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Recap: 'Top Chef Masters,' Season 5 Episode 9

Recap: 'Top Chef Masters,' Season 5 Episode 9


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Four chefs remained heading into the penultimate episode of the series: David Burke, Bryan Voltaggio, Jennifer Jasinski, and Douglas Keane, and the stakes were obviously higher than they’d been at any point in the series. For the final Quickfire, Curtis challenged them to create a great burger, a dish that’s been made many times before on Top Chef. Jennifer went Asian; Douglas, who owns a burger restaurant, decided to make a burger that was inspired by the shrimp burger at Japanese McDonald’s; David, who has a burger at his Bloomingdale’s restaurant, decided to go the lobster route; and Bryan, who’s "a purist when it comes to a burger" and hadn’t won a Quickfire yet, went a more traditional route. Sang Yoon, who got booted last week (and who judged burgers back in season one), was brought back to judge.

Here’s what they ended up with:

David: Lobster and burrata "burker" with apple pickles and quail egg
While it was a "strange combination," it’s wasn't off-putting and the the patty was "nice and juicy."

Jennifer: Beef burger with caramelized bacon, shiitake ponzu slaw, and Sriracha ketchup
The shiitake added flavor and texture, and even Sang liked the ketchup.

Bryan: Bacon and Cheddar beef burger with special sauce
It was classic and big, but the meat was a little spongy and "meatloaf-like."

Douglas: Shrimp burger with shiitake and radish slaw and ponzu sauce
The shrimp "disappeared" for Sang, and it’s clear that it just didn’t go over well.

Sang wasn’t crazy about the Douglas' shrimp burger, which was spongy and overpowered by the mushrooms; and Bryan’s burger, which had a weird texture. Jennifer’s burger was smoky and nicely charred, and while David’s sounded disgusting, the seafood played well with the apples. Jennifer’s ended up winning, and with it came $5,000 to her charity, Work Options for Women. She’s won every single challenge since she came back from elimination.

Only one challenge now remained before the finale. In the Battle of the Sous Chefs, Bryan’s chef won, giving him immunity and a spot in the finale. It’s oddly late in the season to give chefs immunity, but Bryan probably would have made it anyway. For the Elimination Challenge, they were tasked to create a four-course "tribute dinner" for four chefs from the Los Angeles School District. They each needed to create one course, each geared toward a specific teacher. Burke decided to cook a soufflé for 60 people, which required "titanium balls," according to Doug. They went to the Whole Foods, then had three hours to cook.

Here were their dishes:

Douglas: Smoked salmon with cauliflower, cucumber, and three kinds of caviar
It was luxurious and fancy, and "feels like a celebration," according to James Oseland, but was "rich on rich on rich," according to Curtis.

Bryan: Calamari Bolognese with miso cavatelli, bacon, and squid ink
"It makes me want to cry, it’s so good," said surprise guest judge Alan Richman, and it basically blew away everyone in the room.

Jennifer: Rack of lamb with creamy grains, pear, fennel, and red wine reduction
The lamb was just a little bit undercooked, but the porridge was tasty.

David: Bittersweet chocolate soufflé with toasted orange peel and raspberry sauce
While the fact he did a soufflé was admirable, it didn’t have the springiness of a perfect soufflé.

The chefs were called out to the critic’s table, where Curtis told them that Doug and Bryan had their favorite dishes. The smoked salmon was among the best James had tasted, and every component of Bryan’s dish was just about perfect, with the miso doing "amazing things," according to Richman. Bryan took the win, which incredibly was his first, and with it $10,000 for Share our Strength.

David and Jennifer were the least favorite. The lamb was undercooked, and didn’t have enough of a sear, but the porridge was delicious and had "a warmth and authenticity." David’s soufflé was simple in a good way and certainly daring, but the texture was a little soggy. Both of these would have easily been passable a few episodes ago, but not this late in the game.

In the end, it was David who got the boot, for making a soufflé that was simply nothing special. Which means that in the finale it’ll be Jennifer, Bryan, and Douglas. David took a chance, and it just didn’t pan out.

See you next week for the grand finale!


