Tag Archives: Top Chef

Let the War Begin!

We are now jumping into the Champion’s Round on Top Chef Master! We are going the awesome route because it is Wedding Wars! That is always an awesome challenge to begin with. Bring in great chefs, it will be great.

The Quickfire splits them off into 2 teams. We have the tag team cook off. They will make 1 dish, each cook for 10 minutes and (the kicker) they are blindfolded while they wait. The winning team will split $10,000 between them.

Red Team is Marcus Samuelson, Tony Mantuano Susur Lee, Carmen Gonzalez
Blue Team: Rick Moonen, Jonathan Waxman, Susan Feineger, Jody Adams

I was shocked that both teams seemed to be pretty similar in the end. I don’t know if the proteins were limited or not. They both created a seafood stew but the red team had a piece of fish on the side. Jay was the judge. The blue team ended up winning.

No one seemed happy when they found out that the elimination challenge was going to be wedding wars. They get 12 hours between 2 day to prep for 150 guests. Both teams have to make a wedding cake. The groom is a steak and potatoes guy. And the bride likes French and Asian. The blue team chose the bride so the red team was cooking for the groom. The groom is Jewish so no pork. The bride doesn’t like shell fish or lamb. Her favorite dessert is Bananas Foster while the groom wants carrot cake. Jodie decides to make lamb even though it isn’t the bride’s favorite.

They get 6 hours to prep the night before. I think the blue team is going the safe route doing fish, chicken, and lamb. Of course Rick is doing the fish. The blue team is doing 2 desserts so they can also do the bride’s favorite, Bananas Foster (which Jodie has never made before but is responsible for). The red team is making shrimp, pasta and beef as their main dishes. Susur is making his first carrot cake. Carmen is the time cop for the red team. The blue teams wedding cake is kind of scary looking while Susur on the red team has this pretty creation.

The blue team’s appetizers went over pretty well. But many thought Jonathan’s potato cake was too big. The red teams also went well. Then we went to the chaos of the main dishes. The red team’s lamb and chicken went over very well. But Rick’s fish was over cooked and his sauce was too sweet. The blue team’s potatoes and shrimp went over well. But the pasta was over done. Marcus’s meat was a little hit and miss. Then we get to dessert. Susan’s cake for the blue was ugly;). Susur made a beautiful croque en bush. So not only was the blue team’s cake ugly, apparently dry. But their Bananas Foster were great. The red team’s (Susur’s) desserts were all a big hit.

The blue team was slammed for the bad cake. But the red team got hit for being light on entrees. The blue team’s entrees saved them because they won! Jodie was the individual winner. So then we get to see the groom’s team on the block. Marcus got hit for mushy meat. Carmen got hit for only doing an appetizer and a corn salad. But Carmen didn’t think her flavors would have pleased the groom. Tony got hit for over cooking the pasta. They didn’t really like Susur’s carrot cake but his dessert table over all was good. The bottom 2 ended up being Marcus and Carmen. In the end Carmen went home. It wasn’t that her food was bad, just not enough dishes.

So Carmen is out, who will be out next week?

The Final Champs

We are getting the final 2 chefs to move on! This week we have Jodie Adams, Rick Tramonto (whom I believe was on Top Chef when they were in Chicago), Maria Hines, Debbie Gold and Susur Lee.

We are kicking into the quickfire with the legendary fruit plate challenge. The winner automatically moves on to the winner’s round. I think with Susur Asian background that he will have the knife skills to impress. Jodie seemed to go well. Debbie’s was looked at as simple. I never am quite sure what they want in a fruit plate. Rick’s plate looked pretty but basically just fruit presented plain. Susur seemed to get slammed for not having a focus. He only got 2 1/2 stars. Jodie won with 4 starts so she went straight to the champion’s round. She still got to compete in the elimination challenge to earn money for her charity.
Their elimination challenge was to modernize the family meal. They are going to server it to the cast and crew Modern Family. They get 4 hours in their kitchen to prep before they have to go to the lot. I did not realize that Rick Tramonto is Gale Gand’s ex-husband. Hmm. He is making something with sausage. Debbie is modernizing the pork chops and applesauce with pork belly. Maria is doing a salmon dish. Susur is still fuming over his loss. He is doing a curry chicken and a vegetarian dish. Jodie made a braised chicken thigh.
Maria’s salmon seems to have gone over very well. Susur’s dish goes over well but… it is a bit exotic. Rick’s truffled escarole soup sounds really good. It seems to be the most traditional but not very modern. Jodie’s wasn’t a huge crowd pleaser. It was heavy and muddled. Debbie’s looked pretty but an apple butter with slaw is a bit sweet.
Rick got called on his dish. That the truffle oil didn’t make it modern. Susur said he had toned down the heat. Which everyone else seemed to be shocked at. Debbie succeeded in making it modern but it was too sweet. Maria’s dish seemed to be good. But Jodie admitted her dish was a little salty.
In the end Susur won! But Maria got really close!

