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Top Chef Masters 2 Ep. #2 - 04/14/10 (Spoilers)

"Chefs Carmen Gonzalez, David Burke, Marcus Samuelsson, Monica Pope and Thierry Rautureau serve up fare for a birthday bash for Mekhi Phifer and his friends."

What a great broad spectrum of food knowledge! The Quickfire Challenge is one of Kelly's favorites - they have 20 minutes to make a Grilled Cheese sandwich. And she's doing the tasting this time - no other judges for the QF!

What an amazing sounding group of GC sandwiches! Loved the "Shine, shine, little sandwich!" from Thierry. :-) I loved the ingredients in his sandwich the best.

And Monica wins the QF - the one with the 7yo daughter who also likes to cook grilled cheese sandwiches. :-)

The EC is the birthday party (catering) for Mekhi Phifer. He's a fan of TCM...he wants the Masters' version of soul food. Monica's advantage is that she gets to choose her protein first at WF, and no one else gets to choose it - she chooses shrimp.

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  1. OK - after prep - WHO left the full tray of covered food on one of the shelves? AND it's Carmen's stew. Rut-roh!

    OMG, they burned her yucca mash? Double rut-roh!

    5 Replies
    1. re: LindaWhit

      I can't believe they let her serve food that had been presumably sitting unrefrigerated all night... unless that was on a shelf in a walk-in? (Note... I'm still watching, so the answer may be revealed later.)

      1. re: waldrons

        It didn't seem to be a walk-in to me - it looked like it was on a rack where the stored various equipment that could be used in the TCM kitchen, but I can't be sure. It *definitely* wasn't a walk-in.

        I'd REALLY like to have some background info about that.

        1. re: LindaWhit

          Yeah, I didn't think it was a walk-in either, but how on earth would they allow oysters and sausages to be served after sitting out all night!!?? The producers must have refrigerated it. I wonder if the decision to allow her to go back was spur-of-the-moment or if it's allowed in the rules.

          1. re: waldrons

            My guess is that is *was* refrigerated overnight and left on the rack when they were taking things out and preparing them for transport. I agree, serving a stew with meat and seafood that had been unrefrigerated for 24 hours is a walking lawsuit.

            1. re: DiningDiva

              I agree. I was screaming at the TV about this for along time. Then, she said something about leaving it out this morning. So, it must've been just left out when they wre packing.

    2. Definitely different rules for this show compared to the regular Top Chef. I can't imagine anyone winning when an entire advertised component of their dish was completely missing and they used a store bough product as one of the main ingredients in the other component.

      1 Reply
      1. re: bignickpsu

        I totally agree. Those are two big negatives in the regular Top Chef series, and I think it cost Monica. I am prejudiced, however, being from Houston I wanted to see the local chef do good.

      2. Hmmm....guess I'm the only one watching and writing about TCM2 tonight. :-)

        And I just realized that they didn't do teams this go-round! I think that is really really unfair to Episode 1 chef masters. Boo.

        OK, how they did:

        Carmen = 15-1/2 stars - highest score of the night and she WON!
        Thierry = 11 stars
        David = 10 stars
        Monica = 13 stars
        Marcus = 14-1/2 (I think) stars - he also moves on.

        I'm glad Marcus won - I do want to see what else he'll be doing - I find the mixture of his world cuisine very interesting.

        Next week is the return of 6 TCM1 chefs who didn't win. This ought to be interesting!

        12 Replies
        1. re: LindaWhit

          you know, i was so distracted by a number of things today that i actually FORGOT it was on!!! fortunately my DVR didn't.

          something about TCM just isn't right this season. i don't know if it has something to do with the new format, but the energy is off for me. and with so many chefs competing in each round, we don't get the chance to really see anything about their personalities. there's also no evidence of the same type of camaraderie that was such a pleasure to watch last season.

          i though tonight's episode was a total snooze-fest, to the extent that i turned it off without watching it all the way through! even the critics just seemed bored with the whole thing. i logged on to CH to see if there was a thread and learned the results here - i haven't even watched the final segments yet. it certainly didn't help that Kelly judged the EC - i can't stand her as a host, and i don't care whether it's grilled cheese or 4-star haute cuisine, i don't see what qualifies her to judge a food competition, particularly when she's the only one making the decision. and Govind clearly passed the cranky stick to Marcus this week. what's with all the attitudes?

          i agree with you that last week's competitors got screwed by the pairings, but i'm glad it's not going to be that way every week. i just hope next week is a vast improvement all around.

          oh, and regarding the food that was left behind, i certainly hope the producers shoved it in the fridge and just took those shots of it on the shelf for filming/editing purposes. i can't imagine that they'd be careless (and stupid) enough to let her serve oysters & sausage that had been sitting at room temperature overnight.

