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Offline apskip

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Top Chef Masters
« on: February 13, 2009, 10:36:24 AM »
Top Chef Masters will feature new judges, host

Bravo’s previously announced all-star Top Chef spin-off Top Chef Masters will feature a different cast from the regular series, with new judges and a new host. Tom Colicchio serves as a consulting producer for the series, but the judges will be Gael Green, who Bravo says is a “renowned restaurant critic”; James Oseland, a “culinary expert”; and Jay Rayner, a food critic. Kelly Choi will host; she’s previously hosted a few New York-area food-related TV shows.

Bravo’s announcement says the new series “will feature 24 world-renowned chefs competing against each other in a series of weekly challenges, as only one chef will make it to the finals to compete for the title of ‘Top Chef Master’ and a prize for the charity of their choice.” It will feature quickfire and elimination challenges.

RealityBlurred.com article
TC Masters


Offline TexasLady

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Re: Top Chef Masters
« Reply #1 on: February 14, 2009, 08:31:21 AM »
Wow! I'm looking forward to this!! Thanks Apskip for posting the news!  :hearts:
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Re: Top Chef Masters
« Reply #2 on: February 23, 2009, 05:48:12 PM »
An interesting article

Top Chef Masters News!
Bravo announces the host and judges for its new series, Top Chef Masters.

The Dish

Attention, Top Chef fans! Need more Top Chef in your life? Um, who doesn't. Well, you're in luck because Top Chef Masters is a-coming.


Each episode will hold two challenges for the chefs. The first is a twist on the classic Quickfire Challenge which tests their basic abilities and the second is a more involved Elimination Challenge designed to test the versatility and invention of the chefs as they take on unique culinary trials such as working with unusual and exotic foods or catering for a range of demanding clients. The food will be tasted and evaluated by the judges and a wide range of tasters for whom the challenge is aimed, whether it is patrons at a five-star restaurant or a room full of hungry kids — the food has to appeal to the diner as well as the critics if the chef is to survive.

And who are these judges?

Food journalist Kelly Choi will serve as the series' host, and renowned restaurant critic Gael Greene, culinary expert James Oseland, and food critic Jay Rayner will serve as judges. The show will feature 24 world-renowned chefs competing against each other in a series of weekly challenges, as only one chef will make it to the finals to compete for the title of "Top Chef Master" and a prize for the charity of their choice.

I'm so excited I could spit (That's an expression, right?)

- Monica A. Reyhani

Source: http://www.bravotv.com/blogs/the-dish/top-chef-masters-news
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Offline marigold

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Re: Top Chef Masters
« Reply #3 on: April 07, 2009, 11:13:16 AM »
BRAVO DISHES PREMIERE OF "TOP CHEF MASTERS" WEDNESDAY, JUNE 10 AT 10 PM

Released by Bravo

24 World-Renowned Competing Chefs Revealed Along With Guest Stars Neil Patrick Harris, Zooey Deschanel, Morgan Spurlock, And For The First Time Together All "Top Chef" Winners

NEW YORK – April 7, 2009 – Calling all foodies…it's time to salivate! "Top Chef Masters," the spin-off series of the Emmy and James Beard Award-winning No. 1 food show on cable, "Top Chef," will premiere on Wednesday, June 10 at 10 p.m. ET/PT. The judges' table has finally turned – and we'll see what happens when these top chefs are now on the other side. "Top Chef Masters" will pit 24 world-renowned chefs against each other and see how well they fare in the tried and true format of "Top Chef." In each episode, money will be at stake for the chefs, with the winners of eliminations being awarded cash donations for their charities. The first six episodes will consist of four chefs competing against each other to name one winner. The six winners of each episode will then meet up for the final four weeks when one person will get eliminated each episode until the finale where one winner is crowned Top Chef Master. The winning chef will receive $100,000 for the charity of their choice.

"Top Chef Masters" will feature guest stars and judges Neil Patrick Harris, Zooey Deschanel, "Lost" writers and executive producers Carlton Cuse and Damon Lindelof, "Flipping Out's" Jeff Lewis, and for the first time, all past "Top Chef" winners will be together during an episode. The series will also showcase chef'testant fan favorites as well as appearances by "Top Chef's" Tom Colicchio, Padma Lakshmi and Gail Simmons.

"On 'Top Chef,' the biggest names in the industry join us as guests to pass judgment on the chef'testants," said Dan Cutforth, Executive Producer, Magical Elves. "Now we'll get to see how they handle equally tough challenges."

"We are thrilled to have such an amazing line up of celebrated chefs putting their reputations on the line for their charities," said Jane Lipsitz, Executive Producer, Magical Elves. "'Top Chef Masters' will take the kitchen competition to the next level."

To meet the cast of "Top Chef Masters," visit www.BravoTV.com.

Following are the 24 "Top Chef Masters" competing chefs:

- Rick Bayless – Frontera Grill, Chicago, Ill.
- Wilo Benet – Pikayo, San Juan, Puerto Rico
- John Besh – Restaurant August, New Orleans, LA
- Graham Elliot Bowles – Graham Elliot Restaurant, Chicago, Ill.
- Michael Chiarello – Bottega Restaurant, Yountville, Calif.
- Michael Cimarusti – Providence, Los Angeles, Calif.
- Wylie Dufresne – wd~50, New York, N.Y.
- Elizabeth Falkner – Orson, San Francisco, Calif.
- Hubert Keller – Fleur de Lys, San Francisco, Calif.
- Christopher Lee – Aureole, New York, N.Y.
- Ludo Lefebvre – Ludo Bites, Los Angeles, Calif.
- Anita Lo – Annisa, New York, N.Y.
- Tim Love – The Lonesome Dove Western Bistro, Fort Worth, Texas
- Rick Moonen – Rick Moonen's RM Seafood at Mandalay Bay, Las Vegas, Nev.
- Nils Noren – French Culinary Institute, New York, N.Y.
- Lachlan McKinnon Patterson – Frasca Food & Wine, Boulder, Colo.
- Cindy Pawlcyn – Mustards Grill, Napa Valley, Calif.
- Mark Peel – Campanile, Los Angeles, Calif.
- Douglas Rodriguez – Alma de Cuba, Philadelphia, PA
- Michael Schlow – Radius Restaurant, Boston, Mass.
- Art Smith – Table Fifty-Two, Chicago, Ill.
- Suzanne Tracht – Jar, Los Angeles, Calif.
- Jonathan Waxman – Barbuto, New York, N.Y.
- Roy Yamaguchi – Roy's Restaurants, San Diego, Calif.

Kelly Choi, food journalist and creator, producer and host of NYC TV's weekly restaurant show "Eat Out NY," will host this highly competitive spin-off uniting some of the brightest stars in the world of food, showcasing the often cutthroat world of the culinary arts. A former model, Choi recently finished her book called "The 20 Most Delicious Dishes in New York," which is set to hit stores in spring of 2009.

Joining the judges' panel is Gael Greene, New York Magazine's famed restaurant critic for over 40 years, a best-selling author and co-founder of Citymeals-on-Wheels, which provides food to the homebound elderly. James Oseland, culinary expert and Editor-in-Chief of Saveur magazine, and British journalist, writer and broadcaster Jay Rayner, will also serve as regular judges for the series.

Each episode of "Top Chef Masters" holds two challenges for the chefs. The first is a twist on the classic "Top Chef" quickfire challenge which tests their basic abilities – for example in season 2 of "Top Chef" where the chef'testants had to create an amuse bouche out of items from a vending machine. Each quickfire challenge will be judged by a blind taste test and a five-star system, similar to fine dining reviews.

The second challenge is a more involved elimination challenge designed to test the versatility and invention of the chefs as they take on unique culinary trials such as working with unusual and exotic foods or catering for demanding clients. The food will be tasted and evaluated by the judges and a wide range of tasters for whom the challenge is aimed, whether it is patrons at a five-star restaurant or a room full of hungry kids – the food has to appeal to the diner as well as the critics if the chef is to survive.

This season, www.BravoTV.com will host a "Top Chef Masters" B-Hive sponsored by Stacy's® Pita Chips where viewers can host weekly viewing parties for their fellow food-obsessed friends, including provided party kits, game ideas, and more! Fans can also visit the site weekly to find out how to make each winning dish through video demonstrations. Visitors will be able to watch interviews of the eliminated chefs and the winning chefs of each challenge. The tables turn with "Rate the Plate," where the user can determine which dishes were the best each week. Also, fans can play "Memory Match" and test their foodie and chef knowledge with our challenging — and addictive — IQ quizzes. Television Without Pity (www.televisionwithoutpity.com) will recap each episode in their signature snarky tone.

Offline marigold

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Re: Top Chef Masters
« Reply #4 on: April 07, 2009, 11:17:32 AM »

TOP CHEF MASTERS





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Re: Top Chef Masters
« Reply #5 on: June 07, 2009, 07:11:55 AM »
Top Chef Masters begins Wednesday night on BRAVO at 10pm. Competing for their selected charity causes are:

Art Smith
Position: Owner of TABLE fifty-two in Chicago, as well as Art and Soul restaurant in Washington DC.
Education: Self-taught
Foodie Fact: Smith is Oprah Winfrey's long time personal chef. In 2007 he received the 'Humanitarian of the Year' award from the James Beard Foundation.
Competing for: Common Threads

Jonathan Waxman
Position: Chef and Owner of James, Washington Part, and Barbuto in New York City
Education: La Varenne cooking school in Paris
Foodie Fact: Waxman has graced such prestigious kitchens as Chez Panisse in Berkeley and Michael’s in Los Angeles, and his first cookbook, A Great American Cook, was published in 2007
Competing for: Meals On Wheels

Michael Cimarusti
Position: Chef and owner of Providence Restaurant in Los Angeles
Education: Culinary Institute of America
Foodie Fact: After a three-year run at Le Cirque where he worked with Paul Bocuse, Gerard Boyer, and Roger Vergé, Cimarusti moved to France to expand his culinary education at La Marée and Arpege.
Competing for: Grameen Foundation

Roy Yamaguchi
Position: Owner and chef of Roy's in Honolulu
Education: Culinary Institute of America
Foodie Fact: Yamaguchi Hawaiian restaurateur to win the prestigious James Beard Award. Yamaguchi has appeared on Iron Chef, is the author of four cookbooks, and hosted the cooking show Hawaii Cooks.
Competing for: Imua Family Services

Anita Lo
Position: Chef and owner of the successful New York restaurant Annisa and serves as consulting chef for Rickshaw Dumpling Bar
Education: Ecole Ritz-Escoffier
Foodie Fact: While earning a degree in French at Columbia University, she studied at Reid Hall – Columbia's French language institute in Paris and decided to return to Paris to study cooking.
Competing for: SHARE

Douglas Rodriquez
Position: Chef and Founder of Patria Restaurant
Education: Johnson and Wales University in Providence, Rhode Island
Foodie Fact: Rodriguez is well known for being the "Godfather" of Latin Cuisine and coining the phrase “Nuevo Latino” in his first book in 1997. He was nominated for a 2009 James Beard Award for the "Best Chef South Region."
Competing for: AYUDA for the Arts

John Besh
Position: Chef and co-owner of the Besh Restaurant Group in New Orleans, including August, Lüke, and Besh Steak
Education: Culinary Institute of America
Foodie Fact: Besh was on Food & Wine's “Ten Best New Chefs” in America in 1999, “Best Chef in the Southeast” by the James Beard Foundation in 2006, and was featured on the Sundance Iconoclasts series in 2007.
Competing for: Make It Right

Mark Peel
Position: Co-owner of La Brea Bakery and Campanile,owner of Smoke and Mirrors (due to open in Hollywood 2009)
Education: Self-taught
Foodie Fact: Peel was Wolfgang Puck’s chef de cuisine at the original Spago in LA. He has co-authored several books, including Mark Peel & Nancy Silverton At Home: Two Chefs Cook for Family and Friends and The Food of Campanile.
Competing for: Doctors Without Borders

