Top Chef is by far my favorite show. I think we’re on season 20 and I’ve seen every episode of every season multiple times. Does it make me want to cook? Hell yes. Do I actually cook? Hell no. The formulaic nature of it, with the same background music, the same general structure...all of it is incredibly soothing to me. Moreover, the creativity associated with what these folks can do with food is fascinating.
As a result of it being my favorite show I’ve found a lot of parallels between it and the current iteration of Aggie Football...well not necessarily between the actual show Top Chef and Aggie Football, but crossovers between the culinary world and Jimbo Fisher’s football program, and I’d like to share some with you.
Fusion cooking is tough. If you watch the show no one says “I cook a combo of this type of food and this type of food”...they all have specific regions that they specialize in simply because there’s so much that could go wrong with fusion cooking. You’re looking for overlap between two disparate styles of food and putting them together to where they make sense. Sure some cuisines go together...like Indian/Pakistani, and some Southeast Asian cuisines...but the ones that don't go together naturally take a lot of talent.
The #1 fusion restaurant in the world (according to Michelin stars) is a joint called “Mott St.” in Chicago. Read this description
That looks delicious. And something that I’d like to eat. But it takes so much dadgum talent to take cuisines from completely opposite sides of the world and find enough overlap to create cohesive dishes, much less a completely cohesive menu...and man it could go wrong so easily. But Chef Kim has obviously done an excellent job of taking elements from multiple cultures and styles and creating something that makes sense. I’d bet a tasting menu from there is dope as hell.
Jimbo Fisher’s offense, at one point, was pretty dang potent. West Coast schemes (I don't know anything about West Coast offenses so if I’m wrong just go with me) that were complex but pretty darn effective when he had the right personnel. He knew what he wanted to do and did it pretty well—the offense in 2020, while not perfect, was effective when it needed to be.
Everyone told Jimbo that he needed to adapt and modernize, and Jimbo did adapt and modernize...in the way he knew how to.
Sidebar...there was a great tweet that I meant to bookmark but I didn't which talked about coaches needing to self-edit. They want to do everything but they need to know what works and temper their desire to do everything. It’s the same thing with food. One more ingredient could damage the dish so when you’re done you’re done. Restraint is key.
So Jimbo modernized by adding stuff to his playbook. How DARE you say he’s not modern, Have you checked pages 230-290 of the playbook it’s all spread veer rpo Coastal Carolina! Do you want pre-snap motion? Well sure—just check out appendix C parts 3 and 4!
In essence, Jimbo became a fusion chef who in his desire to put out the best plate of food on the table ended up putting together a Las Vegas-style buffet of options that didn't quite fit together, didn't make sense, and proved ineffective and often difficult to execute. Could he revert back to what he knows and put out a good product? Of course! LSU was a delicious variety of play-calling. Could he do it every week with this menu or this cuisine? Well no, and App St was him either trying to make risotto (YOU NEVER MAKE RISOTTO IN A TIME CRUNCH) or overcooking the salmon. Stuff that shouldn't ever happen and you shouldn't be in a position to make happen because you know better. It’s not that you lack talent. You lost your point of view as a chef.
Jimbo’s effort at fusion on field cooking lacked a cohesive point of view and the product suffered for it.
The things you learn from Top Chef.
Next up...let’s talk about Bobby Petrino and the Olive Garden as a remedy for Jimbo’s offensive woes.
Stay tuned! As opposed to other installment-related articles I’ve promised I promise I’ll follow up on this one!