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Top Chef Masters - Ep. 1 (potential spoilers)

So far, I'm liking it! Seeing the presentation alone for the desserts for the 4 Girl Scouts, I figured Chef Keller would win - that was beautiful! Loved the chefs' comments about how intent the girls were with their criticisms - especially the redhead!

Major OUCH for Chef Love at the beginning of Elimination Challenge - frozen produce? Yowza! LOLing at them having to cook in a dorm room! But it looks like Chef Love pulled out some nice dishes - but Chef Keller seemed to have rocked almost all of the courses!

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  1. the instant they announced that the QF was dessert, i knew Keller would have the upper hand. the redhead was *hilarious* - i think "Restaurant Girl" is gonna have some serious competition in a few years! i loved it when one of them remarked that Michael's PB chocolates tasted like Tagalongs because when he talked about what he was doing, i said he was pretty much making Tagalongs!

    i wish one of them had done popcorn as a first course - that's the first thing i thought of when i saw the microwaves.

    ETA: BW, Linda, thanks for starting the thread. i was so excited & into it i couldn't break away to get things going here :)

    6 Replies
    1. re: goodhealthgourmet

      OK, I just broke out laughing at the little bit pre-commercial with Chef Keller trying to use the microwave: "I have one of these at home....and I think it's used just to dry the newspaper!"

      And yes, ghg, I was thrilled that the show had finally started - got up at the "half" and saw no one had tossed anything up here, so figured I'd put up a blurb to start.

      This is going to be VERY interesting to watch! And I seriously hope Bravo puts up the recipes - Chef Keller's soup looked very good!

      1. re: LindaWhit

        i *loved* that little bit about the MW and newspapers. and Keller definitely wins the ingenuity award. the pasta in the shower was genius!

        1. re: LindaWhit

          The recipe is in his book from 1996, as is a version of the mac and cheese (but with lobster, not shrimp). Haven't tried either one, but am tempted by at least the cinnamon croutons.

        2. re: goodhealthgourmet

          I think Chris Lee actually did use popcorn in his first course with the ceviche? It had avocado in it too but can't remember the fish he used. I thought it was random when he popped into another dorm to offer up some popcorn, until I realized he made it to use in his dish :-)

          1. re: gyozagirl

            He used snapper, right? It looked delicious.

            1. re: gyozagirl

              he used it as a garnish, but i wish one of them had made an entire course of it.

          2. i think that love pulled off some nice looking things considering but keller looks hard to beat. and you are right that dessert was lovely. my daughter would love it. that said, i'm personally curious about the fried strawberries.
            and i still think peas and carrots with cinnamon sounds weird.

            5 Replies
            1. re: AMFM

              There's a restaurant I go to regularly that, during the summer months, has fresones - large strawberries dipped in a sherry batter and fried - served with a creme catalan sauce with a scoop of chocolate ice cream, they are absolutely wonderful!

              As for the pea/carrot soup - if the cinnamon was kept to a minimum on the croutons, I think it would be a great accent!

              1. re: LindaWhit

                Wow - Linda - those strawberries sound AMAZING!!
                Are they deep fried - like tempura?

                1. re: NellyNel

                  Yes, that's exactly what they're like - the strawberries are not fried long enough to get "hot" - they're slightly warm, but the batter is lightly crispy. The entire strawberry isn't usually dipped in the batter; they leave about a half-inch at the top still showing the berry. There are stems still on the berries so they probably use that as the handle to hold the berry in the oil, I'm assuming.

                  Seriously good - and the berries have been very sweet this year - sometimes towards the end of the season, the berries are very bland and almost "tough" but so far, they're great this year!

                  1. re: LindaWhit

                    Wow - thanks - i'm drooling now!

                    I usually don't go for chocolate ice cream as an accompaniment to something like that - BUT I bet the pairing - in this case would be perfect.


                    1. re: NellyNel

                      Actually, this year they've been serving it with strawberry sauce swirled with the creme catalan sauce, and a scoop of (locally made) vanilla ice cream. My friend and I both prefer the chocolate, so if they have chocolate ice cream in house when we're there, we get it that way. :-)

            2. I love what Keller did to deal with draining the pasta! Very much something a dorm kid might have done..(draining and refreshing it in the shower).

              2 Replies
              1. re: susancinsf

                I love the man, it was clever, but it just made me gag! I can't lie! Was the showerhead IN the pasta?!!!

                1. re: susancinsf

                  i found that part brillant---for a man who didn't attend university in the US he was on-point with what its like to cook in a dorm!

                2. i am surprised they used the toaster ovens as little as they did. you can really do quite a bit with one.

                  5 Replies
                  1. re: AMFM

                    i was thinking the same thing! i've often used mine instead of the oven when i don't want to heat up the whole house.

                    1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                      Same here - potatoes are easily done in the toaster oven as are so many other items. But the chefs did use it to re-warm a lot of their food.

                      And Schlow is out. Kinda figured he wasn't going to pull it out.

                      1. re: LindaWhit

                        i really want Christopher to win because his charity is near & dear to my heart, but you KNOW Keller will take it...

                        crap. i was right. he won just as i typed that.

                        1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                          Yeah, I figured other than the Brit judge not liking the cinnamon croutons, Keller's dishes were all overwhelming enjoyed by the judges.