Top Chef: Texas , Episode 9 Recap

Zzzzzzzzzzzz. Restaurant Wars! In a real restaurant! Creative control and no lame gimmicks! Finally. Hugh Acheson and Padma are at the Palm Door with the eight remaining cheftestants. Hugh informs them that he wants to see a complete concept from name to design to menu. I love restaurant wars so I’m getting excited and the chefs are getting excited and… it’s boys versus girls. Ugh. Couldn’t they have just drawn knives? Top Chef, we’ve been together long enough for me to tell you this: you’re turning into a gimmick junkie and a sponsor slut. This isn’t a “it’s not you it’s me” kind of a thing. It’s you – you’re boring.

To add some suspense (I was on pins and needles, weren’t you?) Padma flips a coin to see which team will be cooking the first night. The other team will have the luxury of having an additional day of planning as well as dining at the competitions restaurant first. The coin is tossed and the boys lose. Ty, Paul, Ed and Chris J. will be cooking the first night and Sarah, Beverly, Grayson and Lindsay will cook the next night. Both teams must create a three-course menu with two options for each course. They will have 5 hours to decorate and cook before service begins at their restaurant. With 45 minutes to brain storm their concepts and $7500 to blow at Sur La Table and Garden Ridge the chefs are already feeling the pressure.

The boys decide to name their restaurant Canteen with a casual but elegant feel. They are madly decorating the space to create the appropriate atmosphere. I’m impressed with their skills. These are chefs, not interior designers. BOY chefs to boot. I’ve had naked curtain rods mounted on my walls for months because I can’t pick out curtains. So I say bravo gentlemen, bravo (Pun not intended at first. Then I realized how lame it was and left it. Trying to create a complete concept here folks).

The men have selected Ed to run the front of house while the other three man the kitchen. Since every chef must be responsible for at least one dish, Ed must rely on his buddies to properly deliver his dessert. Chris J. is suiting up in his chef’s coat and describes the situation as a kobayashi maru. I have no idea what that is although I’m pretty sure he’s trying to be funny. I don’t care enough to look it up so I shrug it off and keep watching. Almost as if he’s in my head he then explains it for those of us “who aren’t Trekkies.” Stop, hold the laugh track. This is hilarious. I once was blind but now I see. I will now add kobayashi maru to my list of things I’ve learned which, by the way, means something about testing captains in impossible situations. I bet his friends went all Kung Fu panda when he used that description.

Service at Canteen starts off nicely but takes a sharp turn downhill. The chefs are totally unorganized in the kitchen and no one really knows who’s in charge of what. That added to the highly incompetent wait staff is a recipe for disaster. The chefs aren’t plating properly and the staff is delivering food to incorrect tables. The judges, Tom, Padma, Hugh and Emeril arrive for dinner. The first course options are Ty’s Thai style crab and shrimp salad with caramel fish sauce & peanuts or Paul’s ham & pork pate with mushrooms, braised mustard seeds & duck fat crostini. The judges found Ty’s dish to bland as did my friend, Elizabeth, who was a guest diner at Canteen that night as well.

You probably caught a glimpse of her (pretty blond, pink shirt) shoving a bite of shrimp into her mouth. As a guest she was instructed to “act normal and not stare at the judges.” So, when she asked her date what he thought of his ham and pork and he said it wasn’t what he expected but it was working, was all real. Paul’s dish was working according to the real judges too.

For the second course the choices were poached salmon in warm tomato water, clams, salmon skin & tomatillo jam created by Paul and Ty or a crispy skin pork belly with green apple & sweet potato puree created solely by Paul. Again,the feeback is the same from the judges and my friend. Ty’s dish was bland, Paul’s was fine. Meanwhile, service at the kitchen window is a wreck which they’ve designed to be visible to the entire restaurant. The staff is confused, the chefs are confused, Ed is confused and everyone is frustrated.

The judges and the lady chefs are finally enjoying their desserts as the night is coming to an end. Ed has made an almond joy cake with chocolate mousse & banana coconut puree and Chris J. has created a homemade cracker jack with caramel, cherries & peanut butter ice cream. The judges like Ed’s dessert but the lack of coconut flavoring makes the confused about the description. Chris J.’s dessert was not asthetically pleasing to anyone. Hugh called it a “jumbled mess in a bowl” and Emeril said “the presentation of the dish was harrrrable.” Tom likes the flavors of the dish, looks aside. Elizabeth said Ed’s dessert combined with Chris’s peanut butter ice cream was a lovely combination. Two mediocre desserts made one tasty one.

Dinner ends, the judges aren’t impressed, the girls feel like they need to bring their A game and the boy band feels deflated. They know it wasn’t good and now they are just hoping the girls sink themselves by acting like catty girls.