          1. re: goodhealthgourmet

            "something about TCM just isn't right this season. i don't know if it has something to do with the new format, but the energy is off for me."

            WHAT YOU SAID, ghg. I'm not "feeling it" either.

            I love your comment "Govind passed the cranky stick to Marcus this week." Too perfect - and too true! Although Marcus didn't seem to be as bad as Govind was last week.

            I'm off to read the Bravo blogs to see if there's any enlightenment on the oyster stew being left out overnight from any of the judges.

            1. re: LindaWhit

              <I love your comment "Govind passed the cranky stick to Marcus this week." Too perfect - and too true! Although Marcus didn't seem to be as bad as Govind was last week.>

              rotfl. However, that was out of character for Marcus, who is not at all full of himself.

              My biggest beef with TC and TCM is the producers taking one errant comment and repeating it over and over to give an "impression" of something that, often enough is completely erroneous.

            2. re: goodhealthgourmet

              I think it is because it is a bunch of chefs I've never heard of...last night was better, though, since they didn't have teams.

              1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                I agree with you feelings about this season, and don't think I'm going to watch anymore; Kellie Choi is so annoying.

                1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                  I agree, I'm not having nearly as much fun watching it. I don't hate Kelly like everyone else, I figure why shouldn't she judge a grilled cheese. But I don't care about most of the chefs and thought Marcus was kind of a PITA. There's no fun going on. I know everyone hated that Michael guy last time but he had a big bold personality and the rest of the gang seemed like fun people. They're fairly dull this time (excluding Thierry of course).

                  And as has been mentioned, I can't stand looking at that James Oseland guy.

                  And why were there only 5 people this week?

                  1. re: Joanie

                    A dull bunch... I was surprised Thierry received so much airtime, but he was probably the only chef there with some on-screen persona.

                    Maybe Theirry has more experience presenting himself to the public, he and Tom Douglas had a radio talk show and does charity events.

                    In regards to the food, the judges seem to be liking the food. No real nasty comments. It seems like what's making and breaking the chefs is the clunkiness of their dishes.

                  2. re: goodhealthgourmet

                    I read a comment somewhere from Rick Bayless (maybe one of his Tweets) in which he called out this season's chefs for back-biting. The thing that's missing for me is the sense of commaraderie that was so apparent last season. Last year the chefs all seemed to genuinely like and respect each other. So far I haven't gotten that feeling from this year's crop of competitors.

                    1. re: DiningDiva

                      Not what I saw.

                      When two chefs went ahead and began peeling and boiling Carmen's yucca, that certainly occurred to me as the kind of camaraderie that we've come to expect on TCM. Unfortunately they did allow it to burn, but that could have happened to anyone.

                      There may be some real backbiting coming up but I haven't seen it yet.

                      1. re: chicgail

                        I believe the comment was made after episode #1, which I didn't see because our local Bravo station chose to air the episode at 11PM after running reruns all night :-O

                        1. re: DiningDiva

                          All Bravo stations showed the first ep at 11PM.

                          1. re: Joanie

                            The BravoHD channel here in SoCal showed it at 8PM PDT and at 11PDT, so some were able to see it earlier than others.

                2. I noticed something at the end of the show I have not noticed before...bothered me...it said "Winning and elimination decisions were made by the Judges in consultation with producers. Some elimination decisions were discussed with Bravo."

                  So, are we seeing who truly put out the best food, or who makes for better ratings?

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: tobycat

                    tobycat, that notice is on ALL of the Bravo reality shows, and Tom Colicchio has discussed it at great length on his blog for TC....the decisions are the judges' alone. The *only* time the producers intervened on the regular TC was when Colicchio wanted to send home the entire TC2 cast after the wrestling attack on Marcel. The producers said no, it'll end the show.