                          And it looks like Kelly Choi is truly just the hostess for the show - she doesn't seem to have any say in the judging. Interesting. Padma's "vote" counts just as much as Tom's, Gail's, and Toby/Tim/whoever else is judging.

                    2. re: AMFM

                      I think toaster ovens work really well if you're making a small amount of food. Eric Ripert did a series on cooking with toaster ovens. But it might have been difficult logistically to cook for a large number of people with a toaster oven.

                    3. 2 final thoughts:
                      - i don't know if it was just me, but Tim Love didn't come off as the most gracious loser.
                      - it's really quite fitting that Keller won the *first* round - he was the very first guest judge on the very first episode of TC!

                      9 Replies
                      1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                        I got the impression that Tim Love felt he got screwed. S**t happens! but I would have expected a professional to be a bit more blase about it.

                        1. re: mnosyne

                          I'd be very interested to know what Love was planning on making BEFORE discovering the frozen produce. Sounds like he pulled it out with the "posole," as that seemed to be a favorite dish of the judges, but I guess not enough. And are the judges supposed to take into account what difficulties the chefs ran into with their food items/preparation as part of their point awards? I don't think so - they're just looking at presentation and taste, right?

                          1. re: LindaWhit

                            I hope so! On Top Chef (original flavor), they're always making a big point about how there shouldn't be any allowances made for the weird conditions/constraints put on their cooking.

                            It did seem, though, that they were making allowances for the conditions, at least subconsciously. Lots of comments on the lines of "considering this was made on a hot plate, this is really good."

                            I did like when one of them (Lee? the Italian guy?) said that now that he was on the other side of the judges' table, he had a greater appreciation for how hard the challenge conditions are for the regular cheftestants.

                            Was Keller the only one who didn't "cheat" by serving a raw first course?

                              1. re: Phaedrus

                                No, his fish dish was the salmon, which was cooked. I think Love did the scallops, the Italian guy did a crudo, and Lee did a ceviche.

                                1. re: Phaedrus

                                  Nope - Keller did the cold Scottish Salmon - but he still baked it in the oven.


                                  The scallop carpacchio was Tim Love - because they had been frozen already and he couldn't sear them because they were waterlogged.


                                  1. re: LindaWhit

                                    And a Top Chef first -- someone pulls out a frozen scallop success! (Or at least not an utter crash and burn.)

                                2. re: Ruth Lafler

                                  > On Top Chef (original flavor), they're always making a big point about
                                  > how there shouldn't be any allowances made for the weird
                                  > conditions/constraints put on their cooking.

                                  Well, I'm thinking the whole point of this show is to respond to the fans who say, "Yeah, I'd like to see what you fancy-James-Beard-chef-guest-judge can do with these constraints." And so far, the food they're sending out is darn good, even if it's not up to what you'd get in their restaurants.

                          2. I have to say that Herbert Keller is one of my heros. I would want to work for him if I wanted to be a kitchen professional. It just doesn't surprise me that he won. Pasta in the shower? Brilliant!

                            I thought all the chefs showed their potential. They are all in true professionals.

                            It was nice that the producers highlighted all of the charities, giving each of them full exposure. Of course, they are all deserving of support

                            18 Replies
                            1. re: smtucker

                              I always liked Hurbert Keller but now I kind of want to marry him. The DJ bit? Killed me.

                              1. re: lbs

                                seriously - how sexy was that?! :)

                                i was rooting for Chris Lee for personal reasons, but Keller really deserved to win, and i personally thought he was very gracious & humble about it.

                                1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                  ditto. Indeed, I have never been to, and never really been interested in going to, his restaurant Fleur de Lys in San Francisco, but the show last night put it much, much higher on my list!

                                  Oh, and he has one in Vegas. Maybe I can drag sister Janet to go with me since hubby hates high end restaurants...

                                  1. re: susancinsf

                                    Way before I even knew about CH, I took my husband to Fleur de Lys for his birthday on trip to SF - this was probably late 1990s - and really had a wonderful meal, though I wish I could remember all the details. It seemed pretty clear to me that he was likely to win this one. On another note, I thought the product "placement" was, well, not so subtle!

                                    1. re: MMRuth

                                      "On another note, I thought the product "placement" was, well, not so subtle!"
                                      gee, you mean i wasn't the only one who noticed the money shots of the Calphalon emblems and Glad logos? ;)

                                          1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                            Oh - and the name of whatever the brand of appliances they used.

                                            1. re: MMRuth

                                              the Calphalon shot was actually of the logo on the toaster oven. it's funny how obvious product placement is when a sponsor is paying for it. the other night on My Life on the D-List, Kathy Griffin told Bette Midler she had to cover the label on the bottle of Fiji water she was drinking because Bravo wouldn't cover the royalty fee (or whatever they call it) to show the product!

                                              1. re: MMRuth

                                                I thought it was funny that they were showing how much trouble Michael (I think...right?) was having and he says that his cakes were not rising and he's asking "what's going on?" and couldn't figure out why and THEN they show a close-up of the GE Monogram logo on the oven. Haha.

