Thursday, April 22, 2010

Reactions for Top Chef Masters 2 Episode 3

This week on Top Chef Masters we saw six competitors from last season go head-to-head (to-head-to-head-etc) for another chance at the big 100K prize. The chefs and their charities:

Graham Elliot Bowles playing for the American Heart Association,
Rick Moonen playing for Three Square,
Wylie Dufresne playing for Autism Speaks,
Jonathan Waxman playing for Citymeals on Wheels,
Ludo Lefevbre playing for Chase for Life,
and Mark Peel playing for Doctors Without Borders.

The Quickfire Challenge was based on a favorite challenge from season 3 of Top Chef in which the cheftestants created dishes to pair with a cocktail. In this version of the challenge, the Masters' drinks are made with Stolichnaya vodka by mixologist Charlotte Voise.

After sampling each of them (at 8:00 AM - hey, it's 5 o'clock somewhere, right? Probably in Budapest.) the chefs make their choices. Graham goes for the "Coriander Mule," Rick takes the "Forest Fruit," Jonathan goes for the "Lemongrass Mojito," Ludo takes the "Nutmeg Apple Mojito," Wylie the "Russian Tearoom," and Mark gets the "Ginger Figgle." The chefs then get 45 minutes to cook.

Meanwhile, Ludo bitches and moans the whole time.

Judging them will be Gael Greene and three of the Whorsewives of Orange County - two of the interchangeably bimbonic bottle blondes and the brunette with the chin implant. What odd bedfellows - although they've probably all seen their share of strange sheets, Gael Greene's hat knows more about food than the three from OC put together. And when the judging starts, we see exactly that as the bimbos waffle between liking and not liking a dish and complain about having to eat pork. Despite that, they award five of the six chefs 4 stars, and 5 stars to Jonathan Waxman - who made a pork dish.

With a Quickfire win under his belt, Jonathan gets first choice in the Elimination Challenge, which is to take a traditional pub dish and make it upscale. He goes for the Shepherd's Pie. Immediately "fish guy" Rick shouts that he wants to do fish and chips, but Ludo, ever the pain, decides he needs to do that dish as well. Mostly because he didn't want Rick to have an advantage. But Ludo loses that battle and gets Irish Stew. Mark Peel takes toad in the hole, Graham gets steak and kidney pie, and Wylie takes bangers and mash.

After a trip to Whole Foods, the chefs get two hours to prep, which for Graham involves getting the pee stink out of a bunch of kidneys.

Meanwhile, Ludo bitches and moans the whole time.

The next day, the chefs congregate at Tom Bergin's Tavern to finish cooking their dishes. Mark has issues with the oven being cold, so we know right away unless there's a miracle or, better yet, Carmen Gonzalez' guardian angel intercedes for him, there's no chance of him winning this challenge.

Meanwhile, Ludo bitches and moans the whole time AND acts like a royal pain in the arse (well, since we're doing pub food here....)

The judges are served at the bar. Gael changed her hat for the occasion and they are joined by Gail Simmons and Jay Rayner. Ludo's dish comes out first and while it's tasty, it's in no way Irish stew. Jay even thinks that it might cause riots were it to be served as such in a British pub. As predicted, Mark's Yorkshire pudding was a disaster, but everyone else's dishes were well-received.

At Critic's Table we find that Jonathan's Shepherd's pie was the favorite of all involved and he gets a whopping 18.5 stars and a chance at the Championship Round. Mark comes in dead last, followed by Ludo, who bitches and moans and says the English are jealous of the French. Whatever. After all of the other chefs' stars are tallied, Rick Moonen comes out in second place and will be competing against the other champs in a few weeks.

Meanwhile...yes, you got it....bitching and moaning ensues.

What did you think of the challenges this week? Were you pleased to see the return of Wylie, Graham, et. al.? Please tell us in the comments.


JordanBaker said...

I'm beginning to feel bad for Wylie, who I think is the only Master to have judged multiple Top Chefs and not made it to the Champions' round. Twice.

Kleo said...

Same here. He seems like such a great guy, too.

Waxman was an arse the last season (remember?), this time he seems more relaxed, let's see what happens. Moonen, on the other hand, whom I was rooting for so hard, disappointed. He was mocking Ludo the entire time, even before they actually got to cook anything (and he used his nationality to mock him - which isn't classy in my book). So, yeah, Ludo is a pain, but he reminds me of an overeager puppy, whereas Moonen was deadset on making it this time around. The sense of fun, that the first season had, wasn't visible in this episode.

And poor Mark Peel. I wanted to hug him, when he only got one point. :/

Cliff O'Neill said...

I ADORE Ludo! Mostly because he's such a royal pain in the ass. Normally, I'd hate someone like that on a show, but there's something about his TOTAL lunacy that I find entertaining.

I don't know if he means everything he says or not, but it's fun to watch.

I really don't understand why I feel this way.