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TC Masters - Episode 3 [Spoiler Alert!]

ok, i had to start tonight's thread so i could rant. WHY do they feel the need to subtitle Lefebvre? it's like TVFN using a translator for Morimoto. seriously, he's no more difficult to understand than Fabio was last season, and they didn't subtitle him!

ok, rant over...back to watching the QF!

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  1. that said i do enjoy watching and listening to him. :) :) :) this should be a fun group.

    2 Replies
    1. re: AMFM

      i sort of wanted to slap Wilo Benet when he made the comment about using edible flowers because the judges were women. WTF was that?!

      1. re: AMFM

        okay i am now sick of watching and listening to him. how sad that his personality could ruin such a nice face and charming accent. :) still love rick. always have.

      2. I had to laugh at Ludo saying that he was sorry that he told Rick Bayless that he was making quesadillas and that Rick copied him by making tacos. Yeah, real unexpected for Rick Bayless to make tacos.

        4 Replies
          1. re: Boudleaux

            Not to mention that Rudevig had to ask Rick what cheese to use......LOL
            Best comment ever on this show?

            "What does a a French guy know about a quesadilla?"

            Did any one catch Rick offering to help Rudevig pack because he was behind and his response was "Don't tell me how to cook!" . Now that could have been some creative editing but I don't think the LudeDude plays well with others.
            I'm really looking forward to Bayless Vs Keller.

            1. re: Fritter

              his name is Ludovic, not Rudevig...though i have to wonder if the "Rude" part is a Freudian slip ;)

          2. rick is VERY nice. he's helped multiple people. i like cindy too (she's actually the only one so far whose restaurant i've eaten in). and i can't believe wilo's never even tasted beef heart. i mean i have actively avoided all these things as offal creeps me out but i'm not a chef!

            1. i'll be *really* surprised if Wilo doesn't come out the winner of this one...he's already ahead from the QF, and seems to have hit it out of the park with his EC dish.

              and Ludo needs to dial down the ego a bit. i get the feeling the judges are about to serve him a slice of humble pie..

              3 Replies
              1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                i don't know... rick was only a half star behind and his was good too.

                1. re: AMFM

                  you may be right...the judges sound like they're leaning just *slightly* in Rick's favor.

                  ETA: wow! impressive showing by Rick Bayless!

                  1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                    yeah!!!! happy with the outcome. karma.

              2. Thanks for starting the thread ghg - I'm at a friend's babysitting, but at least I'm getting to watch TCM!

                Thought the same thing re: the subtitles - you can figure out what he's saying!

                LOVE the color quickfire; and also laughed at Ludo saying that Rick copied him via the quesadilla/taco street food....Ummm, I think not!

                I'm thinking Bayless takes this one. OK - off to watch - more comments tomorrow!

                16 Replies
                1. re: LindaWhit

                  OK, after thinking about this show, some observations:

                  Ludo got WAY too much camera time. Way WAY too much camera time. And did way WAY too much bitching. Kinda figured he wasn't going to win.....but I'm surprised that Cindy Pawclyn came in lower than him - I liked the idea of her Yummy Tummy Menudo more than his Pig's Ear Quesadilla. I would definitely want to eat at her restaurant. Her "yellow" QF dish looked very, very good, whereas Ludo's "red" dish didn't look appetizing at all. I find it interesting that the pic of his red dish on Bravo's site doesn't seem to have the beet gazpacho he wanted poured all over the tartare! Here: http://www.bravotv.com/foodies/recipe...

                  Every time I've seen Rick Bayless in something, he always seems so happy! That must translate well into his food - his tongue tacos looked SO good! Wilo Benet's Tripleta Pitas also looked good. But Bayless's pure joy in doing what he does really seems to be a true reflection of his overall personality.

                  But overall - this episode wasn't as interesting to me as the previous two. Perhaps because I'm not an offal fan (I also noticed two different pronunciations of that word as well: "ahh-fill" and "orf-fill"...I think the latter by Bayless).

                  So - now we have to wait two weeks until Ep. 4 - with the write-up saying "Chief chefs Anita Lo, Douglas Rodriguez, John Besh and Mark Peel are all tied up. That is, they must cook an egg with one hand tied behind their back. Later, they conjure up culinary magic to impress notable guests, including actor Neil Patrick Harris."

                  That ought to be interesting. :-)

                  1. re: LindaWhit

                    I seem to remeber Doogie, I mean Neal Patrick Harris is a big magic fan, so there could be a magical theme involved.

                    1. re: Phaedrus

                      Doogie....Barney (current show) - yes, he's a magic fan, IIRC. I think I'm looking forward to this episode - a nice mixture of chefs from all areas of the country!

                      1. re: Phaedrus

                        i think he's actually a registered magician. I don't really know if that means he's got a file or what, but I think he's more than just a big fan.

                        1. re: Icantread

                          I'm thinking that they may be doing the show here:

                          I didn't know he was a working professional, I did hear he is really good.

                        2. re: Phaedrus

                          From the snippets previewed, I can tell you it appears part of the episode was filmed at the Magic Castle in Hollywood. (Great magic, mediocre food.)

                        3. re: LindaWhit

                          i'm with you on all points, Linda. i just wasn't as "into" this episode, it was a bit of a yawn.

                          and as far as offal goes, a couple of their pronunciations sounded a lot like "awful" to me - i kept thinking that if someone who didn't know much about food tuned in, they'd be wondering why the chefs had been challenged to prepare "awful" food!

                          1. re: LindaWhit

                            Ludo struck me as a whiny little brat. Even though he was clearly struggling more than the others with the challenges, he was still being arrogant.

