Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Top Chef Masters Episode 4 Previews

Click here for two more.

Monday, June 29, 2009

Recap Roundup: Top Chef Masters Episode 3

One more TCM episode down, and this time Rick Bayless and his tongue (the one on the plate, not the one in his mouth) took the prize, so the master of Mexican advances on to the next round.

We know what the "critics" think, but what about the real judges? Though a few of our faves took a break this week (apparently they have "real lives"), plenty of folks had thoughts to share. So without further ado, here's what the bloggers are saying:

My Monkey Could Do That on the downside of professionalism: "Wilo gets beef heart, Rick gets tongue, Cindy has tripe, and Ludo gets pig’s ears. Of course, since these are well-qualified chefs this does not faze them in the slightest. Which is SO BORING. Not one whiner?"

Jordan Baker on Rick Bayless and his tongue: "A guy in a pink polo shirt and a Spike hat says "come on Rick, slip me some tongue," and Rick replies 'Yeah, once Rick Bayless has slipped you some tongue, you never forget it.' It sounds less pervy in his cheerful Rick Bayless voice than it looks written out like that."

Slashfood on the Bayless luck: "Of course, any competition in which Mexican cuisine whiz Rick Bayless is given tongue while others make do with tripe is somewhat stacked from the beginning. (That's a little like daring Julia Child to whip up something prominently featuring butter.)"

Chicagoist on Cindy Pawlcyn's non-Tex-Mex take on offal: "Pawlcyn's menudo is up next and she nails it when she calls her dish the more intimidating dish because she didn't wrap that shit up all tight in a pita or tortilla 'cause nothing says non-threatening to yer average folks like another part of the world's version of Wonder Bread. Well, she didn't say all that. But you get our point."

Chew on That on Ludo Lefebvre's Ludo-ness: "I didn’t care for Ludo Lefebvre’s attitude, frankly. Every chef wants to win but he was just plain snooty about everything that I just didn’t want him to win. Not to mention, I certainly don’t want to go to his restaurant now either."

Top Chef Examiner on the next logical spinoff: "Coming off a somewhat sleepy friends and family atmosphere in the first episode of Top Chef Masters, each subsequent episode seems to be getting a little more competitive, a little more ugly. Way to go Bravo on keeping the steam truck rolling! Here's a show idea...maybe a Wylie vs. Ludo showdown, Iron Chef style?"

TWOP on the aesthetic qualities of Lefebvre's Quickfire dish: "Ludo’s dish is based around red. He serves steak tartare with watermelon, red onions and beet gazpacho. It looks like a plate of placenta. I’m sorry. I know that’s gross, but it’s true."

TV Fodder on Wilo Benet's Quickfire faux pas: "Wilo created a lovely smoked salmon tartar with coconut milk and tomato paste sauce. They loved the look and taste, but would have preferred it if he had remembered to take off the ring that he used to shape the salmon."

Fans of Reality TV on Lefebvre's hilarious assumption about Bayless: "At the checkout Ludo finds that Rick is planning tacos; he is displeased because Rick 'copied him.' Yes, Ludo. Because everything has to do with you, and not, you know, what training or expertise someone may have."

Time Out Chicago on Cindy Pawlcyn's extracurriculars: "Pawlcyn confidently mentions that she runs some kind of women’s organ-cooking club, which sounds like a satanic feminist cult with great potlucks."

Serious Eats on the character drama (finally!): "This episode was crafted as a battle of good and evil: the big-hearted Puerto Rican who teared up when talking about charity; the affable Northern Californian who, even after her loss, said she "couldn't wait to cook tripe again"; the unfailingly lovable Bayless... and the surly, oily, insufferable Frenchman who whined about pig's ears, dismissed the other chefs with a snort, and yelled at Bayless when he tried to help him box up his food."

Limecrete on the advantages of being bilingual: "It is here we get our first instance of Ludo's problems with the time limit, which will be a theme for the evening. By the way, cussing in French isn't censored."

TC News & Information

Is TCM's Ludo Lefebvre annoying?

Diana Takes a Bite describes her experience at Lefebvre's restaurant, Ludo Bites.

Eater LA has breaking news about TC5's Stefan Richter's new restaurant.