Chris Lee
Position: Executive chef at Aureole in New York
Education: California Culinary Academy
Foodie Fact: At Philadelphia’s The Striped Bass, Lee acted as chef de cuisine under Alfred Portale and later became executive chef. Upon his return to New York City, Lee spent two years at Gilt where he earned the restaurant two Michelin stars.
Competing for: Autism Speaks

Hubert Keller
Position: Chef and owner of Fleur de Lys (San Francisco and Las Vegas), the Burger Bar (Las Vegas, St. Louis and soon to open in San Francisco) and his latest venture, SLeeK Steakhouse and Ultra Lounge (St. Louis)
Education: Ecole Hoteliere in Strasbourg
Foodie Fact: Hubert is the recipient of the James Beard Foundation's lifetime achievement award and was named one of the “10 Best New Chefs in America” by Food & Wine in 1988.
Competing for: Make-A-Wish Foundation

Michael Schlow
Position: Owner and chef of Radius in Boston
Education: Academy of Culinary Arts in New Jersey
Foodie Fact: In 2000, Schlow won the James Beard Award for “Best Chef in the Northeast” and his restaurant Radius in Boston was named “Best New Restaurant” by Food & Wine.
Competing for: Cam Neely Foundation

Tim Love
Position: Chef and owner of The Lonesome Dove Western Bistro and The Love Shack in Fort Worth
Education: University of Tennesse (Finance and Marketing)
Foodie Fact: The Love Shack earned three stars from The Dallas Morning News, which was singled out as having the "most perfect burger on the planet."
Competing for: March of Dimes

Elizabeth Falkner
Position: Executive Chef and owner of both Citizen Cake and Orson restaurants in San Francisco
Education: San Francisco Art Institute
Foodie Fact: Falkner won a James Beard Award Pastry Chef nomination in 2005 and Bon Appetit Pastry Chef of the Year in 2006.
Competing for: The Edible Schoolyard

Graham Elliot Bowles
Position: Owner and chef of Graham Elliot in Chicago
Education: Johnson and Wales University
Foodie Fact: During his four years leading the kitchen at The Peninsula Hotel in Chicago, he became the nations youngest four-star chef with perfect reviews from Chicago Magazine, Chicago Sun-Times and Chicago Tribune, as well as three James Beard award nominations.
Competing for: American Heart Association

Suzanne Tracht
Position: Executive chef and owner of Jar in Los Angeles, and Tracht in Long Beach.
Education: Three-year apprenticeship under Siegbert Wendler
Foodie Fact: Tracht was among Food and Wine magazine’s Best New Chefs in 2002, she's made national appearances on the Today Show, Food Network and Extra and was inducted into Fine Dining Hall of Fame by Nation’s Restaurant News in May 2007.
Competing for: JFS/SOVA Community Food and Resource Program

Wylie Dufrensne
Position: Chef and owner of New York’s highly celebrated wd~50 restaurant
Education: French Culinary Institute in New York
Foodie Fact: In 2009, Wylie was nominated for a James Beard Award for "Best Chef, New York City," and wd~50 was nominated for "Best New Restaurant."
Competing for: Autism Speaks

Cindy Pawlcyn
Position: Executive chef and owner of three Napa Valley restaurants – Cindy’s Backstreet Kitchen, Go Fish, and Mustards Grill
Foodie Fact: Cindy is the author of four widely acclaimed cookbooks: The Fog City Diner Cookbook, Mustards Grill Napa Valley Cookbook, Big Small Plates, and her newest, Cindy Pawlcyn’s Appetizers
Competing for: Community Health Clinic Ole

Ludo Lefebvre
Position: Chef and owner of Ludo Bites (opening Spring of 2009)
Education: Trained in Paris for 13 years at Restaurant L’Esperance with Marc Meneau, Restaurant Pierre Gagnaire, Arpege with Alain Passard and Le Grande Vefour with Guy Martin
Foodie Fact: Lefebvre was a nominee for the James Beard Foundation “Rising Chef Award” in 2001 and released his first cookbook, CRAVE, a Feast of the Five Senses in 2005.
Competing for: C.H.A.S.E. for Life

Rick Bayless
Position: Owner and chef of Frontera Grill and Topolobampo in Chicago
Education: non stated
Foodie Fact: Bayless has appeared in a number of television shows including The Today Show, Good Morning America and Martha Stewart Living. His own show, PBS's Mexico One Plate at a Time is now in its 7th season.
Competing for: Frontera Farmer Foundation

Wilo Benet
Position: Owner of Pikayo (now located at the Puerto Rico Museum of Art in San Juan), Payá, and Varita.
Education: Culinary Institute of America
Foodie Fact: In 1988, Benet was called in upon in to become Chef de Cuisine of “La Fortaleza,” the Governor of Puerto Rico’s mansion.
Competing for: San Jorge Children's Foundation

Lachlan Machinnon Patterson
Position: Co-owner and chef of Frasca Food and Wine in Boulder, Colorado
Education: Ecole Gregoire-Ferrandi
Foodie Fact: Patterson was named one of Food & Wine magazine’s Best New Chefs in July 2005 and won 2008 Best Chef: Southwest from the James Beard Foundation.
Competing for: The Children's Hospital

Michael Chiarello
Position: Chef and owner of Napa Valley's Bottega Restaurant
Education: Culinary Institute of America
Foodie Fact: Chiarello is the Emmy-winning host of Easy Entertaining with Michael Chiarello, and tastemaker behind NapaStyle, a specialty brand of foods and handcrafted products.
Competing for: The Clinic Ole Foundation

Nils Noren
Position: Noren serves as Vice President of Culinary Arts for The French Culinary Institute’s culinary, pastry, bread and Italian food departments.
Education: Culinary School in Gavle
Foodie Fact: In a 2008 survey of 40 top New York chefs, Noren was voted "The chef that should have gotten an award by now, but hasn't."
Competing for: Friends of The FCI

Rick Moonen
Position: Owner and chef of Rick RM Seafood at Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas.
Education: Culinary Institute of America
Foodie Fact: Moonen's passion and vocalization of sustainable seafood practices led him to publish Fish Without a Doubt in 2008
Competing for: Cape code Commercial Hook Fishermen's Association


The chefs with most national TV appearances could be Keller, Bayless and Dufresne. My favorite is John Besh. It will be itneresting to see how this competition goes and what we can elarn from how they do things.




« Last Edit: June 11, 2009, 02:25:27 PM by apskip »

Offline apskip

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Re: Top Chef Masters
« Reply #6 on: June 09, 2009, 01:09:05 PM »
In anticipation of tomorrow night's premiere, I went to the available published information to see what I could see. the best article is a BRAVO press release issued 4/7/09 reorganized and modified very slightly by me for readability:

BRAVO DISHES PREMIER OF TOP CHEF MASTERS
Each episode of "Top Chef Masters" holds two challenges for the chefs. The first is a twist on the classic "Top Chef" quickfire challenge which tests their basic abilities – for example in season 2 of "Top Chef" where the chef'testants had to create an amuse bouche out of items from a vending machine. Each quickfire challenge will be judged by a blind taste test and a five-star system, similar to fine dining reviews.

The second challenge is a more involved elimination challenge designed to test the versatility and invention of the chefs as they take on unique culinary trials such as working with unusual and exotic foods or catering for demanding clients. The food will be tasted and evaluated by the judges and a wide range of tasters for whom the challenge is aimed, whether it is patrons at a five-star restaurant or a room full of hungry kids – the food has to appeal to the diner as well as the critics if the chef is to survive.

In each episode, the winners of eliminations are awarded cash donations for their charities. The first six episodes will consist of four chefs competing against each other to name one winner. The six winners of each episode will then meet up for the final four weeks when one person will get eliminated each episode until the finale where one winner is crowned Top Chef Master. The winning chef will receive $100,000 for the charity of their choice.

"Top Chef Masters" will feature guest stars and judges Neil Patrick Harris, Zooey Deschanel, "Lost" writers and executive producers Carlton Cuse and Damon Lindelof, "Flipping Out's" Jeff Lewis, and for the first time, all past "Top Chef" winners will be together during an episode. The series will also showcase chef'testant fan favorites as well as appearances by "Top Chef's" Tom Colicchio, Padma Lakshmi and Gail Simmons.

However, the regular each-episode judges for this series are:
Gael Greene, New York Magazine's famed restaurant critic for over 40 years, a best-selling author and co-founder of Citymeals-on-Wheels, which provides food to the homebound elderly
James Oseland, culinary expert and Editor-in-Chief of Saveur magazine
British journalist, writer and broadcaster Jay Rayner

Kelly Choi, food journalist and creator, producer and host of NYC TV's weekly restaurant show "Eat Out NY," will host this highly competitive spin-off uniting some of the brightest stars in the world of food, showcasing the often cutthroat world of the culinary arts. A former model, Choi recently finished her book called "The 20 Most Delicious Dishes in New York," which is set to hit stores in spring of 2009.  I have seen Kelly in food-related programs on Chanel 25 New York City PBS and she is a good choice.





Offline apskip

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Re: Top Chef Masters
« Reply #7 on: June 10, 2009, 06:44:15 AM »
I have discovered some advance commentary on tonight's premier episode. The chefs are Hubert Keller, Tim Love, Christopher Lee and Michael Schlow. The focus is on desserts for the Quickfire. The elimination challenge is in a college dorm. They have access to microwave, hot plate and toaster oven and have 60 minutes to cook a 3 course meal. I would call this zany, but why not test the adaptability of these great chefs? My prediction is that the great Hubert Keller will advance to the next round.
« Last Edit: June 10, 2009, 07:07:59 PM by apskip »

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Re: Top Chef Masters
« Reply #8 on: June 10, 2009, 09:00:06 AM »
I am going to take a stab at predicting winners for 4 of the first 6 weeks based solely on national reputation. I have already stated in a prior post that I expect Keller to win over Love, Lee and Schlow in week 1. I have on idea when the initial round for the other groups of 4 will be telecast, but in future weeks here is how I expect it to be grouped:

Waxman, Cimarusti , Smith, Yamaguchi - winner Waxman
Peel, Rodriguez, Besh, Lo - none of these has sufficient national reputation, although I like Besh
Bowles, Tracht, Falkner, Dufresne - winner Dufresne
Pawlcyn, Lefebvre, Bayless, Benet - winner Bayless
Chiarello, Noren, Moonan, Patterson - winner Chiarello

Note - My prediction on groupings is right on so far. Next week the chefs are Bowles, Tracht, Falkner and Dufresne.
« Last Edit: June 11, 2009, 02:58:17 PM by apskip »

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Re: Top Chef Masters
« Reply #9 on: June 10, 2009, 09:38:54 AM »
 :hearts: Thanks for all you do apskip!

Here are the judges and cast:

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Re: Top Chef Masters
« Reply #10 on: June 10, 2009, 09:49:50 AM »
I have discovered some advance commentary on tonight's premier episode. The chefs are Hubert Keller, Tim Love, Christopher Lee and Michael Schlow. The focus is on desserts for the Quickfire. The elimination challenge is in a college room. They have access to microwave, hot plate and toaster oven and have 60 minutes to cook a 3 course meal. I would call this zany, but why not test the adaptability of these great chefs? My prediction is that the great Hubert Keller will advance to the next round.

Wow.. difficult but not impossible tasks. This will be fun to watch!
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Offline ZBC Company

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Re: Top Chef Masters
« Reply #11 on: June 10, 2009, 04:01:29 PM »
IT AKWARD NO BLACK

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Re: Top Chef Masters
« Reply #12 on: June 10, 2009, 07:14:01 PM »
IT AKWARD NO BLACK
Zachary Busch, that's the way the cookie crumbles, as we say in the U.S. There is no quota on this show. There are great African-American chefs in the U.S.  Great African-American chefs exist but they have not received sufficient national acclaim to be on this show. The only one I have seen on regular Top Chef as a Guest Judge is Marcus Samuelsson.

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Re: Top Chef Masters
« Reply #13 on: June 10, 2009, 07:15:16 PM »
I discovered form DirecTV that my note on airtime tonight was off (this was fixed in a post above) but it is 10pm to 11pm EDT for the premier episode.

