Top Chef Masters Recap

By Jason Lee

July 17, 2009

He's very pleased about his win.

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This week on Top Chef Masters Recap: It's my cocktail party and I'll cry if I want to

I think I'm ready for Top Chef to come back. Don't get me wrong, I'm enjoying Top Chef Masters but frankly, I think that by bringing us four different Masters every episode, the program dilutes the drama and renders the show a series of stand-alone challenges with little connection from week to week. The caustic personalities and personal dramas don't carry over and what inevitably ensues is a lack of building anticipation as the series progresses.

It's basically like a six-course meal whose courses have little relation to each other. *ba dum dum*

Okay, now that I've gotten my bad food pun out of the way, let's get down to the actual four Masters that we have competing today (so that we can quickly forget their names and refer to them by superficial monikers).

Rick Moonen, who's taken three restaurants in NYC to three-star status. He cooks seafood. In my notes, I refer to him as "the guy with ADD".

Nils Noren, VP of the French Culinary Institute, also known as "the Swede".

Lachlan Patterson from Boulder, CO, a former Best New Chef from Food and Wine Magazine. He's the "young'un."

Michael Chiarello from Napa Valley. A former TV chef who's returned to the restaurant world, he's "the Italian."


In comes our host, Kelly, who's wearing a ridiculous grey dress with baby blue trim. All along the front of the dress is a garish mish-mash of colors and fabrics – it looks like an earthquake hit Bed, Bath and Beyond's dishware section and a couple of freshman art majors collected the pieces to create an eye-popping (but not in a good way) collage of the remains. And then glued it to Kelly's dress.

Today's Quickfire Challenge will be one from Season 1: the junk food challenge. The Masters have to take classic, American junk food dishes and elevate them to fine dining. I remember this challenge quite well – not because Harold (Season 1's winner) won this challenge but because Tiffany made a delicious-looking bread pudding out of doughnuts and overweight, backstabbing, crap-talking, reptilian Miguel copied her.

I hated Miguel.

Anyways, the Masters choose their dishes and find out that they will be cooking for the primary cast of Bravo's "Flipping Out," including Jeff Lewis (my sister loves him), his assistant Jenny (I love her) and Jeff's ex-boyfriend and business partner Ryan (who used to be uber-cute but looks less so now). At this point, I think to myself, "Wow, bringing the cast of Flipping Out on Top Chef Masters right before the Season 3 premiere of Flipping Out . . . quite a feat of television masturbation on Bravo's part."

Lachlan, the Young'un, chooses the hotdog and attempts to make his own sausage for a prosciutto stuffado (yeah, I don't know what that is, either), which comes out dangerously undercooked (remember when Sara went home in Season 3 for undercooking her chicken?). Jeff and company enjoy it, noting that it's too rare but compliment the broth.

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