And They are Back!

We are onto the 3rd episode of season 2 of Top Chef Masters. This is the episode where last year’s losers will compete;). This will be good.

Rick Moonen, Wylie Defrene, Graham Elliott Bowles, Jonathan Waxman, Mark Peel, and Ludo Lefevbre are all back! (excuse any name mispelling;)

The quickfire is that they will make a dish to go with an exotic drink with vodka in it. Gayle Green and the Housewives of OC are the quickfire judges. When Wylie’s dish came out the wives loved it until Gayle spoke and then Gretchen didn’t like it as much. This girls don’t seem to know a whole lot about food. Ludo wasn’t a big hit and he was freaking about a bit. Jonathan received a perfect score!

The elimination challenge was to take a pub dish and recreate it into an upscale dish. They really went pub with it with things like bangers and mash. Jonathan picked Shephard’s Pie and the rest had to negotiate between themselves. Rick got fish and chips. He should do well with it since he is a fish guy. But I thought is was kind of odd that he thought Mark was not going to do well because he was doing a seafood sausage because that is Rick’s area. Ludo got Irish Stew and that didn’t leave him in a great mood. It seemed to make him real upset that Rick got fish. It looks like Mark’s Yorkshire Pudding didn’t cook all the way.

Ludo’s fish stew seemed odd looking because there were raw veggies in it and it didn’t seem comforting. Rick’s potatoes were hard but of course the fish seemed to be a hit. I think it could bite Wylie that he didn’t make his own sausage for his Bangers and Mash but it looked yummy. Of course Mark’s uncooked Yorkshire pudding being a bit raw was a problem. Jonathan’s potatoes seemed runny on top of the lamb but it seemed to be a hit.

I think the problem with Ludo’s dish is that he didn’t like Irish stew to begin with. So he may have never had a base to go from. Graham seemed to dislike kidneys so he sold his own flavor short. Ludo is sure that the English people have bad food;). Rick got slammed for his thick chips. The reality to me is that the potatoes shouldn’t have been that hard. Does a good piece of fish really wipe out a bad potato?

Jonathan won with his Shepard’s Pie! I think it has inspired me to make one (having never cooked a lamb version). Rick came in second so he is also moving on. But Wylie did get to beat Graham;).

The next group will be cooking for Modern Family. I have been liking this season! See you next week!

It’s My Party (Top Chef Masters)

This week’s competitors! Marcus Samuelson has been on Top Chef before and is always impressive! I didn’t recognize Monica Pope, Thierry Ratereau and David Burke. But Carmen Gonzalez seems familiar but I am not sure from where.

