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Top Chef Masters 2 Ep. #1 - 04/07/10 (Spoilers)

First go-round has: Ana Sortun, Govind Armstrong, Jerry Traunfeld, Jimmy Bradley, Susan Feiniger, and Tony Mantuano participating.

Kelly Choi has them all pick a pot for the QuickFire - each of them pull out a red, green or blue apron....they're cooking in teams of 2: Sortun & Traunfeld, Feiniger and Mantuano, and Armstrong and Bradley are paired.

THEN Kelly says to "hop in your Lexus to go to Chinatown!" (That was fast with the dropping of the sponsor names!) They get into L.A.'s Chinatown, and they stop at.......a GAS STATION! Yay! It's the gas station challenge that Lee Ann Wong won in TC1 - woo-hoo - I love this challenge!

The band members from "The Bravery" are judging the QF.

3 Stars for Sortun & Traunfeld
3.5 Stars for Armstrong & Bradley
4 Stars for Feiniger and Mantuano - they win the QF!

~~~~~~~
Can I just say I'm SO glad TCM is back? Yay!!!

And all I know of the Elimination Challenge is what TV Guide Online said: ""First Date Dinners - things get steamy in the Season 2 opener when coming pro chefs Ana Sortun, Govind Armstrong, Jerry Traunfeld, Jimmy Bradley, Susan Feiniger, and Tony Mantuano create aphrodisiacal dinners for romantic first dates."

And Kelly tells them they remain as a team for the EC - Interesting!

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  1. guess what?! they're broadcasting the East Coast HD feed for us so i get to watch with you! :)

    my first two thoughts:
    - i wish someone would knock that *enormous* chip off Govind's shoulder - what's with the attitude?
    - i think it sucks that they're paired up for BOTH challenges. they really should get at least one chance to fend for themselves without their partner's performance affecting their score.

    9 Replies
    1. re: goodhealthgourmet

      YAY! And I thought the same thing about Govind's comments about the band members judging his food - wow.

      And when Ana said they were doing duck....well, she had me at duck. :-)

      1. re: LindaWhit

        Unfortunately Ana's duck may not have wowed the judges. we'll have to see.

        meanwhile, James Oseland's comment about disagreement being "hot" totally icked me out...sexual attraction is just about the last thing that comes to mind when i look at that man, and i really don't want to hear him make any allusions to sex or anything remotely related to it.

        1. re: goodhealthgourmet

          LOL!!! I'm right with you re: Oseland's comments about sex. His "hope may spring eternal" but I'd just as soon not hear about it.

          I'm wondering if Traunfeld's duck might save their team. BUT - only two are going onto the finale from each episode. Ana's comment in the Boston Globe Magazine that Bostonians would be "proud" seems to contradict the way the judges are talking about the duck dishes. Hmmm....

          Yeah, they're giving Jerry and Ana's stars first - I doubt they'll win.

          Wow - Govind's team didn't beat Jerry & Ana! And Susan Feiniger and Tony Mantuano win - decisively!

          So I guess Boston's hopes fall on Jody Adams' shoulders. :-)

          1. re: LindaWhit

            i'm just hoping this new "pairing" situation isn't going to be SOP for the entire season. i'd really rather see each chef compete for him or herself.

            1. re: goodhealthgourmet

              So ghg, I think you and I are the only ones watching this show. ;-)

              And it's quite possible they'll do pairings on the next 3 shows to get it down to the final 6 (or 8?) and THEN go to the individual competitions.

            2. re: LindaWhit

              I talked to Jody Adams for a minute at Taste of the Nation last nite and of course she couldn't say anything. I just asked if she "kicked ass and took names". We'll see. Overall, I felt the first batch of chefs weren't as memorable as most of last season. I want an Art, altho I guess the woman who won is pretty bubbly.

              1. re: Joanie

                Did you at least get a sly smile out of her when you asked her that question? :-)

                1. re: LindaWhit

                  I did get a sly smile and a slightly positive vibe.

        2. re: goodhealthgourmet

          I totally agree with both points. I always thought from Govind's appearances over the last ten years that he was a great guy! What happened? Teams never give a accurate assessment of a chef's abilities!

        3. i can't believe i'm going to say this, but Kelly Choi actually makes me long for Padma. she's just so awful! and it's pretty funny to see her at JT. she looks like she's watching a tennis match - every time they show her she's just turning her head back & forth as the judges talk.

          1. I didn't like having 6 chefs as opposed to 4 -- one of the reasons I love the show is because it gives us a chance to learn about these master chefs, see their personality, see them cook etc. It's harder to showcase the individuals chefs when they are splitting the time between 6 instead of 4.

            I also really didn't like having the pairings, for the reasons already stated. The pairings risks having one chef who maybe doesn't deserve it move on because of a strong partner, as well as a strong chef being eliminated because of a weaker partner. I also want to see what these chefs can do as individuals!

            Those two things being said, I'm really really glad to have this show back. I love it even more than the original, which I love a whole whole lot. :-)

