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Exactly How Accomplished Should Top Cheffers Be?

Without a doubt, the recent Vegas season of Top Chef featured the most accomplished contestants the show has ever seen, with a Michelin-starred chef (who eventually won), a James Beard nominee, and a chef of a Ripert restaurant, just to name three. In fact, Tom Colicchio has even stated that season five winner Hosea wouldn't have made past the first few cuts of this past season. But now that the cooking level has been elevated, is that a good or a bad thing? In a Q&A session, Top Chef alum Richard Sweeney thinks the show should highlight up-and-comers; he shares his take:

"I’m extremely happy for Michael. I will say this: I’m not entirely happy about his being cast this season. To me, “Top Chef” is a competition that’s supposed to showcase up and coming talent to help propel them further and, just maybe, make it big in their career ... I wish the producers would go back to the original casting process of picking people who are amazing locally, but haven’t had the chance to be recognized on a national or international scale.
Agree/disagree? Discuss.
· San Diego ‘Top Chef’ fave, Rich Sweeney, dishes Season 6 & more [GLT]
· All Top Chef Coverage [~EN~]