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Top Chef: Masters 3 – Ep 3 – Bugs? Wait, Am I Still Watching Survivor?


Just a couple of hours prior to watching Masters, I was watching Survivor. As I tend to do. And while watching Survivor I expect to see people eating bugs. And worse. However, on a show featuring Master Chefs, I really didn’t expect to see the creepy crawlies mixed in with the salads and vinaigrettes. And yet, there we were.

Of course, this is a fun visual challenge for us at home. Watching other people have to cook and eat bugs is surely a lot fun for those of us who don’t have to cook and/or eat them. The chefs are clearly out of their element – and that is part of the fun of Top Chef. And with the Masters, it’s a lot of fun to make the super-successful chefs do goofy things. To all of the food purists who watch the show and comment and blog later on about how ridiculous it is to challenge talented chefs with bugs – those columns are out there, I recommend avoidance – I say thhhhbbbtttbttt! Bunch of pretentious party-poopers is what I think.

Top Chef Masters especially is the goofiest Top Chef of them all. Classic Top Chef and Just Desserts are about some little known chefs trying to get a big break and make it big – and to do so; they do crazy challenges to impress great chefs, writers and Padma. On Masters, it is all for charity. They have ALL made it. It’s like wondering which Yankee deserves to get paid more money. Let them do crazy things, sit back, enjoy and remember that lots of worthy charities are benefitting from it in the end.

Meanwhile, during the Elimination Challenge, the Masters got twist after twist after twist just like Twizzler, as they prepared a meal for a charity dinner. No water. Less time. No staff. No phone, no lights, no motorcar. Not a single luxury. Like Robinson Caruso – primitive as can be. This was a fun challenge, and watching these accomplished chefs have to run their own food was a good twist. Chances are they have all waited tables at some point in their past, but it sure has been a long time. I liked how they were creative in finding water – using the sous vide station, and boiling ice on the stove – and I was expecting one of them to start using vaporizers and looking to purchase some droids to help with the harvest. Wow – that was an obscure and highly nerdy Star Wars reference.

One flaw in the new system – and as one who called for it, I can’t really bitch too much – is that the Masters are, well, not all that interesting to watch. The old way, we got to ignore most of them as most were one shot and out. Now, we get to watch Traci scowl for several episodes in a row. I am wondering if it is harder to find charismatic chefs once they reach that level of success.

At least we have Suvir and Beast. Love her or hate her, and I can see that she will be polarizing, Beast is interesting to watch. I am impressed that in two of three episodes she has stepped up to be the organization leader. That can often lead to elimination on this show, but she keeps stepping up to do it. She’s been impressive in that way, and this week made a simple soup to win a challenge. It has been said on this show before that a real test of a great chef is their ability to make a simple egg or simple soup.

Meanwhile, Suvir is all charisma and fun comments. He wears fun shoes and asks for two bowls of pudding. He owns a farm and shoots coyotes with some mystery gun. He is a practicing Hindu and refuses to butcher animals, even bugs. I loved the big middle finger he gave the challenge, while actually being creative and plating a dish at the same time. I am on Team Suvir and Team Beast right now. Let’s see if I stay there.

As for the elimination, John made risotto and somewhere Tre was screaming at his TV. As he plated it I instantly wrote, “It didn’t spread.” If Bourdain were there he would question if John ever had good risotto. I knew he was in trouble. Celina’s pudding, er, puddin’ was mediocre, even if it did look pretty tasty. The ingredients limited her and it showed, but I question what made her think that people would pay $100 for pudding and donuts. Mary Sue was there at the bottom, but I never really thought she and her tuna ceviche were in danger. In the end, we started with 1/6 of our chefs named John, and now with nine left, we have none remaining.

At least he got to meet Christina Hendricks. Mmm, let’s go back there for a minute.


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