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Top Chef: Masters 2, Champions Round, Wk 1 – A Little Bit Too Big …


Appetizers

Susan – Potatoes Bhajia with Mint Cilantro Sauce and Tamarino Date Chutney – Aaron compares it to falafel, and Bert thinks it is perfection

Obi-Wan – Red Pepper Pancakes with Smoked Salmon, Caviar and Lemon Zest. Elizabeth’s reaction is the title of my article. Too funny.

Jody – Pancetta and Melted Raclette Tart – Gael talks about flirting. Ooooh kaaaay.

Marcus – Lobster Roll with Asian Pear. Elizabeth loves the spoon usage in the presentation. Jay thinks it is rich.

Marcus – Honey Mustard Cured Tuna. Bert thinks it is sophisticated. Jay wants to move to Vermont and marry Marcus.

Carmen – Jumbo lump crab cake with Avocado Relish. Simple and delicious is the consensus. Bert thinks it would hold up with the best from Baltimore.

Entrees and Sides

Jody – Dijon Rack of Lamb with Rosemary, Farro, and Autumn Vegetables. I doubted Jody’s wisdom in making the lamb, but boy that looked really good. Almost as good as my Aunt Connie’s Palm Sunday lamb and that is saying something.

Obi-Wan – Roast Chicken with Tarragon Teloute and Cauliflower Puree. Gael thinks he is and the King of Chickens.

Rick – Seafood Mixed Grill – Opah, Coho Salmon and Swordfish on Sweet and Sour Eggplant. Rick cooked the fish at the last second to do it properly, but Gael thinks he overcooked it. NotPadma points out the sweet, no so much the sour, in the sauce.

Tony – Flaming Ouzo Shrimp. All rave about the shrimp and how it seems like Tony’s been doing it for years.

Tony – Au Gratin Potatoes. Considered simple and delicious, and Tony cites his mom for the recipe. Happy Mother’s Day, Tony’s mom!

Tony – Pasta with Fire-Roasted Tomatoes, Capers and Feta. Gael finds it overcooked, and the feta overpowering.

Carmen – Roasted Corn Salsa. Delicious, but Bert can’t find a connection to other dishes.

Marcus – Roast Beef Tenderloin with Grilled Onion Ragout and Pomegranate Sauce. What Gael calls “mushy” the guests call the tenderest beef they ever had. There is a perfect example of the difference between regular eaters and food critics. Obi-Wan earlier pointed out the risks of cooking filet and the tendency to over or undercook it. Tony was also curious on the spice level of Marcus’ sauce.

Dessert

Jody – Bananas Foster with Candied Pecans and Rum Caramel Sauce. Elizabeth LOVES it. Home run Jody.

Susan – Egyptian Semolina Cake with Berries and Cream. Obi-Wan tried to stack it to make it look wedding cakish, but Rick said it perfectly, “It’s the Charlie Brown Christmas Tree of wedding cakes.” The judges find it to be dry.

Ninja – French Wedding Cake – Croque-En-Bouche – Looks amazing, liked a tower of Munchkins. Not these munchkins, the donut holes.

Ninja – Upside Down Raisin Pudding with Butterscotch Sauce. The judges die for this one.

Ninja – Chocolate Profiterole with Whipping Cream You know, for the kids.

Ninja – British Columbian Hippie Carrot Cake. Dude! How much time did he have? Four desserts from one guy! Totally a ninja. Needless to say, Jay is impressed.

The show badly edits the reveal that Team Obi-Wan wins the challenge – likely saving either Susan or Rick from elimination. Team Marcus is understandably dejected as they take the heat and find out their star grades.

Tony – Gael – 3 ½, Jay 4 ½, Bert 4, Diners 3 – Total of 15. Gael really didn’t like that pasta, stunned by the low diners score.

Ninja – Gael 4 ½, Jay 4, Bert 3 ½, Diners 4 – Total of 16. Three and half? C’mon Bert!

Carmen – Jay 2, Bert and Gael 2 ½, Diners 4 – Total of 11. Big difference with the diners. Her dishes were very good, but the judges slam her on the amount of dishes and difficulty level. She took the role of team leader and managed their kitchen. Once they lost, that really worked against her.

Marcus – All judges gave 3 stars, the diners gave 4 ½. Likely the mushy vs. tender argument coming into play for that huge disparity. Marcus gets 13 ½ stars to survive and send Carmen home.


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