A game expert we're not – in fact, the last animated computer game we played with any regularity was Oregon Trail – but we found the game pretty straightforward and simple to navigate.
The Top Chef standards are all there: Tom and Padma, Quickfires and Elimination Challenges, the Top Chef pantry and judges table. The game – at least in the few levels we completed – focuses heavily on taste categories (sweet, savory, salty, spicy) and combining them in various ways for each dish.
For instance, a salt and pepper-themed salad gives the player the challenge of combining complimentary flavors in a dressing, garnish, main vegetable and a meat. Each ingredient must be attended to and, of couse, the dish must be completed within the allotted time before Padma's "knives down!" command.
We'll admit, we were feeling the pressure – especially in the multi-dish Elimination Challenge. But we're happy to report that we put together at least one five-star dish that Tom proclaimed was "the kind of dish that will win you this competition."
We think the game would be fun way for a young budding cook to learn about flavors and how to combine them. More experienced cooks may find the limited ingredient choices frustrating (or perhaps enjoy the challenge), but diehard fans will most likely get a kick out of the game regardless.
One other note: The game is listed for PCs and Macs, but we were only able to load it on a PC. Again, we're not computer or game experts, so there is likely a way to get it to work, but it's something you might want to explore if you're buying the game for a Mac.
Stay tuned for more Top Chef coverage throughout the week!