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Re: Top Chef Masters
« Reply #14 on: June 10, 2009, 10:18:16 PM »
Was it worth the wait of months? The answer is yes. I found Top Chef Masters to be more entertaining than even the regular Top Chef due to the ease of the chefs competing. These are experienced chefs at the top of their game, so they don't have to sweat too hard. They have faced and overcome stiffer challenges. That does not allow them to be relaxed, but they are clearly at ease.

Tonight's Quickfire used 4 girl scouts as judges of desserts. They were not shy about their commentary. Their scores (maximum 5 stars) were Michael 2.5 Tim 3.5 Chris 3.5 Hubert 5. All carried those points into the final tabulation, so Hubert had a 1.5 point lead over Tim and Chris. The elimination challenge 3 courses were prepared in a dorm room with a microsave, hot plate and toaster oven. There was no refrigeration or freezing, although Hubert did rig up the shower to act like a refrigerator and also oven depending on whether running cold or hot water aroudn the bowl with his mac and cheese. Michael stated for all 4 of them that he had newly developed respect for the regular Top Chef competitors who get these unusual and diffcult challenges.

The judging was by the average score of 4 college students who sampled all dishes. Gael Greene(New York City restaruant critic for 40 years), Jay Rayner(food critic for the London Observer) and James Oseland(editor-in-chief of Saveur magazine). They each gave a score to the competitors. Here are the results:

Michael 13.5
Tiim 14.5
Chris 19
Hubert 20.5

In essence, Tim and Hubert tied for top food, but Hubert won due to his Quickfire performance.

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Re: Top Chef Masters
« Reply #15 on: June 10, 2009, 10:31:50 PM »
I actually swing the other way with regards to which is more entertaining.

I prefer the regular version of Top Chef over what we've seen so far with Masters because of those reality show elements of having characters and people to root for/against, and the bits of drama to keep things interesting. On Masters we're not going to see recurring chefs until episode seven, and even then the show seems completely focused on the food and challenges. As for the drama, since these are established chefs who aren't struggling to make a name for themselves, the tension just isn't there.

Basically it's a really laid-back version of Top Chef, and while it will hold me over until Top Chef returns this winter, it certainly won't replace it. :tup:

« Last Edit: June 10, 2009, 10:34:57 PM by RHR »

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Re: Top Chef Masters
« Reply #16 on: June 11, 2009, 07:26:56 AM »
RHR,

Your point of view is certainly a valid one. However, the personality clashes that you like I regard to be irrelevant and uninteresting. More airtime for food and challenge details is exactly what regular Top Chef needs.

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Re: Top Chef Masters
« Reply #17 on: June 11, 2009, 01:58:03 PM »
More airtime for food and challenge details is exactly what regular Top Chef needs.
I disagree. There are already plenty of shows on Food Network that focus completely on the food and some of those are in a challenge format, such as Chopped, Food Network Challenge, etc. Top Chef has been in a way the antithesis of Hell's Kitchen, in that it remains a reality show competition with recurring contestants every week that you can connect with, but it's everything that Hell's Kitchen isn't at the same time.

As someone summed it up better than I could on another site:
"This show was good, but let's face it, Top Chef Masters is no Top Chef. It's just impossible to develop any sort of relationship with the contestants in that short a period of time. If you like cooking shows you will like it, but like I said, it's no Top Chef."

Offline apskip

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Re: Top Chef Masters
« Reply #18 on: June 11, 2009, 02:18:49 PM »
Here is a preview of next week's episode of Top Chef Masters(from futoncritic.com):

Operating on an extremely tight budget, the chefs must create the perfect amuse-bouche using only what they can find in a vending machine (a quickfire from season two of "Top Chef"). Then, Master chefs Wylie Dufresne (wd~50), Suzanne Tracht (Jar), Graham Elliot Bowles (Graham Elliot Restaurant) and Elizabeth Falkner (Orson) find themselves "lost" as they are challenged to make a meal inspired by the hit TV show, using ingredients such as fish, wild boar, fresh fruits and canned goods chosen by The Dharma Initiative, among other island specialties. "Lost" co-creators, executive producers and writers Carlton Cuse and Damon Lindelof guest star, and one chef moves on to the Champions Round. For an early look go to
Top Chef Masters Videos

You should be delighted with the rage of Top Chef Masters videos there. First there are some from ep.1, then previews of ep.2, then 2 commercials for the season, then the 24 bios of the chefs. I will offer you a hint:

If you start in the upper left and let it go beyond the end of the first one you watch, you will automatically be cycled through the entire collection with short commercials (which are usually funny and worth watching).

Offline TexasLady

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Re: Top Chef Masters
« Reply #19 on: June 11, 2009, 02:46:24 PM »
I found Top Chef Masters entertaining. I've lost a little of my love for TC because of the way the last one ended but I can enjoy Top Chef Masters because they have such a high level of expertise, which is put to the test by things they ordinarily don't have to deal with. For example shopping, as they had to do last night. Certainly it puts to the test anyone's abilities to cook for critics and guests in a small dorm room with none of the things they are accustomed to using like stoves, specialized prep area, many pans, the list is endless.  I thought all the chefs did well, especially Tim who had to overcome frozen ingredients.

I do wish that we had more opportunity to see all the chefs compete with each other but I understand why they aren't using the TC format. These are busy people with real restaurants to run. They couldn't spare 6 weeks for the type of intense competition we see on TC.

I do wish they would let the kids critique each week. I liked their comments much better than Tom's.  :lol: (I should say Tom's on TC.)  ;)
« Last Edit: June 11, 2009, 03:37:16 PM by TexasLady »
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Re: Top Chef Masters
« Reply #20 on: June 11, 2009, 03:22:17 PM »
One of the videos available is http://www.bravotv.com/top-chef-masters/videos/hubert-kellers-macaroni-and-cheese . I can highly recommend this almost 8 minute redoing of the Hubert Keller mac and cheese recipe as Fabio Viviani and Michael Demmert (who may be a sous for one of the Hubert Keller Fleur de Lys restaurants, I'm not sure) demonstrate this recipe:

Ingredients - pasta, prawns, onions, white cheddar cheese, parsley, egg yolk, heavy cream, half-and-half, carrots, mushrooms, olive oil

Instructions:
1. chop carrots and stir in with onions, adding ground pepper and salt
2. Add olive oil.
3. Saute mushrooms, add more salt and ground pepper
4. Dice shrimp (or you are Fabio, shrimps) and saute
5. Toss shrimp and cook until they are turning red, then take it off the heat immediately
6. Add pasta to boilingwater
7. Add cream and half-and-half to the main pan and heat a little.
8. Add cheddar and adjust salt and pepper.
9. Strain pasta.
10. Stir pasta into sauce.
11. Add egg yolk and parsley.

total cooking time appeared to be about 7 minutes (assuming boiling water ready to go), just less than the length of the video.
« Last Edit: June 12, 2009, 11:12:48 AM by apskip »

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Re: Top Chef Masters
« Reply #21 on: June 11, 2009, 03:38:02 PM »
Thanks for the video link!  :tup:
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Re: Top Chef Masters
« Reply #22 on: June 12, 2009, 08:32:39 PM »
Top Chef Masters, Introduction

The creators of Top Chef have extended that franchise to run a competition much like regular Top Chef for some of the finest chefs in the U.S. The 24 competing master chefs (all of whom have numerous awards that I will not bore you with here) are:

Michael Schlow from Boston - owner/chef at Radius and involved in 4 other restaurants; Tom Colicchio does a voiceover to type him as a preeminent Italian chef; Michael is competing for the Cam Neely Foundation for Cancer Care
Hubert Keller Chef/Owner Fleur de Lys restaurants in San Francisco and Las Vegas as well as Burger Bar, on Top Chef 1 ep. 1 as a judge, so he wants to see what it's like as a competitor (he will clearly find this out!), is French with culinary training in France, playing for Make A Wish Foundation
Christopher Lee - executive chef at Aureole in New York City, trained with Daniel Boulud and Jean-Georges Vonderichten, playing for Autism Speaks
Tim Love from Fort Worth - owner/chef of Lonesome Dove Bistro, Texas cuisine expert, not formally trained or mentored, playing for March of Dimes

The format of Top Chef Masters is quite similar to that of regular Top Chef. The 24 chefs are divided into six groups of 4 chefs. Care was taken to make sure that two of the heavy hitters (Hubert Keller, Rick Bayliss, Wiley Dufresne, Jonathan Waxman) did not get into the same group. The once a week episode for the first 6 episodes will feature the competition of one of those groups. The six winners then go into a Champions Round, which mirrors the Final 6 from regular Top Chef with one eliminated each week until a winner is reached.

The tasks should  be very familiar to viewers of regular Top Chef. The show starts without any of the "personality development" and gets right to the Quickfire Challenge. A classic Top Chef challenge will be twisted a bit each week, sometimes by changing the setting of where food prep/cooking will occur, and scoring will be by an individual judge or group of judges. The remainder of the episode is the Elimination Challenge, which is like regular elimination challenges except that the master chefs are given less time. These may be judged partly by an outside panel, but the core of the judging will be by the panel of:
Gael Greene - New York City restaurant critic for 40 years, author and founder of City-Meal-on Wheels.
Jay Rayner - London Observer restaurant critic and writer
James Oseland - editor-in-chief of Saveur magazine and culinary expert

Each chef is playing for a charity of their choice plus for the fame inherent in the title Top Chef Master. The winner of each preliminary round goes to the Champions Round while the losers get an unstated amount for theirs. The winner of the Champions Round gets a check to their charity for $100,000.

Episode 1

The Quickfire challenge was to create a yummy dessert for some guests with a special affinity for sweet things.  It is typically the most difficult type of dish for any chef in Top Chef. The dishes prepared for Tonight's Quickfire were:

Michael - warm chocolate cake with peanut butter and chocolate candies; ice cream was planned but would not freeze in time and his cake wouldn't bake so he was forced to  improvise
Tim - chicken fried strawberries, dipped strawberries, strawberry shake; collectively, Strawberries 3 Ways
Chris - French toast with caramelized bananas, orange sauce and maple syrup fluff
Hubert - chocolate mousse swan, whipped cream mouse, fruit with orange sabayon

4 girl scouts were the judges of desserts. They were not shy about their commentary.  On Tim they had diverse comments but they did not like the shake. Their scores (maximum 5 stars) were Michael 2.5 Tim 3.5 Chris 3.5 Hubert 5. All carried those points into the final tabulation, so Hubert had a 1.5 point lead over Tim and Chris.

The elimination challenge 3 courses were prepared in a dorm room at Pomona College with Calphalon brand microwave, hot plate and toaster oven. Chefs had $150 to spend in 45 minutes and then the next day 2 hours to prep and cook. Michael quips "Whoever's room this is, their parents will not be happy." After completing his cooking, he quipped "Project Destroy Dorm Room is finished."  Tim had problems with frozen vegetables. There was no refrigeration or freezing, although Hubert did rig up the shower to act like a refrigerator and also oven depending on whether running cold or hot water around the bowl with his mac and cheese. Michael stated for all 4 of them that he had newly developed respect for the regular Top Chef competitors who get these unusual and difficult challenges.