Boulder Restaurant Examiner takes a look into the kitchen of chef Lachlan MacKinnon Patterson.

Here's a Miami Herald review of Top Chef Masters.

TC5's Gene Villiatora is popping up again in this interview.

YumSugar spoke to TC5 victor Hosea Rosenberg at the recent Aspen Food & Wine Festival.

Bake a pie for the NY Theatre Experiment! TC1s Dave Martin will be a guest judge, along with Project Runway's Kara Janx. Details here.

Here's an interview with TC2 hottie Sam Talbot.

TC Masters Winning Recipe - Episode 3

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Exit Interviews TCM Episode 3

Watch interviews with the three eliminated chefs here.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Reactions to Top Chef Masters Episode Three

This week on Top Chef Masters, we had a Quickfire Challenge that involved monochromatic food (honestly, I don't remember this one from the original series). Chef Ludo Lefebvre cursed almost as much as Wylie Dufresne did last week, but I thought his dish had great potential. Red beet gazpacho? Yum! And while Rick Bayless' symphony in green was "complex," it was Wilo Benet's orange dish that won over the judges.

His lead was not to last, however. Did the "street food" challenge seem like a gimme for someone like Rick Bayless, a man who made his fortune with tacos, quesadillas, and sopes? And he got tongue, for goodness' sake - I've eaten tongue tacos. They're delicious.

The most disadvantaged in this challenge was poor Ludo, the chef who came from a cuisine with no tradition of street food. Quesadillas were a good idea, but they did not show off the pig ears as much as the judges would have liked.

So what did you think about this week's episode? Please tell us in the comments.

Poll Results - TCM Episode Three

According to our poll, 65% of you thought that chef Rick Bayless would be the winner in the third episode of Top Chef Masters. And you were absolutely correct.

Now, tell us why you thought he would win.

Congratulations, Chef Bayless!

Congrats to Chef Bayless on his win! Although his green dish didn't score top points, he came from behind (well, not far behind) with his rendition of a classic Mexican street food. His tongue tacos were a big hit with both the Critics and the visitors to Universal Studios.

He now joins Suzanne Tracht and Hubert Keller as finalists for the big prize - tough opponents both, but he is more than a match!

This post is only for positive words for Chef Bayless. If you have anything negative to say about him or another chef, please click here.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

TC News & Information

TC4s Richard Blais will be appearing at the Variety Playhouse in Atlanta on Saturday, June 27th for an interactive cooking demo. Sounds like fun!

TC5s Carla Hall is featured in the Washington Post's onBeing column.

Savory TV shares photos of TC5s Fabio Viviani hobnobbing in Aspen...

...and Cafe Society shares some thoughts on the Top Chef-heavy event.

Southwest Airlines has set up an outdoor "porch" in Bryant Park and will be serving foods inspired by Southwest destinations, provided by Tom Colicchio's 'wichcraft. I'm curious to test the authenticity of that Baltimore soft crab sandwich....

This year's Taste of Chicago is offering Richard Blais' liquid-nitrogen-and popcorn-ball "popcornsicles." Unfortunately, Blais won't be around to hand out the chilly treats. Taste opens on Friday the 26th and runs until July 5th.

Top Chef Masters Previews - Episode Three

See two more previews here.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Recap Roundup: Top Chef Masters Episode 2

Above: theminx's weecap of episode 2

They made it through the vending machine Quickfire and past the not-so-critical Critics' Table. But can last week's contestants handle the bloggers? We'll find out. Here are your recaps:

Cliffieland on the winner and the grammar: "Suzanne wins and will move on to join Chef Hubert Keller (and the four faceless Hubert silhouettes) in the “Champions Round.” (Why do these people hate well-placed apostrophes?)"

David Dust on the nature of the show: "I’ve come to the conclusion that Top Chef Masters is a perfectly good cooking show, but not a great “reality” show. Reality shows have drama and ridiculousness and obnoxious douchebags which makes the episodes recap-worthy. Top Chef Masters? Not so much."

My Monkey Could Do That on the softie Critics' Table: "Elizabeth had too little sauce and too much pudding. Graham’s maki roll was just ok. See, they don’t say these things to the chefs! They’re just all, “Oh your food is delicious”. Sigh."