                    But otherwise, the decision on who to send home is the judges' decision alone.

                  2. Just so everyone is aware...on another forum I frequent, there was a discussion that clarified whether or not the stew was left out overnight. Someone pointed out that the contestants were shown prepping food for transport twice - once at the end of the night after first cooking, and second the morning of the actual event. This was based on teh fact that Marcus Samuelson was wearing two different sets of pants in four shots - all spliced together - showing him prepping his food (putting it in containers, racks, etc.). The editing monkeys at Bravo were to blame for the confusion.

                    So I really am led to believe that Carmen simply left the stew in the morning, and it was definitely fridged overnight. Also, the oysters were added in the morning anyway - Monica shucked them for her while she was going back.

                    One more thing - I really don't believe this was the first time on TC/TCM that a contestant has been allowed to return for something they left behind at the expense of prep time - I can't recall when, but I'm almost certain it happened at least once before.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: AlissaMichelle

                      Ahhh, THANK you for that Alissa....yes, the editing monkeys at Bravo have been known to screw shots up like that

                    2. I can't believe Chef Cilantro won. Cilantro in her grilled cheese, cilantro salad. Ugh. She might has well have served a side of deep fried Irish Spring.

                      6 Replies
                      1. re: jackbauer

                        Yes, I would have had a problem eating that sandwich as well.

                          1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                            I commented on that article. It was very interesting. Apparently my brain still views cilantro as something highly dangerous.......

                            1. re: jackbauer

                              i believe you all and understand. but the thing is to those of us who love it there is nothing better. i could eat it raw by the handful.

                              1. re: AMFM

                                interestingly, i USED to be one of those people who thought it tasted like soap. for the longest time, i couldn't figure it out - it happened every time i ate Mexican food :) then suddenly one day it stopped - i guess as was discussed in the article, my brain developed new patterns for the flavor. now it's one of my favorite things! the same thing happened to me with ginger.

                                if only i could figure out how to make it hapen with coconut too...

                          2. re: jackbauer

                            Is there a "like" button for your post jackbauer?

                          3. But don't you think they edited it, knowing that she was the winner, to make it look like she didn't have a chance? To add to the "drama"?

                            I'm really looking forward to the previously-eliminated chefs next week. Dying to see Ludo go down in flames.

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: Parrotgal

                              it's always the editing :) so of course i can't figure out if any of next week's clips of the Moonen/Ludo conflict are true conflict, or mostly in jest.

                            2. Didn't anyone find it strange that there were only 5 chefs? Wasn't there supposed to be 4 rounds of 6 chefs each? Did I miss the explanation?

                              11 Replies
                              1. re: sibeats

                                i don't know what the heck they're thinking - there are 22 chefs competing this season so there would be no way to have the same number competing each week...unless they went head-to-head in pairs for 11 weeks! i guess they're doing 2 weeks of 6 and 2 weeks of 5.

                                nothing about the way this season is unfolding is sitting right with me.

                                1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                  Well that's strange...gives the people in the group of five a higher chance of making it to the champions round. I figured someone had bailed at the last minute. Certainly the caliber of chefs isn't as impressive as last season!

                                  1. re: sibeats

                                    I disagree. I think the caliber of chefs this season is every bit as high as last season. It's just that many of them are not nationally known as they have never been on tv before.

                                    Not only does having been on tv make last season's chefs better known, it also gives them MUCH more poise before the camera.

                                    1. re: ChefJune

                                      Then I'll rephrase and say that I have not heard of many of these chefs before whereas last season I knew all of them. Last nights episode I had only heard of 2 of the 5. I agree that doesn't mean they are not as talented, just not as accomplished and therefore less well-known.

                                      1. re: sibeats

                                        <I agree that doesn't mean they are not as talented, just not as accomplished and therefore less well-known.> I think you're missing something here. The fact that they are less well known does not, in any way, mean they are less accomplished than last season's contestants.

                                        Very few chefs in US EVER have the opportunity to appear in a television series, as Emeril, Mario, etc, have. and that is in no way a reflection of their talent.

                                        1. re: ChefJune

                                          Okay, you are not understanding what I am saying....I am not using TV as a measure of success...if a chef is not as known to the public then it would follow that they have not made as much of a mark yet, not that they do not have the talent or capability...TV appearances mean nothing to me in terms of talent, I never brought TV into it...

