Thursday, June 2, 2011

Reactions to Top Chef Masters 3 Episode 8

This week was full of gadgets and science. First, the five remaining Top Chef Masters cheftestants had to create a breakfast dish in 10 minutes using only a microwave oven. The contest was judged by two comedians who go by the collective name of "Frangela." They weren't so crazy about Traci's oeufs en cocotte or Mary Sue's avocado sandwich, but they loved Floyd's omelette and especially Hugh's "baked" egg, giving him his third Quickfire win in this competition.

Science comes into the Elimination Challenge, where the chefs are paired with scientists and must demonstrate a scientific property using food, for an "edible science fair." As the winner of the QF, Hugh gets first choice and picks emulsion. Traci then takes acidity, Mary Sue viscosity, Floyd Maillard reaction, and Naomi gets elasticity.

The real task here is not so much working with scientific principles, but working with scientific instruments. The chefs had to cook only with lab supplies - beakers, petri dishes, bunsen burners, and induction burners. After 30 minutes of planning and $300 of shopping, the chefs get 4 hours to prep.

Mary Sue sticks to what she knows and makes churros to serve with sauces that each possess a different thickness or viscosity. Floyd makes beef two ways, one seared to demonstrate the Maillard reaction, and one cooked shabu-shabu style in broth to demonstrate the lack of browning. Traci cooks ahi tuna with lemon juice to make a ceviche. Hugh makes a mayonnaise. And Naomi plays with pizza dough using different types of flour, plus mozzarella cheese.

Along with a gaggle of kids, the Critics attend the "science fair." This week we finally get to see Ruth Reichl again, along with Padma Lakshmi. After watching the chefs' demos and tasting the food, they decide that Mary Sue and Floyd both had the strongest dishes. The two of them have been on the top in this competition several times, and Mary Sue always wins. And guess what? Mary Sue wins this time, too.

Naomi gets complaints from Padma for the gelee she put in her calzones. Rather than melting and making a sauce, it only served to make the calzone soggy. And James said that the gelee "spurted in his mouth in a most unpleasant way."


James also had issues with Hugh's mayonnaise, which he considered to be "broken." Hugh disagreed. And Traci's dish was just too obvious a choice to demonstrate acid. Padma said she would have liked to see a different acid employed, like tamarind. [insert eyeroll here] Um, Pads, they only had 30 minutes to plan.

Anyhoo...Hugh's mayo was apparently the most egregious error du jour, and he was asked to pack his knives.

What did you think about this episode? Please tell us in the comments.

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sundevilpeg said...

This series needs to be 86'd ASAP - permanently. The original purpose has been lost, and the disrespect shown to these chefs is mind-boggling. James Oseland in particular is nothing short of offensive. D-minus!

Beth said...

MarySue said it...this is ludicrous...

TC was my favorite show but now, sadly, even I have to admit that it's jumped the shark...