The dishes in the first course were:
Michael -7 crudo w/ cucumber, mint, red chilies
Tim - scallop carpaccio w/ lime and chili and kumquat
Chris - Red Snapper Ceviche w/ citrus juices, avocado and popcorn
Hubert - Scottish Salmon cuit over creamy whole-grained mustard

The second course dishes were:
Michael -  cabbage soup w/ smoked bacon, fennel and white beans
Tim - squash and corn pozole with corn (not hominy that was not available)
Chris - Creamy Risotto w/ prosciutto, kale and Parmesan cheese
Hubert - hearty carrot and petite pea soup w/ cinnamon and croutons

The third course dishes were:
Michael - pork a l'Apicius w/ broccolini and mushrooms
Tim - skirt steak and braised kale
Chris - Pan Roasted Pork Chop piperade, crushed potatoes, mache and fennel salad
Hubert - creamy macaroni and cheese with prawns, mushrooms and fresh herbs

Commentary from the judges included:
Michael - excellent soup, pork overcooked
Tim - not enough heat for a dish with the name "chili"; pozole good tailgating food; skirt steak and kale overseasoned
Chris - really good for a faux risotto, flavor profile fabulous although not al dente
Hubert - macaroni and cheese excellent comfort food but cinnamon disliked in soup by 2 male judges

25% of the judging score was the average score for appeared to be 6 to 8 college students who sampled all dishes. Permanent judges Gael Greene(New York City restaurant critic for 40 years), Jay Rayner (food critic for the London Observer) and James Oseland (editor-in-chief of Saveur magazine) each gave a score to the competitors. Here are the results (S for Students, G for Greene, R for Rayner, and O for Oseland):

Michael - S 3.5 G 2.5 R 2.5 O 2.5 total 13.5    
Tiim - S 3 G 2.5 R 3 O 2.5 total 14.5
Chris - S 4 G 4 R 4 O 3.5 total 19
Hubert S 4 G 4 R 3.5 O 4 total 20.5

In essence, Tim and Hubert tied for top food in the Elimination Challenge, but Hubert won due to his Quickfire performance. He goes to the Champions Round starting in 6 weeks (Bastille Day July 14 for those that are counting). Hubert won $10,000 for the Make A Wish Foundation, courtesy of Lexus. The others were awarded a minor amount for the Cam Neely Center to Cure Cancer, March of Dimes and Autism Speaks.

I liked Kelly Choi as host. She is not a recognized culinary expert like Padma Lakshmi, but they did not ask Padma to host this. Kelly was firmly in charge on camera and we will see how much culinary expertise she actually has in future weeks.
« Last Edit: June 13, 2009, 03:44:25 PM by apskip »

Offline apskip

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Re: Top Chef Masters
« Reply #23 on: June 19, 2009, 07:03:20 PM »
Top Chef Masters, prelim round 2

The competing chefs are Graham Elliott (chef/owner of Graham Bowles Elliott in Chicago), Wiley Dufresne (chef/owner of WD-50 in NYC and a leading proponent of molecular gastronomy), Suzanne Tracht (chef/owner of Jar restaurant in Los Angeles) and Elizabeth Faulkner (owner of Citizen Cake and Orson restaurants in San Francisco and an Iron Chef America). They are playing for the charities Sova Food Pantry (Suzanne), Edible Schoolyard (Elizabeth), Autism Speaks (Wiley) and American Heart Association (Graham and my favorite charity). SOVA is Hebrew for eat and be satisfied and the name for this service of Jewish Family Services of Los Angeles. Based on reputation, I expect Wiley Dufresne to be the winner of this group.

The Quickfire is a repeat of Season 2, Episode 13 where the cheftestants were given a roll of quarters and could buy anything available in a bank of food vending machines. Wiley selects 2 ham/cheese sandwiches, potato chips and peanuts, Graham 1 ham/cheese sandwich plus can of Coke and candy bars, Elizabeth beef jerky and orange juice and Dr. Pepper and Suzanne Cheetos, Fritos and Doritos. They must create an amuse bouche.

The created dishes were:
Wiley - grilled cheese sandwich with red onions and Dr. Pepper reduction
Graham - tuna salad, licorice, pickled shallots w/ ginger orange and beef jerky miso powder
Elizabeth - braised beef jerky with orange juice, lemon and horseradish ice cream
Suzanne - fried shallot rings with microgreen salad and aioli with Dr. Pepper

Wiley had a lot of trouble throughout the Quickfire and did not get all his sauce plated in time. The judges were from Top Chef Season 2, winner Ilan Hall, Michael Midgeley, and Betty Fraser. They ate and evaluated each dish on a 5 point scale. Their results were:

Wiley 3.0
Graham 4.5
Elizabeth 3.5
Suzanne 5.0 with the best dish

Next was an Elimination Challenge with 20 points maximum to be earned from the regular judges and the composite of guest judges. The guests were the Executive Producer of LOST, another producer and multiple writers. This challenge was to take ingredients only from a large table of boar, fish, seafood, tropical fruits and very few other things plus cans or jars on a pre-approved list from the Dharma initiative. What is that, you ask (as I did)? The Internet says that "Lost" revealed that "DHARMA" is an acronym for the fictional Department of Heuristics And Research on Material Applications. The Dharma Initiative brought together "scientists and free thinkers" from around the globe at a "large-scale communal research compound" to conduct research in various disciplines, including meteorology, psychology, parapsychology, zoology, electromagnetism, and a sixth discipline that the orientation film begins to identify as "utopian social-" before being cut off.


They each had $200 and 45 mintues to shop in Whole Foods for only those approved items. They had 2.5 hours the next day to cook and plate. The dishes created were:

Wiley - chicken and custard-style egg cooked using some special techniques of an immersion circulator, beets, dried corn, plaintain
Graham - tuna 3 ways (pineapple maki roll with green beans, nicoise, a la plancha w hearts opf palm)
Suzanne - wild boar w/ oyster beer sauce, uni sea urchin risotto, mango corn salad
Elizabeth - beer braised boar loin, poached boar loin, yam papaya pudding

During the service, Wylie mistakenly put who chicken portions on one plate and none of another. This was sorted out but I think he lost minor points as a result.  Comments by the judges were:
Wylie's chicken was perfect and well-cooked. There were questions about how he made the eggs like custard. Suzanne had "lots of stuff on the plate" but not too much for the judges. Elizabeth was told that her yams and papaya were too sweet.

The judges (James Oseland O, Jay Rayner J, Gael Greene G, LOST composite L) 
plus the LOST bunch voted as follows:

Wiley        L 3.5 O 5.0 J 4.0 G 4.5  total  17, combined gives 20
Elizabeth  L 3.5 O 3.0 J 3.0 G 3.5  total  13, combined gives 16.5
Graham    L 4.5 O 4.0 J 4.0 G 3.5  total  16, combined gives 20.5
Suzanne  L 4.5 O 4.5 J 4.0 G 4.5  total  17.5, combined gives 22.5, the clear winner 

So, Suzanne won by having the best scores on both the Quickfire and Elimination Challenge. She got a $10,000 check for SOVA Food Pantry while the others got minor amounts for their charities. Suzanne goes to join Hubert keller so far in the Masters round.


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Re: Top Chef Masters
« Reply #24 on: June 25, 2009, 03:57:16 PM »
It was another exciting Top Chef Masters show. I find it much more interesting than regular Top Chef and you should expect that master chefs know more and are less nervous about doing well (because they undisputedly already are).

Last night's chefs were:

Wilo Benet - from Puerto Rico and chef/owner of Pikayo and owner of 2 other restaurants there. He is not a household name in the lower 48 states but is revered in Puerto Rico. He is playing for the San Jorge Children's Foundation.

Emily Pawclyn - chef/owner of the famous Mustard's Grill in Napa Valley CA. She is playing for Clinic OK, which provides affordable helath care. She says that most of her workers use it.

Rick Bayliss - owner of Fontera and Topolobambo restaurants in Chicago and TV chef extraordainire. I believe I have seen every episode for his multi-year Mexican cooking series. He is playing for the Frontera Farms Foundation.

Ludovic Lefebvre - chef/owner of Ludobites in Los Angeles. I am not surprised seeing him in action why Ludo did not return to Bastide after it was renovated. He is prickly and difficult to get along with, partly due to unrealistic expectations and high desire to win at all costs. He also disparaged Jay Rayner for being British and obviously unable to properly judge a Frenchman. I found him to be a bit of a jerk on this show. He is playing for C.H.A.S.E. for LIFE.

The Quickfire is 30 minutes to create a meal of one color only. Ludo draws the knife corresponding to Red, Cindy to Yellow, Rick to Green and Wilo to Red. The judges will be a group of 3 style/presentation oriented females - a food stylist, a cookbook author, and a food photographer.

Rick Bayliss states that he is the dean of slow-cooked food, so he expects to be at a disadvantage with 30 minutes to cook.

Ludo does not get tomato on his plate (tough luck) but is allowed to see that a tomatillo sauce that went on several plates be available for all of them. The irony is that one of the judges tells him that it is better without that sauce.

The dishes are:

Ludo - steak tartare, watermelon, red onions, red beet gazpacho, tomatillo sauce
Cindy - yeloow vegetable curry over sweet corn grits and fried corn tortillas
Rick - roasted vegetables cookeed in banana leaves, with mole verde, tomatillo,green chiles and pumpkin seed
Wilo - Smoked Salmon Tartare w/ coconut mousse and tomato sauce

Wilo left a silver ring on the plate when it should have been removed in plating. I believe this cost him only fractions of a point.

The scoring is:
Ludo - 3
Cindy - 3.5
Rick - 4
Wilo - 4.5

The Exlimination Challenge is about the use of different types of offal to make an appetizing street food meal to be served at Universal Studios after 3 hours prep and 1 hour of readiness onsite. The knife draw corresponds to this assignment of the protein:

Wilo- beef hearts
Cindy - tripe
Rick - beef tongue
Ludo - pigs ears

In my opinion, Rick has the easiesst ingredient and Ludo the hardest. The public is invited to a poll on this (great alliteration "which offal is the most awful?") and they find everything but beef tongue to be about the same in difficulty and the beef tongue much easier. The chefs have $300 each and 45 minutes to shop at Whole Foods.

The main dishes will be:
Ludo - Pork Quesadilla (wanting to best Rick Bayliss in his specialty) w/chorizo, pinto bean puree, lime aioli, garlic, and smoked paprika
Wilo - Puerto Rican street vendor "tripleta" of beef, ham and chicken in pita bread, with cheddar, ketchup and mayonnaise 
Cindy - menudo, an obvious way of cooking tripe that people like (she says that her staff have it every Sunday) w/ fresh whole tomatillos and cilantro
Rick - Tongue Taco (true to his Mexican skills, which his restaurant staff had urged him to focus on) chorizo, tomatillo and cilantro, w/ guacamole and pickled onions

In the kitchen, Rick helped Cindy on how to work a pressure cooker. The Universal Studios outdoor location was fine. Ludo had trouble making quesadillas fast enough early on, but got it going later.  Rick was amazed that so many people came to try their food. I have two words of explanation: FREE FOOD. It brings them in every time and to enhance that it is made by famous chefs.

In the Judges Ask the Chefs part of the competition, James asked Ludo if his court boullion of tomatoes, carrots, onions and leeks was robust enough. Cindy admitted that her menudo just didn't have enough "punch". James told Wilo he may have cut his beef hearts too thin. Ludo responded that pig's ears did not work on a quesadilla.

It was pretty obvious from the judges commentary that Rick would be on top, Wilo close behind and Ludo and Cindy fighting to avoid the bottom spot. The actual scores were:

Ludo Public 3.5 O 4 J 3 G 3  subtotal 13.5, total 16.5
Cindy Public 3 O 2.5 J 3.5 G 3  subtotal 12, total 15.5
Rick Public 4 O 4.5 J 5 G 5  subtotal 18.5, total 22.5
Wilo Public 4 O 4 J 4 G 3  subtotal 15, total 19.5

Rick Bayliss wins the $10,000 for his Frontera Farm Foundation. I find that apporpriate since he had the biggest reputation of these 4 chefs coming into this competition
   






Offline TexasLady

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Re: Top Chef Masters
« Reply #25 on: June 26, 2009, 07:41:04 AM »
Thank you apskip for your always insightful recaps.  :-*

I missed the last show but using the ingredients they were given, sounds like they all did a great job using their protein. (My mother used to cook tongue...wish she'd had a good recipe!)  :lol:

I'm really enjoying Top Chef Masters. It's much more interesting and I'm also appreciate the judging on the show. I'm burned out on Tom Colicchio and his biased comments.
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Re: Top Chef Masters
« Reply #26 on: June 26, 2009, 12:39:57 PM »
Texas Lady,

You know from my prior comments that I prefer Top Chef Masters. However, I think regular Top Chef is pretty good too.