                            Shut up and get your food on the plate!

                            1. re: Ruth Lafler


                              his behavior had me thinking he belonged among the regular-season TC contestants, not the Masters.

                              1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                Yup. And pig ear quesadillas? Ick! I've only eaten pig ears as a cold appetizer in Chinese restaurants, where they're served firm, almost crunchy. But that texture wouldn't work at all in a quesadilla, so I'm assuming he stewed it so that it was soft. Looking at the recipe, it appears he cooked it in water until soft, removed the skin, and then used only the skin in the tacos. Which is sort of cheating, imho. But even then, unseasoned boiled pig skin doesn't sound too appetizing -- no wonder he hid it under all that other stuff!


                                1. re: Ruth Lafler

                                  ick is right...if he only used the skin, at the very least he could have made cracklings out of it!

                                  1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                    Yes, I think that would have been the much better choice.

                                    1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                      Erm, if you listened to Jay Rayner, you'd have heard that Ludo Lebfebvre did an impressive job with a really s*** ingredient.

                                      It seems so tiresome that hounds are ready to judge the food they cannot taste based entirely on a perceived, television personality of the chef.

                                      True, he could have been hiding it, and the quesadilla doesn't sound like the best choice for dealing with it, but to be fair, only the menudo dish truly put the ingredient on display. (And tongue tacos-- jeez, did Bayliss luck out with that ingredient, common to a number of dishes. But of course I'd say that, I grew up with tongue)

                                      1. re: Lizard

                                        Bayless did luck out -- no question. "Lengua" tacos are pretty standard Mexican fare that Bayless would be very familiar with.

                                        I did listen to Rayner but I don't have to have tasted it to know that he copped out by basically not using the ingredient. I would have been impressed if Ludo had actually used the difficult part of the pig ear, which is the cartilege. But instead he just used a little bit of pig skin and buried it under cheese and other very flavorful ingredients so it might was well not even have been there. So the dish tasted good -- could you actually discern the pig ear under the pinto bean puree, chorizo, two cheeses, green onions, parsley, lime-mint aioili and amaranth?

                                        To correct what I said above, though, he did simmer the pig ears with some seasonings and aromatics, so it wasn't unseasoned.

                              2. re: LindaWhit

                                I agree on Rick Bayless. Everytime he was on camera, he had such a little-boy-excitement look on his face. I just wanted to hug him, it was so cute!

                                1. re: pinkprimp

                                  He's kind of like that in real life, especially when talking or teaching about Mexican cuisine. This is someone who "followed his bliss" , as the phrase goes, that's why it's so obvious to the rest of us :-)

                            2. The PBS Create channel is looking really smart right amount now. 2 of three finalist have shows on the Create channel.

                              So Lido confirmed every French stereotype ever created. Cindy was a sweetheart, and I would be happy to eat at her restaurant. But Rick and Wilo are the two I found exciting. I liked them as judges, and everything they made today looked worth eating.

                              I love how much these chefs respect each other. This has been true for each of the episodes. They know and admire each other, such a change from the youngun's of the regular Top Chef. Nothing like being the top of the heap for confidence...... Fun.

                              31 Replies
                              1. re: smtucker

                                i ate at cindy's backstreet kitchen - quite nice.
                                my "life list" includes topolobampo. some day.... :)

                                1. re: AMFM

                                  "my "life list" includes topolobampo. some day.... :)"
                                  mine does too. actually, it includes several Chicago-area restaurants...

                                  1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                    great for Rick...Wilo did a pretty good job too.

                                    1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                      I just ate at Frontera Grill a couple of weeks ago for the first time and thought it was great. Am a big fan of Rick Bayless, and glad he won. While I am enjoying these weekly episodes, with the caliber of the winning chefs, I'm really beginning to look forward to the finale!

                                    2. re: AMFM

                                      there is much better Mexican food in Chicago than what Rick Bayless serves up.

                                      1. re: ChefJune

                                        i've been to many chicago great restaurants but LOVE mexican food and have never been to topolobampo. my parents (who go to chicago all the time and have eaten in most of them) went last year with my brother and were blown away. probably helped that barack and michelle were sitting next to them! but still they thought the food was amazing and since then i've wanted to go even more.

                                        1. re: AMFM

                                          I visit Chicago often and I've been to Topolobampo and Frontera Grill at least four times. Each time, Rick Bayless was in the kitchen cooking and/or expediting service. Once when I ate alone at the bar, it was Rick that took my order and served me. The food is excellent and inventive and the joy that Rick takes in providing the experience is evident. I am glad that he won, and not at all surprised.

                                          1. re: Hurner

                                            Me too. I had the fortune of eating at Topolobampo a few weeks ago and thought it was wonderful.

                                            1. re: Hurner

                                              I have eaten at Topolobampo once and Frontera Grill several times. Three times I ate at Frontera I brought one of my Rick Bayless cookbooks and each time he graciously signed it. Twice when we were there for dinner the waiter took the book back to him and returned it signed (with a short note) but the one time we were there for lunch and I asked the waiter if Rick was there and would sign my cookbook, he went and asked and returned with Rick in tow. So we had the opportunity to talk to him for a few minutes. Very gracious and personable man. I am so glad he is moving on to the next round in TC Masters.

                                          2. re: ChefJune

                                            "there is much better Mexican food in Chicago than what Rick Bayless serves up"

                                            I'd say that's subject to interpretation. Are there any other Mexican chef's in Chicago with multiple James Beards awards? Even if it were true it would be hard not to appreciate the vibe at Ricks's place.
                                            Like others here I've enjoyed every meal I've had at a Rick's place and recommend that every one who visits Chicago try Frontera.

