How Well Would Your Mom Do On Top Chef?

When "Top Chef" Season 19 wrapped up, fans did the next best thing after watching the show: They took to Reddit to discuss every aspect of it. The social media platform provides a forum for 430 million users to discuss anything that interests them. More than 30,000 of these people, it seems, are interested enough in culinary television to join the Reddit "Top Chef" community. There, mega-fans voluntarily moderate threads, posing questions like, "Who is your biggest TC contestant crush?" and prompting over 200 people to respond. Others have shared cheftestants' recipes from the show, like Buddha Lo's "Marry Me Pasta," posted by u/mermaid_girl29.

Reddit banter is decidedly friendly and supportive, unlike that on other platforms like Facebook and Twitter, where users' disagreements can get intense and sometimes lead to dangerous actions (via Fast Company). Meanwhile, Reddit prompts, at least ones about "Top Chef," call out bullying and remark on sentimental moments of the show. With a demographic mostly between 20 and 30, Reddit users seek out the interaction between members, sparking debate and connection.

When Redditor u/codymouse asked fellow "Top Chef" fans, "How well would your mom do on Top Chef? What would the signature dish be?" the community responded in typical Reddit fashion: enthusiastically. The answers were funny, touching, and even a little cringey. 

This Reddit thread is full of nostalgia

With over 130 responses, some Redditors praised their mothers as "excellent" cooks, leaving people teary-eyed as they read the responses. Others walked a fine line, commenting that their moms were wonderful people without much talent in the kitchen beyond making "edible" food. Regardless of the indicated skill level, almost all users answered that their mothers would have been terrible on a fast-paced reality show like "Top Chef," especially during the Quickfire Challenges.

Many Redditors could relate to each others' nostalgic posts. u/Botryoid2000, for example, praised their mother for raising five children and providing them three meals a day, but lovingly said she had "the culinary equivalent of a tin ear." Her "signature dish" garnered more than 65 upvotes from fellow users, prompting others to chime in about their own family memories of tuna noodle casserole made with canned soup and "secret ingredients" like crushed potato chips and Saltine crackers.

Responses spanned all nationalities, cultures, and definitions of "mother." U/drea_nic spoke of their Mexican study abroad program's "host mom," who could whip up "immaculate" meals with any ingredients and would surely "do amazing" on "Top Chef." More than the actual dishes she created, the "stories and memories surrounding her cooking" are what this user remembers most. That sentiment echoed throughout the post, with one user saying they didn't know what they enjoyed more: "the nostalgic descriptions of moms who can cook or the equally nostalgic descriptions of moms who can't."