Last night was the series premiere of Bravo's new spinoff Life After Top Chef, which follows around former cheftestapants Richard Blais, Jen Carroll, Fabio Viviani and, of course, DC's own Spike Mendelsohn as they open restaurants, argue with their families, shill for acid reflux medications and whatnot. There's also a bonus video tour online of Mendelsohn's DC home, full of street art, a piano he doesn't know how to play, his very own urinal and a padded headboard on the bed because, "I don't really carry sex insurance or anything like that."
Anyway, the reviews are already coming and and, boy, are they mostly not good. Here's what the television critics of America think of Life After Top Chef and, specifically, Mendelsohn's role in it — including descriptions of the chef as "self-centered" and "oily."
1) Slate's L.V. Anderson writes that the cast are "four of the series' most narcissistic alumni," while the show itself is "a joyless, lifeless attempt by Bravo to squeeze a little more juice out of the desiccated husk of one of its most successful franchises."
2) The A.V. Club's Myles McNutt notes that "while Spike is incredibly self-centered, there's something interesting about seeing his 'celebrity' status broken down in a power hierarchy where he's the youngest member of the family with the least say in decision-making." While McNutt thinks Mendelsohn and his castmates were fine choices for the show, he writes, "I wonder if Life After Top Chef isn't a misleading title, given how much Top Chef continues to define their lives."
3) Television Without Pity's Angel Cohn really did not like the premiere or Mendelsohn, writing that he "may not be the most talented chef on the planet, but he sure knows how to make some money. He's apparently raking in dough, still completely disgusting and lazy and now working with his family at his chain of Good Stuff restaurants, which look like a more upscale version of Five Guys. I don't want to knock anyone's business, but it definitely looks more fast food than fine dining and he's serving up burgers and fries."
4) The New York Times' Jon Caramanica describes Mendelsohn as "oily" and writes that the show "is both a familiar act of Bravo self-cannibalism and also an implicit acknowledgment that most of these chefs could not sustain a series alone." On the moment in which Mendelsohn advises Carroll to pose for Playboy to get funding: "It's crude, but it would have been even harder to take if, earlier in the episode, you hadn't felt a giddy thrill in seeing Mr. Mendelsohn flipping burgers in his family's restaurant."
5) Eater Philly points out the multiple times Mendelsohn and his business partners mentioned a possible expansion to Philadelphia.
6) The Hill Is Home recaps some Spike moments from last night's episode, including his description of Bearnaise as a restaurant that "will serve up three course meals and will be a bit fancier than his burger and pizza joints."
Video: Spike's Crib