                                            1. re: Fritter

                                              I'm guessing the James Beard folks don't hang out in Mom and Pop joints in Mexican neighborhoods -- maybe if they did, they'd nominate someone.

                                              Still, there's more to Mexican food than taquerias. Are there other restaurants in Chicago doing Mexican fine-dining as well as Bayless?

                                              1. re: Ruth Lafler

                                                I'm guessing you haven't been to Frontera. It's not exactly fine dining. It pretty much is "mom and pop". Pop just happens to be a Chef.

                                                1. re: Fritter

                                                  I haven't been to Frontera, but in addition to "Pop" who happens to be a chef, they have a sommelier, a pastry chef, an art collection, a couple of private rooms and a tasting menu with wine pairings, etc. Sounds like fine dining to me!

                                                  1. re: Ruth Lafler

                                                    "Sounds like fine dining to me!"

                                                    That's the problem some times when you base your view solely on what you've read. You are going to have to try reaaaaaaaaalllllllly hard to stretch Frontera into fine dining.
                                                    As far as wine pairings, art and sommelier's go you must have Topolo confused with Frontera.
                                                    BTW have you ever heard of the James Beard America's Classics award? You might want to take a look-see at some of the mom and pop operations that have been recognized. ;)

                                                    1. re: Fritter

                                                      Unfortunately, since I haven't been there, I have to go by their website, and the website does not differentiate between Frontera and Topolobampo -- they're treated as a single entity under the catch-all name Frontera. According to their website, all those things are true of "Frontera."

                                                      1. re: Ruth Lafler

                                                        Ruth, if you go to http://www.rickbayless.com/ and pause your mouse on "Restaurants" in the menu on the left, you can choose Frontera or Topolobampo. You can see that the descriptors are different, and the photos show the interiors are at very different levels of "luxury." The weekly menus are available, and reflect different cooking styles, rustic, vs. haute.

                                                        Regarding your other question, I haven't visited them, but my understanding is there are several other places doing refined Mexican cooking, in addition to taquerias and family-style restaurants, in Chicago.

                                                        1. re: Caitlin McGrath

                                                          I did that -- on the Frontera page the staff is listed as:

                                                          Richard James, Chef
                                                          Enrique Gomez, Sous Chef
                                                          Melissa Novak, Pastry Chef
                                                          Jill Gubesch, Sommelier

                                                          Of the rotating photos, *one* shows tables (no white table cloths, I agree), others feature the art collection and a rather upscale looking bar with fancy pendant track lights. In short, it appears to be an upscale reinterpretation of a Mexican cantina.

                                                          Frontera menu looks pretty damn upscale to me, with all the artisinal/boutique producers and prices to match. For example:

                                                          Coctel de Mariscos, Estilo Nuevo: seafood cocktail of Hawaiian Kona Kampachi, fresh oyster, PEI mussels and organic shrimp with homemade "ketchup" compote, Tamazula hot sauce, avocado, cilantro and carbonated citrus. Black pepper cracker. 15.00

                                                          The house specials are all over $20 and the carne asada kisses $30 ($29.50). The atmosphere may be faux-casual, but the way the food is prepared and the prices are definitely fine dining.

                                                          Furthermore, it specifically says that at the bar you can order off either the Frontera or the Topolobampo menu, so the distinction between the two is more style than substance -- the food is coming out of the same kitchen using the same ingredients.

                                                          Finally, "fine dining" is a more general term than people seem think. People are responding to my characterization as if I was talking about a "high end" restaurant, when actually fine dining is a much broader category than that. I guess to put it more simply, a fine dining restaurant is one where you go for a complete dining experience: interesting food, good service, good atmosphere, not just to eat.

                                                          Just to clarify, I'm not trying to bash Bayless or his restaurants. In fact, if I ever get to Chicago, I'd love to try them. This discussion was purely spurred by the discussion of who is doing what with Mexican food in Chicago and the biases of the James Beard nominating committee. Frontera Grill is place where the kind of people who nominate restaurants for James Beard awards eat.Whether the food is delicious (sounds like) or "authentic" (whatever the hell that means) Mexican food is a separate issue from the type of clientele it appeals to.

                                                          1. re: Ruth Lafler

                                                            Ah, see, I thought you were saying you saw *literally* (using the true meaning here) no difference between the two. Yep, both upscale, one doing "rustic," one "refined" food and a shared bar for both (hence either menu in bar).

                                                            I agree with you about the probable Beard award criteria. As the Chicago CH board will attest, there is a diverse Mexican restaurant scene there, with plenty of regional cuisine, upscale places - in other words, not just taqueria/cantina food and Bayless. But probably the biggest thing driving Beard nominators to Frontera Grill is Bayless's national reputation via his cookbooks, cooking show, foundation, etc. They are there because he is famous. Not at other Mexican restaurants, many with Mexican chefs.