                                                1. re: Boudleaux

                                                  LOL! not so sure GE was happy about that one :) they didn't do the same thing for Tim Love's fridge/freezer mix-up, did they? and BTW, how much of a bonehead do you have to be to make that mistake? the guy spends his life in restaurant kitchens & can't tell the difference?

                                                2. re: MMRuth

                                                  They do the same product placement on Top Chef and remember that GE owns Bravo the TV station so all the GE monogram appliances get plenty of air time

                                              2. re: MMRuth

                                                Masters upgrade from TC toyotas, lol. I was cracking up at that "subtlety"

                                                1. re: jme1beachbum

                                                  Funny! I didn't even catch that one!

                                                  1. re: jme1beachbum

                                                    Of course, for product-placement purposes, same company, as Lexus is Toyota's luxury brand.

                                            2. re: susancinsf

                                              The SF Fleur de Lys has a reputation for snooty service that was borne out by my one experience there -- your hubby would hate it. I'm guessing the Las Vegas version is a less so, mostly because Las Vegas is in general much less likely to be snooty.

                                              1. re: Ruth Lafler

                                                We didn't have snooty service at all, but I actually recall most recent negative posts commenting on simply less than professional service that wasn't expected for a restaurant at this price point.

                                              2. re: susancinsf

                                                Keller totally killed it on this episode. It was great watching him. I knew he'd do well on the dessert challenge as he used to do pastry. I do have to say, however, that I did go to Fleur de Lys a couple of years ago and wasn't really thrilled with my meal. Things were pretty much cooked technically well. But I found a lot of sauces kind of heavy and not to my taste.

                                                And I didn't experience any of the snooty service Ruth was talking about.

                                        1. Oh, and having the pleasure of hearing/watching Oseland, the man that wrote last month's COTM Cradle of Flavor was a true delight.

                                          1. I really like the format of rounds. It's so much easier to keep track of who is who and what they are cooking. My only criticism of the format is that the dinners should have been presented anonymously and scored, perhaps with the chefs seeing the deliberation. Though that eliminates the squirm factor of Judge's Table so... maybe scratch that idea.

                                            I think it was genius to have the first Quickfire a dessert. Adding Girl Scouts as judges was just the right amount of cheesiness. I'm still smiling.

                                            I don't think I've enjoyed Top Chef this much since the first season. I grinned and rooted for everyone throughout the entire episode. Delightful.

                                            14 Replies
                                            1. re: MplsM ary

                                              Funny, MplsMary, I feel just the opposite. I'm not sure I'm loving this spin-off, and I really wanted to. I liked the hustle-bustle in the original serious with all the chefs bumping elbows. I get why, at this level, they had to pair the group into 4s, but, for me, it wasn't as enjoyable. And I just find Gael Greene odd and distracting. I know her credentials, but?!?!?

                                              1. re: SuperFineSugar

                                                Yeah, I had a similar feeling. I was expecting more of a typical TC scenario, as you said...that and the sheer number of chefs who are part of this is not setting well with me because it's confusing trying to keep track of everyone.

                                                Gael Greene IS distracting, credentials or not.

                                                1. re: SuperFineSugar

                                                  I understand what you're saying. For me, these are people I want to know more about and I can't say that about a lot of cheftestants.

                                                  I think all the judges are measuring their words and holding back. That is why I first suggested sending out plates anonymously. But, who knows, perhaps Gael Greene feels funny critiquing food without wearing a disguise and it's throwing her off her game.

                                                  1. re: MplsM ary

                                                    Gael Green reminds me of the ancient aunt the family wheels out at holiday dinners!

                                                  2. re: SuperFineSugar

                                                    I'm not from NY and don't know her writings, which may be great ... but I had a hard time taking her seriously because of how she appeared. The hat, the too bold makeup, the jewelery. It was all over the top. She looked too much like the "ladies who lunch" crowd, getting together in expensive, overrated restaurants, spending their husbands' money. Whew - that wasn't PC. Sorry, I know.

                                                    1. re: sasha1

                                                      judging from that description you'd think they poached one of the "Real Housewives" to do double duty on another Bravo show ;)

                                                      i don't know who this Kelly Choi woman is, i've never seen her before. but what i found most irksome was her repeated use of the word "we," as in: "on past seasons of Top Chef, we had the contestants do such-and-such..."

                                                      "we" did no such thing - this is your first time on the show!

                                                      i miss Padma already.

                                                      1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                        She speaks for the production company? The network? Maybe she is invoking the imperial we, like she's the queen of England.

                                                      2. re: sasha1

                                                        <She looked too much like the "ladies who lunch" crowd,> Gael Greene is a wonderful, colorful writer, imho. She is however, of the age and ilk of the "ladies who lunch," and her look reflects that. The hats are her trademark, and I don't know a restaurant anywhere in Manhattan where they DON'T recognize her when she comes in, whether or not she is wearing a disguise.

                                                        1. re: ChefJune

                                                          well - she clearly is showing her face now, as opposed to in the past, so the hat is no longer disguise, but trademark

                                                          1. re: thew

                                                            The hat has always been trademark, not disguise.

