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Top Chef Masters 4 – Episode 7 – Sugar Ray is Sweet Enough

Look, it’s just never going to be on time this season, is it? Let’s just level with each other, loyal readers, I can’t get Top Chef posted promptly. If it were a Quickfire, I would have failed to plate several times in a row. So, let’s just face facts – I won’t be winning any Quickfire competitions, but I hope the finished product is worth it, and so I avoid elimination each week.

This week presents an odd twist on the usual format. The chefs wind up going head-to-head a lot as the show’s Vegas theme moves over to the sports arena. What sport do people associate with Las Vegas? Boxing. Of course, the most corrupt sport of them all (and that is saying something) would be associated with the city known for legalized gambling. However, the chefs were not being asked to beat each other senseless with their wisks and spatulas. Although, that would be a cool challenge. Instead, they battled with prep skills at first, and then the show did the Full Iron Chef by putting them in an actual ring to compete one-on-one with a common ingredient.

In the end, we have an elimination of one who I expected to be right there for the championship and the development of an unexpected plotline for the Masters version of this show.

But first, Quickfire Challenge – Stone brings in the Final Five and tells them they will be racing with prep work. The chefs will have to separate 18 eggs, grate two pounds of parmesan cheese and butcher some beef down to eight ounce fillets. The trick here is there is no scale to be used and the fillets must be eight ounces, with a half-ounce cushion on either side. The two quickest to finish will make a meal out of the ingredients. The winner gets five grand and immunity. A rare Final Five immunity. The interesting part here is that these five are all super-skilled, but really, how often do they do the menial work they hire staff to do?

CC is of course working on a different speed than everyone else. Kerry sees the flaws in CC’s speed – by cutting his fillets too precisely and too quickly, he is in danger of coming in too small. If he came in too big, he would have the ability to trim. You can’t reattach meat. Which I believe is an ancient Confucius proverb.

Well, CC doesn’t stop for anyone. He powers through and goes to Stone to check. And, lo and behold, his meat is too small. (Stop it, folks, no giggling) He is disqualified. The other chefs can continue prepping. Yeo is next to finish – the teacher is just as fast as the student – and she too is under weight on the steaks. She is out. So, it is between Takashi, Kerry and Lorena to make the two spots. I wonder what would happen if they all DQed. I could go for some DQ right now, btw. Takashi checks and makes it through and will cook for immunity. Meanwhile, Yeo is chanting Kerry’s name to root him on. This is the first we see of perhaps how deep the animosity towards Lorena goes. And it is puzzling to me. How often do you see the Masters actively rooting against one of their own?

Well, Yeo’s chants pay off and Kerry indeed finishes next. He and Takashi have 15 minutes to cook. The big thing here is that Takashi essentially throws the kitchen sink into his dish – in just 15 minutes – including cooking potatoes. Kerry is stunned and rather skeptical that he could pull this off. Stone judges the two dishes, along with Lorena, Yeo and CC.

Takashi – Sautéed Beef Tenderloin with Sunny Side Up Egg and Provincial Vegetables – Stone loves the presentation. CC thinks the veggies were cooked nicely, but he wanted a runny egg. Lorena agrees. Yeo was impressed with the taters.

Kerry – Beef Fillet with Parmesan Crust and Wilted Arugula – CC said something about brown butter, and I am not entirely sure what he was talking about. Lorena likes the cheese crust.

At the reveal, CC tells Takashi he liked the eggplant and Lorena wanted more parmesan. Yeo loved Kerry’s arugula, Lorena thought the meat was perfect, and CC thinks he went safe with that brown butter nonsense again. As it turns out, less is more and Kerry finally wins a challenge. And it is a big one as he sits out the elimination challenge.

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