                                                            1. re: Ruth Lafler

                                                              "Frontera Grill is place where the kind of people who nominate restaurants for James Beard awards eat"

                                                              What a bunch of pure non-sense.
                                                              Calling Frontera fine dining is a total mis-representation. Fine dining is NOT casual in any way shape or form and Frontera is indeed casual. IMO it's a real stretch trying to morph a Cantina into fine dining to validate your view.
                                                              You seem to be suggesting that the James Beard foundation has skipped over some great Mexican discovery that you have dined at in Chicago so please do share. Where is this gem that you have first hand knowledge of? I'd love to go and I've heard the rumors of those doing it "better" than Bayless more than once and have yet to find it to be true.
                                                              I'm struggling to find any validity to your view when by your own admission you have never even been to Frontera. How would you know the awards are not justified?
                                                              There will always be those who attempt to bash the Chef's that have won the awards or the awards committee etc. That's to be expected on the Internet as so many opine with out any first hand experience.
                                                              I'm guessing you don't have any more first hand insight to the "biases of the James Beard nominating committee" than you do with Frontera.
                                                              Don't get me wrong, I suspect JB is just as political as any other organization. But that's the difference here, I suspect it. I don't know it nor do I post it as some sort of pseudo fact.
                                                              Scroll down to the Americas choice awards in the link below and I think it pretty much voids your theory on the JB committee never eating any place other than up-scale fine dining establishments. You might also want to note the rising star category. Clearly those nominations and awards are for those who are new Chef's...IE Not previous winners, not famous. Did the awards committee not go the establishments where these unknown chefs are working? Or are you really suggesting they just skip over Mexican Chef's?


                                                      2. re: Ruth Lafler

                                                        and it is fine dining. especially Topolobampo. and I have been to both places. More than once.

                                                  2. re: Fritter

                                                    There are ALWAYS two sides to every coin.

                                                    I and a well-regarded Mexican chef were treated very rudely at Frontera. Yes, Bayless knew we were there, and snubbed her. Very poor behavior. And the food was way below par, even tho he was in the kitchen. cold, and both under and over cooked (depending upon the dish).

                                                    I grew up in Chicago, and the best Mexican restaurants were and still are are staffed by real Mexicans, many of whom speak little English. They may be located in "bad" neighborhoods, and of course they would not be recognized by Beard. Don't be ridiculous!

                                                    On the other hand, Ludo Lefebvre is a quirky, fun-loving person whose personality came across poorly on tv. and the food he cooks in his restaurant is delicious.

                                                    Curious how you folks would prepare a pig's ear if you had NEVER done so before?

                                                    1. re: ChefJune

                                                      don't want to argue ludo's vs. bayless' food since i haven't eaten either - and i thought they both looked good and would grant you that bayless got the easier draw.
                                                      that said, i do believe that part of lefebvre's spiel was that he HAD cooked pig's ear before. so it wasn't new to him.

                                                      1. re: ChefJune

                                                        "Curious how you folks would prepare a pig's ear if you had NEVER done so before?"
                                                        just to clarify, are you implying that Ludo was unfamiliar with the ingredient? because as AMFM said, he claimed to have worked with ALL of the options before.

                                                        1. re: ChefJune

                                                          "I and a well-regarded Mexican chef were treated very rudely at Frontera"

                                                          If your demeanor mimics Rudo then it may well have been a well deserved snub. I've been to Frontera with a group of other Chef's and we were all treated very well. I think any one with even a smidgeon of intuition can get a pretty fair sense of Chef Bayless's disposition from this show. He's not a guy that's going to arbitrarily snub some one so if you were snubbed I have little doubt it was well deserved. I think his continued efforts to be assist Rudo demonstrated that fairly well.
                                                          Just for the record I've seen your rather jaded posts on other forums as well and just so we are clear I'm a member of the evil ACF and have been for many years. I just don't feel the need to run around and call myself Chef Dave, ACF ***.
                                                          I find it interesting (as in not believe-able) that you give Bayless a poor review and then rant about Mexican labor. I say that because it should be crystal clear to any one that has been to Frontera that the bulk of his staff is indeed ethnic.

                                                          1. re: Fritter

                                                            Does ancestry really matter? If you have the knowledge, skill and ingredients to prepare ethic dishes not of your particular lineage, is there any reason why you couldn't do it as well as anyone else?

                                                            1. re: tofuburrito

                                                              Apparently there are those who believe or at least want to toss out some thinly veiled innuendo that the JB foundation is racist. This gives me a brain freeze when all one has to do is look at the ethnic back ground of past winners.
                                                              It also Vexes me that people seem deluded into thinking that a Chef who is not already famous is incapable of getting a visit or a nomination from JB. The award is often exactly what helps propel many into the spot light. Not the other way around.
                                                              Race or ethnicity has little if any thing to do with the ability to be a great Chef at least in my experience.

                                                              1. re: Fritter

                                                                I wasn't implying they were racist, just -- like most people -- oblivious to things that are outside their socio-economic sphere. That said, Tony Bourdain *has* called the James Beard Foundation racist for the lack of recognition and support it gives to Latino chefs, cooks and kitchen workers who do the majority of the work in American restaurant kitchens.

                                                                1. re: Ruth Lafler

                                                                  "like most people -- oblivious to things that are outside their socio-economic sphere"

                                                                  Maybe we should add oblivious to things that are out side their actual experiences and universally apply that.
                                                                  I'm not a Bayless groupie or any thing but the guy deserves some credit for what he has done for Mexican food.
                                                                  The point of contention here is that you are suggesting others are doing Mexican "better" in Chicago and you still haven't told us where nor have you actually been to the establishment you are so critical of.
                                                                  Frankly I just don't think your making much sense here. One moment you suggest the JB foundation is racist or oblivious and the next you are criticizing them for recognizing a restaurant that employes numerous Hispanics.
                                                                  As much as I like AB some times he is totally FOS. When he was a working Chef you can bet he wasn't treating his Latino Staff half as good as Bayless (trips to Mexico every year etc). If you actually read the list of nominations on the JB 2009 list (link up thread) you will find a Latin Chef.......Douglas Rodriguez from Ola who was not only nominated for best restaurant in his region but has received two rising star awards in the past. Now I'm certain that just by looking at his web site you will tell us that he doesn't count because after all he has white table cloths and he is succesful.
                                                                  BTW AFAIK James Beard does not honor any cooks or kitchen workers irrespective of race. Maybe you could convince them sudsbuster or line cook of the year would be a nice addition.
                                                                  AB and Ruhlman pontificate on this for one reason......It draws attention and they profit it from it in the form of book sales.