For the quick fire they were doing the grilled cheese for Kelly. I love cheese on the outside of the sandwich! It makes a great crispy crust if you do it right! So I think that Thierry was on the right track. I would worry that David’s cream cheese would just be to runny. Carmen’s combo with manchego and tomato could be really good. But the most interesting to me was Monica’s Mediterranean grilled cheese. And Kelly agreed with me.
So our elimination challenge is a birthday party for Mekhi Phifer. It is a soul food party. Monica got to choose her protein first and no one else could use it. That is an awesome advantage. I don’t think I had ever seen the stairs in the Whole Foods market before.
Thierry is doing farro and I think he is going to have to be very careful to make sure it is done. Carmen left her stew behind at the Top Chef kitchen so she had to go get it while the clock is running down while she is gone. Monica and Thierry jumped in to help out Carmen while she was gone. Then they burned Carmen’s yucca. I have to say through everything Marcus is a bit more competitive than I thought he would be.
I love that Gayle is back! Everything looks yummy! I would love to try Monica’s dish. Marcus seemed to be struggling to keep up with the plating but people kept coming back so that may be the problem. Thierry’s roasted cauliflower and his brussel sprout slaw both sound good! I think that Marcus and Monica are going to move on. It was interesting that David had never done the pickled watermelon before but it was a big hit. The judges said Monica’s shrimp was undercooked. That may cost it for her.
Carmen won with 15 1/2 stars. Maybe her mash burning was a huge blessing in disguise! The second place chef who will also move on was Marcus.
So just 2 more weeks before we get to the winners’ round!

Top Chef Masters Season 2 Gets Going!

I don’t know what I am more excited about: the fact that Top Chef Masters has started back up or the fact it is on Hulu so I don’t have find some poor quality airing somewhere? Either way lets jump right in! Let the snark go!

Govind Armstrong!!! Love him on everything I have seen him on (Top Chef, Iron Chef, etc) Susan Feneger? I have never seen her without Mary Sue! Then there were Anna Sorun, Jerry Traunfeld, Jimmy Bradley (Harold was his sous chef), and Tony Matuano.
First Quick Fire of the season! I am kind of shocked that we are starting off in teams. A Chinatown challenge could be really good. Ah, but it was a trick. It is the mini mart! This is a season 1 challenge so I think it is totally fair! At least they get to cook in their own kitchen. The Bravery is judging? Never heard of them.
Govind’s red mac and cheese looks very good. I think the spice in the Cheetos could add a dimension to their sauce. Susan and Tony’s bread pudding looks pretty good. A crispy rice cake? Not sure what that means but the clamesco sauce sounds a little creepy. Susan and Tony’s apple banana bread pudding won the quick fire! Not that surprised.
So they are doing a team elimination challenge. I don’t really care for it and neither do some of the chefs. They have to make a duo dish for 30 couples to have a first date with.
Susan and Tony’s styles are different but they seem to be able to work together where as Govind seems to just not like the idea of working with someone. Govind and Jimmy are making a duo of lamb with seared lamb carpacchio and lamb loin. I don’t know about lamb carpacchio even if it is seared. Ana and Tony are going exotic with duck done 2 ways with flowers in both. Susan and Tony did pepper shrimp with scallops and pasta. Yum!
Judges seemed to like the lamb carpacchio but they weren’t quite as happy with the chop. They thought was chewy. Jerry’s duck was a hit but Ana’s wasn’t as pretty as it was tasty. They didn’t think the ducks matched. James wasn’t sure if he liked Tony’s pasta. But Susan’s seemed to be a total hit and they seemed to match up well. James seemed to have the most bad things to say about everyone. Not a surprise!
In the end Susan and Tony edged out out Jerry and Ana by 1 star. Govind and Jimmy were kind of left in the dust.

I think that was a great start for a new season! I am excited to see how the rest of the season will go!

Bring on the Foam!

You faithful Top Chef fans will remember Marcel Vigneron. He is the cocky gastronomist who almost had all his hair cut off by drunken cast mates.

He will be starring in a new series for the Syfy channel called Marcel’s Quantum Kitchen. It was announced during the March upfronts along with some really odd reality shows;). I don’t know if it is going to be good or not butI am sure it will be interesting!

Top Chef Vegas Final Finale!!!

I can’t believe it is finally all over. I haven’t watched the finale yet but I am already seeing the commercials for the reunion show. On to the show and all the snark!

