode of “Top Chef: Charleston,” and I’m pondering the infinite questions:
1. Will this be the last hurrah for 5Church’s Jamie Lynch? He’s mucked up two vegetable dishes and ended up in the bottom three in front of that judge tribunal once. As they say in baseball, it’s not looking good for our home team.
2. Will that tattoo Lynch promised he’ll get after the end of the season be broccoli begging for its life?
3. Has Sam Talbot become more than another pretty face? While Lynch has been a bit subdued on camera and seemed to be holding back in the huddles on the second episode, Talbot has showed leadership qualities, being supportive to the rookies. The show is about being a top chef, and in the real world of big restaurants, executive chefs spend as much time leading as they do cooking. Maybe that will give Talbot an edge.
4. Will they finally bury the whole “rookies vs. vets” thing? Remember, the veterans are back because they didn’t win the first time. And some of them are packing more baggage than a Louis Vuitton outlet store. Here’s looking at you, John Tesar. Time to mix up the teams a little, isn’t it?
5. Am I the only one who’s really pulling for Jim Smith, the self-professed cast nerd and the executive chef for the state of Alabama? He seems all goofy and small-town, and he dresses like he’s ready to do your taxes, but then he whips out solid cooking. If any of these chefs came to my house to cook dinner, I’d pick Jim. Keep on Trekking, Jim.
So: Anyone want to cast an early vote? Are you #TeamJamie or #TeamSam? Or someone entirely different?