Thursday, May 19, 2011

Reactions to Top Chef Masters 3 Episode 7

Ok, soon enough the producers are going to have to run of out clever challenges, don't you think? This week's Quickfire seemed particularly clever - the first chef to identify five foods using only one of his/her senses while the others are blocked by nose plugs, ear muffs, blindfolds, and the like, would be the winner.

Taste was first, and the chefs had to identify water chestnuts, papaya, mustard greens, Worcestershire sauce, and cashews. Being claustrophobic and having a balance issue freaked Floyd out a bit; he guessed none correctly and was eliminated from the round. The second round involved the smells of Epoisses cheese, root beer, mayonnaise, hot sauce, and rice vinegar. Traci was the one who had trouble with this round and was out. In the touch round, the chefs had to identify okra, arborio rice, chayote, blackberries, and gummy bears. While all seemed pretty easy, Celina and Naomi didn't identify as many as Mary Sue and Hugh, so were out. And in the final round, Hugh wins cash for his charity - but not immunity -  by identifying more food sounds than Mary Sue.

For the Elimination Challenge, the chefs had to examine the relationship between food and love in a Date Night challenge. Curtis introduces a munchkin-voiced guy named Chris who tells the chefs that he plans on proposing to his girlfriend of four years and needs their help. Each chef must prepare a dish based on a momentous occasion in Chris and Victoria's courtship, creating a 6-course meal for 21 couples. After he tells them about soft pretzels at sporting events and other occasions that are really only special to them and leave Hugh heaving, the chefs leave to shop.

The party is held at the studio, so the chefs have the luxury of cooking in the Top Chef Masters' kitchen rather than RVs and fast food joints. While prepping, Mary Sue cuts off the top of her thumb, calmly tosses it in the trash can and continues working. Did she go to the Emergency room for stitches, Jamie Lauren? No.

Eventually the happy couples file in, including Curtis with Gail Simmons, and James Oseland with Gael Greene, whom he tackily asks about banging Elvis. And she tackily tells him the story. Ick. Without the shadow of a large hat over her face, the contrast between her wrinkles and her unnaturally-white teeth was a bit...unnatural.

Floyd serves his "kama sutra" shrimp and watermelon first. It's spicy but good. Celina offers a soft pretzel and a salad, both of which are good but leave the critics scratching their heads. Mary Sue's dish involves mussels and clams and is well-received. Next up is Naomi's dish of chicken thighs and sweet potatoes, and I can't tell if Gail's comment about the large portion size is a bad thing or if she just didn't have anything else to say. Hugh made steak with broccoli and large onion rings to represent a gold bracelet that Chris once gave Victoria. And finally Traci's somewhat dry-crusted apple galette is served.

And then is the moment everyone has been waiting for - Chris gets down on one knee and proposes to a rather shocked Victoria. Hey - it's been four years of getting the milk for free; why should she expect a proposal? She thoughtfully doesn't embarrass the munchkin while they're on national television and says yes. And then their moms, who have been waiting back in the "wine room" pop out for tears and hugs.

The Critics ask to see Naomi, Floyd, and Mary Sue first. These chefs have prepared the favorite dishes of the evening, with Naomi's chicken coming out on top. Floyd seems a bit miffed at that. Then Hugh, Celina, and Traci face the firing squad. At this point in the competition, complaints are really minor quibbles. Hugh's dish was boring and it seemed that he cooked down to his audience because they weren't foodies. Traci's pastry was dry and could have used some more sauce of some sort. But Celina's odd combo of salad and pretzel, though tasty, got her eliminated this week.

So what did you think of the episode? Please leave a comment!

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Beth said...

This was the cheesiest Top chef episode I can remember & also one of the worst elimination challenges ever...I agree with Hugh

If the producers can't come up with anything better than this for a TC Masters challenge they need to hire some new creative folks

sloopie72 said...

The blind taste taste is my favorite QF - but this was designed to have them spill papaya chunks on their noses and worcestershire sauce down their fronts!

And the elim, it could've been terrific - if we'd seen the food instead of that dopey random couple - Mary Sue's romance story about Susan's ex-husband was WAY better than "we saw a marquee..." I wish I'd seen what Naomi did with the chicken skin to crisp it after braising - sure, we'll see the recipe, but recipes are usually modified for home cooks, I want to see what she actually did.

I'm ok with Celina being out, though. she had sufficient money, time, and equipment, and she made a dish I could've made. As tacky as Gael's bragging about doing Elvis was, her idea of lobster pie with pretzel nuggets was really good (I'm assuming she's had that somewhere else and it wasn't her invention).

I'm so disappointed, they finally give chefs the chance to do something, then they don't show it - they show mothers tearing up in the W(h)ine room! Why? Where has the magic gone, Top Chef Masters?

Sean said...

I agree with Hugh - Celina had a dish to recreate but the bride loved it and said, "Salad and a pretzel, I'm in heaven."

I felt these judges tend to be very snobbish.

I was very happy to have Gail and Gael. Did Gael look like she lost a lot of weight? She looked good but always worry when older persons loose weight.