                                                    2. re: MplsM ary

                                                      Is it just me, or are the judges nicer in this incarnation than in usual TopChef? At Judges Table there were a lot of comments on how the soft risotto wasn't "classic" and how the beef and kale were "a little salty". Compare this to normal Judges' Table, where you know those same errors would be berated with "you totally destroyed risotto, such a basic dish that every chef should be able to make blindfolded, and gave us mush instead" and "if you can't even get the seasoning right, maybe you just don't really have what it takes to be a chef."

                                                      1. re: mordacity

                                                        1) Maybe the food isn't that far off in the first place.
                                                        2) The judges are intimidated by the chefs and their rep.
                                                        3) They are all buddies or at least social acquaintances. They all run in the same circles.

                                                        1. re: mordacity

                                                          You're absolutely right. I guess they figure established chefs who are competing for charity should be treated differently than aspiring Top Chefs who are competing to benefit their own careers and reputations.

                                                      2. These chefs were great sports with the whole thing and Keller really seemed to enjoy the whole experience. I mean if you think about some of the greatest chefs in the US who you would pay big bucks to sit for a multicourse meal reduced to being judged by girl scouts and cooking with dorm equipment, that's almost sacriledge. Instead they ran with it and put forth some very surprising food.

                                                        1. I knew Linda would step up and be the first. BRAVO.

                                                          And a big howdy to everyone, missed talking to you all.

                                                          I really like this, it was all about real seasoned professionals doing their best under trying circumstances and allowing their skills to come through. It isn't as structured as Chopped and it also doesn't feel as melodramatic as the original TC.

                                                          I really like the idea that the entire show is focused on doing things as a restaurant professional while also introducing elements of chaos just to see how they respond. I don't really mind that I miss out on the personal dramas, like who is sleeping with who and who Chef A hates Chef B. it was a much tighter show.

                                                          As much as I wanted to like Kelly Choi, I feel like she was like just another wall hanging. And she is frigging skinny! I can see Lydia Bastanich serve her and go:"Honey, you need to eat this whole thing before you pass out!"

                                                          I'd heard of Jay Raynor from the book he wrote, he seems a much more friendly version of Toby, atleast he doesn't take himself too seriously, I thought he was the most informative of the bunch. Gael Green was so stiff and rehearsed, my ears tuned her out right away.

                                                          I would eat all of what they served, I think the posole, mac and cheese, and the cabbage soup would be mmy first choices.

                                                          I was also thinking that they were going to make them use whatever was in the dorm fridges for at least one dish. I am so glad that didn't happen.

                                                          3 Replies
                                                          1. re: Phaedrus

                                                            Glad you joined us, Phaedrus! :-) I was thinking after I signed off last night about Kelly Choi - agree on the "too skinny". I know others will say Padma is skinny as well, but she's at least proportioned correctly, unlike Kelly - her head is too big for her body! LOL And right now, she just seems too "forced" in her delivery to the chefs. Perhaps that will shake out as the show goes on.

                                                            I was quite pleased with Jay Raynor - I was afraid he was going to be the token snarky Brit, but he contributed a lot more to this episode than Gael Greene did (and a helluva lot more than Toby did at the start of his stint o last season's TC!). Gael Greene, BTW, could lose the hats. They might be her trademark, but as others have said, it's distracting.

                                                            I have to disagree with xo_kizzy above who said the sheer number of chefs in this go-round is confusing - by only having 4 chefs per episode until the finale, I find this way easier to keep track of who's who. I enjoy the tighter focus on the 4 chefs and their ability to think on the fly, and I *absolutely* do not miss the in-house drama we've had to watch in past original TC shows.

                                                            Glad to see a familiar face will show up in future episodes - Gail Simmons. I'm not sure I like the guy from Saveur, James Oselund. We'll see.

                                                            And Kelly's and Jay's blogs are up, along with a Q&A with Michael Schlow from Radius.


                                                            1. re: LindaWhit

                                                              And it seems their recipe site has changed a bit - it was showing a winning recipe from Hosea from TC5, but doing a search for Hubert Keller came up with his two winning recipes:


                                                              And it looks like you have to search on the Chef's name to find their recipes:




                                                              1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                I agree that is LESS confusing as each show focuses on four chefs only. I really enjoy getting to see the personality and styles of each of these masters of their craft, which wouldn't be possible if they were all competing together.

                                                                And it's a running joke amongst Koreans that they have big heads, so it isn't necessarily because Kelly Choi is too skinny. My husband can attest to a lifetime of big head teasing and he is NOT skinny! :)

                                                            2. I found the whole concpt so much more refreshing than TC. There didn't seem to be any snarkiness, and the chefs seemed to genuinely enjoy the challenge of having to go out of their individual boxes. That probably comes with the confidence/security of knowing you ARE a top chef. There was underlying competition, but they seemed to be competing against themselves and the challenge rather than against each other. The comaraderie/chefish banter was cool. Keller rocked -- he McGuivered that pasta! He seems to have a bit more of a playful approach that stood him in good stead.

                                                              1 Reply
                                                              1. re: PattiCakes

                                                                i agree--the lack of snarkiness is great---but then all of these guys have no need to prove themselves---they already know darned well they are the best of the best and if you don't know it, well tough for you.

