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Top Chef Masters Season 5 Ep 8 – The First Episode With A Song About Jicama

Sorry for the incredible delay this week. Events are out of my control these days. I can guarantee you nothing in the way of promptness or coherence. Heck, I’m lucky I watched the darn thing this week. You were close to getting a column of me guessing the dishes, the elimination and what the heck a cooking had to do with bizarre Mexican wrestling. Seriously, I feel like Sandra Bullock in that awesome looking astronaut preview just hurtling out into space with only George Clooney’s voice as a lifeline to reality. Well, ok, lots of things just happened. I just freaked myself out just a bit. First, too much information. Second, never before and never again have I compared myself to Sandra Bullock. And last, I should be so lucky as to have George Clooney’s voice inside my head. That’s the coolest psychosis in history.

So, this episode was strange. We had the weird guy who wrote the Lemony Snicket books making fun of Stone and all of the chefs. We had wacky wrestling mixed with burlesque. And we had the kick off of the ketchup wars. And the sad breaking up of the Sang/Doug love affair.

Anyway, the QUICKFIRE CHALLENGE doesn’t exist. Stone brought nothing to the table except the soothing accordion sounds of the dude that wrote those kids books that led to that horrible Jim Carrey movie. The winner of the sous challenge – where they had to relive their worst kitchen nightmares – would get to choose the Quickfire. Doug’s ne guy won and in the ten minutes allotted he decided to base the challenge on what would piss off Sang the most. It seems Sang does not allow ketchup in his restaurant. So, the challenge is to feature ketchup in the dish.

Sang only wants to beat Doug at the challenge. I can see that. He is going with sweet and tart Japanese fried chicken. Meanwhile, Doug is focused on Sang’s ass. Yeah. Burke digs ketchup, and Jen looks really tired to me. Doug is making a ketchup-based miso while Bot is making some wings with blue cheese snow.

Doug get the bird from Sang and Snicket claims that “blood turnip” was his high school nickname. Snicket tells Sang he could taste the anger in his dish. For Jen, we have a song – “It looks like a potato, tastes like a bean, it’s the funniest vegetable I have ever seen. Jicama!” Bot’s blue cheese snow doesn’t appear naturally in wintertime, and Burke is just annoyed by Snicket’s antics.

On the bottom – Burke’s dish, which Snicket found had complicated tastes mingling and it led to a downward spiral to existential regression. And Doug, whose dish was fueled by violence to the other chefs. On the top – Bot’s joyful snow, Jen’s wondrous dish and Sang’s overcoming of hate. Jen gets the win and another five grand for women’s work options.

Quickfire Dishes:
Jennifer
Burke
Doug
Bot
Sang

Doug’s sous win also earned him immunity, while Sang and Jen fell to the bottom and face obstacles. For the ELIMINATION CHALLENGE, we have Lucha Vavoom – Mexican wrestlers, comedy and burlesque all mixed into one wacky show. The chefs need to make two Mexican dishes for the ring side show for 300 people. They get three hours the first day, and one on location. However, they also get their sous chefs.

As they prep, we learn that Sang’s pork goes for hours and hours. Yikes! No, actually, the pork requires hours and hours of cooking. Instead, they are using a pressure cooker. Doug is making a cocktail and a fritter. So, in other words, Doug is tired and taking advantage of his immunity. Bot is making a tongue taco. Which is my favorite Mexican porn film. Also, he’s making beeeeeeef tongue.

At the Mayan Theater, which Sang calls a Mexican acid trip, we learn the obstacle – Sang and Jen have to switch sous chefs. The question – will the sous throw the challenge? Because their fate is still tied to their actual Master. Sang’s pork does not get enough cooking in the pressure cooker, so, that’s bad.

The critics – Stone, Lesley, Gail and Jane Goldman.

Burke – they are upset that his quesadilla is really a flauta. Lesley feels the kick, but likes the cinnamon in his second dish. Goldman got too many olives in hers.

Bot – Lesley likes his shrimp and, basically, grits. She also loves tongue. Gail teased her a bit for that. Goldman admired the adorable dumpling. And it is unclear if she too likes tongue.

Jen – Stone loved the ceviche, and Goldman was impressed it didn’t overpower the fish. Stone thought the chile was good, and Lesley wants it tomorrow night after doing tequila shots.

Sang – Goldman only tasted fish sauce in the shrimp cocktail, and didn’t taste the Mexican. That’s from lack of tongue, if you ask me. Gail didn’t feel the dishes were executed properly, and had a lot of salt. However, Stone said the dishes were authentic Mexican.

Doug – Stone seemed pissed that Doug only made a cocktail with his first dish. However, the others all liked his fritter.

On the top – Jen and Bot. Stone liked her well-balanced, richly flavored choices. Gail was amazed by the amount of flavor is such little time. Goldman felt the tropical flavors felt like vacation. As for Bot, Stone felt the tongue was brave. Gail said the dish was the stuff of dreams and the dumplings playful. Lesley said the tongue tasted like it was stewing in the back of a taco truck for 24 hours.

I expected the first Bot win, but instead, Jen gets her third straight. With Doug’s immunity, it is Sang vs. Burke. Stone liked Sang’s choices, and Lesley liked the fusion attempt. But none liked the dishes. Sang was rather surprised. Burke got hit for the flauta thing and having too much wrapper. But really, that’s it. It was clear that Sang was going home, and he did. He had a nice run early on and earned 30 grand for orphans.

Elimination Dishes:
Doug 1
Doug 2
Burke 1
Burke 2
Jen 1
Jen 2
Bot 1
Bot 2
Sang 1
Sang 2

Quickfire Hits
• Stone had on a purplish sweater this week. That counts, well, sort of as the extension of the saga of the purple shirt.
• Can you picture a drunk Stone in Tasmania? Because that would be fun.
• I thought Bot might have some trouble with the elimination since he was asking customers in the Mexican grocery for their thoughts on making a Mexican dish.
• How awesome would a Burke spinoff would be? He mumbles. He seems surly. He jumps out of airplanes. He gets Crying Gamed by the legendary Karise. He has a Colombian ex…a Colombian stripper ex. And he did varsity wrestling in 1976. I’d watch the show.
• Demanding Bot – Grant! Sauce! Can you picture Bot cracking the whip in the kitchen? Or as El Pollo Loco as his wrestling alter ego?
• Rita the wrestling show’s co-founder was really not wearing much…but she had a huge hat.
• Extra scene – Bot and Doug wrestling. Um, interesting.

Next week – Ketchup revenge for Sang at the Quickfire and cooking to honor teachers.

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