Elimination Challenge. They each randomly draw one another’s names. They are instructed to purchase ingredients for the name they drew. Chefs must make a meal using 7 of the 11 ingredients. We see later they had a list of items to choose from (meats, cheeses, etc.). This seems like it would be a great regular Top Chef challenge because it lends to sabotage. I’d love to see what Finn could have done with tongue, swiss cheese, Chips Ahoy, clam juice, and a case of Bud.
The Masters? Not so much. In fact, they all say how much they want to help the others cook properly. The closest bit of gamesmanship comes when Jon denies Michael the opportunity to make fish or shellfish. The cooking produced only a couple of moments of note: Michael peeling his sunchokes rather than using them as is, as Jon tells him, “you fancy chefs peel them.” Also, Michael fails to put sauce on each plate. Roy has different size cuts of mahi mahi and as a result has a hard time cooking them properly.
Art. Fried Chicken Two Ways and Mango Pie. Art and Bert have a bit of a staredown, before Gail says it oozes Art Smith. Ew. The students and judges seem to like his dish.
Roy. Short Rib Kalvi and Mahi Mahi, with Lemongrass and Ginger Crust. Big Bad Touch Gael again tickles rather than stings as she says she hates mahi mahi, but not this one. Yawn. Others seemed overwhelmed by lemograss and underwhelmed by Roy’s lack of creativity.
Michael. Loin of Lamb with Sunchoke Puree, Broccoli Rabe, and Purple Cauliflower. He has an orange sauce on some plates, as he was unable to finish plating. Oops. Gail asks a student to taste his orange sauce. She asks if he minds. Really? A culinary student is going to deny Gail Simmons? Not if he ever wants to work. Plus, who could say no to lovely Gail? Yada yada, they like it, but Bert thinks it was not exceptional.
Jon – Mocks his own 80s style plating techiniques. He makes Pork Sausage and Chops with Cauliflower Celery Root Puree and Black Truffle. He reveals being buddies with Gael. I say, no fair being buddies with the judges! Even though it doesn’t come into play here, there’s just something wrong with that. You don’t see Simon Cowell hanging out with Kris Allen. Right? Anyway, everyone loves it.
The Judges Comments. Again, pretty useless stuff from Bert and Gael. Bert actually tells Michael it didn’t “work as a whole, but a job well done.” What? The only important thing we hear is that Jon’s non-peeling seemed to have been important as Jon gets props for bringing out the flavor naturally. Shockingly, the best comment came from NotPadma who said that Roy seemed conflicted for two hours during cooking and it showed.
Final stars. Roy gets an additional 3 from diners, 3 from Gail, and 2.5 each from Bert and Gael, for a total of 15. Michael gets 3.5 from the diners and Gail, 3 from Gael and 2.5 from Bert, for a total of 17.5. Jon gets 4.5 from the diners and 4 from each judge for a nice comeback to get to 20. This means the Quickfire winner is out, since he only led by .5, it’s not too shocking. Lastly, Art gets 5 stars from the diners and Gael, 4.5 from Gail and 3 from Bert, for 22 and the win. Art cries. No one is surprised.
• Jon can’t see, or so he says. Isn’t that a disturbing trait for a master chef to have? I like my chefs to be able to see what they are putting in my food.
• Commercials for Top Chef: Vegas!!! PADMA!!! Oh, sorry, got carried away. Also, I am stunned that I going to say this, but that Julia Child movie looks, um, good. Sorry guys, but it’s true.
• Roy says he won’t tell his staff to hurry up any more now that he sees how hard it is to cook quickly. I am sure that is pinned on the bulletin board in all 954 Roy’s Restaurants around the country.
• Random woman to Art in Whole Foods: “Are you a Master Chef?” Art: “Some people call me that.” HA! Some people call me the space cowboy. Some call me the gangster of love.
• Is she growing on me, or did NotPadma look really good tonight? I may have to let her have her name soon.
• Art about Michael, “He’s a young chicken; I’m an old rooster and can teach him some things.”
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