Top Chef Masters

I was reading over at Slashfood that there's going to be a Top Chef spin-off series called Top Chef Masters. I have wanted forever, and may have even mentioned in my podcast, for just such a thing: a Top Chef style reality tv show, but with established and well-known chefs doing the cooking.topcheflogo.jpg The problem with Top Chef is that, as a non-chef, I'm really not entirely sure if the contestants are all that competent, or if the challenges really are absurd. It mirrors my delight at the beginning of Dinner Impossible, because it was meant to be something basically like Top Chef but with someone who is not trying to establish himself, but is already known to be great. Of course, with Dinner Impossible, we had the little kerfuffle with whether Robert Irvine was really what he had claimed to be. Also, Anthony Bourdain at one point poo-pooed Dinner Impossible, calling it something like "Dinner Somewhat Difficult." Even ignoring all of that, the challenges on Dinner Impossible really were different from the Top Chef challenges, and most of the tension had to be manufactured by the primary contact for the episode. With Top Chef Masters, we get to see not whether the chefs are competent, as they are presumed to be, but whether the challenges are truly a good measure of a top chef. We get to see if the dependent variable that the experimenters are measuring (top chefness) is truly correlated to the independent variable (the challenges). Is the study valid?