                                                              2. Has anyone found the Episodes on Youtube or something affiliated with Bravo?

                                                                2 Replies
                                                                1. re: shallots

                                                                  Per a comment at Hulu's site:

                                                                  "Hulu can offer two full-length episodes from Bravo’s lineup each calendar month. The episodes featured and when they are posted are at Bravo’s discretion. We’ll continue to request complete series on our users’ behalf. "

                                                                  1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                    It was interesting to me how the approach of the chefs last night differed from the younger Top Chef contestants on the regular series. The younger chefs seem to really focus on how creative they can be and how to display their passion whereas the four last night seemed to be focused solely on flavor and that seems to be the point that Tom is constantly trying to get across.
                                                                    I like this process because you get a more in depth look at what the chefs are making. On the regular Top Chef a lot of times you don't even see some chefs end results because there are so many to cover.
                                                                    I haven't developed any feelings one way or another about Kelly & the judges yet but due to the fact that they are competing for charity I think we are going to see mostly love-fests between the chefs and judges.

                                                                2. I agree with several other posters that this should be fun to watch. It's reminiscent of watching the Next Iron Chef vs Next Food Network Star -- the chefs are established and respected and there's a sense of camaraderie even in the competition. Any trash talk is clearly good natured.

                                                                  And I definitely thought of Giada when Kelly was talking on screen.

                                                                  5 Replies
                                                                  1. re: momjamin

                                                                    I haven't seen the episode yet, but after reading the posts here, I am really looking forward to it!
                                                                    Tofu, your point was very interesting - and Mojamin - I like your analogy.

                                                                    I still love the original TC the way it is, but this will be both fun and interesting to watch!

                                                                    1. re: momjamin

                                                                      Yes! I totally thought she spoke in a tone and manner very similar to Giada. Glad I'm not the only one who thought that.

                                                                      1. re: momjamin

                                                                        "And I definitely thought of Giada when Kelly was talking on screen."

                                                                        Me too! In addition to the pronunciation of words, I was also thinking "bobblehead." (Sorry, don't want to be mean, but that's the first thing that popped into my head.)

                                                                        1. re: momjamin

                                                                          I said the same thing about Giada and Kelly! Even her mannerisms are similar. It's like she studied her too astutely.

                                                                        2. Keller cooked circles around those guys last night.

                                                                          7 Replies
                                                                          1. re: willygreen

                                                                            Imho, we are going to see a lot of that in the weeks ahead... i.e., one of the four will somehow rise above the others as Keller did last night, and it will be mostly unpredictable who will do that (ahead of time). That will make the series even more interesting for me. These chefs are all top drawer and highly talented.

                                                                            I really enjoyed the whole scenario last evening. Even Kelly Choi's generic shtick couldn't spoil it for me. ;)

                                                                            1. re: ChefJune

                                                                              Yes, it was obvious that Keller was the superior chef of that bunch, though I have new respect for Tim Love after this episode. Maybe I missed it but how are the groups determined? I mean, how was it decided that these 4 chefs would be competing against each other in this round? Random drawing? I missed the very first bit of the show so my apologies if it was explained then.

                                                                              1. re: Boudleaux

                                                                                Wasn't explained that I recall. Perhaps they just worked something out based on each chef's schedules?

                                                                                1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                  They didn't explain, that I saw. But it looked to me like there was an intent to make this a diverse group, i.e., the was an old school French chef, a younger, more "new school" American chef, an Italian chef and a "regional American" chef. They were also from four different cities: San Francisco, New York, Dallas and Boston.

                                                                                  It might have been interesting, actually, if they'd grouped chefs by region and then had the winners from each region battle it out in the finale.

                                                                                  1. re: Ruth Lafler

                                                                                    Let's see - taking from the bit I know of the chefs and/or their bios, they are definitely keeping it "diverse" within each group of four.

                                                                                    Next week they have Wylie Dufresne (NYC-culinary science), Suzanne Tracht (CA-steakhouse/classic American), Graham Elliott Bowles (Chicago/"bistronomic"), and Elizabeth Faulkner (CA-pastry/culinary science)

                                                                                    The following week they have Rick Bayless (Chicago-Mexican), Cindy Pawclyn (CA, farm-to-table), Wilo Benet (Puerto Rico-creole fusion/Latin), and Ludovic Lefebvre (CA-French).

                                                                                    So they're not keeping to the 4 different cities each time (I think they're probably heavier on NYC and CA chefs, without looking at locale for each chef). But their backgrounds are all diverse within each group, that's for sure! I'm very much looking forward to Week 3 with Bayless, Pawclyn, Benet and Lefebvre - a very interesting mix on styles there!

                                                                                    1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                      Graham Elliott Bowles is a great guy. I wish him all the best.

                                                                                      1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                        Interesting groupings. I wonder who John Besh will be grouped with?

                                                                            2. What I appreciated about this version is that they don't force the chefs to live with each other and that they are treated like professional adults. While I've never been a fan of Kelly Choi, (when she did "Secrets of New York", she always seemed more interested in posing than the content of the show) and doubt I will ever be. The girl scout judges were just too funny. The attitudes of the chefs were great and it looked like they were really enjoying themselves.

                                                                              3 Replies
                                                                              1. re: MrsT

                                                                                Yes, especially that one little girl scout who they joked would be a food critic one day. They knew how to describe what they like and what they didn't. And, the chefs showed their humility with their reactions to the comments.