I love the fact that they all have to make 1 course with the exact same ingredients! I also love that 1 of the 3 courses has to be a dessert! Bryan got Jennifer as a sous chef. He hit the mother load. Kevin kind of rooked with the sous chef challenge with Preeti and Ash. They are fine but not as good as Jennifer (Bryan) and Eli(Michael).
As we get into the the 3 hours of prep for the first night poor Kevin. He just Preeti cutting veggies and those aren’t coming out all that well. When they wake up the next morning, Bryan has even drawn pictures of the plates. Did Top Chef take a note from Hell’s Kitchen with the arrival of the mothers? But then even moms bite them because they had to do a childhood memory course. I thought the 3 course was a little light to begin with. At least this season the finalists were smart enough to be looking for the twist.
I love that Kevin put bacon in his dessert. I agree with him that he should get an award from the bacon council! The brothers seemed to be making their kind of food.
The moms were sitting at the service table for the first course. The guys all got just a little more nervous. Bryan specifically got nervous because he didn’t think his mom hadn’t ever had a sardine. Kevin’s was the only course that didn’t have anything bad said about it. Kevin seems to season well where as Bryan doesn’t always. But on the box challenge I think Michael won. Everyone seemed to do well with their meat courses. But Donatelle Arpia called out Michael’s gimmick as just that, a gimmick. Then we get to dessert. Michael knew going into dessert that the cake was over cooked. Kevin’s dessert wasn’t a hit. Bryan seemed to be the winner out of the dessert round.
Is it wrong to say I just don’t want Michael to win? He just has a huge ego but he seems to earn it. Kevin is bounced first. Then it is just the brothers. And, not shockingly, Michael won. It wasn’t a surprise at all but I hope he keeps his ego in check.

Top Chef Vegas Finale (part 1)

So I am a little behind in watching last week’s episode but I think we all knew who is going to the finale. What I am wondering is if the Voltagio brothers are going to end up messing with each other’s heads to the point that Kevin will just need to be there to win it all. I like Jennifer but after the last few week’s I expected her to not make it all the way to the final.

I will see you in a couple of days for a finale snark!

Top Chef Vegas! (11/18)

So who are we loosing this week? Based on how the last few weeks have gone I am predicting Jennifer. Who knew that Eli and Richard Blase were freinds? Eli was best man in his wedding!

This week we get to see Gavin Kaysen in the Quickfire. I have seen him before and read about him but he seems so short. Bocuse D’or? It seems to be a food Olympics. How come I have never seen that in the midst of the food tv? They are making ballentine or protein in proteins in an hour and 1/2. Mmmmm, bacon wrapped Scotch egg. Padma told Jennifer, “Welcome Back” during the tasting for the Quickfire. Jennifer won! Maybe she is going to pull this game out.
This presentation platters that are required for the Elimination Challenge should be good. Thomas Keller will be among the 12 judges they have to serve (he wrote the French Laundry). They have to put the food on mirrored platters and then plate in front of everyone. Jennifer got the best prize for her which is an extra 30 minutes to cook (everyone else gets 4 hours). I am not sure why they could only cook salmon or lamb as their proteins. Maybe so they can do an apples to apples comparison. I think Kevin doing a suvee may be a huge mistake! This isn’t something he normally does. Tom tells everyone when he visits the kitchen that the winner of this challenge gets $30,000.
Kevin served first and his platter looks pretty. Keller thinks it is too elementary. But everyone thought it tasted good. Then comes Michael, who is the only one with competition experience. Michael’s Mediterranean theme shot him in the foot because they weren’t Mediterranean flavors. Someone also found a bone in their fish. Bryan once again did a garlic chip. He seemed a little in the weeds in the last 10 minutes but seemed to pull it out. Keller did say that Bryan undercooked his lamb. Eli’s lamb sausage around 3 loins I find a little odd. Eli undercooked the lamb and didn’t carve it well. Jennifer wasn’t 100% about her salmon. Des Jardin thought things tasted good but the dishes weren’t well thought out. Padma thought Jennifer’s platter was the most intriguing visually. Apparently 1 of them will be on the US team for the competition. I wondered why someone asked if Bryan was coachable.
I like that Kevin played it safe because he got the flavors he wanted and his lamb was the only lamb that was cooked right. Michael was the one with the experience but he had some big flubs. It seemed the lamb being under cooked was a common thing. Jennifer’s fish not being cooked all the way and not being cut evenly is all on her. The winner was Kevin! I guess that simple and right is better than fancy and wrong! I kind of want to see Michael get bounced. But that is because he acts like a jerk. But it is Eli who is sent home.