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On tonight’s episode of Top Chef Masters:

For the Quickfire the chefs must cook a dish only using the microwave. Most of them go on and on about how they never use a microwave — blah, blah, blah, who cares. We know very well that they don’t use them, at least not in their restaurants, but the point of Top Chef Masters is to pull them out of their comfort zone, and this challenge does exactly that. And no one had better make anythig sashimi or tartare related because that’s cheating!

The chefs must cook for an edible science fair for the Elimination Challenge, not only serving what looks to be middle school students (you can never tell these days), but also educating them on science-y stuff through their dishes. I’m just hoping someone makes an exploding volcano out of mashed potatoes and red Kool-Aid.

And I am very happy to announce — drum roll, please — Ruth Reichl is back in her rightful place at the judges’ table! Huzzah! Oh, and Padma shows up because she can’t have another TC host showing her up.

Preview video highlights:

  • In the first preview video, Naomi claims that she didn’t have a microwave when she was growing up. It then cuts to a shot of her playing in the dirt with sticks looking like a feral child. Does Bravo want us to assume that a child brought up without a microwave is some sort of hippie-savage?
  • A photo of Hugh’s kids is shown during the Quickfire. Sadly, no unibrows (or at least they weren’t visible).
  • Mary Sue demos viscosity for her science fair project. I won’t even type what some of that stuff looks like on her petri dish. What is she serving those children?!

Check out the preview videos below.

Update: Okay, even though all of the new previews are up on Bravo’s site, there won’t be a new episode tonight. This episode will be airing next week. Way to go letting us know ahead of time, Bravo…

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Tune in to Bravo tonight at 10 pm EST/9 pm C, join our Twitter party during the show (Jeff: @JeffHouck, Katie: @culinarypirate), and listen to our podcast here tomorrow! (You can even download us on iTunes!) Check out our fellow Top Chef fanatics, Please Pack Your Knives And Go and All Top Chef, for the latest news (and some laughs).

Preview Videos:
Microwave Cooking
Getting All Science-y

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On tonight’s episode of Top Chef Masters:

For the Quickfire the chefs must channel their former college selves and create a meal with budget of $1. If their ingredients came from Wal-Mart, I’d say it’d be an easier task, but knowing Bravo’s hookup with Whole Foods I think they might have a harder time trying to stretch that dollar.

As for the Elimination challenge, the heat is on as the chefs must man the lunch rush at a Farmer Boys fast food joint (it’s like McD’s but with better quality food). They have to cook main and side dishes for 100 people that don’t require utensils to eat, and each order must be completed in less than two minutes. I’m sure at least a few of the chefs will reveal that they’ve formerly worked as a fast food burger flipper when they started out in their cooking careers — and you know there will also be those who are completely lost in this type of kitchen environment.

Top Chef Podcast listeners: We’re currently having technical difficulties (due to new site and server) with getting our podcasts on iTunes. Until further notice, please listen to them directly from the posts that we put up every Thursday afternoon on the CL Food & Drink site! We apologize for the inconvenience and thank you for bearing with us. :-)

Preview video highlights:

  • Hugh: “…you’ve gotta be able to put something out.” And that’s what he said.
  • In the second preview video, it looks like some of the chefs need to ‘ketchup’! (Get it? Because they’re working in a fast food restaurant?) *crickets chirping*
  • Traci talks some shade about Mary Sue in the preview, calling her “annoying” and a “whirling dervish.” Hold onto your weave, girl, cuz them’s fightin’ words! (Seriously, I’ve cut a betch for less.)

Check out the preview videos below.

top_chef_300.jpg

Tune in to Bravo tonight at 10 pm EST/9 pm C, join our Twitter party during the show (Jeff: @JeffHouck, Katie: @culinarypirate), and listen to our podcast here tomorrow! (You can even download us on iTunes!) Check out our fellow Top Chef fanatics, Please Pack Your Knives And Go and All Top Chef, for the latest news (and some laughs).

The Buck Stops Here
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Order Here
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Last night on Top Chef Masters:

I have to say that I love the fact that the chefs had to cook with live insects for the Quickfire Challenge. I mean, when do chefs get the chance to work with these odd proteins? Yeah, they’ve eaten brains and entrails and brains, but when have they ever scarfed down a scorpion? I also enjoyed their grossed out reactions when watching the guest judges sampling their dishes. Hugh ended up taking the win with his tempura fried crickets and sunchoke puree.

For the Elimination, the chefs were charged with creating a ten-course tasting menu for a charity dinner. Sounds easy enough, right? In the middle of cooking their dishes, the water gets turned off in the kitchen. Then Curtis walks in with a double whammy: the chefs have to plate up 30 minutes early and they must be the ones to serve the guests. Panic sets in, tempers flare and mild chaos ensues (definitely nowhere near the level of regular Top Chef, though).

Want to know what happened? Listen to the podcast to find out! (Note: This episode was a bit disjointed — to say the least. Just listen along, laugh and bear with us.)