Limecrete on the Quickfire judges: "Bravo still hasn't learned that the second season was a giant black hole of suck, and we'd rather forget everyone involved with it. Yes, Ilan, Betty, and Michael are on hand to judge the challenge, and two-thirds of that group needs to be thwacked in the face with a sack of bricks."

Thursday Night Smackdown on eventual winner Suzanne Tracht: "I like Suzanne Tracht from the words “pot roast.” Also because her restaurant is called Jar. She seems lacking on the personality front, but I can forgive that for a good pot roast."

Chew on That on portion sizes and Suzanne Tracht's winning dish: "I always thought maybe contestants were being conscientious of the judges having to eat a lot in one sitting, or maybe it’s just that fancy food usually comes in smaller portions. So maybe it was just me, but there was something about seeing the judges devour a big plate of food and enjoying the whole thing that was comforting. They’re human! Finally!"

Procrastiblog on new blogger fave judge Jay Raynor: "P.S. Can Jay Raynor please replace Toby Young on the regular show?"

Serious Eats defending Kelly Choi (aka NotPadma): "I also thought Kelly Choi was fine as host. She's been taking a beating here on SE in comments as well as on other blogs, but I don't see what's so bad about her. People have pointed to her physique and questioned whether she actually eats and/or enjoys food, and to that I say, sure she's skinny, but I've known lots of rail-thin people who are hearty eaters and just have fab metabolisms (and I hate them for it)."

Chicagoist on Wylie Dufresne's trucker mouth: "Good taste but Ilan says too big and difficult to eat. Dufresne curses back in the kitchen, watching this on the television. We envision little old ladies in hats that work for his charity putting down their teacups and sucking air in through their teeth."

Culture Crumbs on crushed assumptions: "I thought for sure that the three other celebrity chefs — the jolly, competitive, tattooed Graham Elliot Bowles, the reserved Suzanne Tracht and the first Susan Powter knockoff I’d seen on a cooking show: Elizabeth Falkner — didn’t have a chance in heck against Wylie."

Philly City Paper on Dufresne's off-TV life: "Dufresne’s never seen Lost, which is probably a good thing for him because the island’s mystical magnetic properties would probably prevent him from transmogrifying foie gras into a badminton racket or whatever the hell that guy likes to do."

Fans of Reality TV on the Lost connection: "Our critics sit down to table with a bunch of Lost folks, and the Lost folks confess an obsession with Top Chef. One guy says there’s been a dip in quality ever since TC started. So now you know who to direct your letters to, Lost fans. "

Jordan Baker on chef attire: "Elizabeth Falkner enters in her purpley coat. What is it with one chef in each round wearing a non-white coat? Does this signify that they're evil or something?"

Chicago Tribune on the common "too big to be an amuse-bouche" complaint: " An amuse should be tiny, a couple of bites. Ilan said that Wylie’s grilled cheese was too big; well, what about Suzanne’s bowlful of stuff? That’s an appetizer, folks."

Exit Interviews - TCM Episode Two

Interviews with Graham Elliot Bowles, Wylie Dufresne, and Elizabeth Falkner are here

Saturday, June 20, 2009

TC News & Information

The 2009 Aspen Food & Wine Classic is going on now. Check out pics of Top Chef participants, including season 1 winner Harold Dieterle (above) here.

Here's an interview with Top Chef Masters competitor Roy Yamaguchi.

TC5s Gene Villiatora is still cooking in Vegas.

Check out Creative Loafing's podcast for TC Masters episode 2.

TC Masters Winning Recipe - Episode 2

The recipe can be found here.

Why doesn't Fabio have his own cooking show? He's a natural in front of the camera.

Friday, June 19, 2009

TC News & Information

TC5s Stefan Richter offers his Father's Day menu.

Gail Simmons stands up for Toby Young.

Eater gives us a 37-word recap of Top Chef Masters episode 2, plus some of their favorite Wylie Dufresne quotes.

And here's an interview with episode 2 winner Suzanne Tracht.

TC Video du Jour

Fabio gives us too much information....

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Congratulations, Chef Tracht!