            6 Replies
            1. re: charmedgirl

              I completely agree with you. Does anyone know what the first challenge's stars were for? They didn't seem to be added in the end...but I was tired, so who knows.

              1. re: Reignking

                IIRC, whoever won the QF got $5,000 towards their charity. Looked to be a standalone challenge - no add-in into the Elim Challenge.

                1. re: LindaWhit

                  Feniger won the QF, so she brought home $15K for her charity.

                  1. re: ChinoWayne

                    Only because she also won the Elim challenge tho. If someone else had won the QF, that's all they would have gotten - the $5K for their charity.

                    And I was more responding to Reignking's query re: what the stars were for the QF. Those stars weren't added into the Elimination Challenge total - they were standalone.

                    1. re: LindaWhit

                      When I was describing the show to someone this morning I realized that I didn't really see a meaning to the quickfire. It should have some kind of impact on the final score, or an edge of some kind. Nice that they got an extra $5,000 for their charities, but last year it had a larger impact on the competition. I missed that.

                    2. re: ChinoWayne

                      Yeah, I'm not a fan of the newer format. I really enjoyed it last year. Maybe Rick Moonen complained too much (about not serving his QF dish, which essentially eliminated him last year) :)

              2. I was really irked by how the judging went down last night. I can understand the need to have more chefs, although I personally liked the old format better. What I don't understand is why they had to judge the chefs together in the EC? All the chefs made separate dishes, why not rate the dishes separately? It would not add a huge amount of extra time to judges table if done efficiently. You could even throw in some bonus points if your dish paired well with your partners dish so the pairing meant something. Maybe make the score out of 25, the extra 5 points based on the pairing of the dish, average out the judges score on that. It is just highly unlikely that the two best chefs and dishes would be randomly paired together.

                7 Replies
                1. re: elliora

                  James Oseland comes close to ruining this show for me.
                  Ana's duck looked awesome, it's too bad the judges couldn't figure out how to eat it. She can serve that bowl to me any time, I'll rip into it with no complaints.

                  1. re: elliora

                    Agree on rating the dishes separately - then each chef would have been standing alone in the judging. I think then Traunfeld would have definitely moved on, but probably not Sortun. It sounds like they liked his lamb dish the best out of everything - and yet he didn't move on because of the pairing.

                    Poor decision to judge the dishes together and, therefore, the chefs together.

                    1. re: LindaWhit

                      these guys are supposed to be (and are) masters. part of the skill of chefing is matching foods with each other for specific occasions. i had no problem with that being the crux of this episode.

                      1. re: thew

                        It was not the matching i had a issue with, it was advancing an entire team rather then judging them individually. Like I said give some bonus points for a good pairing, but it is more then possible that two chefs on two teams would have the best dish and IMO those two should advance

                        1. re: elliora

                          What you said. :-) And as I said, it was pretty obvious that Traunfeld's lamb was one of the *best* dishes they had that night - and yet he didn't get to advance.

                          1. re: LindaWhit

                            I was thinking that poor Jerry Traunfeld should be pissed off that he didn't advance (except that he always appears to be perfectly serene). They seemed to like his dish best of all, but his randomly-determined partner's dish held him back.

                            I think he served duck, though, not lamb.

                            1. re: Nettie

                              Arrrghhh....you're right. I had a lamb sandwich last night, so I've got lamb on the brain. :-)

                  2. I'm glad masters is back, but I forgot how much I absolutely despise the judges. They are just awful. They're not engaging, interesting or even telegenic in any way whatsoever and Kelly Choi, is worse... I mean it looks like she's never had a decent meal in her life, she's so thin. How is she in any way qualified to critique food?

                    Rant over. Off to Whole Foods in my Lexus.

                    17 Replies
                    1. re: StheJ

                      Well, next week Gail Simmons will be joining the Judges Panel.

                      FWIW: Susan's last name is FENIGER, not "Feiniger." Might as well get it correct since she is moving into the finals. ;)

                      1. re: ChefJune

                        Sorry on the misspelling - I think that's what I pulled from elsewhere online, not Bravo's site, which has it correct. My bad.

                        And to comment to StheJ, I *like* Jay Rayner's comments - he just didn't get much airtime. Hopefully more from him and a LOT less from Oselund. The guy gives me the willies.