The next day Half Bushel opens for business. The girls are in the kitchen prepping and already jumping all over each other. Sarah and Grayson each have two dishes, Lindsay has one dish and is serving as front of the house and Beverly has only one dish. Sarah starts riding Bev and I immediately have flashbacks to the shrimp fiasco. “All she had to do was the shrimp! It took 2 days to peel shrimp!” Not only am I over ripping on Beverly, but I’m also over these bullies walking all over her. I want to shout “back the F off.” I wish Beverly would. It isn’t just her dish she’s responsible for though, Beverly will also be cooking Lindsay’s halibut. Lindsay is giving specific instructions on how she wants it cooked and although Bev says that wouldn’t be her way of cooking the fish she will do as Lindsay says.

The judges and Team boys arrive separately but both are not greeted at the door. Lindsay is nowhere to be seen. She is in the kitchen because a patron recently informed her that his halibut was over-cooked. Her southern accent went into high gear as she thanked him for his feedback then she took his plate and high-tailed it to the kitchen. As she is storming to the back I’m thinking “run, Bev, run!” The kitchen is a nightmare and these four girls are living up to the catty girl stereotypes. It’s like a bad episode of Jerry Springer and it makes me wish I was a guy. An Italian guy. You know I have an affinity for all things Italian.

The rest of the evening a rocky road and service is horrible. The saving grace is that the food is great. The first course options were Grayson’s peach salad with pickled shallots, bacon vinegrette & candied pistachios or Sarah’s mozzarella filled arancino, sweet & sour eggplant & celery salad. Both were a hit. Bev prepared braised short ribs with Thai basil potato puree apple slaw & kimichi and Lindsay created the grilled halibut with Spanish chorizo, fennel, & sherry salad. Beverly’s was widely praised while Lindsay’s dish got a little less praise for being slightly overcooked. For the third and final course Grayson prepared a schaum torte with vanilla meringue & champagne berries and Sarah made hazelnut cream Italian doughnuts with banana sugar glaze. The judges had very few critiques. At the boys table Chris says “This is the nicest dinner I’ve had since I got here.” Ouch.

Back in the stew room all the cheftestants are actually on pins and needles. Paul feels embarrassed, “we are four badass chefs and we choked.” Lindsay calls out Beverly and says “you f**ked up my dish.” Grayson (she’s got character) has already defended Beverly in this regard and told Lindsay the error was probably in the cooking procedure. Ty is blaming disorganization and everyone is pointing fingers. I can’t take any more yelling. This is why I don’t watch daytime television. Well that, and I have job. Padma enters and we hear silence.

JUDGES TABLE

The girls are brought in first to see the judges. After a very brief critique and a hula hoop contest, they get their second win of the episode (no hula hoops were harmed or actually used in the filming of this television show). The girls do a group hug and squeal, you know how girls do, and all is forgiven. Girl power.

The boys walk sadly into the judges room. Their mistakes are obvious. All of Ty’s food is under-seasoned, Paul took on too much and didn’t make sure Ty seasoned their salmon and the flavors on his other dish didn’t blend, Chris’ dessert was a mess and Ed didn’t do the best job of running the show. After much deliberation, Ty is asked to pack his knives. Bye, Bye Ty.

LCK – Nyesha vs. Ty

Each chef has 30 minutes to make a dessert. They get to choose a sous chef from previously eliminated chefs. Nyesha has a personal vendetta against Ty since he was rude to her earlier in the season. In an effort to shut him down she chooses Heather since she and Ty have worked together before. Ty is bummed Heather is taken and chooses Chris C. Both teams work well together. Nyesha presents a coconut lime tart with coconut crème fraiche mousse. Ty serves a Black forest salted puff pastry with dark chocolate mousse and cherries. Tom says both desserts are restaurant ready but if he had to eat one again he would choose Nyesha. She takes her 4th LCK win and only has to beat three more chefs to be back in the competition.


Top Chef Season 10 Recap: Episode 9 – Past Suppers

Top Chef Season 10 is celebrating those ten years of successful shows and past winners tonight, as the chefs create some of the most memorable dishes from the past ten seasons on Top Chef Seattle. Knife skills will be tested and then good times will be remembered in the Top Chef Kitchen as familiar faces join us in the Elimination Challenge and two of the cheftestants will cook for survival on Top Chef 2012. You won’t want to miss a thing, so keep reading for my Top Chef Season 10 recap!

