Top Chef Masters Recap

By Jason Lee

May 27, 2010

That's not the pose of a winner.

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So, I initially had missed the first six minutes of this show due to the fact that I was watching America vote for the wrong American Idol. But after catching a repeat of the show afterwards, it seemed that Kelly opened the show with one of the less engaging Quickfires from recent seasons: Identify the Ingredient.

In this QF, cheftestants played a culinary version of Name that Tune, tasting a sauce and taking turns betting on how many ingredients they could identify in it. This was a little bit lame because A) most rounds didn’t require chefs to name more than four or five ingredients (lame) and B) cheftestants were able to use basic ingredients like sale and pepper in their list (even lamer).

In any case, the reactions of our Masters to this challenge were varied. Susur is definitely excited, claiming that he has a fantastic palate. Having watched the challenge when it took place in Season 5, Susan is a little freaked out because she hasn’t done classic sauces in over 27 years.


With five Masters remaining, one Master will get a bye through the first round. They each pick pots to determine the two pairs and the lucky one out. Susur is paired against Marcus, Susan is paired against Rick, and Jonathan gets to watch from afar.

Susur and Marcus are quick to get started. They have a Chasseur sauce to taste, which is comprised of 19 ingredients. Susur only samples the sauce twice, saying that to do more would overwhelm his palate. Marcus, of course, samples many more times. The two bet against each other on how many ingredients they can name and Susur ends up with the burden of naming six. Shouldn’t be too hard.

“Carrot, celery, onion, tomato, red wine vinegar . . . and oil,” he says.

“What type of oil?” Kelly presses him.

“…vegetable. Vegetable oil,” he says finally. And he’s right. Susur wins and advances to the next round.

Susan takes on Rick with the same sauce and is challenged to name the same number of ingredients as Susur.

“Onion, butter, salt . . . “ Susan trails off. Her mind is freezing up, unable to determine if the sauce is a berouge sauce or red wine sauce. “. . . red wine,” she completes as a buzzer goes off.

“There’s blended white wine and red wine vinegar, but no red wine in the sauce,” Kelly tells her. Too bad.

The three remaining Masters take on a Thai green curry sauce. This time, they’ll name ingredients one-by-one, “like a spelling bee,” Kelly describes. The Thai green curry sauce has 29 ingredients and frankly, not only should this sauce be easy to identify, there should be no problem naming what goes into it.

Susur names the most obvious one: coconut milk. Rick continues with garlic. Jonathan tries butter but is told that there’s no butter in it. He’s out.

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