|This episode was a super-sized Top Chef Masters as it extended to almost an hour and fifteen minutes – a length usually reserved for premieres or Restaurant Wars. I would imagine that the Simpsons crew who judged the Quickfire just simply gave them too much good material. Since we had a Simpsons angle this week, it would make sense to have it super-sized, like so many Krusty Burger Value Meals.
It seems as if the Top Chef producers went to my Facebook page and found all of the sitcoms that I love. First Modern Family, now The Simpsons. I wonder when Neil Patrick Harris and crew will show up, followed by Tina Fey’s crowd. Regardless, I enjoyed seeing multiple voice actor Hank Azaria, creator Matt Groening and producer/writer Matt Selman joke around and generally enjoy themselves in the segment.
And again, I must give the show serious kudos – this second season is turning out to be MUCH stronger than the first – as both challenges were once again quite interesting. While I wouldn’t want to eat most of the dishes, watching these accomplished chefs have to cook bizarre foods is inspiring. I know it calls back to a Season 3 challenge, but it works so much better with the Masters, because these chefs are so good; it is hard to really buckle their knees with a curve ball. Making them cook ingredients they have never cooked before is a perfect way to do that. How else can you throw off Obi-Wan Jonathan from his game? And as a result, we eliminate someone who had a been on quite the win streak simply due to her inability to cook a goat leg.
But first, the Quickfire! The Masters draw knives to determine which Simpsons character will inspire their dish. Cool! The breakdown is – Tony = Chief Wiggam, Susan = Moe, Marcus = Apu, Ninja = Marge, Rick = Homer, Jody= Lisa, and Obi-Wan=Bart. There are some real wheelhouses here – fattening food for Homer, veggy dishes for Lisa, Indian food for Apu (although I would have loved to have seen a Chutney Squishee). And Suser the Ninja went a step further and actually made the dish LOOK like Marge!
Susan/Moe – Millet Crispy Treats with Peanut Butter Chips, Donuts and Mexican Hot Chocolate. She thinks that Moe would be into junk food and crap and how she previously cooked for Groening once before. Hank “Moes” that it seems they expect the bartender has a sweet tooth. Groening says that Moe is miserable and ugly and how kind it is to be nice to Moe. Hank said this would have been the happiest moment in Moe’s life.
Tony/Wiggum – Fried Bacon Honey Pizza Dough with Boozy Coffee. Tony wanted to load up on the bacon flavor (Mmmmm, bacon) but Ninja accidentally dumps his scraps in the pan thinking it was trash. Of course, Other Matt wanted more bacon. Tony agreed. Matt G thinks Wiggum would have loved spiked coffee – and since the Chief almost shot himself in the head while eating donuts (watch The Simpsons movie!), that could be dangerous.
Ninja/Marge – Purple Potatoes, Pan Roasted Pork Chop, Glazed Grapes with Mustard Sauce. I am guessing they got some notes on the characters because having Marge’s dish comprised of her signature dish was perfect, especially for our Ninja who admitted to being unfamiliar with the Springfield crew. Other Matt thinks Marge would love the creativity; Boss Matt agrees since she puts faces on pancakes. Hank thinks the touch of red makes it look like she is bleeding.
Rick/Homer – Shrimp Sloppy D’oh! With Truffle Chips and Beer. At first I criticized his choice of shrimp, since Homer is more of a fatty food guy, and as I was verbalizing this to my wife I remembered the rest of this episode. Does this look like a man who has had all he can eat? Hank says that Homer would inhale it and if later told he ate truffle oil, he’d be angry.
Jody/Lisa – Cracked Wheat Salad with Goats Milk Ricotta, BBQ Beets and baked Kale chips. Ironic use of goat. Jody was correct in cooking vegetarian, although I would have liked to have seen gazpacho for everyone. Boss Matt reminds us that they made Lisa a vegetarian to attract a guest appearance from Paul and Linda McCartney, with the promise that she stays that way.
Marcus/Apu – Tomato Soup with Rice, Chickpeas, Chutney, Melon and Nuts. Hank wonders what Apu would do with those nuts. Boss Matt points out that while this was a nice authentic Indian meal, Apu likes to disguise his origin, “By the arms of Vishnu, I am not a Hindu!”
Obi-Wan/Bart – Spaghetti Bambino with Grilled Tomato, Ham and cheese sandwich. I doubted this at first, but this is the perfect kid meal. Hank loves it, and Matt G thinks it is the dish to unite Springfield.
Despite its message of unity, Obi-Wan only gets four stars (as do Susan, Marcus and Jody), Ninja and Tony fall even lower, leaving Rick’s four and a half stars the winner. His prize is to pick his choice of surf and turf exotic proteins for the elimination challenge. They will be cooking the exotic meats for the king of crazy foods Andrew Zimmern and other experts. Unfortunately for Rick, Ninja selects the same ingredients, matching him up in French and Asian cuisine with one of the best.