The episode starts with the chefs meeting Padma Lakshmi in the Top Chef kitchen for the Quickfire Challenge, which is going to be testing their knife skills. Bob Kramer, a master bladesmith, will serve as a guest judge. This will be a team challenge, with the chefs getting into teams of three. First they must sharpen dull knives to razor-sharp and the first two teams done move on.

The chefs draw knives for teams and it will be Red Team (John, Kristen and Josie), Blue Team (Josh, Sheldon and Micah) and Green Team (Stefan, Lizzie and Brooke). First challenge: all three chefs must be able to cut through a piece of paper with their newly razor-sharp knives. Accomplish that and move on to the next round, but if anyone cuts themselves with the knife then their team is eliminated.

The sharpening starts and first to try it out is the Green Team: Stefan and Lizzie pass, but Brooke fails and has to sharpen the knife even more. John feels the Red Team is ready, even though Kristen thinks her knife is dull still. Josie and Kristen pass, but John fails and must sharpen it more. He gets it done quickly and checked again and the Red Team moves on. Brooke is still sharpening and the Blue Team gets checked and they all pass, so they move on and the Green Team is eliminated.

For Round 2 on Top Chef Seattle, the chefs work on the potatoes. John thinks he is a pro, but when doesn’t he? Josie gets a little cut on her finger, so she is eliminated and the Red Team must compete with only two chefs now. They come close, but the Blue Team finishes first and moves on to the final round.

It is Sheldon, Micah and Josh in the final round. They breakdown the rabbit and Sheldon is lost and Josh seems to know how to break it down, but struggling with frenching it. Micah finds his groove and completes the task first and wins immunity and the Bob Kramer knife.

For the Elimination Challenge tonight, the chefs each get a Kindle Fire, which has a memorable moment from the seasons past. They will have to recreate a dish representing that moment, but a healthier version of it. The winning dish will inspire a new Healthy Choice Top Chef Cafe Steamer and the chef gets $15,000. The chefs head out to do some shopping for the next day and then hang out in the hotel looking at old clips and actually enjoying each other’s company.

Cooking day arrives and everyone is busy in the kitchen. They have two-and-a-half hours to prep and cook their dishes for the Top Chef Super Fans. The judges tonight are Padma, Tom Colicchio, Wolfgang Puck and culinary experts Wylie Dufresne, Jonathan Waxman and Chris Cosentino.

Josie – Herb-Roasted Chicken with Parsnip Puree and Steamed Root Vegetables (Season 1)

  • Jonathan said it was a chicken dish with a side of vegetables that you can get at any restaurant and not very exciting. Wylie thought the chicken was roasted nicely, but wanted more crunch on the chicken.

Stefan – Roasted Red Pepper Soup with Bacon and Grilled Mimolette Cheese Sandwich (Season 2)

John – Umami Risotto with Chicken, Salmon Roe, Burdock Root and Carrot Emulsion (Season 3)

  • Risotto is a dish that everyone struggles with on Top Chef and John did as well, with the rice being undercooked and Padma said she is not a fan of it.

Sheldon – Beef Carpaccio with Poi Aioli, Mizuna and Mushroom Salad and Silken Tofu Foam (Season 4)

Lizzie – Seared Scallops with Roasted Fennel, Garlic Puree, Orange and Olive Salad (Season 5)

Josh – Soy-Glazed Pork Tenderloin with Smoked Cashew Puree and Heirloom Peaches (Season 6)

Brooke – Smoked Salmon, Forbidden Black Rice with English Pea and Parsnip Puree (Season 7)

  • She did a great job of making it a healthier dish and the judges thought it was put together well.

Kristen – Poached Chicken Breast, Carrot Puree with Garlic and Tofu Emulsion (Season 8)

  • All the judges loved her dish, but Chris did not have all the sauces on his plate that the others did, so he was not happy.

Micah – Five-Spiced Duck Breast with Miso Polenta and Pickled Cherries (Season 9)

The judges ask to talk to Brooke, Kristen, Josh, John and Lizzie, who had the best and worst dishes for this challenge on Top Chef Seattle. Brooke, Kristen and Josh had the best dishes, but Kristen had the best overall and she wins $15,000. For John and Lizzie, it is a twist. On the Kindle Fire that Padma kept for Season 10, it shows a memorable moment of this season and they must create a dish right now in a cook-off!

