Lisa Ray has issued an apology for her use of working class in the pejorative on the Top Chef Canada Facebook page. You can read that apology here. She does acknowledge that it was a poor choice of words—one which fans note got beyond the editing bay to air—but qualifies her apology with the idea that while she sees in hindsight the use was a mistake it was, in fact, what she meant. Ray elaborates that it was a luxury challenge and the contestant in question missed the mark. He produced an “everyday meal”. Or, in plain speaking terms, something the average Joe would eat and thus not elevated to a more educated palate.
Why not just say that and let it stand? Why go the step further? I said in the previous post that I was really offended by the browbeating they gave young Danny Smiles, arguably the nicest chef in the competition. Turning up ones nose is one thing but demanding someone else to turn up their nose as well is another.
Look, I don’t think Ray is an evil person but in the ire that has ensued, she and her main detractors are missing the point. Building and retaining an audience. It’s no skin off my nose if for the rest of the season Ray swans around the stage in a fur insulting everyone who crosses her path. I’ve voted with my feet. It is the non-sensical way with which the controversy was generated. If I know my cable television, the continuation of Top Chef Canada relies on sponsors and not viewers. As the primary sponsor appears to be the upscale grocery story owned by head judge, Mark McEwan, I believe that this show will go on no matter what controversy it faces as long as no one falls on their knife on camera. This is really a drip in the bucket to what could be happening.
This is sandpaper on a wound. As the rich get richer, the poor get poorer. The middle class is disappearing in Canada. In this case the rich stay rich on the backs of those who will stand behind them.
The research done after my last post resonates with the ridiculousness of the official stance of the show. It is, by the way, now the OFFICIAL stance as it has been endorsed by the host and judges. If a contestant goes on the show and is elitist, we dismiss him as a jerk but when the competition structure endorses a stance, it redefines what the show is about. In subsequent research, a party of four can eat a Mark McEwan’s restaurant, Fabricca, for an easy $200. Sherenna Arazan’s Geisha House is in the “Spendy” category on Yelp which also isn’t so out of reach for this working class girl. I visit Toronto once a year living a mere few hours away. Would I visit Fabricca now? No way as I now know that Mark McEwan wouldn’t want my $200. Is not the loss of customers a point? Is not the show supposed to lift instead of diminish his profile? I’m no loss but what about the others commenting?
Therein lies the rub, if a person has a good experience they’ll tell ten people and if they have a bad experience they’ll tell 50 people. You, dear readers, are my 50 people. Isn’t the customer always right? They saying goes that there’s no such thing as bad publicity. I’m not sure that saying holds true in all circumstances.
On another note, a co-worker watched the show in its first season but refuses to do so now. She finds it an exploitation piece that shatters the egos of the poor chefs who sign on. Isn’t that what they signed on for? We all have our own line that must not be crossed. What is that line for you?
I am now closing the door on this topic and wish the best of luck to Danny Smiles. If I remember, I’ll check Wikipedia when the show is done to see if you won.