                        1. re: LindaWhit

                          Ok... So we kind of agree on 75% on the "judges". You may be right, Rayner is not altogether horrible.

                          On another note: can they please come up with some new music? I mean it's been like 7 or 8 seasons now with the exact same music and format. It's become incredibly boring.

                          1. re: StheJ

                            never gonna happen with the music - it's part of the show's identity.

                            1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                              The funny thing is? I can't even recall the background music for both shows.

                              I can remember the LOST jangled, discordant chord noise, but have NO idea what the TC music is.

                              1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                You're probably right, but only because they have no imagination. Shows that care about the music can vary it/make it interesting without losing the identity i.e. The Wire.

                                Plus, Linda can't even remember what the music is... So, I would argue that it really doesn't add much to the show's identity. They're just too cheap to change it.

                                1. re: StheJ

                                  well, no offense to Linda, but just because she doesn't remember it doesn't mean it's not memorable ;) (Linda, you know i love you!)

                                  Masters doesn't really have its own "theme," it's more just boring background instrumental - i'll give you that. but as for the theme for the regular season, personally, i can hum it from memory, and i love that when it comes on i immediately get excited to hear the familiar notes because it means my beloved show is about to begin.

                                  of course as a stand-alone composition it's not on par with something like Miami Vice or Hill Street Blues, but it doesn't bother me because the association to my favorite show is still there for me.

                                  1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                    well, no offense to Linda, but just because she doesn't remember it doesn't mean it's not memorable ;)
                                    ~~~~~~~

                                    No, it doesn't. It just means those brain cells that *might* have remembered that particular tune said "WHAT? We've been working on remember stoopid trivia for 50+ years so you can do well in Trivial Pursuit, and NOW you want us to remember some instrumental tuneage from a current TV show on a cable network? Yeah, we don't THINK so!" - and then they stormed off and committed brain cell hari-kiri.

                                    Stuff happens after 50. :-)

                                    And I know if I *heard* the TC theme, I'd probably know what it was - I just can't pull it out of mid-air right now! OK - why am I not surprised? Silly Linda - just GOOGLE it and you will find practically anything! LOL Here it is - http://www.televisiontunes.com/Top_Ch... (OMG, they have over 15,000 TV theme songs there! LOL)

                            2. re: LindaWhit

                              "Hopefully more from him and a LOT less from Oselund. The guy gives me the willies."

                              Don't get what the creep-factor is here. I love his book on Malaysian food; will probably have to buy it after I am forced to give it back to the library.

                              1. re: kleine mocha

                                Read last season's thread about his judging, his various focuses, etc. I haven't read any of his books; I just don't like *him* on this show. Simple enough.

                          2. re: StheJ

                            And after loading up with Gladware it's back to the GE Monogram kitchen...

                            1. re: ChinoWayne

                              You didn't notice the sponsorship change, CW? They didn't mention it, but at the start they showed a rack full of Ziploc products, not Glad.

                              1. re: Caitlin McGrath

                                They did such a good job of beating Glad in to my brain I didn't notice the change, funny though, when I placed my grocery order this week I changed the usual Glad bag item to Ziplock (this was BEFORE TCM aired).

                                1. re: ChinoWayne

                                  See? The advertising barrage is working! ;-)

                            2. re: StheJ

                              I know it's not directly about the food but I can't believe no one commented on the flower in Kelly's hair. That flower was so darn big I couldn't focus on the food! I just kept debating if it was or wasn't the same size as her head... It could have been even bigger... How can I pay attention with such an important debate raging in my head?

                              1. re: elliora

                                haha my husband was obsessing over the flower as well. He kept shouting that he couldn't focus: "How is it staying on?!" "Doesn't it hurt?!" "It's as big as her head!"

                                1. re: elliora

                                  I was thinking the same exact thing! I actually was trying to figure out if it was even bigger than her head. And then I wondered if it was real, and if so, if it smelled...because that would be annoying while trying to eat.