The Fabio plea video for Katie (as discussed in podcast): A personal plea… from Jeff Houck on Vimeo.

Tune in to Bravo every Wednesday at 10 pm EST/9 pm C, check out our own live Tweets during the show (Jeff: @JeffHouck, Katie: @culinarypirate), and listen to our podcast here every week! (You can even download us on iTunes!)

Check out our fellow Top Chef fanatics’ blogs: All Top Chef gives us their uninhibited reactions and Please Pack Your Knives and Go is just plain hilarious. And check out TalkingTV’s rules for the Top Chef drinking game here.

Listen to this week’s podcast:
Download the podcast here.

top_chef_logoOn tonight’s episode of Top Chef Masters:

For the Quickfire, Chef Hotpants McGee (a.k.a.: Curtis Stone) tells the chefs they’ll be “going back to their roots” and have to create dishes with roots, herbs and some fierce-looking insects. I just want to know if they’ll have to kill the bugs themselves or if they were given live ones for gross-out effect.

As for the Elimination Challenge, Bravo is giving us no clues this week, but it looks like something challenging, stressful and it has to be executed in a short period of time (just going out on a limb here). It looks like, whatever the challenge is, Naomi Pomeroy steps up and takes charge of the kitchen, making sure everyone’s dishes are in line with what’s going on their menu. (Group challenge?). Anyway, some folks aren’t too happy about being “bossed around.”

Preview video highlights:
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tcm_logoOn the latest installment of Top Chef Masters:

We viewers got a nice surprise when we found out that Hugh Acheson was back to to compete in the show, but were sad to find out that it was because John Sedlar had to leave the show for personal reasons. I am happy that Hugh’s wit and talent is back on the show though.

For the Quickfire, the master chef’testants had 30 minutes to grind meat with a hand cranked grinder for the meatballs they were to create for singer Kelis — you know, the “Milkshake” gal? Apparently she has “culinary training,” but it looked like no one gave her training on how to critique dishes by chefs of this caliber, as she was serving up quite a lot of criticism and cojones with not much experience or decent reasons to back it up with. Hugh Acheson called it “pointless criticism,” and I think many of us viewers agreed with him. In the end, she preferred John Currance’s Vietnamese-style chicken meatball over all the others.

As for the Elimination Challenge, the chefs had to take classic (as in “classically awful”) dishes from the 1960s, put a modern spin on them and serve them in bite-sized form at a cocktail party where Mad Men‘s Christina Hendricks and her husband Geoffry Arend would be critiquing them. They also had to make a miniature version of the original dishes to serve alongside the new creations. So, two apps: one fancy, one old school, one hot redhead thrown into the mix. Got it?
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top_chef_logoOn tonight’s episode of Top Chef Masters:

Kelis is bringing her milkshake to the Top Chef Masters yard tonight, charging the chefs with grinding their own meat and making something delicious from it (these previews don’t give me much to work with), as well as acting as Quickfire judge. Did you know she was a trained chef? News to me.

As for the Elimination Challenge, my girl crush for Mad Men‘s Christina Hendricks is fully realized when she and her husband, actor Geoffrey Arend, give the chefs their challenge of modernizing some popular dishes from the ’60s. I’m hoping to see both a Jell-o mold and some form of meatloaf revamped with a fabulous new makeover — and will sneer at any chef who creates some deconstructed mess. (Extra points for any Firefly references during tonight’s live tweet party.)

Preview video highlights:
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top_chef_logoTonight’s Top Chef doubleheader brings us the “controversial” Top Chef All-Stars reunion episode at 10 p.m. (ET) followed by the premiere of Top Chef Masters season 3 at 11 p.m.

As for the All-Stars reunion, the previews (below) are making it out to be pretty escandalo — but I’m sure it’s a lot of hype (though it will be nice to see all of them one last time). They will, however, be grilling Jamie about her lack of participation and penchant for cutting herself and hiding under tables during the season.
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top-chef-logoLike me, most of you Top Chef fans probably get a little anxious by this time of the week – it’s been how many days since the last episode?! Well, I’m here to give you a Top Chef fix to help you get through the next few days. Since the Restaurant Wars episode aired last Wednesday, I have come across some very exciting news about future seasons and a few stupidly entertaining videos from the current season.
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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…)

This week, we were again graced with the presence of Jeff Houck (The Stew), as well as the usual suspects: Taylor Eason, Stephen Hammill, and yours truly, Katie Machol.

Our cheftestants had to participate in another MacGyver-style (or MacGruber, as we like to think) elimination challenge: The One Armed Egg Challenge! (Not as dirty as it sounds, though Anita Lo used her teeth a lot.) We also finally get to see Doogie Howser (a.k.a.: Neil Patrick Harris) as a guest judge, along with Top Chef regular Gail Simmons, and a surprise visit from Tom Colicchio.

After much discussion and debate over the show and challenges presented, we asked ourselves this: Does Neil Patrick Harris’ love of magic make him less cool now?
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