                                                                                1. re: chowser

                                                                                  Replace Gael Green with the little red headed girl!

                                                                                  1. re: Phaedrus

                                                                                    Phaedrus: best comment on this thread! ROTFLMAO.

                                                                              2. I was really surprised when the chef who wanted ground pork at WF didn't just buy pork and have it ground! If he really wanted to make pork chili he should have thought of it.

                                                                                4 Replies
                                                                                1. re: mnosyne

                                                                                  good point. We wondered why he just didn't make chili with a different kind of meat. there's no rule that says chili MUST be made with pork..........

                                                                                  1. re: mnosyne

                                                                                    I wondered why he felt he couldn't make Chile with ground beef or bison. I thought it was very odd that he gave up on his dish so easily at that point. I think he felt like he was really out of his element but he sure shined after his brain freeze storing his food.
                                                                                    Keller was just light years ahead of the others the whole way through.
                                                                                    I really enjoyed the show.

                                                                                    1. re: Fritter

                                                                                      this is just an example of how removed from the market these chefs are. they would have ground the pork for him if he had asked.

                                                                                      1. re: thew

                                                                                        Or how the show was edited. Since we didn't get to see what the choices were in the meat case, I think it's difficult to judge the call he made. We don't know his chili recipe or why the pork was so important. Given the quick 5 seconds that was spent on that shot, I think it was the Bravo editors beginning to set the stage for the "crisis" that would follow with the frozen food.

                                                                                        Like everyone else, I, too, wondered why he did sub in a different cut of meat, or have the butchers grind some pork for him. But Not knowing the recipe, not seeing what was actually in the meat case (it appeared they were shopping at night, who knows what was left at the end of the day) and the sheer quickness of the shot, it felt like something else was going on.

                                                                                  2. Just read Jay Raynor's blog on Bravo. He is what Toby Young weished he was. He is funny and insightful. Did I mention funny, and he claims that Kelly Choi can pack it away, I really need to see it to believe it.

                                                                                    Oh, his descriptions of the nocturnal denizens of the main TC studio is very funny. Too bad, they won't show that on the show.
                                                                                    According to rumour there were permanent films sets upstairs – the classroom, the locker room, the doctor's
                                                                                    surgery – used for the sorts of movies that didn't need much in the way of costumes; looking at the place I could believe it. (One evening shooting had to be suspended for a few minutes because of too much noise from up above, a very special kind of bump and grind.)

                                                                                    1 Reply
                                                                                    1. re: Phaedrus

                                                                                      That's exactly what I was referring to when I said he contributed a lot to this episode - first on camera with his comments, and then again in his blog - very well written!

                                                                                      Would love it if Jay could be on the original TC as well...but I fear we're stuck with Toby Young on that one. Perhaps some lessons could be learned if Toby reads comments on Jay's Bravo blog - all were complimentary - quite unlike what I used to read last season for comments about Toby and his "style".

                                                                                    2. i've been down on keller since i saw the burger clip on here and he talked about searing sealing in juices. anyone who still thinks that ain't a top chef to me... ;)

                                                                                      1. I liked it a lot... and I wasn't in the least surprised that Chef Keller won the round (as soon as the kids saw his dessert that was pretty much a given because his was head and shoulders above the others in terms of 'kid appeal'. He not only produced something delicious, he made it so visually appealing to his audience.)

                                                                                        1. Anyone else totally bummed that Tom Colicchio isn't going to be one of the contestants?

                                                                                          I think he should have insisted that he go through what all the chefs he judges have gone though. I'd like to see him on the other side of judges table having his food picked apart right in front of his face and being told "no excuses" and "if it isn't good, don't serve it"! (I always think that "if it isn't good, don't serve it" line is unfair -- the cheftestants really don't have a choice to not serve something -- they have to put something out there within the challenge parameters, and they usually don't have the time to do it over or the resources to fix or modify the dish to salvage it. It's not like in a restaurant, where you're working with tested recipes, and if you overcook the "protein" or oversalt it, you can toss the dish and refire it and the customer gets his food a couple of minutes later and doesn't even notice.)

                                                                                          25 Replies
                                                                                          1. re: Ruth Lafler

                                                                                            yes! it's a HUGE disappointment that we don't get to see him experience life on the other side of JT for a change. boo.

                                                                                            1. re: Ruth Lafler

                                                                                              Maybe that is WHY he didn't do it. he might lose his mojo as a judge. Or that the later TC contestants lose respect for him, in case he totally screwed the pooch.

                                                                                                1. re: Phaedrus

                                                                                                  I sincerely hope Colicchio isn't that big of a cupcake. The man is a great Chef. I think it's far more likely that there's a conflict of interest with him being a judge and involved with the show.

                                                                                                2. re: Ruth Lafler

                                                                                                  I was disappointed that Colicchio wasn't competing, but the guy I REALLY wanted to see out there was Anthony Bourdain. I adore No Reservations, but I've never seen the man cook!

                                                                                                  1. re: mordacity

                                                                                                    I think AB would totally beg off because he knows he isn't in a league with some of these guys. Plus, he hasn't done it in a bunch of years, he would just embarrass himself. Mind you, I love the guy as a commentator, but he has always said his cooking days are over.