They have to make a healthier version of the burger that CJ made earlier this season with the Spicy Dill Pickle. They have 45 minutes to make the dish, so it is on now. Tensions rise in the kitchen, as John shares his pickles with Lizzie, but then uses all of her dill and then fighting over the oven.

They bring their dishes to the judges and John made a Lamb Burger with Fried Egg and Spicy Pickle, Tomato and Pomegranate Salad. Chris asked why he would put an egg on the burger when he was making a lean dish. Wolfgang said the lamb was overcooked for him. Lizzie made a Chicken Burger with Goat Cheese Ricotta and Dill Pickle Roasted Red Pepper Salad. Wolfgang said it is very moist. Chris likes the salad, but he would have liked just a wisp of salt. Tom said they have put together two nice dishes.

The judges decide that Lizzie made the better burger, so she is safe and John is eliminated on Top Chef Seattle. CJ is still holding strong in Top Chef: Last Chance Kitchen, so it is a battle between him and John now.


One of Houston’s ‘Top Chef’ Contestants Packed Their Knives and Went Home

On last night’s episode of Top Chef: Portland, one of the two chef contenders from Houston had to pack their knives and go home. Read on to find out who, and of course, note that spoilers lie within.

The episode kicked off with a Quickfire challenge that was all about breakfast. The chefs were essentially short-order cooks, choosing a dish from a variety of selections like “fancy toast” offered up by the guest judges. Interestingly, Houston contestants Dawn Burrell and Sasha Grumman were asked to prepare the same dish — a veggie hash with perfectly fried over-easy eggs.

It wasn’t a great showing for the Houston chefs in the Quickfire, unfortunately. Both Burrell and Grumman didn’t have time to plate the eggs they were asked to prepare, and Grumman forgot to prepare them altogether. Despite that setback, Grumman’s flavors won out amongst the two, but weren’t strong enough to secure the challenge win and the immunity from elimination that comes with it.

Later, Burrell and Grumman prepared for the main challenge, which tasked the chefs with preparing a dish that featured either coffee or beer, both staples of Portland’s culinary scene. Ultimately, judge Tom Colicchio threw in a major twist, telling the chefs that they’d be required to team up and prepare a dish that blended both ingredients alongside one of their fellow chef competitors.

Grumman partnered with chef Brittanny Anderson, whom she’d actually met in Houston prior to the show’s taping. Speaking with Eater on Thursday, Grumman said that both she and Burrell met Anderson at a pop-up dinner event at chef Ryan Lachaine’s Montrose restaurant Riel, instantly hitting it off. “As soon as we saw each other all on the show, we freaked out,” Grumman says. “Now, Dawn and I are, you know, hanging out and having picnics. I really love what Top Chef did for our relationship, we got a lot closer a lot quicker, and that’s awesome.”

Brittanny Anderson, pictured left, and Sasha Grumman, right David Moir/Bravo

Anderson and Grumman were confident in their dish, which paired pork loin with a hazelnut-coffee crumble and romesco sauce. The judges, however, weren’t nearly as impressed. Their dish was described as “a collection of ingredients brought together,” with no “holistic identity.” Grumman’s romesco and hazelnut crumble were especially problematic, according to the judges. “It lacked any kind of personality or point of view,” host Padma Lakshmi said.

Meanwhile, Burrell teamed up with Portland chef Gabriel Pascuzzi to prepare a dish that brought together a rack of ribs with beer-infused compressed watermelon and a pickled vegetable garnish. Even though the two butted heads a little bit over the flavors in their dish while cooking, the final result earned rave reviews from the judges. Burrell’s “phenomenal,” fall-off-the-bone ribs earned high praise, and landed the duo in the top three teams of the day.

Unfortunately, things didn’t go so well for Grumman. Her team ended up in the bottom, and she was ultimately eliminated. That likely had something to do with the fact that she was responsible for the components that the judges were most critical of. Eater spoke with Grumman before this week’s episode aired, so she wasn’t able to divulge those details, but she did speak frankly about how the experience of being critiqued on this show has shaped her as a chef.

You know, how you respond to criticism, and to people judging you is a huge challenge of your character,” Grumman says. “Can you take criticism, can you, you know, handle it? These people are so acclaimed, and they’ve done so many amazing things. There’s a reason they’re up there and you have to respect that.”


Watch the video: Masterchef Junior S6E10 (June 2022).


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