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Top Chef Masters: Two for One

Thanks to my DVR, you are getting two reviews in one! The last round of the prelimiaries and the first round of the finals! Here we go!

The chefs in the prelimiary round are:

Jonathan Waxman -- New York, NY -- chef/owner of Barbuto restaurant. His charity is Meals on Wheels.

Roy Yamaguchi -- Honolulu, HI -- Chef/owner of Roy's Restaurant (and many others). His charity is Imua family services.

Art Smith -- Chicago, IL -- chef/owner of Table 52. His charity is Common Threads.

Michael Cimarusti -- Los Angeles, CA -- chef/owner of Providence restaurant. His charity is the Grameen foundation.

This quickfire begins with a knife pull -- each knife has a number on it. The numbers correspond to an aisle number at the store --we know which one, I don't have to mention it. They get $20 and a limited supply of pantry ingredients to create their dish.

Jonathan gets aisle 3, which has in it, Canned fish, International, Condiments and salad dressing. He creates mint, lentil and pepper salad.

Michael gets the baking aisle with protein bars and sweeteners. He creates a chocolate parfait with ginger sauterine syrup and sesame crackers. I would have loved to taste this.

Roy gets the aisle with italian ingredients -pasta and sauces. He creates a pasta with fried egg and asian flavors. Roy has a hard time managing his time and himself without helpers.

Art has aisle 4 with beans, crackers, soup and rice. He creates a multi-grain risotto with a crispy rice salad.

The winner of the quickfire is Michael, although, to be fair -- he did have the advantage of having chocolate!

The elimination challenge is a little different this time. They again draw knives but are not to show the result to anyone else. It turns out they picked the name of another chef and they will be responsible for purchasing the ingredients for that chef's challenge. They chef then needs to use 7 of the ingredients in the "mystery box" to create a dish. Will they help or hinder their competition?

They all choose well for their competitors. No one was even inclined to choose bad ingredients. That is true showmanship, I am not sure that would happen on the real Top Chef. Poor Roy, he looks like he has never shopped in a supermarket before. Well, then again, he probably hasn't.

Roy and Art chose ingredients for each other and Michael and Jonathan exchanged mystery boxes. All the items were well used and appreciated.

The mystery boxes created the following concoctions:

Art -- Fried Chicken two ways -- crispy buttermilk smothered and regular fried chicken. He also made a mango cobbler for them, which they loved.

Roy -- Surf and Turf -- Short Rib Kalbi and Mahi-Mahi. There were mixed reviews on his dish, but he had the same difficulties from the quickfire and time management.

Michael -- Loin of Lamb wth sunchoke puree, broccoli rabe and purple cauliflower. He also had time management issues, he wasn't able to sauce all of his plates.

Jonathan -- Pork sausage and chop with cauliflower and celery root puree with microplaned black truffle over.

The winner of this elimination round is a choked up Art with 22 stars. He will compete with the rest of the champions in the champions round. Which is starting now.......


The Masters competing in this round are: Anita Lo, Art Smith, Hubert Keller, Suzanne Tracht, Michael Chiarello and Rick Bayless (go Rick! -- although I should give a shout out to Art since he is from Chicago too)

The quickfire challenge, they have to work in teams. They pull knives that say either Pepper or Salt, 3 of each. Their quickfire is the infamous mise en place relay race. HA! This is actually pretty cruel, but should be entertaining. Tom Colicchio is going to judge, just as he did on the regular Top Chef. Each team has to choose one chef to do the following 1) open 15 oysters 2) dice 5 onions and 3) butcher 4 chickens 4) separate 5 eggs and beat them so that when you turn the bowl upside down it will stay in the bowl for 5 seconds. This means that with each team of 3, two of the chefs will have to do two of the tasks. The winning team gets a advantage in the next round.

Suzanne and Hubert shuck some oysters -- winner tie! Art and Hubert with the onions -- winner Art! Chicken butchering Michael and Anita -- winner tie! Rick and Art separate eggs -- winner Rick!

They get start the elimination round with 5 stars, the other team with 4.

They all have to now create their signature dish for the others to taste, so that they can ize up the competition. Their dishes are:

Hubert -- Lobster and Truffle Cappuccino with Corn Madeleine. Art -- Seared Grouper with hearts of palm, trumpet mushrooms and meyer lemon zest. Anita -- seared Sea Scallop with potato puree and bacon, sea urchin and mustard greens. Michael -- Fennel Balsamic Quail with mosto cotto mostarda, sauteed greens and roasted apples. Suzanne -- Chopped Sirloin with green peppercorn sauce and fried egg. Rick Rack of Lamb and black pasilla chile with mission figs. YUM!!!!!

Their elimination challenge is to take one of their competitor's dishes and re-create it with their own spin. Yowza. Like Rick says -- that's mean!

Hubert gets to pick first since he went twice on the winning team from the quickfire, whomever he chooses will have to re-invent his dish. He chooses his former team mate Anita. Everyone else has to draw knives. Rick and Michael compete (even though Michael was chanting the whole time "don't pick me" and Art and Suzanne will be re-creating each other's dishes.

Art re-interprets Suzanne's dish like this: Ground Lamb Scotch Egg with Sweet Potato fries and Tomato Tart. Rick re-interprets Michael's dish: Quail with parsnip and prosciutto stuffing over wild greens. Suzanne reinterprets Art's dish: Roast Grouper with gnocchi, peas, bacon and parsnips. Hubert re-interprets Anita's dish: Seared scallop with cream of sea urchin over fingerling mashed potatoes. Michael re-interprets Rick's dish: rack of lamb stuffed with fig mostarda, chick peas and fried rosemary. Anita re-interprets Hubert's dish: Corn Chawanmushi, champaign gelee and lobster biscuit sandwich. How can I get to be a judge on this show, that's all I wanna know. Yum!

The final standings come out like this (drum roll, please)

Rick and Anita have the highest scores Rick -- 23 stars and Anita -- 24 stars; her charity wins another 10,000 and she gets to go on. Rick also gets to go on. (woo hoo). Michael gets 18.5 stars, Hubert gets 21.5 stars, Art gets 15 stars, Suzanne gets 14.5 stars. Suzanne is the competitor going home. The rest return next week to cook it out again!

Posted by Wendy on July 30, 2009 7:58 AM
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