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Top Chef: Masters Ep. 7 Commentary – Elimination is a Dish Served Cold


On the season finale of Masters…(SCREECH!) What? Surprise everyone! This is not the season finale as I thought it would be. It seems the Final Six Masters are not in fact facing off for the championship in this episode. Rather they have merged together into a somewhat traditional Top Chef Final Six…Quickfire for advantage, single Elimination challenge.

If I followed NotPadma correctly, we get another single elimination next week, leading into a Final Four matchup for the title. Great. Lovely. Bravo is getting their bridge to the new Top Chef: Vegas premiere and I get no break between shows. What did I ever do to you, Bravo?

Seriously though, this switch to the regular formula is a welcome change. The star system is still stupid, but with only one star separating all six this week after the Quickfire, and three of them tied for first, led to some sorely-lacking suspense. The masters still have no sense of urgency, but these six do show a little added force behind their efforts this time, indicating some latent competitiveness lacking in the first six episodes. Sadly, it doesn’t come with the same stench of desperation found with the regular Top Chef. But as Steven Wright so aptly put it, “you can’t have everything, where would you put it.”

So, to refresh your memory, our Final Six are – Anita, Art, Michael, Rick, Hubert (Théoden, from my Ep 1 Lord of the Rings joke), and Suzanne (Nikki, from my Ep 3 Lost jokes). In fact, I am thinking about having some more nickname fun, this week. Please indulge …

1) Théoden. It’s just too perfect. He is a dead friggin ringer for the King of Rohan. For Wrath! For Ruin! And the worlds ending!

2) Suzanne. Nikki was a bad one, bad character, and bad nickname. I banish her to being buried alive on the beach. A better name for her, Data. Because like the Star Trek android, Suzanne is devoid of all humor, emotion and inflection. Seems like a nice lady, but boy, snore!

3) Michael. He has classic excess of personality, so often found in game show hosts. So in honor of Wink Martindale of Tic Tac Dough fame … he is Winky.

4) Art. He reminds me of the late Dom Deluise’s long lost younger brother. So, for those who saw The Cannonball Run…Art is Captain Chaos.

5) Anita. I have nothing. Except I love her last name. She is The Lo.

6) Rick. His comes from the awesome, awesome 70s era photo of Rick shown in this episode where he looks like Kenny Loggins. Or a Sweathog. Or one of the boyfriends on One Day at a Time. Oh! A Doobie Brother! Welcome to the party, Doobie!

Quickfire. It’s the Mise en Place Relay Race, made famous both by Casey’s onion chopping issues and by Steph’s incredible mayo creating skills. Even better, Tom is here to act as referee. Everything is better with more Tom. Root canal? Better. Working until 11:30 pm on a Friday? Better. (That’s my excuse for being late with this folks, weep for me). As Chaos said, “Big daddy himself” was in the house.

So this challenge is essentially the Top Chef Skills Competition. The teams are Chaos, Data and Winky against Theoden, Doobie and The Lo. (See, nicknames are fun!) They must open fifteen oysters, dice five onions, butcher four chickens and separate five eggs, beating the whites until you can hold it upside down for five seconds. One member of each team will take two legs – Theoden and Chaos take those jobs.

1) Theoden vs. Data on the oysters. Data surprisingly takes the early lead.

2) – Theoden vs. Chaos on the onions. Cool comment by Doobie about how Theoden is using this cool French technique, which takes little to no room on the table, while Chaos’ style is, well, chaotic.

3) The Lo vs. Winky on the chickens. She makes up the time lost by Theoden on the oysters and makes it a tie.

4) Doobie vs. Chaos on the eggs. Doobie schools him. Chaos’ somewhat inexperienced kitchen skills hurt him here, makes you wonder why they chose him to take two legs.

Team Theoden – five stars. Team Chaos – four stars.


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