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Top Chef Masters 4 – Episode 2 – Lady Gaga’s Sad Pineapple Cake

Looks like I am back in midseason form – with a column woefully late. Blame the talented Olympic athletes from around the world, along with the need to work and do some quality parenting. Oh, and Tony Horton has played a part in my tardiness.

Anyway, we have Episode 2 of Masters to talk about, so let’s get started with the Quickfire. What’s that? No Quickfire? Well, that sure makes that section easy to write about. And it likely means a grueling elimination challenge is coming their way. As Stone arrives with a young man and woman next to him, the likelihood of a wedding challenge becomes strong. And in fact, that’s exactly what we have. Meet Jay and Christine – who have had some issues with their wedding. Christine’s best friend died in a car crash before their wedding, and prompted them to postpone. Upon the rescheduling, the place they found for the wedding absconded with their deposit. Strike Two. One would start to wonder if fate was trying to tell them something. However, I am not one of those people. Romantic at heart, dontcha know.

So, the cupids at Magical Elves came to the rescue and lined up several world-class chefs to cook them a wedding feast at Ravella’s in Lake Las Vegas. The chefs will cook as one team and make a spread for 200 people – from cocktail hour to dessert – at the wedding the next day. Record scratch sound! Tomorrow? They have to make it all in one day! Yikes. Thankfully for some of them, the couple is fans of Asian flavors – right in some chefs’ wheelhouse. They also want a many-layered cake, thus putting one chef firmly on the firing line thanks to the show’s long history of cake failures. Art chooses to do the cake, humblebragging that he has made cakes for Lady Gaga, Maya Angelou and Oprah Winfrey. It won’t be the last time Gaga’s cake gets a shoutout this episode. The name dropping? Getting old.

As Kerry sings Viva Las Vegas – not Viva Las Gaygas (that’s for all of you Chandler Bing fans) – they head to purchase ingredients and supplies. Bring me 15 pounds of crab meat! Get your okra over here!! Debbie wants to make a light Thai papaya salad. What could go wrong with that plan? Oh, no papayas. Yeah, she’s doomed. Takashi shouts for pickles. Art stacks up some yogurt. And CC and Takashi do an amazing last second run and relay for pork belly. Part of the Mens’ 200-meter Meat Toss competition. Unfortunately for Kerry, in the scramble to get to the checkout, his cart full of canned crab fails to make it out of the store.

Prep time – four hours worth – begins and Chris and Art squabble over the oven. This is going to get tiresome between these two. Chris is so much a kitchen diva I think he needs a diva-like nickname. For now, he’ll be CC unless I can think of something better. Regardless, he wants the oven and doesn’t want crap from Art. Stone shows up and comments on Kerry’s corn. There’s a euphemism in there somewhere. We also learn that Tom was best man at Kerry’s wedding, and did the food. Ok, if Tom likes this guy, I will have to go along. Of course, if Tom liked almost anyone, I’d give it a go. He is just that cool.

Not all that surprising, Mark lets us know that his charity is a Maine group pushing for same sex marriage legislation. He and Clark have been together for 25 years, and cannot get married in Maine. That’s right – these two guys are a threat to marriages across the board. (massive sarcasm) One thing is for sure, these guys won’t be eating any pickle/chicken sandwiches at Chick-fil-A anytime soon. And judging by the fit he had when The Hat took some of Clark’s shelf space, I wouldn’t want to get in their way. And I’d like to say, that instead of getting fired up over shelving, he should look into a class action lawsuit against his hairdresser.

With two hours to service, CC puts on his apron like it was body armor and Art and Lorena head to a separate dessert-only kitchen. And all of a sudden – the kids get married! Hooray! Mazel Tov! There as guests for the ceremony were Bert, Ruth, Stone and Krista. One note – Krista sent me a really great tweet last week playing along with my Katniss reference and promising to go to the red carpet in a flaming chariot. First of all, I’m holding you to it. Second of all, awesome sense of humor. And third, you can’t encourage me on these pages, because I can’t help myself. Say bye bye to mild-mannered food critic Krista, say hello to “girl on fire” food critic Katniss.

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