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Re: Top Chef Masters
« Reply #27 on: June 27, 2009, 07:14:31 AM »
 :hugs: I know you love both. I would love to see Tom and Stefan and Fabio go head to head.  :tup:
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Re: Top Chef Masters
« Reply #28 on: July 01, 2009, 05:45:58 PM »
Note: The Fashion Show is being shown tonight. (Looks like it will repeat tomorrow night too, but you might want to check your DVR or Tivo.

Tonight:

IT'S IN THE CARDS
The remaining designers are challenged to create loungewear to complement designer Fernando Sanchez’s top selling luxury robes. The winning creation will be sold at Saks Fifth Avenue and that designer will have an advantage in the elimination round. Questioning their fate, the contestants are whisked to a Tarot card who predicts their future in the competition. They come to find that this experience will have more of an effect on their resulting design than they originally imagined. The winning design will be available for purchase on BravoTV.com. Vivienne Tam sits in as guest judge.

http://www.bravotv.com/schedule
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Re: Top Chef Masters
« Reply #29 on: July 02, 2009, 07:05:08 AM »
I was disappointed when I discovered last night that Top Chef Masters was only reruns last night, no new episode. To think that BRAVO did this so loungewear designs could be highlighted. A rare misstep for BRAVO!

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Re: Top Chef Masters
« Reply #30 on: July 02, 2009, 08:34:59 AM »
I was disappointed when I discovered last night that Top Chef Masters was only reruns last night, no new episode. To think that BRAVO did this so loungewear designs could be highlighted. A rare misstep for BRAVO!

I don't understand it, tonight is even worse for programming, unless you want to watch endless reruns of Grease.  :groan: (:;)
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Re: Top Chef Masters
« Reply #31 on: July 09, 2009, 09:57:49 AM »
The fourth preliminary round of Top Chef Master competition had these master chefs:

Anita Low - chef/owner of Annisa in New York City
John Besh - remowned Cajun/French chef from new Orleans, owner of August, Luke and Domenica plus La Provence in the suburbs
Douglas Rodriquez - chef/owner of OLA in Miami and New York and initiator of Nuevo Latino cuisine
Mark Peel - chef/owner of Campanile in Los Angeles plus other restaurants, a Mediterranean cuisine expert

My prediction is that John Besh has the highest nationwide reputation and therefore I expect him to win.

The charities they are supporting are:
Anita - SHARE, women's breast cancer support
John - MAKE IT RIGHT Foundation of New Orleans for Hurricane Katrina victims
Douglas - Ayuda for the Arts, supporting hispanic arts through a scholarship fund
Mark - Doctors Without Borders


Kelly Choi introduces the Quickfire by stating that the series of reliving past extraodinary ones will redo one from season 3, cooking an egg to perfection with one hand tied behind their back. Chefs have 25 minutes to create something interesting for the judges panel of Gail Simmons, Terry Reish from an egg ranch and Monica May, restauranteur. A no-fingers mitt is put on the non-chosen hand to take it out of play.

Mark states that his father had only one arm, so he observed how to cook that way early in life. anita needs help from John to execute her slicing eggshell tops off maneuver.

Mark - will be making fresh duck egg pasta (quite difficult in kneading step with only one hand) with olive oil cream sauce
John - trying the very simple approach of a slow-cooked egg with a topping of asparagus
Anita - in the shell, soft boiled egg with the top sliced off with shiitake mushrooms, truffle oil and oyster sauce
Douglas - corn cake arepas, scrambled eggs and ham
John checks the oven about halfway through and discovers that 450 degrees wass not hot enough to cook the eggs in time. He had 4 servings planned, but now has to focus on only one, heating it on the top of the stove to cook it. He ends up with a complete failure of a dish.

The judges score the above dishes as follows:

John 0.5 (and he was happy to get above zero)
Mark 2.5
Douglas 3
Anita 5

So, Anita will be the chef to beat in the Elimination Challenge. It involves mystery night cooking for Neil Patrick Harris and some of his actor friends and will be at the Magic Castle, a Los Angeles prviate club that requires an invitaiton from a maigican. Max Maven, a famous magician and mentalist, comes to the Top Chef kitchen to ask the chefs to pick a card out of 52 by drawing from a deck containing 48 blank cards and 4 with one word each. Astonishingly, they only pick the one-word cards. Those words are:

John - Surpise
Mark - Mystery
Douglas - Spectacle
Anita - Illusion

Chefs go to Whole Foods and spend $250 to create a meal for about 9 people. They have 2 hours to prep, followed by 1 hour to setup and finish at the Magic Castle kitchen, much smaller and less elaborate than Top Chef's.  Tom Colicchio makes a kitchen visit during prep time with no particular purpose other than obsevation. He distracts the chefs briefly. Why bother?

John knows that he needs to really impress the judges. He is down 4.5 points to start and has to get an average of above 1.1 points per judge above Anita from each judge plus the composite guest judge average. He goes all out and develops a complicated 3-part menu as follows:
Hoseradish creme fraiche Sorbet prepared tableside using liquid nitrogen with the help of Neil Patrick Harris, over Salmon Roe salad
Salmon Tartare with Cauliflower Blini
Tempura Fried Lobster wrapped in Smoked Salmon

Mark - Tai snapper in parchment, garlic mashed potatoes and leeks, with shrimp/lobster stock and lime, accompanied by scallion oil and Dassai sake

Douglas - going all out, particularly with flaming coconut shell for visual impact. His meal is Duck 4 Ways:
Oyster Ceviche with Duck broth (otherwise, it would summon up that famous phrase "Where's the Duck?)
Empanada with Figs and Foie Gras
Duck Breast with Butternut Squash
Duck Confit Soup with young coconut in flaming shell

Anita - Daikon with Kumba Caviar; steak tartare shaped like a Sea Scallop, "sand" made from Rice Kripies to create a visual seascape, shellfish broth

So Mark and Anita are trying for simple and John and Douglas are going over the top. Who succeeds?

The judges are Gael Greene, James Oseland, and Gail Simmons subbing for Jay Rayner. Kelly Choi says "it was a magical evening." A reference is made by Gail to John's dish being successful, but adds not the best.  John indicated that his approach was to use techniques that he knows but is not know for(liquid nitrogen the perfect example). Douglas says that he used techniques that he was famliar with, but got asked how many times he had previously set coconut shells on fire. He responded "several."

The judges scores were (NPH for guest group, G for Gael Greene, J for James Osener and S for Gail Simmons):

John - NPH 2.5 J 3 G 3 S 3       Subtotal 11.5  Total 12
Mark - NPH 4 J 3.5 G 4.5 S 4    Subtotal 16  Total 18.5
Douglas NPH 3 J 2 G 2.5 S 2.5 Subtotal 10  Total 13
Anita NPH 4.5 J 4 G 4.5 S 4.5   Subtotal 17.5 Total 22.5

Anita wins the $10,000 check from Lexis for SHAPE. Her humility and lack of flamboyance are refreshing. She was steady-Eddy throughout and her skills were the right ones for the victory. She joins Hubert Keller, Suzanne Tracht and Rick Bayless in the group of 6 finalists, 2 yet to be determined.

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Re: Top Chef Masters
« Reply #32 on: July 16, 2009, 12:20:36 PM »
This is the 5th of the 6 preliminary rounds to determine the 6 winners who will compete in the Champions Round. The chefs in round 5 are:

Nils Noren - VP (he calls it head chef) at the French Culinary Institute. He is playing for Friends of the FCI (I expect that means French Culinary Institute)

Lauchlan Patterson - He is chef/co-owner of Fasca Food and Wine in boulder CO. He is playing for the Denver Children's Hospital, which provided exceptional support for the care of his 16 month old daughter.

Rick Moonen - chef/owner of Rick RM Seafood at the Las Vegas Mandalay Bay Resort. He is playing for the Cape Cod Commercial Hook Fisherman's Association.

Michael Chiarello -  chef/owner of Bottega Restaurant in Napa Valley CA and owner of vineyards. He is playing for Clinic Ole, the same one Cindy Pawlclyn introduced us to in an earlier round.

Chiarello has by far the highest profile and is best known. I expect him to win. I want to note for the record that BRAVO is now going deeper with the "product placement" concept. We have been spared of this for most of Top Chef Masters but it evident last night. Two of the guest diners later are contestants in past BRAVO Project Runway competitions. Also the judges for the Quickfire about to happen are the star and crew of the BRAVO TV show "Flipped Out" which conveniently also had a regular ad.

The Quickfire is to select any one from about 20 items on a multi-tiered platform and use that as the main ingredient for a dish. They have 45 minutes to cook. They draw knives, Michael picks fishsticks first. Lauchlan picks a regular hot dog, Rick a corn dog and Nils fried shrimp.

Rick's food, a little on the elaborate side, could not finish cooking his seafood corndog and be plated with Asian slaw in the allotted time. His dish was slated to be a seafood hot dog with a slaw. In the real world the diners wait for Rick to finish but in Top Chef Masters non-production results in a 0 score and the potential to be starting the Elimination Challenge 5 points behind. Here are the rest of the dishes:

Lauchlan - Tomato Prosciutto soup with pork sausage (note: it had a slightly different name but this is what it was)

Nils - prawns, chorizo, lobster stock sauce

Michael - swordfish meatballs with fisherman's sauce

The judging occurs and Kelly reports that "Flipping Out" has awarded points as follows:

Rick - 0 (and great disappointment that they had passed up seconds of other dishes in anticipation of his)
Lauchlan - 3
Nils - 3
Michael 4.5

So Michael is clearly in the lead starting the Elimination challenge and Rick is probably in a "you can't get there from here" position.

ELIMINATION CHALLENGE

Kelly states that each chef has to prepare mini-portions of an appetizer, main course and dessert for 100 diners (Heavy Top Chef fans) without any help. They have $1000 and 60 minutes to shop, 3 hours to cook that evening and 1 hour to prep the next day before serving.

The menus developed are:
Rick -
Opakaka and Barramundi w/ Yuzu, Avocado and Grapefruit
Brandade of scallop and shrimp, fennel salad and truffle oil vinaigrette
Lemon Panna Cotta w/ ginger, macadamia, coconut and pineapple

Nils -
Scallop and Swordfish Potato Cream, w/ Apple infused with curry Oil and chives
Smoked Salmon and Scallops w/ Napa Cabbage, chorizo, broccoli puree, Madeira reduction
Chocolate Goat cheese Ganache w/ cara cara orange gel, Lapsang Sauce w/ smoked tea

Lauchlan -
Fritta Esotica (Pineapple fried in oil and wrapped in speck)
Grilled beef short ribs w/ anchovy parmesan vinaigrette and horseradish and a little lettucve leaf
Strawberry frangipani tart w/ yoghurt semifreddo

Michael -
Shave Brussels sprout salad  w/ citrus vinaigrette, truffle oil and Marcaro almonds
Prawns  w/ rice flour, chili, garlic oil
Basil gelato, balsamic marinated strawberries, chocolate creme fraiche

Michael reported that his gelato had not frozen 20 minutes before the end of the cooking period. All chefs used their servers to help plate this food, which was allowed under the rules. Nils had time left at the end and volunteered to help Rick scooping avocado.

The 100 diners and judges came, sampled, discussed and rated. The judges get a round of questions with each chef. There weren't s many comments as usual, perhaps due to the time spent putting the actual serving/tasting scenes on-screen. James stated that cooking oil and pineapple were a bad combination. ONe of the fans stated that Michael's main course was greasy. Then there is feedback from the judges after the scores are announced and before they decide their scores. Here is the outcome of this competition(D for diners, R for Jay Rayner, O for James Oseland and G for Gael Greene):

Nils D 3.5 R 3 O 4 G 3.5  Subtotal  14 Total  17

Lauchlan D 3.5 R 3 O 2.5 G 3.5  Subtotal  12.5  Total  15.5

Rick D 4 R 4.5 O 4 G 4.5  Subtotal  17  Total  17

Michael D 4 R 4 O 3.5 G 4.5  Subtotal  16  Total  19.5

So Rick had the best scores for the Elimination Challenge, but Michael was close enough to easily win the overall round. Clinic Ole will get the $10,000 check.



