Top Chef Masters

I am so excited! Real chefs competing, this should be good! I recognize lots of these chefs from various magazines and shows. My favorites at this point are Wylie Dufre and John Besch but someone could impress me;). I also am excited to see the $$ go to charities.

It looks like they aren’t all competing at once but in groups. So our chefs this week are Michael Schlow, Huber Keller, Christopher Lee, and Tim Love. I don’t know if you remember Keller from season 1 of Top Chef, but he is the chef from the first show who tossed Colin (?) out of his kitchen.
They are getting a quickfire just like the orginal Top Chef. They are getting dessert. They have to make the most creative dessert possible for a table of Girl Scouts. The have 1 hour.
Keller wants to try to get a meringue in an hour. I don’t know how that will go. Schlow is trying a chocolate cake/brownie and ice cream. Getting ice cream to set up is going to be hard. Love is going with what he knows. He is making a bunch strawberry stuff including a “chicken-fried” strawberry. Lee is going with a French Toast on a stick kind of thing with maple syrup fluff and carmelized bananas. Love and Lee both seem to be doing something simple, yummy and time appropriate. Schlow struggled (as I thought he would) getting his cake to cook and his ice cream base won’t set up. He ended up just serving the candy and sort of some cake. Huber got his meringue and the plate looked great! He rightfully won the quickfire!
The quickfire scores will be added to the final. The quickfire judges awarded them up to 5 stars each. For the elimination challenge they can get a total of 20 stars. 5 from the diners and 15 from the judges. The winner gets to move onto the Championship Round and $10K for their charity.
Elimination Challenge:
They have to make a 3 course meal using only a microwave, toaster oven and hotplate. They are feeding the critics and some students at Pomona College. They get $150 to shop and access to a limited pantry. Then they will get 2 hours to prep and cook. Watching them shop was quite entertaining. It looks like a few of them are buying stuff on the fly. Love didn’t see ground pork but I know if he would have asked them to grind some. Whole Foods does that kind of stuff. Tim Love stuck all his groceries in the freezer including all the produce. This could be horrible and he didn’t have much of a plan to begin with. Keller and Schlow seemed befuddled over the microwave and how to use it;).
They actually get to cook in the dorm rooms. It looks like the student judges are the room owners. Keller drained his pasta and shocked it with cold water all in the shower. I don’t think Love is going to be ruling when it comes to braised kale and anyone but especially not California college kids.
Michael Schlow: Salmon Crudo, Cabbage Soup with Bacon, Pork a la Apicius
Hubert Keller: Fresh Scottish Salmon, Carrot and Pea Soup with Cinnamon, Macaroni and Cheese with Prawns
Christopher Lee: Red Snapper Ceviche, Creamy Risotto, Pan Roasted Pork Chop
Tim Love: Scallop Carpaccio, Squash and Corn “Pozole”, Skirt Steak and Breaised Kale
Keller’s first course seems the best received of all the first courses. Though everyone of the first dishes were well received. They thought Love’s pozole was great football/dorm food. The second courses did fine. Everyone liked all the tastes but the texture of Lee’s risotto was in question. Love’s 3rd course was a bit salty. The students thought the kale was bitter. The judges thought Schlow’s pork was overdone. Keller’s Mac & Cheese was a big hit with everyone. Lee’s pork chop was well accepted.
Critic’s Table:
The panel was torn on Heller’s soup and the cinnamon level. It was love or hate. They thought the flavor profile on Schlow’s pork was good but that it was over cooked. Schlow’s soup would have been better in another hour. They also liked Love’s stew and thought his steaked was well seared but a little over seasoned. They thought that Lee’s risotto’s flavor was good but the texture was off. They also thought Lee’s pork was well executed. Hubert Keller won!
Let me interject here that the Master’s stew room is much better than the normal Top Chef room;).
All in all this is pretty good! This week all the chefs seem to be friends and they were laid back. I don’t think that will be the case every week. I think I respect Tim Love even more than before and I was already a fan of Keller.
This is going to be an interesting season!

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