Congrats to Chef Suzanne Tract! Both of your dishes were a raving success; the season 2 cheftestants loved your crispy shallots and Dr Pepper aioli (can I get the recipe?!) and the Critics and Lost folks really enjoyed your entree of boar and uni risotto.

I think a lot of non-LA viewers were not familiar with you or your work, and now we are in awe of your culinary prowess. We look forward to seeing you in the later battle.

This post is only for positive words for Chef Tracht. If you have anything negative to say about her or another chef, please click here.

Reactions to Top Chef Masters Episode Two

How about this week's battle? The results were a bit surprising, weren't they? We all knew Wylie Dufresne from his guest appearances on Top Chef in the past, so of course we thought he was going to win this one. But nooo...out comes Suzanne Tracht and blows Wylie out of the water...as does everyone else.

The results of the vending machine Quickfire Challenge were a heck of a lot more elegant with Masters behind the stoves than with those Season 2 cheftestants, but they also had the benefit of a sandwich machine. And of course, Dr. Pepper. ;) It was amusing to see Betty Frazer, Mike Midgley, and Ilan Hall show up for judging. So what has Ilan been up to since he won season 2? If you're reading this, Ilan, we'd love an update!

The "Lost Supper" was a fun idea. Apparently, a real chef can do more with canned string beans than someone like Sandra Lee.

So what did you think about this episode? Please share your opinions with us in the comments.

Poll Results - TCM Episode Two

According to our poll, you thought that chef Wylie Dufresne would be the winner in the second episode of Top Chef Masters. But he had some extremely tough competition in Graham Elliot Bowles, Elizabeth Falkner, and especially in the winner of this week's match-up, Suzanne Tracht!

Now, tell us why you thought he would win.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009


It's Wednesday, and that means another new episode of Top Chef Masters! Tonight's battle features chefs Wylie Dufresne, Elizabeth Falkner, Suzanne Tracht, and Graham Elliot Bowles.

Tune in back here tomorrow and later in the week for our thoughts on the episode, plus links to recappers, news, and more!

TC News & Information

After 40 years of reviewing restaurants for New York Magazine, Gael Greene got the boot. Now she works as a reviewer for Crain's. Read her first review here.

Here's 10 things you might not know about TC4 winner Stephanie Izard.

TC1's Andrea Beaman and Dave Martin, plus TC2s Betty Fraser offer advice on minimizing refrigerator waste.

TC1s Lee Ann Wong now the Executive Chef for Kogi New York, reveals some of her diet secrets.

TC5s Fabio Viviani will host the Gilroy Garlic Festival Garlic Showdown on July 26.

TCM judge Jay Rayner talks about Top Chef Masters.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

TC Video du Jour

Tom Colicchio has "a few friends who are vampires." Uh-huh.

Top Chef Masters Episode 2 Previews

Click here for more previews.

Padma Lakshmi Attends the CFDA Fashion Awards

Photo: J. McCarthy

Padma looked gorgeous last night at the CFDA Fashion Awards in New York City.

Monday, June 15, 2009

TC News & Information

Look who showed up at the Top Chef Masters viewing party.

Here's an interview with Hubert Keller.

Creative Loafing offers a Top Chef podcast.

TCM competitor Suzanne Tracht shares her favorite kitchen essentials.

Just for fun, TV Casualties offers Top Chef Masters vs. Next Food Network Star. Hello? No contest!

TC Masters Winning Recipe - Episode 1

Here's a Top Chef/Top Chef Masters crossover video in which TC5's Fabio Viviano prepares TCM's Hubert Keller's mac and cheese. It's not authentic without the shower rinse though....

The recipe can be found here.

Exit Interviews - TCM Episode One

Click here to see Michael Schlow's, Christopher Lee's, and Tim Love's exit interviews.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

TCM Reviews

There are lots of recaps, but some reviews are coming in as well.

And...the debut of Top Chef Masters drew a record audience for Bravo, "garnering the highest rated Wednesday series premiere ever for the network in all key demos in the 10 p.m. time period, according to Nielsen Media Research. 'Top Chef Masters' delivered 1.37 million total viewers and 907,000 adults 18-49."

New York Magazine thinks parts of the show are brilliant and parts are despicable.

Slashfood doesn't miss the drama.

Televisionary offers his impression of episode 1.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Recap Roundup: Top Chef Masters Episode 1 (UPDATED!)