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Re: Top Chef Masters
« Reply #33 on: July 22, 2009, 10:44:53 PM »
Top Chef Masters telecast its final preliminary round (of 6) tonight. By the end of this episode the slate for the Champions Round starting next week will be complete. Who will join Hubert Keller, Suzanne Tracht, Rick Bayless, Anita Lo and Micahel Chiarello in that round? We'll know soon enough.

The competitors are:

Jonathan Waxman - eminence grise of American cooking and mentor of Bobby Flay at Jams in the 1980s; chef/owner of Barbuto in New York City. He is playing for City Meals on Wheels, which brings meals to the homebound.

Michael Cimarusti - chef/owner of Providence in Los Angeles. He is playing for Grameen Foundation, which fights international poverty.

Art Smith - best known as personal chef for Oprah Winfrey and proponent of southern cooking, he is chef/owner at Table 52 in Chicago and Heart and Soul in Washington DC. He is playing for Common Threads, which he co-founded and which teaches children about food and arts

Roy Yamaguchi - his flagship restaurqant is Roy's in Honolulu and there are a total fo 37 Roy's around the globe; he is known for his Hawaiian fusion cuisine. He is playing for Imua Family Services, which provides support for special needs children on Maui and Lanai.

This gets started with a bang on the Quickfire Challenge, which is to shop with $20 for ingredients from one aisle only at the Whole Foods closest to the Top Chef kitchen. The chefs draw knives to deteremine who gets which aisle:

Michael - baking
Roy - pasta and Italian
Jonathan - internaitonal foods
Art - beans and rice

I expect that the most experienced chefs (Waxman and Smith) will be vying for the crown at the end.

This gets started with a bang on the Quickfire Challenge, which is to shop with $20 for ingredients from one aisle only at the Whole Foods closest to the Top Chef kitchen. The chefs draw knives to deteremine who gets which aisle:

Michael - baking
Roy - pasta and olive oil
Jonathan - international foods
Art - beans and rice

Jonathan claims he will not use cans or jars and he brings $24.01 of other items to the register, having to delete one to reach $20. The judging will be by three Whole Foods employees, Peter, Becky and Pam. How lucky can they get? Also double product placement for Whole Foods. Cooking starts and Art and Jonathan, the two oldest of this group of chefs, both cannot fathom how the top to the pressure cooker goes on. It is very interesting to me that with time pressure, great chefs use pressure cookers. I bet they seldom do that in their own kitchens but they don't have the same type of time pressure there.

The dishes are:
Michael - whipped chocolate parfait with ginger  syrup
Roy - pasta with a fried egg and Asian flavors
Jonathan - mint, lentil and roasted pepper salad
Art - multigrain risotto w/ crispy rice salad

The results are:
Michael 5
Roy 4
Jonathan 3.5
Art 4.5

The Elimination Challenge involves a mystery box. Each chef buys with $200 and places in the box (destined for one of the other chefs and they know who) 11 ingredients from which that other chef has to use at least 7 to create a meal. The spirit of camraderie here is exceptional. These chefs take the attitude they want their competitors to look almost as good as they can, so they choose interesting and easy to work with ingredients that facilitate fine ciusine. By the luck of the draw Michael get the box created by Jonathan and vice-versa. Roy gets Art and vice-versa. The only grousing I heard was that Michael was not given fish to complement the meat he did get.

The box Art receives contains cheddar cheese, corn, white sweet potato, green beans, tomato, mushrooms, chicken (for which he is thankful since his signature dish is fried chicken), mangoes.
The box Roy receives contains mahi mahi, short ribs, purple cauliflower.
The box Jonathan receives has pork chops, purple cauliflower (they must have been in season), regular cauliflower, 2 oranges, something like Swiss chard, onions, celery root, black truffle.
The box Michael receives contains lamb T-bone, onions, that ubiquitous purple cauliflower, kumquat, arborio rice, portobello mushrooms, greens, ginger, sunchoke, broccoli rabe

They have 2 hours to cook. The guest judges will be local culinary students.  Their dishes are:

Michael-loin of lamb, sunchoke puree, purple cauliflower, broccoli rabe, orange sauce (not enough time for all plates to get it)
Jonathan- pork sausage and chop w/ cauliflower, celery root puree and black truffle
Roy- short rib kalbi and mahi-mahi
Art-fried chicken 2 ways (regular crispy, thigh smothered) w/ lemongrass and garlic, green beans, mango pie

Joanthan says tht he would never use more than 3 ingredients in his own kitchen. The permanent judges leave and the culinary students give their scores. The judges get the special Q&A period with the chefs. Roy claims he is not an improviser, which is needed for this type of competition. The judges ask Jonathan about the plates. He correctly tells them to focus on his flavors and not something that he had little control over.

The scores (C for culinary students, S for Gail Simmons, O for James Oseland, G for Gael Greene) were:

Jonathan C 4.5 S 4 O 4 G 4 Subtotal 16.5 Total 20
Roy          C 3 S 3 O 2.5 G 2.5 Subtotal 11 Total 15
Michael    C 2.5 S 3 O 3.5 G 3.5 Subtotal 12.5 Total 17.5
Art           C 5 S 4.5 O 3 G 4.5 Subtotal 17 total 22

Art wins. His Commons Threads gets the $10,000 check. The others get nominal amounts for their charities.

So we are ready for the 4 or 5 weeks of Champions Round  competitions. It should be interesting. The chef I know the least about, Suzanne Tracht, was very impressive in winning her round. However, I think a wily veteran like Hubert Keller will win this. The person I would like to see win is the one who I have learned the most from watching his Mexican cooking show, Rick Bayless. I see Anita Lo, Art Smith and Michael Chiarello all as fine chefs but I don't see any of them winning.

« Last Edit: July 23, 2009, 07:38:19 AM by apskip »

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Re: Top Chef Masters
« Reply #34 on: July 24, 2009, 11:35:38 AM »
I can't wait to see how they determine the Master Chef. I'm loving this show. Thanks as always apskip for your fine review!  :-*
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Re: Top Chef Masters
« Reply #35 on: July 30, 2009, 09:09:52 AM »
The Champions Round has begun, with the first competitions between Hubert Keller, Anita Lo, Suzanne Tracht, Art Smith, Rick Bayless and Michael Chiarello. It was interesting to see the same camaraderie develop as from the chefs in each preliminary round. Art Smith says that he has been in the restaurant business directly for only 1.5 years while his competitors have been in it for decades. First was a Quickfire challenge, a relay race to complete 4 common kitchen tasks. Knives were drawn to determine the teams, which were Art/Michael/Suzanne vs. Hubert/Rick/Anita (note- when you have finished reading this post come back here and look at how the individuals on these teams fared in the elimination challenge; it's instructive). Teams were given 1 minute to decide who would do which task. Tom Colicchio, who you know as producer has been hovering throughout, was brought in to judge this.

The first task was to open 15 oysters, Suzanne vs. Hubert. It as close, with Suzanne finishing ahead.
The second task was to dice 4 large onions, Art vs. Hubert. Art kept the lead he started with.
Third was to cut up 5 chickens, Michael vs. Anita. Anita blitzed this and opened a big lead going into the final task.
The 4th task was to whip egg whites to a firmness that allows the bowl to be turned upside down for 5 seconds and not drip anything down. That requires excellent separation of the whites from the yolks first. Rick was quick and he brought the challenge victory to his team. For doing 2 tasks Hubert earned an advantage for the elimination challenge. The outcome was that the members of the winning team get 5 points each and the losers get 4 points each.

Moving right along, the master chefs are each asked to cook their own signature dishes for a friendly meal with the others. Anyone who has ever seen regular Top Chef knows what is coming. Somehow this will tie into the Elimination challenge although it is not clear exactly how. Those signature dishes are:

Hubert Keller- Lobster and truffle cappuccino with corn madeleine

Anita Lo - Seared sea scallops with potato puree and bacon, sea urchin and mustard greens

Rick Bayless - Rack of lamb and black pasilla chile with mission figs

Art Smith - Seared grouper with hearts of palm, trumpet mushrooms, and meyer lemon

Michael Chiarello - Fennel blasamic quail with mostrocotto mostrada, sauteed greens, and roasted apples

Suzanne Tracht - Chopped sirloin with green peppercorn sauce and fried egg


So these chefs cook these dishes and all enjoy eating them. Kelly Choi arrives, so they know something is up. She tells them that the Elimination Challenge is to improve on a dish of their colleagues, which if you think about it is pretty cheeky since these dishes have been developed decades ago and refined continuously. The guest judging will be by "incredibly influential" individuals. The normal regular judges are there.

Hubert's advantage is to pick the dish he wants to "improve." It is Anita's, so she gets to "improve" Hubert's dish. Knives are drawn and Rick gets Michael and vice-versa. Suzanne gets Art and vice-versa. The first task is 45 minutes and $300 to shop for ingredients at Whole Foods. The next morning cooking is for 2 hours. Then 13 plates of each dish are served. It will be to an illustrious group, one eliminated chef from each of the preliminary rounds:
Elizabeth Faulkner - who has comments selected for airing on just about every dish
Ludo Lefevbre
Michael Cimarusti
Christopher Lee
Mark Peel
Rick Moonen

You know that Kelly Choi got the 10th plate and Ttom Colicchio probably the 11th, but who got the other 2? This will have to be one of the mysteries of life.

The "improved" dishes are:

Hubert Keller - Seared scallop with cream of sea urchin over fingerling mashed potatoes.

Anita Lo - Corn chawanmushi, champagne gelee and lobster biscuit sandwich (she mockingly refers to it as "soup and sandwich")

Rick Bayless - Quail with parsnip and proscuitto stuffing over wild greens, cooked with pancetta

Art Smith - Ground lamb scotch egg, sweet potato fries, and tomato tart

Michael Chiarello - Rack of lamb stuffed with fig mostrada chick peas and fried rosemary

Suzanne Tracht - Roast grouper with gnocchi, peas, bacon, and parsnips.

Art is concerned about cooking the egg properly. Suzanne is understandably concerned that grouper is so touchy that it must be cooked perfectly to taste right. When it is served, the guest judges have a lot of criticism about the grouper being overcooked, possibly due to Suzanne finishing early.

Jay asks Michael if he cared more about what Rick Bayless thought than the critics thought. Michael agreed that it was how he thought about this. Art reiterated his fears about the egg. Throughout all of this Suzanne appeared remarkably low-key, even more that usual for her.

The final ratings(C for Chefs, O for James, R for Jay, and G for Gael) were:

Art -      C 3  O2.5  R 2.5 G 3 Subtotal 11  Total 15

Anita -  C 4.5  O 4.5  R 5  G 5 Subtotal 19  Total 24

Hubert -C 4  O 4  R 4.5  G 4  Subtotal 16.5  Total 21.5

Rick -     C 4.5 O 5  R 4.5  G 4  Subtotal 18  Total 23
 
Michael -C 3 O 3.5 R 4 G 4 Subtotal 14.5  Total 18.5

Suzanne - C 3  O 2.5 R 2.5  G 2.5  Subtotal   total 14.5

Anita has teh highest composite score, so Anita's charity SHARE gets another $10,000. Suzanne loses and is eliminated. She is told to "pack her knives and go." She has her regrets about not taking her time. She stated she would come back tomorrow and do the same  dish - with another fish.

This is top-notch entertainment. Watching these chefs cook anything is a pleasure, with their signature dishes the pinnacle of their achievement. The "improved" versions were interesting even if not really improved. My only regret is that I was not invited to eat each of these fine dishes.

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Re: Top Chef Masters
« Reply #36 on: July 30, 2009, 10:00:49 AM »
Quote
Anita -  C 4.5  O 4.5  R 5  G 5 Subtotal 19  Total 24

Hubert -C 4  O 4  R 4.5  G 4  Subtotal 16.5  Total 21.5

Rick -     C 4.5 O 5  R 4.5  G 4  Subtotal 18  Total 23
  

Final 3 perhaps??

