Sunday, August 2, 2009

Recap Roundup: Top Chef Masters Episode 7

This week brought us the long-awaited second round of Top Chef Masters, with the winners of the previous six episodes reappearing to compete against one another. The potholders came off this week, too, as the nicey-nice judging of past weeks was thrown by the wayside and the critics came up with some actual criticism. The bloggers, who didn't hold back to begin with, had some thoughts of their own:

Cliffieland on's not over yet?: "There’s a whole other round of one-by-one eliminations? But I wanted to get on with the next regular season! These people may be gifted, but they’re not terribly interesting. And how many different types of hats can there be, anyway?"

Jordan Baker on how much everybody loves Art: "Oh, fake back. It's very Artcentric Art talks about how he's a big lover of fun. Bayless says they all like him. Chiarello loves him like a little brother. Oh, god this is tiresome. Too much goddamn Art! He should be fed to carnivorous shrimps."

My Monkey Could Do That on "fresh innocence": "Rick gets praised for not making Mexican food, and they talk for a while about how good his Italian food is, until James uses the phrase 'fresh innocence' which Rick says hasn’t been used in his presence for a really long time. Hee."

Reality TV Magazine on Bayless' Quickfire dominance: "In the last task, it’s Rick against Art in an egg beating race. Rick, a former pastry chef, beat Art without breaking a sweat. Art is pissed, and rightfully so. How would you like to get the smack laid down just because you can’t beat an egg?"

LA Times on the surprise at the end: "Greene was genuinely appalled. In truth, I've never seen a scotch egg that enormous before. It was, in fact, 'grotesque.' So it was rather shocking to me to see the judges drop the guillotine on Suzanne Tracht for serving cold fish."

It Happened Last Night on a line that makes me like Chiarello: "When Michael discusses his dish with the judges, he talks a lot about Rick's original inspiration. 'SO in this challenge, you cared more about what Rick thought than we did?' Jay asks. Michael thinks for a moment. 'Yes!' he says. All righty then!"

Meal Ticket on Lo on Season Three Casey: "Lo, who did the chicken thing like a champ (lesson: always pick the Asian to do the chicken), kills it when she describes Season 3 race participant Casey as 'some poor woman chopping onions for way too long.' "

Slashfood on ramping up the harshness: "Right from the start, something was off-kilter. Even host Kelly Choi's usual preschool-teacher diction took on a tinge of deviousness as she announced that each chef would be asked to prepare his or her "sig-na-ture dish," making sure to linger on every syllable."

Chicagoist on the Return of the Colicchio: "Tom Colicchio enters the kitchen to judge the competition. Chef Smith refers to him as 'Big Daddy' and bears everywhere nod and whisper, 'I knew it,' to themselves."

Televisionary on the winning dish: "Lo consequently had to recreate Keller's lobster cappuccino with corn madeleine. She radically elevated the French master's dish even more, creating a trio of elements on the plate: a chilled corn chawanmushi, champagne gelee, and a lobster knuckle biscuit sandwich."

Culture Crumbs on the oh-so-naive chefs: "Exactly none of them obviously watch reality television. How do I know that? There’s just the little things, like the fact that quite obviously that nothing happens on the show without a reason. When the toothpicks-and-hairspray host tells you to make your 'signature' dish for each other, there will be a pop quiz later. Duh."

Speakeasy (WSJ) on Tracht's fatal error: "Tracht, in a effort to not run out of time, made the fateful mistake of plating her food several minutes before serving. The fish and the gnocchi were cold, the table complained, an offense they couldn’t overlook. Chef Tracht was sent home."

Time Out Chicago on Art's clumsy kitchen ways: "Art was dropping onions all over the place. This was a theme throughout the show. Art’s kind of a butterfingers. Who knew?"

Top Chef Examiner on the Critic team: "To add to the pressure, the diners included spurned Top Chef Masters contestants from each episode. We sure got to see who played naughty and who played nice. Some were more bitter than others, with Elizabeth Falkner of episode two coming out strong with mostly negative comments for the chefs. On the other hand, Rick's arch nemesis, and my favorite, Ludo had nothing but praise for Rick's dish. No hard feelings bud."

Endless Simmer on what it's really all about: "This week let’s just talk food, because last night TCM put front and center what we all tune in for every week: food porn."

Fans of Reality TV on the crazy onion-chopping: "Hubert is all meticulous and machine-like, and Art is going some willy-nilly kind of way, kind of like I do but with way faster, with less swearing and less pieces shaped like trapezoids."

Procrastiblog on Art's egg issue: "The only chef who seemed to sweat if at all was Art Smith, who for some reason was deathly afraid of having to fry an egg (he seemed to think his failure to separate and whip egg whites in the Quickfire had put him under an hex)."

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