                                          1. re: sibeats

                                            You HAVE to refer to television. Otherwise, Rick Bayless, Michael Chiarello, Susan Feniger would be no better known than, say, Monica Pope. Who is VERY well known in Houston, and also in Texas in general, and very well respected by her peers.

                                            1. re: ChefJune

                                              Ummm...no I don't have to refer to television. I never saw any of those chefs on television prior to Top Chef Masters, I knew of them from their restaurants and cookbooks. I am simply stating my viewpoint here, you don't have to agree, as I don't agree with you...no big deal.

                                2. re: sibeats

                                  I wouldn't be surprised if someone pulled out of the competition at the last minute leading to the uneven number. At least it saved the others from having to be on teams this week. I hope that they don't do that again.

                                    1. re: ChefJune

                                      Do I detect some inside knowledge? :)
                                      You wouldn't hold out on us, would you?

                                3. Did I see this right, that next weeks judges are going to be the housewives of Orange county?? PLEASE!!!!!
                                  That is so wrong on so many levels!!

                                  7 Replies
                                  1. re: nemis

                                    It is wrong. TCM has jumped the shark.

                                    1. re: LJBTampa

                                      We tend to forget that this IS a reality show, and that Bravo is going for waaaaaaay more viewers than just us foodies...

                                      1. re: LJBTampa

                                        I believe the shark caught them in mid-jump and swallowed them whole!

                                        1. re: mnosyne

                                          Wish the shark had done that to the OC "housewives".

                                          And yes, unfortunately, Bravo cross-pollinates their reality shows like no one's bidness, even when they obviously clash, such as these "housewives" who, it seems, don't know shite from shinola when it comes to food.

                                          1. re: LindaWhit

                                            It always surprises me that my "reality" is so different from Bravo's "reality".

                                            1. re: LindaWhit

                                              I was just thinking about this yesterday, watching a rerun of TC 5 with ads for some of their terrible "reality" shows like Housewives. It struck me, who that watches Top Chef would ever watch Housewives of anywhere? They're wasting their plug money! And to use those dreadful people as judges? An insult to the chefs. I guess the chefs tolerate it because of the donations to charity, but really!

                                        2. re: nemis

                                          On the bright side, the QF doesn't matter anymore. So they are only there to give away 5k, essentially.

                                        3. Wow, somehow Carmen won? She must have seasoned it and cooked it perfectly but was simplicity not counted against her? Granted I could not taste the dish myself but I am surprised.

                                          1 Reply
                                          1. re: Johnny L

                                            Sometimes the simplest food is the best. I think most of the chefs overthought and did way to much for the situation and for one plate!

                                          2. so far this season just seems so random as if they're just pulling themes out of their derriers

                                            4 Replies
                                            1. re: celfie

                                              Agreed. Is the editing of TCM2 totally off? The final reviews were so far off from what we actually saw. The critics *seem* to have liked all the dishes equally well, but there were huge disparities between them in the judging. When Carmen won, I was just dumbfounded. The judging was followed by a quick shot to Monica crying about how she should be more selfish, and then it was over. All around bizarre.

                                              1. re: chompchomp

                                                I am late to the party but I caught up yesterday - and I really have to agree - I was open-mouthed shocked when Carmen won!!
                                                How she got "4 stars" across the board while some of the others got 2 stars...I just did not comprehend...
                                                IMO - it didnt really look (or sound) that good!!

                                                and really - I thought Thierry came across as obnoxiously arrogant!

                                                I enjoyed it though -I'm not hating it as some of the rest of you...

                                                Not looking forward to the housewives!!

                                                1. re: NellyNel

                                                  Funny how people come off on TV. I though Thierry seemed his usual jovial self. He can have a bit of french chef arrogance for sure, but 98% of the time he is joking around being a goofball. He is really a super nice guy - just happens that he thinks everything french is best : )

                                                  1. re: babette feasts

                                                    Oh gosh -
                                                    I'm glad you posted - I didnt mean to say Thierry!! (I copied and pasted the wrong name!!)
                                                    I meant Marcus Samuelsson !!!

                                                    Theierry was adorable!! I liked him very much...

                                                    It was Marcus who I thought was obnoxious!