home Archive TopChef:Masters2,Ep.2–PoorMekhiPhifer…


NotPadma liked Carmen’s simplicity, disliked David’s many elements, wanted more taleggio from Thierry, was intrigued by Monica’s and liked how Marcus exemplified world cuisine. She gives Monica the win and $5,000 for her charity – Recipe for Success. Marcus confesses that he couldn’t believe Monica beat him. Grrr.

Elimination Challenge – Cater a birthday party for Dr. Pratt with a soul food theme. Monica’s advantage from her Quickfire win was to choose her protein first, and prevent others from using it. She chose shrimp.

Marcus – BBQ chicken with mac and cheese and collard greens. Being from Sweden, he has little to no soul food experience.

Carmen – Yucca and bacon mash, oyster and hot sausage stew with corn. Minus the yucca mash, and now with cilantro and a thicker stew. She did some serious prep work, which saved her.

David – Sweet potato custard with crab, hush puppies, and pickled watermelon rind. He claims it would have the flavors of the South, but would not look Southern. Thus not making it very soul foody, right?

Monica – Shrimp and grits “mac and cheese” style with okra and tomato jam.

Thierry – Moroccan pork shoulder, farro, roast cauliflower and Brussels sprouts slaw.

My moratorium on the judges continues – I’ll try to find some of the better comments, especially since we subbed out the bad Gael for the good Gail.

David – Gail liked the watermelon.

Monica – Gail thought it was the most soulful. Bert dug the sauce, as it brought the right amount of acidity. Jay liked the flavor, but the shrimp was undercooked.

Marcus – Gail found it delicious. Bert liked the deconstruction of the mac and cheese.

Thierry – Gail was excited by the farro. Bert loved the slaw, but not the raw veggies. Jay wasn’t pleased by the many elements on the plate.

Carmen – Gail lamented the loss of the yucca. Bert thought it improved the stew. Jay was critical of the store-bought sausage. Ah, that old Top Chef argument! Bert thought she didn’t overthink things, and that is good.


Carmen is judged first – Gail says she recovered beautifully from her error. Gail – 4 stars, Bert – 3.5, Jay – 4, Diners – 4. Total – 15.5 stars and amazingly, despite the mistake, Carmen is the top score. She is visibly stunned and cutely asks if she should feint now or later. Go for later. Make sure it’s soft ground.

Next, Thierry is told by Bert that he needed to edit more. Bert – 2 stars. Ouch! I don’t recall anyone getting worse than 2 stars on this show. Gail, Jay and the diners all give three stars for a total of 11.

According to Jay, David’s was playful, but clearly they all hated it. Jay and Gail – 2.5 stars, Bert – 2 stars. Again! Man, someone give Bert back his cardigan, he is cranky without it. Diners – 3 stars. Total of 10 and last place.

Monica’s sauce was bold and beautiful, says Gail, and she gets 3.5 stars from Gail and the Diners, and three stars each from Jay and Bert for 13.

Bert tells Marcus that he made mac and cheese his own. Cranky Bert only gives him 3 stars, Gail and Jay each give 3.5, while the diners loved him with 4.5 stars and a total of 14.5 and second place, and the second berth in the finals.

Quickfire hits

• Carmen – “Ay Dios Mio, why is there so much traffic in this town?” How often have Los Angelinos uttered that sentiment?

• Either he was drunk, or Mekhi laughs a lot. Of course, judging by this event, he has a lot to be happy about.

• Thierry – “Bon appétit, as they say in the South.” Heh. Also, the video of him climbing up the wrong way of an escalator … classic!

• Carmen’s dog is named Jeter. My cousin’s cat is named Mariano Rivera. I need a horse so I can call him Andy Pettitte.

• Marcus, regarding his “complicated” collard greens – “I am not going up against grandma.”

• David’s response to a request for his gut feeling … a long … very long … pause. Heh.

• Did it seem to anyone else that the show was really dragging out the editing on this episode? As if there wasn’t enough to show? For me, they could have added a lot more Cardellini or Jeter.

Next week – Losers! Well, actually Masters who didn’t make the Finals last year. A lot of ego in that one room.

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