Top Chef: Masters did their own version of the infamous Survivor: Pearl Islands’ Outcast twist as they invite back six losing chefs from Season 1 to compete in their own preliminary round match up. I was a little torn by this decision by the show, but after a few moments I thought, they have done so many other ridiculous things over two seasons, that this is nothing. At least we got several interesting chefs back, all of whom have more personality in one spatula than NotPadma has in all 75 pounds of her.
I choose to completely block out of my memory the existence of the Real Housewives of Orange County from this episode. If you ask me about their presence judging the Quickfire Challenge, my response may be, “You mean those three CGI characters that sat next to Gael and NotPadma? and I thought they were made by WETA. Or Lucasfilm. Those were not real people; they looked like they were extras in past seasons of Nip/Tuck.
Why would they have these non-celebrities judging a cooking competition anyway? What were their qualifications in judging this challenge? They like to eat and drink? Heck, I like breathing, but that doesn’t make me a friggin’ air quality expert. I am sure Bravo wasn’t being shameless in their crossover casting in order to make more people watch this pale imitation of their remaining tent pole reality show. Because that would be too cynical. When is the Millionaire Matchmaker going to show up to give her take on French cuisine?”
What was the question again?
Anyway, returning for another crack at the Champions Round was:
• Rick Moonen from RM Seafood in Vegas. – Cooking for 3 Square.
• Wylie Dufrene from New York’s WD50 – Cooking for Autism Speaks
Graham Elliot Bowles from the self-titled restaurant in Chicago, and Wylie’s friendly rival. – Cooking for the American Heart Association
• Jonathan Waxman from Barbuto – Cooking for Meals on Wheels
Mark Peel from LA’s Tar Pit – Cooking for Doctors Without Borders
• Ludo Lefebvre from Ludo Bites – Cooking for Chase for Life
Good choices for returning chefs, even Ludo who manages to curse up a storm in two languages and never, EVER stops complaining.
Quickfire – Pair a mean with a Stolichnaya-based cocktail, mixed up by master mixologist Charlotte Voisey. She of the one line of dialogue. This challenge was judged by Gael (who was the most enjoyable to watch in the short history of this show), NotPadma, and … I forget, were there any others?
Wylie. Drink – Russian Tea Room. Meal – Arctic Char with Lentils, Bacon, Crispy Potatoes and Lemon Yogurt. One of the CGI images likes it, and then after Gael critiques it, changes her mind. Wylie is not amused.
Jonathan. Drink – Lemongrass Mojito. Meal – Pork Tenderloin and Poblano stuffed shrimp with Avocado butter. Wow. That sounds good. Gael finds the pork to be perfect. I am amazed she can find the table thanks to the giant red satellite dish on her head.
Mark. Drink – Ginger Figgle. Let me just say that I want to say the words “ginger figgle” at least one time per day for the rest of my life. Meal – Mussel Custard with Kaffir lime and figs. Gael loves the texture and the mussels. One CGI character doesn’t like the ginger and asks if it is in the drink. The “GINGER” Figgle.
Rick. Drink – Forest Fruits. Meal – Cream Biscuit Berry Shortcake. LOOKS. AMAZING. One of the CGI characters wants to know if it is frozen yogurt. Ugh.
Graham. Drink – Coriander Mule. Meal – Crudo of Black Cod with an adamame and red onion salad. Graham laments that his raw fish is following dessert. I wonder why they didn’t put the dessert last. And I also wonder if they get to cleanse their palate between dishes, because, well, strawberry and raw fish … big difference. Regardless, the CGI characters can’t pronounce adamame. Thanks Bravo – really great insight into the food choices.
Ludo. Drink – Nutmeg Applik Mojito. Meal – Roasted Pork Chop with Rosemary, Thyme and Garlic. Ludo reacts awesomely to the inane banter from the “judges” – “I don’t want to talk about and that girl.”