The first episode is over and we’ve all had a chance to let the results (and the new format) sink in. Now is the time that all cheftestants dread…time for what the bloggers think.

Good news for the chefs that care: so far, most of the bloggers think the show is pretty good. Maybe a little less spicy than a regular season, but general consensus is that at least it’s nice to see the food. This episode, in particular, there’s some missing of the Padma, a lot of Hubert Keller love, and a little, “Come on, Hubert. And Michael. You’re not too good for a microwave.”

In their words:

Cliffieland on GE's continued excellence: "Halfway in, Christopher learns the lesson that so many others have learned: GE Monogram™ appliances are NOT to be trusted. Naturally, his oven doesn’t work, his mixer is hosed and the freezer isn’t freezing.Good work, GE! That sponsorship deal is golden!"

KicksInfo on the (lack of) drama: “It looks like we shouldn’t expect a clash of personalities in this series — the chefs all seem to genuinely like and respect each other. I’m happy for them… but slightly disappointed for us.”

Procrastiblog on what no drama means for the bloggers: "As much as I like to act all contemptuous of the Hoseas, the Leahs, the Arrianes, and so on, and pretend they have no place on Top Chef, I’m in the snark business over here. Writing a snarky blog post about Top Chef Masters is going to be like preparing an amuse bouche with ingredients from a vending machine. I don’t want to turn out the blog equivalent of a Snickers bar with a Cheeto sticking out of it."

Philly City Paper’s Meal Ticket on host Kelly Choi: “I think they posted a Craigslist like ‘Seeking Hot Ethnic Woman Who Claims to Be a ‘Foodie’ But is Clearly Too Skinny For That Shit’”

Jordan Baker on TCM vs. TC the original: "So there's no Padma and no Tom Colicchio? The resemblance between this show and actual Top Chef gets slimmer and slimmer every moment. The hostess seems relatively sober, and they've replaced Tom with an old lady in jaunty hats."

Chew on That on Hubert Keller: “I’ll be honest: the only chef of these 4 that I had even heard of was Hubert Keller. Whether it’s because he was a guest judge in past seasons of Top Chef or he’s just more famous than the others, I’m not sure, but what I do know is that Hubert Keller seemed like the clear winner from the start!”

Top Chef Masters Review on everybody's feelings about pastry: "Michael Schlow echoed the sentiment of previous cooks when he stated that desserts were the bane of his existence."

Televicious on Tim Love’s chicken fried strawberries: “Why do the chicken-fried strawberries sound delish? Well, the girl scouts agree with me.”

Thursday Night Smackdown on the Girl Scouts: “I think you could make an entire television series out of famous chefs being criticized by Girl Scouts. I would be all over that like Ilan Hall on derivative Spanish food.”

Limecrete on the shower scene: “Hubert works some ingenious and somewhat disgusting magic with pasta and the communal showers, impressing all the judges.”

Sweet Tea and Sunshine on the “critics” (not judges): “They talk, they debate, they sort-of-don’t-like some things and mostly like others. But generally they are fairly mellow and respectful…”

David Dust on his not-so-secret crush, Christopher Lee: "James Oseland, while discussing Christopher’s Pork Chops, states 'The meat … ah, the Angels sang!'. Hey, BACK IT UP AND AWAY FROM MY MAN, Beeyotch. If you so much as mention his delicious pork again, I will cut you."

B-Side Blog on the critics: "The new judges were articulate and informed — even if I didn't quite trust Red Sweater's knowledge of tailgating food."

Give Me My Remote on the Kind-of-Glad stew room: “And oh man, how much did you guys love the nice table with wine and a table cloth that the chefs got to sit at? This is, of course, opposed to beer and lawn chairs in the store room. I think that’s awesome—keep everyone in their place!”

Foodie in Disguise on the sweet factor: "I really enjoyed this version of Top Chef. It was nice to see well-seasoned (haha) chefs battle it out against each other. There is a certain camaraderie that exists amongst them that also is very endearing to me."

My Monkey Could Do That on what’s coming up: “This season: a lot of cooking and a decided lack of drama. Neil Patrick Harris!! LOVE!”

Any other recappers out there? Send us a link and we’ll add you to the roundup.