                                                          2. re: ChefJune

                                                            "I grew up in Chicago, and the best Mexican restaurants were and still are are staffed by real Mexicans, many of whom speak little English. They may be located in "bad" neighborhoods, and of course they would not be recognized by Beard. Don't be ridiculous!"

                                                            What's up with the apparent reverse snobby?

                                                            I live in Chicago and there are excellent and creative regional Mexican restaurants all over the place -- the "bad" neighborhood thing is a bit silly. And most of them, as well as most not-so-good, ordinary, or sub-ordinary Mexican restaurantsm are staffed my Mexicans who don't speak English, including Rick Bayliss's restaurants.

                                                        2. re: ChefJune

                                                          I can tell you as a Chicagoan that we do have a lot of great regional Mexican cuisine, but Bayliss is the guy that created the market for something more than tacos and enchaladas. His food is excellent and, while there are a lot of good Mexican options in town, he still sets the standard.

                                                        3. re: AMFM

                                                          I was fortunate enough to go there and Frontera Grill....both places were glorious. Dh went to appease me and ended up falling in love.

                                                      2. I am loving this show. I see a theme with the winners here. Aside from their obvious talent, all happen to be seasoned, humble, calm, and respectful of others. There were some non-winners that also fit this description, but the three winners so far seemed to be really fantastic under all of that pressure. Does anyone else see similarities?

                                                        6 Replies
                                                        1. re: doughreme

                                                          agreed. of course they could be playing that up with editing after the fact. we'll see what happens in the finals.

                                                          1. re: doughreme

                                                            That's why it makes for such bad TV! Everyone is too calm and cool and professional. These chefs are all seasoned pros and it really dials down the drama factor for me. The producers also give too little time to the thought and planning that goes into the meals because they have to give time to bios every episode. This is the first of the TC franchise that leaves me completely cold. Please, these chefs are also hyper-aware of the cameras: I don't buy for a minute that they are such mellow, loving mensches when they are actually in the kitchen. You don't become a "celeb chef" by singing kumbaya.

                                                            1. re: newhavener07

                                                              If you want to see people cussing each other out, go watch Hell's Kitchen... personally, I much prefer Top Chef Masters, where they've left the drama behind and you get to see top-flight chefs treating each other with respect and doing what they do best...

                                                              1. re: Kajikit

                                                                They did have the "bleep" machine working overtime for chef Lefebvre. I had to laugh though when "merde" made it through though; apparently sh!t is o.k. if you say it in French.

                                                                1. re: kmcarr

                                                                  Well, "merde" technically isn't one of the seven words you can't say on TV! Using a different word that means the same thing isn't disallowed. After all, they could say "crap" or "doo-doo" and it would mean the same thing.

                                                                  Besides, if someone is sophisticated enough to know what it means, then they're sophisticated enough not to be offended. ;-)

                                                                  1. re: Ruth Lafler

                                                                    They share the same front door and hostess stand, but Frontera is on the right hand side, with the bar and the bathrooms, and Topolobampo is on the left hand side, with tablecloths, more distance between tables, and much quieter music and clientele. They share some things on the menu, but mostly are different. It's a bit confusing, but everything I had was delicious. (I meant this as a response to Ruth's posting of June 30, but this is under Ruth's June 29 posting for some reason, and I'm sure it's my fault, not the computer's.)

                                                          2. I really couldn't get into he offal at all, except for the menudo and toungue. This one didn't really hold me attention after the QF.

                                                            I think Ludo needs to take a chill pill. But then again, I think he is the youngest out of the four this time so its just youthful rambunctiousness.

                                                            I am having a little bit of a problem, with the judging. Whereas before, you knew who screwed up and are kind of awaiting the the big slapdown. These chefs are so good that the idfference is in the finer points of perceptions betweenthe judges. I think the slam bam commentary production work on the judges table is not helping them show where and how the deductions of the chef's dishes are happening. Case in point: the difference between Wilo and Rick's dishes. I was pretty confused when Rick won because you really could not tell that much of a difference via the comments but the way the judges voted, they liked Ricks dish much better.

                                                            Then again, it could all be a head fake.

                                                            I forgot that we'd seen Wilo until they showed him on the

                                                            4 Replies
                                                            1. re: Phaedrus

                                                              i thought you could. they thought it was too saucy and you couldn't really taste the heart and it was sliced too thin. and rick's was "i want seconds". with this one i felt like it was really obvious.

                                                              and i'd agree that ludo was the first one who reminded me of an actual top chef contestant. too arrogant and with too much to prove. others were lovely.

                                                              1. re: AMFM

                                                                Funny, I liked Ludo for that very reason, he was like a TC personality. He took some crazy chances, went with something that was not his strength, and was given screen time to talk about his thought process. The other chefs so far seem preprogrammed and all talk in these grade-school-teacher cadences that put me to sleep. They also can barely contain their condescension toward the critics, diners and the whole process. I want my TC back!

                                                                1. re: newhavener07

                                                                  There is enthusiasm and then there is put on enthusiasm. it seemed to me like Ludo is trying too hard to be the bad boy of the kitchen. Maybe this is what he is like in person, I don't know the guy, but that is the impression he left with me.

