Top Chef Masters Recap

By Jason Lee

April 26, 2010

Coming soon, these two will have their own sitcom. We call it 'Grumpy and the French Dude.'

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This week’s episode of Top Chef: Masters Season 2 sees the return of six chefs who competed during the show’s inaugural season to varying degrees of success. Despite the fact that we supposedly “know” these chefs already, the opening sequence is burdened (as always) with too many chefs who we don’t have a chance to get to know before they start cooking. For a third week, I’m reduced to having to write things like “fat, old chef” in my notes because I don’t have a chance to look up their name.

For the record, the six returning chefs are Rick Moonen from Vegas, Wylie Dufresne from NYC, Graham Elliot Bowles from Chicago, Jonathan Waxman from NYC, Mark Peel from LA, and our loud-mouthed, annoying, antagonistic Frenchman, Ludo Lefebvre (affectionately known as Pepe le Pew).

The Quickfire this week is a repeat of one done in Season 3, where the chefs had to create a dish to pair with a classic cocktail (for those interested, Kasey won that one). The chefs sample five or six different cocktails (what a way to start the day at 8:00 am in the morning), trying to decide which cocktail they’d like to tackle.

Throwing another wrench into things, Kelly lets the diners know that they won’t be cooking for “foodies,” per se. Instead, they’ll get a group of judges who are extremely well-versed in the world of cocktails: the Real Housewives of Orange County. And Gael Greene, for some reason.

I’ll say right now that I have never, ever watched an episode of any Real Housewives show on Bravo, and I hope that by the time I die, I can still say that in all truthfulness. I’ll admit, however, that the cynical, stereotypical part of my personality assumes that these women, based on their moniker, have a pretty good idea of what goes well with cocktails - unless they’ve had so many that they only know what food tastes like coming back up after a number of cocktails. If that were the case, it’d explain why these Orange County women look so thin.


But I digress. There are a number of intriguing subplots going on during the Quickfire. Jonathan Waxman, the “fat, old chef” I’d mentioned before, is theorizing that these Housewives would probably like a dish that’s simpler and less complicated than what his fellow chefs are trying to create. Thus, he finishes his pork tenderloin 20 minutes early and lounges around for the rest of the time.

Rick is making something that looks very dessert-y, Wylie is intent on beating his friend Graham, and Ludo is busy making snide, French remarks about everyone else. Finally, it’s time to eat. The Housewives look hungry and Gael is wearing an enormous pink hat.

Wylie has paired a Russian Tea Room with a dish of arctic char, lentils and lemon yogurt. The Housewives love the pairing, though Gael finds the alcohol and fish a strange pairing.

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