Congratulations, Chef Keller!

Congratulations to Chef Keller for winning the premiere battle of Top Chef Masters! Not only did he succeed in pleasing a gaggle of Girl Scouts, he also impressed a tough panel of judges, including college students, in the Elimination challenge. He did a Masterful job of creating his dishes using minimal equipment, and it was a stroke of genius to use the shower to cool down and then warm up his pasta.

We look forward to seeing Chef Keller in the final round.

This post is only for positive words for Chef Keller. If you have anything negative to say about him or another chef, please click here.

Reactions to Top Chef Masters Episode One

So...what did you think? Was it enough like the regular series to satisfy, or did you think it was too different? What did you think of the challenges? the judges? And do you agree with the winning chef?

Please share your opinions with us in the comments.

Poll Results - TCM Episode One

According to our poll, you thought that chef Hubert Keller would be the winner in the first episode of Top Chef Masters. Looks like you were right! 

Now, tell us why you thought he would win.  

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

More Masters Buzz

Here's an article from the Sacramento Bee.

Here's a review from the LA Times...

...and another from the NY Daily News.

Here's a Q&A with first episode combatant Christopher Lee...

...and another with host Kelly Choi.

Are you getting excited yet?

Top Chef Masters Tonight!

Are you ready for the battle of the masters? Tune in to Bravo at 10/9c, and then come back here tomorrow morning and tell us what you think.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Top Chef Masters Buzz

TC Masters debuts this week and there's already lots of buzz on the Internets...

Television Without Pity has a list of fictional characters they'd like to see compete.

TV Guide weighs in.

Premium Hollywood can't wait until TCM airs.

Here's a review from the Chicago Sun-Times.

TC News & Information

Carla Hall and Ariane Duarte presented the Best Pastry Chef award at last week's Rammy Awards.

Carla is doing a live chat this week on the ChefTalk Cooking Forum. Join in here.

Season 5's Leah Cohen whipped up a yummy summer meal for The Early Show Saturday Edition.

TC Masters competitor Nils Noren weighs in on molecular gastronomy.

Here's an interview with Top Chef Masters host Kelly Choi.

Photo credit: Kyle Gustafson/Kate Nerenberg

Italian Earthquake Relief with Fabio and Bravo

On April 6, a magnitude 6.3 earthquake shook central Italy, leaving almost 300 dead and 28,000 homeless, and triggering several strong aftershocks. The earthquake was the worst to hit the region in nearly three decades. The American Red Cross is helping survivors and their communities recover from this devastating disaster.

Bravotv.com will be rolling out a new video each day, for 16 days of Chef Fabio Viviani preparing dishes derivative of the region affected by the earthquake.

To support the Red Cross, click here.

Monday, June 8, 2009

TC Video du Jour

Baltimore foodie and blogger Dara Bunjon met up with Carla Hall at this weekend's Food and Wine Festival at National Harbor for a candid conversation:

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Top Chef Masters Previews - Episode One

So we've done enough talking about Top Chef Masters - now how about watching some previews?

Friday, June 5, 2009

TC News & Information

Carla Hall, Fabio Viviani, and Jeff McInnis spoke to Entertainment Weekly about their future plans.

Richard Blais uses Cap'n Crunch on the Top Chef tour.

Grub Street posted part of an interview with everyone's favorite Finn, Stefan Richter.

Fabio Viviani is William Shatner's personal chef? That's what it says here.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

TC News & Information

It's official! Bravo has confirmed that Top Chef 6 was filmed in Las Vegas. Yeah, we knew that already. :) They celebrated the end of filming with a wrap party at the Wynn which included guests such as Thomas Keller, Daniel Boulud, Gavin Kaysen, and TCM competitor Rick Moonen. So...wrap party already? Still no word on contestants or when the show will air.

The 2nd Annual Food & Wine Festival at National Harbor is set for this weekend in Washington D.C. Spike Mendelsohn, Ariane Duarte, and Carla Hall will be on hand for cooking demos and judging duties.

Hosea Rosenberg, Jeff McInnis, and Jamie Lauren were among the winners at the 2009 Fleur de Lys Culinary Awards.

Carla Hall shares her love of mushrooms.