                                                                  1. re: newhavener07

                                                                    and when you watch bayless on anything that seems to really be his personality. in fact it's kind of hurt his tv career because he's just not that exciting.

                                                              2. I was thinking the same thing about subtitling Lefebvre, but then I looked away from the screen when he was talking and I had no idea what he was saying, and I speak French!
                                                                Overall, I find the " masters" pretty uninspiring so far, egotistical yet fundamentally introverted and boring to watch. The host is also very bland--I miss Padma! However that English critic tonight was quite the hottie and very cogent in his comments...more of him, please!

                                                                25 Replies
                                                                1. re: newhavener07

                                                                  I disagree on the chefs being egotistical - Wylie was very self-effacing last week: "If you lose in a fair fight, you lose in a fair fight!" But I will agree on some of them being a bit introverted.

                                                                  As for the judges - I think Kelly needs to got the way of Katie Lee Joel - one season and you're OFF. As for Jay, he seems to be the most insightful of all of them...well thought out criticism (at least what we've seen - but then again, I'm wondering if the producers are using him as a foil for Toby Young's inane snarkiness on the regular TC?)

                                                                  I was expecting more from Gael Greene, and the other guy James whoeverheis - well, he just seems to fade into the woodwork.

                                                                  1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                    A few tidbits. Billy Joel and Katie Lee Joel are diivorcing. Billy is off for trophy wife number I don't remember. Katie Lee has to stand on her own now.

                                                                    I have read the first few pages of Rayner's book. He is as advertised. Well, he writes like he speaks on TCM.

                                                                    1. re: Phaedrus

                                                                      Yeah, couldn't miss the info re: their divorce.....looks like Katie has been straying - from one Sugar Daddy to another. She won't have to stand on her own! LOL I'm sure she'll put out another "cookbook" or whatever to keep her hand in the "workforce".

                                                                    2. re: LindaWhit

                                                                      Jay's criticism is good, and he's got a great head of hair. Finally, eye candy for we anglophone females...Kelly should pack her miniskirts and go. But in fairness, she's much better than the monotone mannequin that was Katie Lee Joel.

                                                                      1. re: newhavener07

                                                                        Almost ANYONE is better than the Mannequin. :-)

                                                                        1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                          I'd like to see a sassy broad like Kathy Griffin as a host, or even a likeable character like Leanne or Carla from TC's past. Why does the host have to be a tarted-up bimbette? It's not like there are any looks/sex-appeal standards for judges. (Ahem, Toby Young...) Since many TC viewers are women, how about a himbo for a change?

                                                                          1. re: newhavener07

                                                                            "I'd like to see a sassy broad like Kathy Griffin as a host,"
                                                                            you & me both! i'm a huge KG fan, but that would *never* happen. last week on her show, she spent the night at Paula Deen's house, and when Paula requested that each guest prepare a dish, Kathy made her "Cake Soup" - warm 2 chocolate cupcakes in the MW, dump into mixing bowl with a softened pint of vanilla ice cream, blend...and eat directly from the bowl with a spoon.

                                                                            of course Paula loved it! ;)

                                                                            1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                                              That's hysterical. Sounds like a creation up there with Kwanzaa Cake!

                                                                              1. re: newhavener07

                                                                                Yeah, but the Cake soup sounds edible. Not the Kwanzaa cake.

                                                                            2. re: newhavener07

                                                                              I would absolutely *hate* having Kathy Griffin on this show as a host - she is all about promoting only herself -- her style would just not work on a show like this.

                                                                              But a himbo would be fine with me! :-D

                                                                              1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                Agree 100% about KG but not with the himbo. I'm perfectly content with Padma.

                                                                                1. re: tofuburrito

                                                                                  FWIW, Padma was on the late show (Letterman, I think) recently and mentioned that TC was going to Las Vegas for the Fall season. The way she discussed it certainly sounded like she would be back for that.
                                                                                  I hope so - she has grown on me. She does a fair job, or at least I am used to her.

                                                                                  1. re: LJNew

                                                                                    You'll get your wish...Padma "is" back. TC Six completed filming in Las Vegas earlier this month.

                                                                                    1. re: Hurner

                                                                                      It could be that filming with Top Chef 6 overlapped with filming of Masters, which is why they got a different host. Plus, Padma has to have time between series to lose the weight she says she gains during each series.

                                                                              2. re: newhavener07

                                                                                Many of them are women or GAY -- but I think they think the "eye candy" for those groups is Tom and/or the various guests (Rocco, Bourdain, etc.).

                                                                                I think they want a professional "spokesmodel" because they want someone (1) who doesn't have any professional conflicts of interest; (2) whose *job* is going to be hosting the show; and (3) who is comfortable with the scripted stuff she has to deliver. It's harder than it looks to speak from a script and sound natural when everyone else is speaking spontaneously.

                                                                              3. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                I have Rick on my TCM fantasy team so I'm happy to have a chef in the finals. Plus I like his PBS show a lot although the back and forth with his daughter seems over-the-top-goofy most of the time. I'd still like to be on the guest list for his parties.
                                                                                Ludo didn't say or do anything that would inspire me to try his cooking.
                                                                                I liked when Cindy said she belongs to a women's group that goes out for organ meats. I wonder where they go, butcher shops?
                                                                                I tend to rally behind people who get a lot of criticism so I'm becoming more of a Kelly fan every week. Like many Chowhounders my wife took an immediate dislike to her. I don't really get it, she seems like a nice enough person.