This was a wonderful episode. I agree with you apskip, I wish we all could sample their food.
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Re: Top Chef Masters
« Reply #37 on: July 30, 2009, 11:18:57 AM »
I can't predict this beyond having stated that I hope Rick Bayless wins because I have learned the most by watching his Mexican food /cooking show.

I expected Suzanne Tracht to do very well and she is the first out. I don't think we can conclude that Michael Chiarello and Art Smith are any less worthy than Anita, Rick and Hubert. I think that just like in the Amazing Race the luck of the draw in the final episode will determine the winner, so it could be anyone who gets to the final 3 cookoff in 3 weeks.
« Last Edit: July 30, 2009, 07:14:37 PM by apskip »

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Re: Top Chef Masters
« Reply #38 on: July 30, 2009, 01:25:04 PM »
I can't predict this beyond having stated that I hope Rick Bayless wins because I have learned the most by watching his Mexican food /cooking show.

I expected Suzanne Tracht to do very well and she is the first out. I don't think we can conclude that Michael Chiarello and Art Smith are any less worthy than Anita, Rick and Hubert. I think that just like in thet amazing Race the luck of the draw in the final episode will determine the winner, so it could be anyone who gets to the final 3 cookoff in 3 weeks.

Finishing too early was her downfall. It occurred to me, they should stagger the star/finish time so that each one can get their food out when it's at its best.

Some of the challenges have been worse than others. Cooking in a dorm room was probably the toughest.
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Re: Top Chef Masters
« Reply #39 on: August 06, 2009, 09:24:02 PM »
It's round 2 of Top chef Masters Champions Rounds. We lost Suzanne Tracht last week. WHO will be next? At the beginning, Anita Lo lets slip that the prior round was 24 hours previous. This is nothing that any serious observer does not already know, but it is the first time I have seen it confirmed by a Top Chef contestant. The remaining master chefs enter the kitchen to note a large pile of French (or Freedom if you want to be arcane) Fries and Hamburgers. They presume correctly that the Quickfire challenge will be about hamburgers. Kelly tells them it's the Ultimate Gourmet Burger challenge to match TC3 Ep. 9. The cheftestants got 30 minutes while the master chefs are given one hour to cook, probably due to vastly higher expectations about their end products. I saw Waygu beef available for the chefs to use.

Here are the approaches taken:
Hubert- has a $5000 foie gras and Kobe beef burger in his restaurant due to pairing with Chateau Petrus 1995 wine, but elects to go with a simpler burger that is a big seller (1000 per day?) in his restaurant
Michael - a 2.5 pound burger that will feed multiple people
Rick- is going Mexican (what a surprise) with a rib-eyed burger with a side of 3 different guacamoles
Anita - cheese soup with burger bits is continuous trouble for her but she knows there is no turning back from what happened to others' scores that did not finish and serve something
Art - going for southern comfort food

The actual dishes are:
Rick - cheese fundido burger w/ 3 different guacamoles on the side
Art - Cornmeal Hoecake Burger w/ Fried Green Tomatillos, Coleslaw
Michael - "Hamburgese Enorme" with Truffle Manchego Potato Chips
Anita - cheddar cheese soup w/ burger bits, ketchup crouton and bacon fried onion rings
Hubert - Beef and Roquefort Cheeseburger with Caramelized Onions and rustic Yukon Gold Potatoes

The diners evaluating these burgers were Spike Mendelssohn (TC4 cheftestant), Morgan Spurlock (creator of the movie "Super Size Me") and Sang Yoon (chef owner of Father's Office which serves a lot of burgers in Santa Monica CA)

The Quickfire scores were:
Hubert 3
Art 3.5
Rick 4
Michael 4
Anita 1.5

Anita was in big trouble with 2.5 points to make up against each of the 2 leaders and 2 points against Art Smith!

Moving on to the Elimination Challenge, it was feeding the friends and family of singer/actress Zooey Deschanel. She is a true Vegan, with no meat, dairy, fish, eggs, glutens or soy allowed. What is left? Vegetables and fruits plus some gluten-free products apparently make up the majority of vegan ingredients. Zooey wants to enjoy something tasty without violating her dietary restrictions. That removes most potential ingredients these master chefs may have wanted to use and means that the dishes will be heavily constrained. Michael states "think of all the things you love to cook... and just say no...It's all about Nos. It's off-putting to say the least." Let's see how they do in this extremely difficult environment.

Here are the dishes the master chefs chose to make. Each one had to select one course of a 5 course meal finishing with desserts. Art volunteered for dessert although he has little expertise in that area. The other chefs were in the order of most refined (Hubert) to boldest (Rick) based on the strength of the resulting flavors. The dishes were:
Hubert Keller - White Gazpacho with Grapes and Vanilla Oil, Timbale of Avocado and Asparagus, Roasted Beet Salad
Anita Lo - Spicy Grilled Eggplant with Lentil Salad and Cashew Sauce
Michael Chairello - Quinoa Pasta with Salsa Verde and Gremolata, Tomatoes, Crispy Basil Leaf
Rick Bayless - Corn Tamales with Chile-Braised Beans, Braised Greens, and Glazed Mushrooms
Art Smith - Strawberry Champagne Soup, Strawberry Rice Ice Cream and Almond Brittle

Art elected to buy rice milk rice cream  to make a strawberry variant of it. This drew strong criticism from the permanent judges, particularly James Oseland. He was praised for making almond brittle with no butter, which is very difficult. Anita's use of heavy oil for marinating the eggplant backfired on her, as did her heavy use of one color - brown.  She serves the same dish succcessfully in her restaurant Anisa but combined with yoghurt to intensify the flavors. Michael found a gluten-free quinoa to use as the pasta that combined with a heavy tomato presence. Jay tried to nail him for using store-bought pasta, but Michael simply said that it would have been a poor priority for him to make what others make better.  He was right and didn't get dinged for that. Rick and Hubert just seemed to roll on.

The Zooey group submitted their ratings below for the dishes (shown next to Z), James is O, Jay is R, and Gael is G:
Art     Z 3 O 2.5 R 1.5 G 2 Subtotal 9 Total 12.5 these are awful scores, lowest ever given out on Top Chef Masters 
Anita Z 1.5 O 2.5 R 3 G 3.5 Subtotal 11.5 Total 13 she overcame a 2 point Quickfire deficit with dishees rated 2.5 more
Rick   Z 3.5 O 3.5 R 4 G 4 Subtotal 15 Total 19 another solid performance by Rick
Michael Z 4.5 O 4 R 4.5 G 5 Subtotal 17.5 Total 22 the winner
Hubert Z 4 O 4 R 3.5 G 4.5 Subtotal 16 Total 19

Michael wins another $10,000 for tthe Ole Foundation and Art Smith has to pack his knives and go home.

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Re: Top Chef Masters
« Reply #40 on: August 07, 2009, 03:09:05 PM »
I really liked this challenge although I don't know if the right person was sent home. It was a toss up.

They all have such pride in what they make, you can see the disappointment with their food not being up to their own high standards.

Thanks as always apskip for your recaps!  :-*
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Re: Top Chef Masters
« Reply #41 on: August 07, 2009, 03:51:07 PM »
I observed that these master chefs were not having a good time with this elimination challenge, unlike the prior ones. The onerous dietary restrictions imposed by Zooey Deschanel really crimped their style. Although it was a good test of creating quality food under adverse conditions, they might have been better off feeding Zooey the raw carrots which are the staple item of her normal food intake.

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Re: Top Chef Masters
« Reply #42 on: August 13, 2009, 01:39:10 PM »
Welcome back, culinary fans (I am one too). This episode will make the final elimination before the Final 3 compete next week to deteremine the winner. I continue to be impressed by the demeanor of these master chefs, but some fraying at the edges was evident last night. The challenges were particuarly difficult, even for some of the very best chefs in the world. Kelly introduces the chefs as:
Anita - Asian fusion expert
Hubert - classic French and helathy cooking expert
Michael - Czar of italian cuisine
Rick - the Mexican food expert

The Blindfold Taste Test is used on both Top Chef and on Hell's Kitchen with great success. To highlight the tasting kills of these chefs, what could be more appropriate? That's what the producers thought and they were right. The chefs tasted 20 ingredients. Only a selected group were shown, with each chef having 2 correct choices not shown.

Michael correctly identifies peanut butter, corn, oregano, coconut water and hummus (5 total) and has a score of 7.
Hubert correctly identifies peanut butter, ketchup and maple syrup (that's 3 total) and has a score of 5.
Rick correctly gets chervil, pappadom, chervil and smoked paprika (that's a total of 4) and has a score of 6.
Anita correctly gets pappdom, ketchup, almond and dashi (that's a total of 4) and has a score of 6.
Ingredients that apparently were not identified correct by any of these chefs were hoisin sauce, mascarpone, maple syrup, shiso and mango(which means I wrote down 17 of the ingredients and the other 3 never made an appearance). Michael wins 5 points, Rick and Anita 4 each and Hubert 3.5. They also will pick for the upcoming Challenge in the order of points, meaning Michael goes first.

Kelly introduces this Challenge but conveniently does not mention a few things critical to it (like the unexpected twists which will happen in the middle of it to test these chefs' resourcefulness, adaptability and ability to react to sudden change). It will be a buffet for 200 Hollywood insiders inside the SLS Hotel. The first step is to "hire help" as they do not expect (unlike last week) the master chef to do all this themselves. The available help is introduced as 12 of the former cheftestants from the first 5 seasons of Top Chef. The group includes one winner (Ilan), one second place finisher (Richard Blaise), one charmer (Fabio Viviani) plus other above-average chefs. The master chefs were given 2 mintues to interview each chef. They took drastically different approaches. Michael elected to test agility and speed by actually testing them. He also asks each chef to pronounce his name; this is actually a good test as those more famliar with Italian cuisine would know how to do so properly). As Betty said a little later, "nobody wants to work for Michael." However, everybody wanted to work for Hubert. Rick formed a bond with Richard Blaise and his molecular gastronomy. What surprised me most of the picks was that Ilan Hall did not get picked until the third round; his new restaurant The Gorbals in L.A.  deliberately does not fit any genre, but Ilan was a Spanish chef before winning TC2. The final two picks are Spike (no surprise as he is hard to work with and Michael says "there's no way in a million years that Spike could ever work in one of my kitchens") and Betty because she may not have fared well against all the other Top Chef competitors. The actual picks go:
Michael - Fabio Viviani(a fine Italian chef who can pronounce Michael's name correctly)
Rick - Richard Blaise (because Richard in addition to being a fine chef and molecular grastonomist is a wiz at the use of Liquid Nitrogen)
Anita - Jaime Lauren (because Jaime had worked for Anita early in the annals of Annisa)
Hubert - Antonia Lofaso (4th place in Top Chef 4 and a fine all-around chef)
Michael - Brian Malarkey (seafood chef)
Anita - Dale Talde
Rick - Alex Eusebio (he wanted a chef familiar with Mexican cuisine and Alex was the closest to that available)
Hubert - Elia Aboumrad (pastry chef)
Michael - CJ Jacobsen
Anita - Ilan Hall (Top Chef 2 winner)
Rick - Betty Fraser
Hubert - Spike Mendelssohn

So food purchase at both Whole Foods and Restaurant Warehouse begins simultaneously. Half of each team is sent to each place. As Anita says, "there was no time to put together a grocery list." CJ had Michael go straight to the fresh fish counter at Whole Foods to get the choice of the best before any other team thought about it carefullly. There is $2000 to spend and 45 monutes to do so. Then cooking takes place over 3.5 hours. The next day everything will go to the hotel kitchen and another 2.5 hours final prep time will be available. There is insufficient capacity in the refrigerators for eveyrone's food. Micahel believes that Anita's sous chefs have monopolized some of what should be his. He and Dale get into the beginning of an altercation. Dale challenges Michael, who "eats 3 Dales for breakfast every day" but is smart enough to realize that the only no-loss strategy is silence in response.

