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Top Chef: Masters Episode Two: Less Boring Than Last Week

kelly_choiThis isn’t going to be a long recap. I didn’t take notes last night, because I thought I might be giving up on Top Chef Masters, because Tim Love isn’t on anymore, and I was kinda bored last week. But I just turned it on for a second last night and ended up watching the whole thing. I thought it was much more interesting than last week, partially because I just wanted to see what Wylie Dufresne could come up with. Jump if you want.

Photo courtesy of (Sidenote: Kelly Choi: prettier than Padma? Discuss.)

This week’s chefs were Wylie Dufresne (WD-50 in NYC), Graham Elliot Bowles (Graham Elliot in Chicago), Elizabeth Falkner (Citizen Cake in San Francisco) and Suzanne Tracht (Jar in Los Angeles). The QF Challenge was the vending machine one. Dufresne made a grilled cheese with crispy ham and some sort of reduction that solidified, and he must have said f*** about 100 times, which made me love him. Graham did a tuna salad with beef jerky miso, Elizabeth did braised beef jerky and a savory ice cream, and Suzanne did a ARGH THE COMPUTER JUST KICKED ME OFF AFTER MY POST WAS FINISHED AND ONLY SAVED THIS MUCH!! Damn you, internet Gods! Okay, this one is going to be even shorter because my fingers just can’t type that whole thing again. Suzanne makes Frito-crusted shallot rings and she wins. Oh ya, former Top Chef contestants Ilan, Betty, and Michael were there. Woo.

Next we have the Elimination Challenge. It’s pretty cool. Lost-inspired. So they only have a few proteins to use, including tuna, wild boar, and uni (foods found on an island), and they can only buy Dharma-approved items at Whole Foods, which means mostly canned stuff. The Lost writers will be there to judge (but wouldn’t it have been more awesome if Josh Holloway was there? IJS).  They arrive at WF and Wylie and Graham’s bro-mance really begins to develop. They are helping each other with menus, patting each other on the back, and even swatting each other on the hiney once and a while. Okay, everything but that last part. They gather up their goods and head back to the kitchens where they have 2 hours to prepare a meal for the Lost writers. Wylie makes a chicken and egg dish with a banana mustard that is almost a disaster–judge Jay doesn’t have any chicken on his plate when the food arrives. Wylie has this look on his face like “WHAT IN THE H-E-DOUBLE HOCKEYSTICKS IS GOING ON TODAY? I’M WYLIE DUFRESNSE, FOR GOD’S SAKE!” But thankfully, one of the Lost writers with glasses–oh wait, they all have glasses–has two pieces of chicken, and he passes one along to Jay. Moment saved. Everyone loves it. Next up is Elizabeth and her wild boar two ways, one of which was sous vide. She also smears some papaya/yam baby food on the plate, and no body is diggin’ it. Graham passes out pretty plates of tuna trio for his meal, which include a tuna maki roll, a tuna tartare topped with canned green beans (brilliant! cries everyone), and a piece of coffee-encrusted seared tuna. Again, everyone loves it. Last up in Suzanne. Her plate looks like a hot mess. She’s got risotto, another pasta, a slice of wild boar, and like six other things going on. “It’s a holiday meal,” she says, and everyone goes, “Ohhhhh, it’s a holiday meal, now we love it!” and proceed to praise the heck out of it (but really, how good does uni risotto sound? yummmm).

I really thought this week was going to be like last week, with four great chefs but one that goes above and beyond (this week Wylie, last week Hubert). But no. Wylie’s fabulous chicken and egg couldn’t save him from his hardened sauce Quickfire disaster, and he lost to Graham, who lost to Suzanne by 1/2 point (I think, I really should have taken notes). Suzanne was the only chef I hadn’t heard of before last night, but she really rocked. She was confident and poised and didn’t even yell f*** once. But overall, I liked this episode much better, probably because they were actually able to cook in kitchens and not on hot plates in some freshman’s smelly dorm room. The end.

5 comments on “ Top Chef: Masters Episode Two: Less Boring Than Last Week

  1. I just want to know what medication Suzanne is on because she is zombified! Good Lord woman, show some emotion next time. Her cuisine must kick some serious culinary butt because the judges did not have one negative comment for anything she made. Cool.

  2. Agreed with TLS, could Suzanne have been more ho-hum? Her dishes looked great, but let’s get some personality. Geez. Enjoy Kelly, but I’ll give Padma the upperhand.

  3. MUCH superior episode this week… I wanted to taste everything, unlike last week with um, shower-soaked pasta. Much more about food and craft this week than last, which seems, to me, to be the whole point of gathering today a group of this caliber.

  4. I’ll give it up – TC Masters rallied this week. But while Suzanne rocked the food, I think Elizabeth made the episode. She was out to win gawdammit! And her kohl-lined gaze just looked like she could just shrivel you. Now’s that fun to watch.

  5. Me too….really enjoyed this week’s – sorry, Tim (but did have a dirty love burger in your honor last weekend). Chef Dufresne cracked me up with all of his f-bombs; just not what I expected of him from the things I have seen him in previously. Can’t wait until next week – Rick Bayless looks to be a wolf in sheep’s clothing…what medication do they feed him at PBS to keep him so mellow on his show?