Monday, August 24, 2009

Recap Roundup: Top Chef Masters Finale

Cliffieland boils it down: "Rah. They're all great. The mistakes are so very minor that it shows why this show was just not nearly as interesting as the regular Top Chef."

Jordan Baker with her final haiku: "He’s Rick Bayless, Bitch.
Mole and Chorizo 'Air'
Have made him Master."

Televisionary with Bayless love: "I've grown to love Rick Bayless over the course of these ten episodes; he seems to be the polar opposite of his officious appearance as a guest judge on Top Chef a few seasons back: calm, cool under pressure, a true master in very sense of the word. These last few weeks have won me over into Bayless' camp and his passion for Mexican cuisine is evident in every dish he prepares, demonstrating his belief that the culinary tradition deserves to join that great pantheon of Italian and French cuisine."

Premium Hollywood with TCM love in general: "The one thing that struck me this season on the inaugural “Top Chef Masters” is how truly amazing these chefs are at what they do…and how they can create masterpieces on a plate within minutes, using any ingredients in front of them."

Show Tracker (LA Times) on the details that ended it for Keller and Chiarello: "Unlike past 'Top Chef' finales, the judges here really had to get down to the nitty gritty in distinguishing who put out the best overall meal. Hubert's souffle could have been more 'cloudlike' and 'luscious.' Michael's fried fish, while technically perfect, could have used more 'interpretive flair.'"

Onion AV Club on what TCM is really all about: "With all due respect to those who shrugged off Top Chef Masters as a dull facsimile of the real thing, I think tonight’s hour was a great argument in the show’s favor. It was, simply, a pure example of the sensual wonders of food—the rich and evocative flavors, the feelings and memories a wonderful meal can coax out of those who cook it and those who eat it, and the sheer aesthetic artistry that the best of the best are capable of putting on display."

Top Chef Examiner on the spoiler I thankfully managed to avoid: "All I have to say is I really wish that the spoiler hadn't been spilled so early in the season! Congratulations to Rick and the Frontera Farmer Foundation! Of all of the meals, yours was the one I would have wanted to try the most."

Culture Crumbs on the Chiarello-Oseland drama: "Having been hounded by prissy judge James Oseland since he arrived (a montage showed the chef never earning higher than three stars from the judge), Chiarello decided to cut up pieces of Oseland’s publication, Saveur, and use it as a decoupage that the food sat upon."

Starpulse on the role of the cuisine: "I can't help but think that classical French cooking has trouble holding up against foods that can be considered more "comfortable." There's no doubt French cooking is much more technical than anything else, but it seems as though Mexican and Italian, for example, are much more desirable to diners."

Endless Simmer on the sheer awesomeness of the challenge: "This is the type of event I tune in for every week. No weird restrictions, no dramatic twists; just cook from your soul, tell a story and put out the best meal of your life. I won’t lie. I took a deep breath and held back on tearing up a little when they announced the challenge."

It Happened Last Night on Bayless's mole: "Rick traveled to Mexico when he was 14 and had a Oaxacan black mole. 'It was like every synapse in my head went off -- I couldn't believe this flavor!'" Of course, it's an incredibly complex sauce -- "It took me more than 20 years to get it right" -- but that's what got him started."

Relatively Entertaining on Hubert's stew: "He made the stew, and all I could think of both listening to it, and seeing the diners gush over it, was the scene in Ratatouille where the seemingly heartless critic eats the ratatouille and immediately thinks back to his mother feeding it to him in his childhood."

TV Guide Magazine on Bayless's adorable "dating clothes" story: "Bayless reveals that he grew up in a BBQ restaurant (“I thought barbecue sauce coursed through my veins until I was fifteen”) and that because all his clothes smelled like hickory smoke, 'I would keep all of my dating clothes in a separate closet.' If I was ever unsure I loved Rick Bayless, I am now convinced."

Poptimal on the chefs' childhood looks: "Of note, Rick has always had fun facial hair. We later see that Hubert also had a full, dark beard at one point, and Michael looks the same as he did when he had darker hair. (Michael’s later photo of his “fro” period, though, wasn’t so hot.)"

TV Gasm summarizes the challenge: "Here's how it will break down: Dish One will need to be based on their first food memory. Get ready for a lot of pureéd vegetables. Dish Two has to be based on the experience that made them decide to become a chef (like their first visit to a fine restaurant, such as La Sizzler or Chili's). Dish Three needs to reflect the opening of their first restaurant, and oh, how I wish one of them started out with a Dairy Queen franchise, because I'd kill to see someone make a gourmet Blizzard™ or Dilly Bar™! Dish Four is supposed to illustrate where they are going in the future as chefs (and based on how many teeth they each have left, we may be heading back to the pureéd veggies)."

I Could Just Lick That Up on the guest diners and the Chiarello reaction: "Guest diners will be Colicchio (!), Gail (!), Padma (!) and the previous winners of Top Chef. Keyarello is 'shocked' that the previous winners will be judging the Masters. This guy really has an ego problem, doesn’t he?"

No comments: