Thursday, April 29, 2010

Reactions to Top Chef Masters 2 Episode 4

This week's episode was relatively drama-free and on the boring side. It was the final preliminary round and featured five new chefs:

Susur Lee playing for Andre Agassi Foundation,
Jody Adams playing for Partners in Health,
Debbie Gold playing for Children's TLC,
Maria Hines playing for PCC Farmland Trust,
and Rick Tramonto playing for Feed the Children.

The Quickfire Challenge was based on one from the first season of Top Chef which required cheftestants to create a perfectly styled fruit plate. The Top Chef Masters were probably happy to see that reality show "stars" with little or no palate were not judging this phase of the competition; instead, we got the lovely and boobaceous Gail Simmons and food photographer Steven Hamilton.

But wait, there's more - this is a "High Stakes" Quickfire, despite the show not being in Las Vegas! The prize this time is not casino chips, but an automatic placement in the Championship Round! High stakes indeed.

After 45 minutes of slicing pineapple and bruléeing figs, the chefs' plates are presented and judged. Jody Adams comes out the winner with her fig and walnut tart with zabaglione (which she pronounces with too many syllables) and is off to the next round.

Next up, the Elimination Challenge. This involves "modernizing" the family dinner. Considering that today's family dinner usually involves packing the kids in the minivan and heading to Chipotle, I wondered where this was all going. And it all went to hell in a handbasket Hollywood, as the Masters are serving their dishes to 125 ravenous cast- and crew-members of the ABC sitcom, Modern Family.

After a 45-minute, $350 trip to Whole Foods, the Masters set to 90-minutes worth of prep and preliminary cookery. The next day, the chefs finish their dishes and rush to a sound stage to set up their stations. In come the hoards of hungry actors and electricians who get to sample everything. How they can work after eating the equivalent of five lunches? And how can Kelly Choi tell Debbie Gold, "we're hungry" after she's eaten 4 other meals? And where does she put the food on her bony frame? (Obviously Gail stores it in her chest, Gael under her hat, and Jay in his crazy hair.)

Nothing seems like a real disaster, but we find out whose dishes weren't appreciated at Judges' Table. But first - the Fakeout Scene: Susur runs around in stockinged feet leading the other chefs to wonder if he's nutty. He confirms their opinion by telling the camera that being a chef is like being a Ninja.

AND THEN - we find out who wins before we get to hear the star count. There's a commercial for next week's episode in which we see snippets of some chefs we already know are in the finals and then the camera lingers on...Susur Lee...

...who ends up with a record 19.5 stars for his chicken curry dish, beating out Maria's score of 13.5 stars by a mile.

And that's the end of the Preliminary Rounds. What did you think about this episode? Please tell us in the comments!


Kristine said...

That commercial ticked me off. I really like Rick Tramonto, but he came off a bit pompous. Did you see Debbie Gold roll her eyes at him when he went off on her about the comment she made on the contraints? Priceless.

theminx said...

Yes - ha!

I've never been fond of people who wear their religion on their sleeve, so I found Tramonto kinda icky.

Lou said...

Did anyone else think Susur's voice sounded like Mr. Sulu of Star Trek?

Also yay to Jody Adams for supporting Partners in Health, one of the best nonprofits out there.

Cliff O'Neill said...

Minxy, thanks for saying it for me. 'Cause Tramonto's whole overly religious thingy put me off him right quick.

As for the commercial thing, what made it even worse for me was that I sped past it and didn't see it. But a second later, I was curious what they showed and backed it up, only to be spoiled. Boo, Bravo!

Also, Susur brought the crazy drama for me. And backed up with talent, which always helps.