In this first episode of the Championships Round, we welcomed back Hubert “The Other French Guy” Keller, Suzanne “Cold Fish” Tracht, Anita “Cowardly Lion” Lo, Michael “Brown Noser” Chiarello, Art “Honey Bear” Smith, and the delicious Rick “Hot Mexican Chili” Bayless (I’m not partial, I swear).

For the quickfire challenge, the chefs got into two teams and had a Mise en Place Relay Race (a.k.a: chopping and prepping food items) to see whose team was faster, the winner then getting an extra point toward the Elimination Challenge. Let me tell you, that Rick Bayless sure knows how to use a whisk for some hot whisking action – those egg whites sure were at stiff peaks…among other things. Anyhow, back on track, the Bayless/Lo/Keller team took the win.

The chefs were then asked to cook their signature dishes for each other to enjoy. I swear Michael Chiarello put roadkill on a plate and called it dinner, the balsamic glaze looking very much like blood on top of the quail which was sprawled out on the plate. Not cute. Hubert Keller made an interesting lobster and truffle “cappuccino” which was an interesting take on soup (I think it was soup) and Rick made an amazing-looking roasted rack of lamb with pasilla chiles and mission figs (Did I mention I’m not partial to Bayless?).

For the Elimination Challenge, the chefs had to cook another chef’s signature dish but put their own spin on it. What did we get? Cold grouper (Tracht), undercooked ground lamb in a “Scotch egg” (Smith), creamed sea urchin (Keller), lobster on a biscuit (Lo), rack of lamb with figs shoved in it (Chiarello), and some delightful looking quail and parsnips (Bayless).

Highlights: Kelly Choi seeming to be withering away, Art’s “egg issues” and name dropping, the Gael Greene and Elvis affair, the possibility of Anita Lo sabotaging her own food in future episodes just to get kicked off the show, and Rick Bayless’ magical powers of Mexican cuisine.

Hear the hi-larious podcast after the jump: (more…)


If you have been paying attention to all of the ads and the commercials on Bravo, you’ll already know that the Top Chef series is back (and we’re hoping you’ve watched). This time, there’s a twist: 24 well-known, seasoned chefs go head-to-head and compete in challenges just like they’ve put the contestants from past seasons through, all to win money for their charity of choice.

Top Chef Masters is a bit different than the original show, though. Instead of sticking all 24 of the “masters” in an apartment and make them eat, sleep, booze, and live together, four of them at a time compete in an episode. I was thoroughly surprised when I saw this – they didn’t mention that in the previews, but I can understand why this was done. (Do you really think these chefs are going to give up the reins of their uber popular restaurants and two months of their lives just for a TV show? Though I would liked to have seen a Hosea-Leah hookup scenario between, say, Roy Yamaguchi and Cindy Pawlcyn.)
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