Top Chef Masters Recap

By Jason Lee

August 2, 2009

At least her lipstick looked nice.

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This week on Top Chef Masters Recap: The Champions step up.

First of all, I must apologize to all my readers: I have let you down this week. As I always do, I faithfully transcribed most of the action that took place on this week's episode into my worn and dog-eared notebook, knowing that with the dawn of the next day, I would bend all of my writing abilities to the task of describing (in the most amusing and entertaining way possible) what took place.

Alas, my impending trip to Australia (I leave tonight, eek!) and the panicked and disorganized stuffing of attire into luggage (sometimes called "packing" by normal people) threw my belongings into what some might describe as "disarray." Thus, I am writing this from memory. Hopefully my agéd recollection doesn't prove to be too confounding.

But on to the episode!

I have been drooling over this episode for weeks. Though every "Master" that has thus far stepped through the doors of the Top Chef kitchen has accomplished resumés, the previous six episodes have proven that these remaining finalists are the chefs most adept at bending their years of experience and carefully developed skills to conquering the intentionally bewildering aspects of their respective challenges.


Now, things get good.

The show starts off with Kelly announcing the Quickfire Challenge. As one of the final episodes, I'm assuming that they're going to bring back one of the best and most memorable Quickfires the show has seen. I try to guess at what we'll see. I have my fingers crossed that it'll be the challenge where chefs have to taste a sauce and bet at how many ingredients they can name (seen last season, which Stefan won).

Nope, instead, the Masters are asked to draw knives. Immediately, I'm thinking RELAY RACE!!! And...I'm right! It's the mise en place relay race from Top Chef Season Four. The Masters will have to take turns shucking 15 oysters, dicing five onions, breaking down four chickens and whipping 15 egg whites into a foam that, when turned upside down, holds its shape for five seconds.

We have two teams: Salt and Pepper. I don't remember which team is which but on one side, we have the French master Hubert Kessler, Asian-fusion queen Anita Lo and Nuevo-Latino chef Rick Bayless. On the other side, we have LA American-cuisine chef Suzanne, Italian master Michael and Oprah's personal chef Art. This should be good.

Because there are only three chefs but four tasks, one Master will go twice. Our judge is none other than Tom Colicchio (Art, in particular, seems excited that everyone's favorite culinary bear is back) and when he blows his whistle, Suzanne and Hubert start shucking oysters. Michael remarks that Suzanne has this "jedi" focus and halfway through the task, she's ahead of French-master Hubert. He thinks "sacre bleu!" to himself and kicks into high gear. They finish the task in a dead heat.

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