Friday, July 13, 2007

Cuteness, thy name is Lia Bardeen

I consider myself a reasonably intelligent person, but I am not ashamed to admit that I love me some reality TV. Yes, a lot of it is crap, but it can be compelling crap. And some of it is quite good. Top Chef has quickly become one of my all-time favorites. Part of it is because most of the chefs don't seem to aspire to being professional reality TV famewhores, they aspire to being well-known and respected chefs. I am not a foodie (or even a half-decent cook, for that matter), but I really enjoy watching these people cook gourmet dishes under crazy constraints. And sometimes, they say things to each other like, "It's obvious you're a tool and a douchebag," and "I'm not your bitch, bitch." Awesome. Plus, this season there are a few really attractive women among the cheftestants, so I'm kicking off the blog with one of them. Why start with someone super-famous? Everyone knows Katherine Heigl's hot.

As soon as I saw Lia, a 27-year-old executive sous chef at Jean Georges in Manhattan, I knew I was in trouble. She has a lovely face, a terrific smile and perpetually flushed cheeks, which I am a total sucker for. Following the first episode, in which she came off as a little bit shy and sweet, it became clear in the next couple of episodes that she has an edge about her, and is witty, smart and takes no shit. Combine that with the cuteness, and it was all over for me. Well played, Lia.

It only got worse this week, when Lia a) wore crazy-cute ponytails in the kitchen, b) won the elimination challenge with a drool-worthy dish involving shrimp and avocado, and c) proceeded to be adorably thrilled with her victory (scroll down a bit at BloggingTopChef and check out the .gif; I don't want to steal it). Then, I just read an interview on BloggingTopChef in which she says she loves literature, was a nerd in high school, once shaved her head, and that when it comes to music, "it's almost never the wrong time for Dolly Parton." Are you trying to kill me, Lia? Jesus. Either marry me now or stop being so cute.

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