Watch Top Chef. The judges spend more time talking about “what does it say about him/her” than how it tastes. It’s food. Not a Rohschach test
We watched the first season. The young man who won was the perfect example of your post. While so many were pretentious and pretended to be grand chefs, he made no boasts about himself. He called himself a cook, not even chef; although he was obviously trained and very talented.
Paula has always come across as a caricature of the South, with mediocre cooking.
You have Padma, who probably never cooked a meal in her life, but who has "written" several cookbooks, probably with recipes she found elsewhere. I could do the same. I have almost 60,000 recipes on this computer (no kidding. I highly recommend MasterCook).
Then you have the very attractive (in my opinion) Gail Simmons, who, as a professional food writer has to make cooking sound more cerebral than it is, and thus making herself the same. It's kinda like every Democrat Presidential candidate is always smarter than his Republican opponent. Both premises are false, but it validates the self-image of those involved.