                                                                                                    1. re: Phaedrus

                                                                                                      AB puts himself down a lot but he is classically trained and spent around 25 years working in restaurants and was executive chef at what I think is an excellent restaurant.
                                                                                                      He did a holiday show in which he put a dinner together and threw a cassoulet together on No Reservations; Cleveland so it's not like we've never seen him cook. He just does these things about as casually as I would make toast so it may not seem as impressive as the Iron Chefs in their fancy uniforms but I have no doubt that Bourdain can still bring it.
                                                                                                      As we've seen, reading orders and bending over for 10 hours may be beyond is capabilities but I think he could hold his own in a competition like this.

                                                                                                      1. re: tofuburrito

                                                                                                        I really don't think he is interested, and I don't think he would feel like he could get it done.

                                                                                                        In watching him interact with people like Ripert, Keller, etc. he is very deferential to them because they are at the top of their game and I don't think he feels he is anymore. Now, if we had caught him when he was still running the kitchen at Les Halle, that may be different.

                                                                                                        1. re: Phaedrus

                                                                                                          I don't think AB thinks he was ever in that class. Cooking skills-wise, maybe. But he was never the type of inspired chef who takes cuisine to a new level, and I don't think he would claim that he was.

                                                                                                          Still, I think the Top Chef format would suit him very well, in that he thinks well on his feet.

                                                                                                          1. re: Ruth Lafler

                                                                                                            And he'd be great fun to watch & listen to in a mini-competition like this. :-) Would love to see Batali, Ruhlman, Bourdain (and who else?) have a mini head-to-head competition like this.

                                                                                                            1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                              I agree AB probably wouldn't want to do it and his skills are probably rusty but if he got psyched for it and spent some time getting ready I think he'd display a high level of competence.
                                                                                                              He probably wouldn't reinvent the wheel but like the Top Chef masters we've been watching, I think he would present very flavorful food.

                                                                                                              1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                You're right - Linda - I think he would be really entertaining to watch.

                                                                                                                Hmmm who else?
                                                                                                                Well, I'd have to say it would be fun to see Tom Colicchio compete too!

                                                                                                                1. re: NellyNel

                                                                                                                  There's a good mix! Bourdain, Ruhlman (even tho he's not a chef, he can cook like hell, and DAMN he's adorable!), Colicchio and Batali. What fun would THAT be?

                                                                                                                  I call dibs on the outtakes from the edited show - they'd be WAY more fun to watch than the actual show! LOL

                                                                                                                  1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                    LOL!! Definitely!!

                                                                                                                    Now if we were going for "sexy" chefs - I'd remove Bourdain and Batali and insert Keller and (of course) Stefan Richter!!!!


                                                                                                                    1. re: NellyNel

                                                                                                                      Now, Nelly - we're not going to get into a Stefan discussion again, are we? ;-) You can HAVE him - but not in *my* face-off, thankyouverymuch!

                                                                                                                      But I do like the idea of adding Keller into the mix - remove Batali, but leave Bourdain. :-D

                                                                                                                      1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                        hee hee!
                                                                                                                        I should have known that lineup would only be MY personal fantasy team!

                                                                                                                        1. re: NellyNel

                                                                                                                          Oh lordy. Outside of the beefcake factor, I think Bravo would go broke stocking that stew room with booze.

                                                                                                                          1. re: Phaedrus

                                                                                                                            And THAT'S what would make it so fun to watch (especially the outtakes!) LOL

                                                                                                                        2. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                          You know, I find Bourdain incredibly sexy (especially now that he's quit smoking), even though I don't usually go for that hyper-macho type AT ALL!

                                                                                                                          1. re: Ruth Lafler

                                                                                                                            Same here. It's the "bad boy gone (mostly) good" syndrome. :-)

                                                                                                                            1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                              Hmmm ... I'm not particularly attracted to "bad boy" types. For me I think it's the combination of overt masculinity (that my hormones respond to) with a high degree of verbal skill/expression and the sensuality of the way he experiences not only food, but the world around him (that my brain responds to).

                                                                                                                              1. re: Ruth Lafler

                                                                                                                                I was just coming back here to add to my "bad boy gone good" post to also say his way with words is very attractive.

                                                                                                                                But OK, enough about AB on a Top Chef Masters thread - he isn't going to show up. At least not this season. :-)

                                                                                                                                1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                                  I love Bourdain - but he is NOT on my sexy team!

                                                                                                                                  But I am strongly hoping both he and Colecchio will make an appearance next time around!! (assuming there will be a next series)

                                                                                                                                  1. re: NellyNel

                                                                                                                                    I agree on both Bourdain and Colicchio. Still don't think it'll happen - definitely not on TC Masters. But at least we get to see a smidge of Colicchio at the beginning of each TC Masters where he (or Gail) talks about one or two of the Chefs and their background who are participating in that week's challenge.

                                                                                                                                    But please get Bourdain back on the regular TC Season 6, Magical Elves - PLEASE?

                                                                                                                          2. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                            i'd say remove Batali anyway - he's got too much of an advantage racing against the clock with all his ICA experience.

