It’s the most wonderful time of the year: subway platforms are sweltering, a new season of Top Chef has begun. Foodies rejoice, and among them are multitudes of Jews longingly drooling over gourmet treif, myself included.Â In the first episode, aired last Wednesday night, the only thing in my apartment louder than my growling stomach was my trusty Jewdar, which was registering unusually high readings for a reality TV show.
Previous seasons’ Jewy (detected by Jewdar but not confirmed to be Jewish) contestants include Leah “I stayed three episodes too long” Cohen from Season 5,Â Season 4’s “Spike” Mendelsohn, Season 3’s Micah Edelstein and Howie Kleinberg, and Season 2’s winner, Ilan Hall. But this season has scored a record-breaking four Jewy contestants on my Jewdar, which I have honed to maximum precision over my 22 years. There’s Robin Leventhal, Eli Kirshtein, Eve Aronoff, and Ash(er?) Fulk.
The first moment that sent my Jewdar skyrocketing to frequencies beyond human audibility was during Eli’s introduction of himself with his uber-Jewish name plastered across the bottom of the screen. Peering out from behind his thick black-framed glasses and self-deprecating sense of humor, Eli proudly identifies himself as “a fat kid.” He then elaborates by explaining that he loves “fat kid food.” Another spike in the charts came later on in the episode, when Robin explains to the judges that she is in fact a “bad Jew” due to her love of pork.Â Eve’s name was the first thing to alert my Jewdar, but she is also from Ann Arbor, a notoriously liberal town, which is inconclusive but compelling evidence. Ash has yet to drop the J-bomb, but he has so far been the funniest of the contestants and a video of him on Bravo’s web site confirms that he in fact cannot rap.
So with the majority of the season to go, I can only hope that these contestants will continue to express their ethnic heritage and bring takka nachas to Jewish fat kids everywhere by rendering the list of the most successful contestants disproportionately Jewish.