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Top Chef: Masters 2 – Episode 3 – The Return of the Losing Chefs


After a cliffhanger at the next commercial, we learn that Jonathan got five stars and the win, while the others all got four stars. Let us never speak of this Quickfire again.

Elimination challenge – Turn a pub dish into something upscale. Jay will be in heaven, they are going to make English food palatable. They will cook and serve at Tom Bergen’s Tavern, which looks like the Irish pub in every town in America, but better. Jonathan gets to pick first, then Ludo and Rick get into an idiotic argument over the fish and chips. Rick wants it because he is the “fish guy.” Ludo bitches (there should be a macro for that) that it is unfair for Rick to get it. Yet, he gives in and Rick gets it.

Jonathan – Shepherd’s Pie. While everyone else does excessive creativity, Jonathan keeps his simple and to the point. Lamb, mashed potatoes and Parmesan Cheese. It looks like carrots too. Gael loved the lamb; Jay finds it had the essence of shepherd’s pie. He adds that most traditional shepherd’s pie tends to dry out. Gail says it was flavorful and robust.

Rick – Fish & Chips. He says instead of the usual sauce-based flavor, he is loading up the crust. Chicken Fried Sable, Lemon confit, tartar sauce, twice fried potatoes and fennel slaw. Wow. I want to eat that. Gail loves how it looks. Jay is big fan of the fish. Gail is not thrilled with the thick potatoes. One patron said, “It rocked!” Jay called it the 21st Century fish and chips.

Wylie – Bangers and Mash. Wylie uses store-made sausages, always a risk. Bangers, Smoked Mashed Potatoes, Onion Jus, and Snow Peas. I am distracted by his use of the word “jus,” “I made a jus” makes him sound like a rabbi presiding over a bar mitzvah. Anyway, Gael likes the spicy sauce, Jay likes the jus and a patron found nothing wrong with it. He gets credit for not upsetting traditionalists, something he tends to do with his experimental work.

Graham – Steak & Kidney Pie. Strange choice for Graham, since he clearly HATES the taste of kidney. So much so that he essentially eliminates it from the meal. Roasted beef tenderloin, chanterelle puree, and bacon/kidney vinaigrette. Gael wonders what happened to the dish’s second main ingredient. Some British patron liked it.

Mark – Toad in the Hole – The Yorkshire pudding is a out and out disaster. He equates it to a NASCAR wreck. Seafood sausage, onion sauce with lobster broth and mustard greens. Bluntly, the dish looks like a giant penis in a bowl. It is a mess. NotPadma liked the greens, everyone else panned it.

Ludo – Irish Stew. He has no respect for the dish and it shows. He completely changes it around so that it barely is recognizable as Irish Stew. That’s like hating pasta and making spaghetti and meatballs with sauerkraut instead of spaghetti. Beef Tenderloin, potatoes confit, roasted peanuts with Miso and Guinness Caramel. Gael finds it bizarre, Gail likes the glaze. One patron rightly says, “It’s not Irish Stew.” Ludo later admits to taking it too far.

Judging – Jonathan wins with what was almost Masters’ first perfect score – Gael gave 5 stars, Gail, Jay and the diners all gave 4 ½.

Mark gets obliterated – Jay and Gael each give 3, Gail 2 ½ and the diners give ONE STAR!!! Amazing. Mark is really hurt by the diners’ slam. Total of 9 ½ and last place.

Ludo gets three stars from the G girls and Jay, and two stars from the diners. Total of 11 stars.

Graham gets serious love from the diners with 4 ½ stars, 3 ½ from Gael, 3 from Gail and 2 ½ from Jay for a total of 13 ½ stars.

Wylie gets four from Gael and three and a half from the rest for 14 ½ stars and a win over rival Graham.

Rick winds up with four stars from everyone for a total of 16 stars and second place, and the other berth in the Champions Round, which seems to be expanded to eight this year. That is a welcome change – less preliminary madness, and more traditional Top Chef format.

Quickfire hits

• This group was doing a bit too much trash talk for a charity cooking competition. Ramp it down a bit guys.

• Six guys cooking in that tiny kitchen, with little foul-mouthed Ludo pissing everyone off. Graham looked like he was about to break Ludo and toss him into the Irish Stew.

• Rick upon learning that Mark made Yorkshire Pudding – “I take my hat off to you.” I worry what he would have taken off if the dish was actually edible.

• Gael’s best line ever regarding Mark’s sausage (stop your snickering) – “It was a well brought up sausage in an unpleasant environment.” Heh.

• Maybe it is just Bert that bothers me, as the judges were actually worthy of discussion this week. Maybe he is just dragging them down.

• Gael and Gail on Ludo’s stew – “It was a UN dish … but not Ireland!”

• I love how Jonathan was compared to Obi-Wan, a ninja and Gandalf in the same episode. And having NotPadma throw in a “May the Force Be With You” was added fun for this sci-fi geek.

• Graham to Wylie after losing to him – “Now I have to wash your car, pick up your dry cleaning …”

Next week – MODERN FAMILY CAST!!!!! The first Masters episode I have EVER been looking forward to. LOVE that show. and Julie Bowen should be on every show on television (you hear me Lost; bring her back before the end!)

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