                                                                                                      2. I enjoyed the show and look forward to the next episodes. I thought having the girls do the dessert judging was interesting and heard many references from them on the different GS cookies. Cracked me up; comparing what they were eating to GS cookies.....*grin*

                                                                                                        What I *didn't* like about the EC was there was a printed menu from each chef and everyone knew who cooked what dish! That seems to be a rather unfair way to judge things. I think each course should have been presented blindly and opinions based solely on presentation and flavor. To me, having the chef's name attached to the product gave it away. There may have been a bit of bias associated with judging something you knew was cooked by a particular chef.

                                                                                                        I knew HK was going to cook circles around everyone else. I was hoping for TL though. He's such a down to earth guy.

                                                                                                        1. I agree with the OP. Keller looked like he was going to win from the start. I can't wait to see who is going to compete against!

                                                                                                          1. Oh man, I'm probably going to get hell on this board for mentioning this. I appreciate how the contestants are treated like professionals and don't have to bunk with each other. I don't think chefs of this caliber would ever make themselves go through what the regular TC cheftestants have to do. But a part of me is going to miss the snark, the drunken fights and the drama.

                                                                                                            5 Replies
                                                                                                            1. re: Miss Needle

                                                                                                              Keller and Schlow as Howie and Joey? Nope, not seeing it.

                                                                                                              1. re: Phaedrus

                                                                                                                Keller and Schlow as Howie and Joey? Nope, not seeing it."
                                                                                                                maybe not Keller as Joey, but every time they zoomed in on Schlow's sweat-soaked face & head, i couldn't help thinking he's the Howie of TC Masters!

                                                                                                              2. re: Miss Needle

                                                                                                                Here's my 2 cents:

                                                                                                                I REALLY enjoyed it. Loved loved loved Keller!!
                                                                                                                I was loving Love too, until he acted like a sour puss when he didn't win. (although he did seem to lighten up after he left judges table)

                                                                                                                I enjoyed the show from top to bottom and am really looking forward to the series.
                                                                                                                For me, I won't particulary miss all the drama, because it's a different ball of wax -but as I have said before - I do enjoy a bit of it on TP original..it helps me root for one chef over another, and in a way it is quite enjoyable.

                                                                                                                Anyhow one thing that surprised me was that on Bravo's sit - quite a few of the comments on the blogs were very negative! Allot of "I thought it was boring" comments.

                                                                                                                Do you reckon we here on CH liked it more because it was more "food focused" as opposesd to "drama focused" (although I myself would argue that TC is not drama focused - but other veiwers might not??)

                                                                                                                1. re: NellyNel

                                                                                                                  >>I was loving Love too, until he acted like a sour puss when he didn't win. (although he did seem to lighten up after he left judges table)<<

                                                                                                                  I think he loosened up after they all hit the booze, that part of the show didn't change.

                                                                                                                  >> Anyhow one thing that surprised me was that on Bravo's sit - quite a few of the comments on the blogs were very negative! Allot of "I thought it was boring" comments.

                                                                                                                  Do you reckon we here on CH liked it more because it was more "food focused" as opposed to "drama focused" (although I myself would argue that TC is not drama focused - but other viewers might not??) <<

                                                                                                                  I think that is EXACTLY it.

                                                                                                                  1. re: NellyNel

                                                                                                                    I absolutely think that we on CH like it more because it it's more about food than the drama. Their loss, our gain. :-)

                                                                                                                2. Speaking of the chef contestants learning what the regular season contestants go through, I thought it was interesting that in the preview at the end, Elizabeth Faulkner remarked that she thought they were meaner as guest judges than what she experienced. I guess we will see if the judges seem to soft-pedal their criticism of the pros in the Masters.

                                                                                                                  1 Reply
                                                                                                                  1. re: Caitlin McGrath

                                                                                                                    Well, to paraphrase Ted Allen, IIRC, in the "behind the scenes of Iron Chef America" special (who was referring to Batali), how do you tell Hubert Keller that the food he made for you isn't good enough?

                                                                                                                  2. i didn't really miss the drama per se but i do think there was a level of honesty i missed. especially because the dishes were named. it was as if no one wanted to REALLY insult anyone's food because of the high caliber and the reputations of the chefs. not saying that it wasn't perhaps that the food wasn't really that good (it looked good) but it just seemed VERY complimentary or something.

                                                                                                                    i know they're playing for charity and didn't come to get slammed. but still.

                                                                                                                    3 Replies
                                                                                                                    1. re: AMFM

                                                                                                                      I think they were honest, someone didn't like the cinnamon croutons that Keller made, they all thought that Schlow's pork was way too dry. I think that the chefs are at another level, perhaps the judges need to amp up their expectations to rise to the abilities to the chefs.

                                                                                                                      1. re: Phaedrus

                                                                                                                        Didn't Schlow say that he hadn't had to buy a pork chop in 5 years?

                                                                                                                        1. re: mnosyne

                                                                                                                          I think that was Lee. He did the pork chops, Schlow did a loin.

                                                                                                                    2. I just caught up with this last night, and I have to say that Keller is really smart. As soon as I saw that he made a swan and a mouse for his dessert, I knew he was going to win the quickfire! What little girl wouldn't like the aesthetics of what he made? I'm sure it was tasty, but it was appealing to those girls from the get-go.

                                                                                                                      1 Reply