In the middle of filming the final phase of the pre-selection competition for the M 6 culinary competition, Philippe Etchebest took advantage of his lunch break this Wednesday to answer a few questions from journalists about the 8th season of “Objectif Top Chef” ( “OTC”), which will arrive at the start of the school year on the antenna of the Six. We also see him quickly finish his plate as the participants finish connecting. “I can’t do a press conference on an empty stomach”, slips the Bordeaux chef between two bites…
At his side, Pierre Chomet, ex-candidate of season 12 of “Top Chef”, alias “Monsieur 100,000 volts”, who will assist him in the show. The young Breton is responsible for receiving anonymous people and personalities – the trailer suggests Diane Leyre, Miss France 2022, Jérémy Frérot or even David Douillet, but also bikers, Moulin Rouge dancers or firefighters – jurors of a kind new who will come, each day, to give the theme of the first event, then to taste and decide between the plates.
“This is where I intervene the most, notes Pierre Chomet. Beyond Philippe’s professional point of view, the customer part represents the pleasure of eating. If he tastes, “out of chef’s curiosity”, he will not share his point of view, so as not to influence these jurors for a day. “Because the opinion of these lambda customers will count and even more than that of Philippe, he insists. They can send a plate in the elimination round. »
“The focus of this new season is to combine excellence with a desire for proximity and accessible, everyday cuisine”, explains Guillaume Charles, general manager of programs at M 6. Pierre Chomet will also be alongside families and friends during the tasting by the only Etchebest of the plates of the second test of the day, eliminatory. They will be six candidates in contention on Monday and only one will be qualified on Friday for the final phase, which is also remodeled.
60 candidates instead of 108 last year
Exit the “Top Chef Academy”, a novelty instituted last year which was integrated, at the end of the course, by the nine best of the competition. They clashed there, in particular, during cult events of “Top Chef”. This time, the candidates will be decided in a more basic way on plates judged by Etchebest and a prestigious chef invited each day, including Christelle Brua, the pastry chef at the Élysée, and Victor Mercier, newly Michelin starred.
“Pierre’s presence will allow me to focus on the essentials, the candidates and the culinary side,” rejoices Philippe Etchebest. This year, we will have 60 candidates instead of 108 last year, which allows me to follow them better and get to know them. Candidates selected from among “thousands of applications”, according to the production, which include a third of amateurs and two thirds of young people in training.
“What’s great is to take them and make them progress, it’s my mission, to take them as far as possible”, continues the Meilleur Ouvrier de France, who includes the winner of “OTC” in his Blue brigade in “Top Chef”. “And I can tell you — we’re shooting the finals right now — there’s been incredible progression for some people. “If Pierre Chomet will help the candidates to face the pressure, Philippe Etchebest, him, “helps them to stress” rather.
“To see how they handle the pressure because Top chef, it’s stress all the time, he says. What we’re doing here is intensive training. Because his goal remains the same: victory. A goal achieved in the first season of this pre-competition with Xavier Koenig. The fine career of Pascal Barandoni, winner of “OTC” last year and fourth in the 13th season of “Top Chef” can only confirm this. “I know it will be hard, but I still believe in it. »