                                                                              4. re: newhavener07

                                                                                OK, I'm reading Jay's blog at Bravo - whew - he gives the what for to Ludo! LOL

                                                                                And I finally figured out where I've "seen" Jay Rayner before...think of the swashbuckling movies from the 40s - he belongs as part of the 3 Musketeers or on a pirate ship, sword in hand, or on the cover of one of those bodice-rippers as the hero saving the girl. Just LOOK at the picture on his blog! LOL And then there's his accent. :-)


                                                                                And it looks like Gail Simmons is on the show as judge in place of Jay in two weeks' time.

                                                                                1. re: newhavener07

                                                                                  'Finally, eye candy for we [sic] anglophone females..'

                                                                                  What does the eye have to do with speaking English? Couldn't a person be attractive to someone who doesn't speak English or come from an English speaking region?

                                                                                  That said, I like him. I like his writing. And I find it kind of offensive that the hounds posting only think of him in relation to Toby Young, a different type of writer, simply because he is English. So was Kelly Choi the logical replacement for Padma because she, too, is Asian?

                                                                                  1. re: Lizard

                                                                                    Lizard. Come on. There have been many, MANY hounds (including myself) who have fawned ad nauseum over Eric Ripert. Who is not from an English-speaking region, although he does speak English.

                                                                                    We're just having a little fun here with Jay Rayner and expressing admiration for his judging as well as his looks. And the comparison to Toby Young is only because they're both on TC shows. That's it.

                                                                                    There really is no nefarious plot to pit one judge against another. We're just expressing preferences.

                                                                                    1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                      I'm not judging the fawning. I think I'm just slow. I don't understand your use of the word 'anglophone'. Why is enjoying the sight of Rayner something for English speaking women as your own post suggests? I don't understand why you refer to Ripert here, since the qualifier 'anglophone' was applied to the women viewers.

                                                                                      And GHG, you could be right, but in the past threads, they keep being compared to one another. I'm also not sure I like this gendered read either. But I suppose I am sensitive.

                                                                                      1. re: Lizard

                                                                                        Sorry, I meant AngloPHILE. I was so addled by Jay's charms I mistyped. Hand me the ginsu knife so I can commit harakiri.

                                                                                        1. re: newhavener07

                                                                                          And that explains it, then. I was wondering, but didn't want to assume you erred.

                                                                                        2. re: Lizard

                                                                                          First, I didn't say anglophone - I believe newhavener did. And I think the correct term would be "anglophile", i.e., fond of English culture. At least that is the context in which I read the particular post and in the context in which I replied. If that caused confusion, I apologize.

                                                                                          Either way - it doesn't matter whether you speak English, French, Chinese. Attraction can be found anywhere with anyone.

                                                                                          Perhaps what newhavener meant was those of us who enjoy the English accent. (Please correct me if I'm wrong, newhavener). And in that particular context (accents), I mentioned Eric Ripert. Some find his accent an added benefit to his visage. And I'm definitely one of those "some" who do so.

                                                                                          Some accents that are different to what you are used to are sexy to some people. That is what I meant by *my* responses - and both Rayner's and Ripert's accents are attractive - to me. Or ADD to their attractiveness as it relates to the visual for both as well. So while Toby Young has the British accent, the visual on him (for me) is not attractive. Nor is his snarkiness. But that's me - obviously there are some that find Toby Young attractive in some way. :-)

                                                                                          newhavener will have to respond for herself.

                                                                                          1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                            Easy there, Linda. As you can see, I responded to you because you responded to me about my response to newhavener. I forgot it was newhavener who began this.

                                                                                            And yes, I thought newhavener may have meant anglophile, but I hesitate to assume error here and would rather have the original writer explain themselves. Thanks for having lots to say on the subject, though!

                                                                                      2. re: Lizard

                                                                                        "And I find it kind of offensive that the hounds posting only think of him in relation to Toby Young, a different type of writer, simply because he is English."
                                                                                        i think you're reading too much into it. nationality has nothing to do with it, the comparisons are more gender-based. i've seen a couple of comments about Gail Simmons vs Gael Greene as well. if Ted Allen had still been on the show last season, i'm pretty sure people would be comparing Rayner to him instead.

                                                                                2. Just thought of something - during the EC while at Universal, someone was at Rick Bayless's station (short guy with dark hair and sunglasses - even tho it was kind of cloudy?) and said "Give me some tongue, Rick!" - and damned if it didn't look and sound like Hung! Did anyone else notice that, or do they have it recorded to see if it was him? Couldn't tell with the sunglasses on.

                                                                                  3 Replies
                                                                                  1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                    i thought the line "does this mean i can say rick bayless slipped me some tongue?" was really funny. didn't notice the hung thing but i DO have it recorded and can check later.

                                                                                    1. re: AMFM

                                                                                      That was the line - thanks AMFM! And I'd love to know if they brought him back to the show this way. Although I do recall in another thread that the winners of regular TC were all supposed to be on this Masters show - and we've seen Ilan. Was this Hung's appearance? So we still need to see Harold, Stephanie and Hosea (the last one is the one who I could really do without seeing at ALL).

                                                                                    2. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                      I don't think it was Hung. Just some random Asian dude in shades. He was also in line for quesadillas too.

                                                                                    3. By the end of the show I wanted to flush "Frenchie" down the toilet. What an arrogant ass.

                                                                                      1. I'd been wanting to try Ludo's restaurant but have no interest in going now. I'm glad Rick Bayliss won. He seems like such a nice man and a great chef. I hope I get to go to his restaurant some day! I have eaten at Mustards and loved Cindy's food!