That evening in the middle of cooking, Kelly arrives with the first twist, supposed to be so outlandish that chefs have to really scramble. They have 30 minutes to pack up and have all cooking finished for the move to the SLS Hotel. Many items in the  middle of cooking have to be terminated prematurely. Also, Kelly says that the buffet site has been moved to the patio, which puts the food in the sun. That puts Anita's raw bar into serious jeopardy and Michael talks about the impact on mayonnaise-based items.

The next morning at the SLS the next twist happens. Master chefs have to cut one chef from their teams. Anita is actually happy to have the opportunity to get rid of Jaime. She remembered too late that Jaime has a reputation of being methodical (read slow) in opening oysters for the raw bar. Rick releases Betty, who he had planned ot oversee the table decorations (not an important task and one that can easily be jetiisoned). Michael says that Brian's work was already completed so it is not too hard to release him. Hubert does not have to think long about letting Spike go and keeping Antonia and Elia. The cooking and prep continues and the guests arrive.

One thing that I thought was a bit ridiculous was having Kelly "introduce" the judges to the master chefs at their stations. This was the 5th round that each master chef had seen these judges, so I believe they knew who they were. The actual dishes presented (many were there but not talked about) were:

Michael's Rustic Italian buffet -  3 different antipasto (including I think olive oil cake), prime rib of swordfish, risotto 3 ways including w/ shrimp, braised leg of lamb, 2 desserts

Hubert's 18 item buffet - fondant  of carrot, gazpacho, lamb, red beets with Conte(with an accent aigu) cheese, oysters, asparagus, I am not sure of this but thought I saw a grilled onion half with caviar and creme fraiche on top, 6 glaces(light ice creams served in a glass)

Anita's buffet with Asian sauces and condiments  - noodle salad, braised pork rib with pork stuffing, Diversey(as best I can tell a parkway in Chicago noted for its seafood restaurants) scallops, raw bar of oysters, clams, etc.

Rick's Mexian buffet - guacamole bar, tortilla soup, saute of shrimp, avocado ice cream made with liquid nitrogen by Richard Blaise (Rick says he is going to order his tank of liquid nitrogen when he gets home)

The judges proceeded to ask the master chefs lots of questions. Anita got the toughest, whether she had considered turning the seafood bar into something else (not stated but seafood soup would be the obvious choice). She said there was no time for such a decision, so she just forged ahead. James stated but not to her that the total range of food prepared by her was disappointing alhtough what she served was very good.Rick got air time to describe what Richard Blaise had taught him about the liquid nitrogen used to make the avocado ice cream. The weird texture of Michael's swordfish was questioned. He explained that a sous chef probably did not remember to cut it off the end as requested(aha - preferential food for the judges; I hate that). Hubert was not questioned much as the judges were rightly heaping accolades on his food.

The final verdict is the result of the usual process. Here are the ratings of the diners, O (James), R (Jay), G (Gael), subtotal and total:

Rick D 4.5 O 4.5 R 4.5 G 4 Subtotal 17.5 Total 21.5
Hubert D 3.5 O 5 R 5 G 5 Subtotal  18.5 Total 22
Michael D 3.5 O 3 R 4 G 4 Subtotal 14.5 Total 19.5
Anita D 3 O 3 R 3.5 G 3.5 Subtotal 13     Total 17

So Hubert overcame the disadvantage of starting 1.5 points behind Michael and 0.5 behind the other 2 master chefs and wins the $10,000 check for the Make a Wish Foundation and Anita goes home. That seems quite fair to me. I expect the main battle in the Final 3 next week to be Hubert vs. Rick, with Michael a distant third. However, anything can happen. The previews of next week were brief, but the facecs clearly evident were those of past Top Chef winners. Are they the panel of judges and will they replace the judges who have been at the core of Top Chef masters? Tune in next week for the Top chef Masters finale following the premiere of top Chef 6 (Las Vegas)

Offline apskip

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Re: Top Chef Masters
« Reply #43 on: August 16, 2009, 12:39:51 PM »
With Top CHef 6 preceding it with a 75 minute opening show, the Top Chef Masters finale will be on Wednesday night from 1015pm to 1115pm EDT.
« Last Edit: August 16, 2009, 06:18:17 PM by apskip »

Offline TexasLady

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Re: Top Chef Masters
« Reply #44 on: August 16, 2009, 06:15:39 PM »
I have to agree, Michael a distant third with Hubert and Rick top two, Hubert the winner but we'll see. BTW, yes, the diners will be the past Top Chef winners.  :tup:
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Offline apskip

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Re: Top Chef Masters
« Reply #45 on: August 19, 2009, 10:36:31 PM »
It's now official. And the winner is Rick Bayless with what thought was a well-earned menu and dish execution. Michael Chiarello was a close second, barely ahead of Hubert Keller in third. Rick wins status for Mexican cuisine and $100,000 for the Frontera Farmers Foundation.

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Re: Top Chef Masters
« Reply #46 on: August 20, 2009, 02:48:27 PM »
The 3 master chefs arrive at the Getty Villa in the Pacific Palisades section of the City of Los Angeles. If it looked famliar, it is also the site for the famous J.Paul Getty Museum. There is no Quickfire Challenge. Their assignment is to cook the best 4 course meal ever using the following guidelines:
1. course 1 will be inspired by their first food memory
2. course 2 will be inspired by when you first wanted to become a chef
3. course 3 will be inspired by the opening of your first restaurant
4. course 4 will be inspired by where they want to go in the future
It is the story of their culinary life in 4 acts or the meal of their culinary career. Rick terms is "the story of our life on a plate". They agree that any of the three of them is capable of winning it. Michael predicts that the judging results for this episode will be the closest of any episode. I agree with him; logic says that 3 chefs this good will be very close in culinary talent and performance.

They are told that the guest judges will be Padma Lakshmi, Tom Colicchio and Gail Simmons (all smart enough to get themselves dealt into this very special meal) plus the winners from top Chef 1 (Harold Dieterle), 2 (Ilan Hall), 3 (Hung Huynh), 4 Stephanie Izard  and 5 Hosea Rosenberg. Their 8 votes will be averaged and count as one score along with the regular Top Chef Masters votes.

The chefs go shopping at Whole Foods(I bet they went to the one they have become used to rather than whichever Whole Foods is closest to the Getty Villa). They have to shop for ingredients in 60 minutes with $1300 (I calculate that to be over $100 a head for ingredients), then get 5 hours to cook that evening and 2.5 hours the next day. In between, the producers have a surprise for the chefs that thye hope will be appreciated. A diskette or tape plays to display sous chefs from the flagship restaurant of each chef. Laurent Pillard wishes Hubert well. Nick Ritchie does the same for Michael.  Brian Enyart does the same for Rick. The surprise is that each of them is there at Getty Villa to help their chef win. Now this is really appreciated because having good sous chef help can be critical and who could be more helpful than their usual sous chefs. A special ingredient arrives for Hubert(this is allowed for Top Chef so why not for Top Chef Masters), two large black truffles. Rick claims that use of truffles is just expensive and does not per se add anything special to a dish.

So, away we go with the thinking behind each course and the actual menu for that course:

1. the Alsatian pastry oven and its use to make Baeckeoffe, a traditional dish,is from Hubert's youth. Rick was inspired by his parents' barbecue restaurant. Michael was inspired by his Calabrese-born mother making gnocchi with a paddle out of dough.

Hubert - Alsatian lamb, beef, pork and potato stew
Rick - barbeued hickory smoked quail, "sour slaw"  w/ watermelon salad
Michael - duo of gnocchi, crispy potato gnoochi with fonduta and riccotta gnocchi with tomato sauce

2. Rick was inspired by a trip to Mexico where he was first exposed to Oaxacan black mole with cooking techniques that are unique to it. Michael talks about being from an immigrant family and wanting to give black to the Latino community. Hubert apprenticed at l'Auberge de Ville restaruant in eastern France and learned to make the dish below.

Hubert - salmon souffle, royal osetra caviar and riesling sauce,  choucroute flan
Rick - ahi tuna with Oaxacan black mole, plaintain tamale, grilled nopales
Michael - polenta w/ rabbit, asparagus, wild mushrooms, duck and rabbit liver spedini

3. Michael opened a new American cuisine restaurant in Miami. Rick and his wife opened Frontera Grill in 1987. Hubert wants to duplicate the key dish from his first restaurant.

Hubert - Colorado lamb chop wrapped in vegetable mousseline, vanilla-Merlot sauce inside bottom 2/3 of a potato and whole blanched garlic
Rick - achiote marinated cochinta pibil (suckling pig) cut into squares seared and served with pan juices, sunchoke puree, crispy pigs' feet, pickled red onion
Michael - whole fried (in peanut oil) ginger marinated rouget, mango salad, fresh wasabi, bottarga with arborial rice flower

4. Michael is inspired by the Napa Valley and is using cuttings from Napa Cabernet vineyards to accompany his dish. Rick wants to go toward rustic dishes, particularly those requiring precise temperature control. Hubert somehow is not asked about his inspiration.

Hubert - pan-seared sweetbreads w/ Perigord truffles on scrambled eggs and spinach, braised Wagyu beef cheeks w/ celery puree, pinot noir, lemongrass  and ginger sauce
Rick - arroz a la tumbaua w/ lobster, crab,squid, mussels, shrimp w tomato/jalapeno broth; chorizo "air" sauce, pickled jalapenos
Michael - brined short ribs, 5 onion cavalonero with a Savuer doily under his plate for James Oseland and essence of smoldering Napa Valley Cabernet vines

Comments by the guest judges primarily occur as each course is being consumed. Harold says that the Hubert's  sweetbreads are super overcooked, but James disagrees with him. Padma says vanilla overwhelming on Hubert's dish. Hubert's garlic edated by the guest judges; some like it and some don't. Padma says Rick's Mexican food needs to be credited for its complexity. Tom explains to criticism of Rick's seafood as overcooked that the length of time to serve each course may have thrown off Rick's timing and allowed the mussels to dry out. Padma is crazy about Michael's short ribs. Jay says that Michael is the master story teller (presumably meaning in person, not necessarily with his food). Tom metnios that Michael's Calabrese heritage is shared by him having a Calabrese mother too. The vote by the guest judges occurs with the judges convening elsewhere.

At Critics Table (to differentiate it from the guest judges), the permanent judges agree they have just eaten a very special meal, but know it is their job to grade the master chefs. They comment/question the food of each of those master chefs:

Hubert - "dense, rich, luscious"stew; James found the garlic raw, was surprised it was blanched 3 times; Gael says drunken with vanilla
Rick - reveals that his Oaxacan black mole has 27 ingredients and critics love it and tamales, Gael explains her prejudice against foam/"air" and criticizes anyone (including Rick) trying it
Michael - has a complicated creation presented for spare ribs, on rouget dish Jay mentioned olive oil not going with mango salad

The final scoring is:
Hubert - TC 4    O 4.5 R 4    G 4 total 16.5
Rick      - TC 4.5 O 4.5 R 4.5 G 4.5 total 18                   
Michael - TC 4,5 O4.5 R 3.5 G 4.5 total 17

So Rick wins Top Chef Masters. He claims special new status for Mexican cuisine in the U.S. He wins $100,000 for Frontera Farm Foundation. Hubert's efforts to influence the judges with black truffles fell short.

I found Top Chef Masters delightful. I know some viewers did not like the absence of chef commentary designed to bring down their opponent that is typical of Hell's Kitchen but seen often enough in regular Top Chef. I don't like that commentary and would like Magic Elves production company to show us more of the food prep and less of the personality B.S. I found top Chef Masters to be above all that, although Michael Chiarello did try hard but unsuccessfully to inject some.

Offline TexasLady

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Re: Top Chef Masters
« Reply #47 on: August 20, 2009, 05:40:01 PM »
I loved the show, I liked the ending, but most of all I enjoyed watching professionals who are secure in their own knowledge and willing to lend a hand to their fellow chefs.

Good job all around, they are all winners.

Thank you as always apskip for another excellent recap!
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Offline shadia

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Re: Top Chef Masters
« Reply #48 on: August 21, 2009, 11:06:01 AM »
Good show. I was glad that Rick won. I hope there will be a season 2.


 

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