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Top Chef: Masters 3 – Ep 2 – Joan Holloway Makes Up For No Padma


The people behind Masters continue their attempts to move Masters from fairly lame to awesome. Last week, it was format changes, judge changes and Stone replacing NotPadma. This week, to make up for no Padma, no Gail, and well, even NotPadma somewhat, the show amped up the gorgeous woman quotient by having none other than Christina Hendricks as a guest. For the uninitiated, she plays Joan Holloway on the AMC show “Mad Men.” She is a ginger, as they say in the UK, and stunningly beautiful. I’ll let you all figure out why she is so incredibly popular among the guys. It really isn’t difficult to figure out.

And joining her is her husband, Geoffrey, who should give hope to all goofy guys out there that perhaps one day, you could land someone like Christina Hendricks.

The challenge is to reinvent 60s dishes that Christina has to eat thanks to Mad Men, and which she hates. I have said it recently during All-Stars, but the Top Chef challenge team has been working overtime. Masters has kept the streak going – these were great challenges in this episode, and in the first one, for that matter.

Unibrow has made a return after Old John mysteriously had to drop out of the competition. I still don’t love how the show allows eliminated chefs to return, but there is nothing to be done about that. So Unibrow is back and has as much of a chance to win as do the chefs who weren’t previously eliminated. One interesting thing about this season of Masters is how the Masters do not seem as detached from the competition, and thus from us, as the first two seasons. That’s a great thing as their personalities are given a chance to emerge.

It seems as if Beast is being primed to play the role of villain this year. She would be the first real villain on Masters – even if Winky from S1 filled the role for me. Unibrow is there for quips. Suvir has awesome shoes and also can be good for great lines. And Mary Sue seems to be the nice lady next door who always has a delicious plate of cookies waiting for you.

I can do without more appearances from Kelis. Her milkshake may bring boys to the yard, but she was both lacking in much personality and seemed to be judging badly. She may have been trained as a chef, but let me just say that if someone put a meatball on a piece of bread in front of me, I’d eat it as a darn sandwich. If you are going to bring in the celebrities, please make sure they’re going to be good.

The week’s elimination was not a huge surprise. Sue got very little screen time, and she failed to plate a complete dish for the challenge. However, the show deserves a bit of shot for the loss – a bit, as Sue and Suvir could have spoken up. The kitchen was so small that Sue and Suvir had no workspace to cook. Suvir elected to use the deep fryer because it was open, while Sue helped the others so she could free up a burner. That put her hopelessly behind and it did her in at the end. No huge loss, as we never really got to know Sue, but there it is.


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