                                                                                        5 Replies
                                                                                        1. re: torchsong

                                                                                          I loved Mustards, too, but wasn't keen on the food at Fog City Diner. The best shrimp I've ever had in my life, by far, was at Topolobampo.

                                                                                          1. re: torchsong

                                                                                            Several years ago I had the opportunity to spend a week cooking with Rick in Oaxaca on a trip sponsored by the CIA - Greystone. He truly is a very nice person. And if you think he's totally passionate about what he cooks, he's equally as passionate about teaching. He's a great teacher

                                                                                            1. re: DiningDiva

                                                                                              His passion came through in his PBS series, what was it called, "Mexico, One Bite At A Time"?

                                                                                                1. re: Caitlin McGrath

                                                                                                  Thanks, Caitlin, you really learned a lot about Mexican cuisine watching that show.

                                                                                          2. I liked this episode though as a vegetarian offal and I will always be strangers. I’m ok with that.

                                                                                            I had a feeling Rick would be the winner though I was cheering for all of them.

                                                                                            Some of the editing bad habits of the original Top Chef were to be seen thanks to Ludo. Talking smack in a kitchen and doing it on national tv are two different things and I’m sure he had no idea how bad it would come across. The menu at Ludo Bites looks killer and I’d happily eat his food.

                                                                                            Here’s a funny thing I noticed while watching this episode late at night by my lonesome: I thought about all you lovely Chowhounds many times while watching TCM#3. It occurs to me I’ve actually thought about you all a bit during each episode. How some would rip apart Ludo, cheer for anyone but Ludo. Lusting for tacos and menudo. Silly I guess. Just thought I’d mention it and say Thank You for enhancing my enjoyment of Top Chef throughout the seasons but most especially with this incarnation, Top Chef Masters.

                                                                                            I wrote a whole rant about Bravo’s website that I just erased. Still, I did want to mention how much the redesign irks me. Last night I had to do a Google search to get to the Top Chef Masters page (I’d dumped my cache and history) because there was not one mention or link to Top Chef Masters on the bravotv.com home page. Is Top Chef Masters some redheaded* stepchild for Bravo?

                                                                                            *I’m a redhead so of course I’m not dissing redheads – or stepchildren.

                                                                                            3 Replies
                                                                                            1. re: MplsM ary

                                                                                              Re: the TCMasters site, I've bookmarked it so it's easier for me to find. :-) But you can just go to the Bravo site and then click the "Shows" link to find the Masters link.

                                                                                              1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                Re: new Bravo website (or not), I continue to enjoy Jay’s well-written blogs. My favorite tidbits from other Bravo TCM blogs this week:

                                                                                                1) Cindy’s reaction to receiving the color yellow for this week’s QF: “When I heard the color yellow, I kept thinking about the Frank Zappa song, “Don’t Eat the Yellow Snow.” I thought I had better not do that.”

                                                                                                2) Ludo: He says that what he usually makes with pig’s ear is head cheese terrine, which he didn’t think would work for the challenge. Piques my interest, though.

                                                                                                1. re: intuitive eggplant

                                                                                                  Ludo reminded me of the cartoon French chef in the movie Ratatouille. His obnoxious attitude makes entertaining reality TV, but in life he must be insufferable.

                                                                                            2. Ludo irritated me. In the QF he asked for help in plating. In the market he asked Rick what cheese to use in the quesadilla. Then, upon learning Rick the Mexican chef was making tacos he accuses him of copying and then says "I'm not here to help anyone". I lost any respect for him at that point.

                                                                                              1 Reply
                                                                                              1. re: breadzone

                                                                                                Ever since Ludo was installed at Bastide, he has been the "little darling" of the L.A. high end dining scene, but it seems from his performance on Top Chef Masters that he has some growing up to do, and some arrogance to lose. Susan Tracht, another L.A. local showed her chops, and her maturity.

                                                                                              2. I guess I'll be the lone dissenter re: Ludo. First, I appreciated the subtitles. I had some trouble understanding him. Second, I took the overwhelming majority of what he was saying to be tongue in cheek. I think he was playing around, talking some smack, acting the part of the snooty French guy. Like when he said now someone can say they met a nice French guy? And when he was talking about charming Gael with his accent? I really think he was poking fun at himself pretty much the whole time. ... Anyway, I could be wrong, but that's how I interpreted it.

                                                                                                3 Replies
                                                                                                1. re: charmedgirl

                                                                                                  He poked fun, but he also got in the weeds. When he didn't finish plating his quick fire dish, he was frustrated, and when his elimination challenge, the "street food" challenge, which by definition should be quick to cook, took longer than it should, he turned on the charm and became self-depricating. At the end, he said he wished they'd do another one, and bring him back. To me that bespeaks that he knew he could do better if he'd been more prepared for cooking in the lurch, so to speak. I liked him and though he came off well, if a little less composed than some of the older chefs. He didn't cook as well as he might have, had he been more keyed into what might be expected of him. He seemed disappointed, but ready to go at it again.

                                                                                                  1. re: DanaB

                                                                                                    i agree. i didn't love him as much as i thought i might in the beginning - the whining got a bit annoying, but i don't think he came off all that horribly. i'd agree that some was definitely tongue in cheek. and youth and a feeling of being the least well-known in the group... it's amazing what maturity will do.
                                                                                                    i'd definitely not boycott his restaurant or anything.

                                                                                                    1. re: AMFM

                                                                                                      I'd agree that some was definitely tongue in cheek. Was that an offal pun??!!