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Top Chef Masters 2 Ep. #4 - 04/28/10 (Spoilers)

The chefs on this episode are Debbie Gold, Jody Adams, Maria Hines, Rick Tramonto and Susur Lee. For the Quickfire, they have to prepare a Perfectly-Styled Fruit Plate...AND it's a High Stakes QF - the winner automatically moves on to the finale!

OK, it seems like Susur Lee is the "bad boy" of this episode?

The points for the QF challenge:

Maria Hines - 3 stars
Debbie Gold - 3-1/2 stars
Susur Lee - 2-1/2 stars
Jody Adams - 4 stars
Rick Tramonto - 3-1/2 stars

YAY! Jody moves on to the final Champions round!

For the Elimination Challenge, they're to give a modern day spin to classic dishes - and the judges for the Elim Challenge will be the cast and crew from "Modern Family." The dishes needs to "please everyone", just as family dishes need to please everyone.

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  1. ROFL! OK, I'm voting for Jody Adams as having the line of the night - "Doing this is like interrupted sex.....you cook for an hour and a half....and then you have to stop. How can you climax?"

    2 Replies
    1. re: LindaWhit

      My vote goes to Susur's wife- "Shut the hell up and cook". LOL

      1. I think that Bravo just showed a spoiler in the teaser for next week.

        1. So previews for next week during the commercial break show Susur Lee...accidental spoiler?

          2 Replies
          1. re: QSheba

            Interesting - I saw something earlier, but I thought it was from *this* week's show. But showing a teaser this late in tonight's show probably means they screwed up. They COULD have shown Jody Adams without any issue - eyedeeyot editors.

            I think it's either Susur Lee or Rick Tramonto who move on, based on the comments from the judges.

            1. re: LindaWhit

              Twice before the end of the show they showed clips from next week when the final 8 compete, and Susur was all over those commercials. That was frustrating.

          2. For the Elimination Challenge:

            Jody Adams - 14-1/2 stars
            Debbie Gold - 10-1/2 stars
            Maria Hines - 13-1/2 stars
            Susur Lee - oh yeah, he won it with just 3 of the 4 scores! 19-1/2 stars
            Rick Tramonto - 13 stars

            So the teasers did accidentally show who had won!

            10 Replies
            1. re: LindaWhit

              did it seem like julie bowen doesn't know much about food?

              1. re: toncasmo

                It did to me - "I couldn't tell the difference between chicken and the mushrooms"....Huh? I loved actor's comeback "Chicken have legs; mushrooms don't." And she STILL looked a bit dumbfounded. ;-)

                1. re: toncasmo

                  OK, i've never even seen Modern Family and know nothing about Julie Bowen, BUT, in her defense, i took it a different way. to me, it seemed like a criticism that if chicken and mushrooms are indistinguishable, perhaps the dish could have been prepared better. haven't you ever had a [less than perfectly prepared] soup or stewed dish that just looked and tasted one-note, and you couldn't suss out the individual flavors and textures of different ingredients? unfortunately i have.

                  1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                    I took it the same way as you, GHG. I think she was saying it wasn't prepared well, and therefore, the chicken and mushrooms were indistinguishable. And her look was one of, "no kidding".

                2. re: LindaWhit

                  I'm surprised that Susur did so well. The judges implied his dish was too spicy, but the celebrity scores were 4 1/2 stars (?). I guess those child actor's aren't spice wimps. I'm assuming the kids got a vote.

                  1. re: dave_c

                    The spiciness was why I thought Tramonto might take it. But Susur demolished the competition with the highest-ever TCM EC score.

                    I do recall Gail Simmons complimenting one of the young actresses from the show on her "fine palate" and keen observations, or something like that.

                    Speaking of the judges, looks like only Gael Greene's blog is up on Bravo's site, expressing disappointment at Lee's tantrum after the QF.


                    Plenty of comments on her blog about Bravo showing the commercial for next week's show showing both Jody and Susur in that competition.

                    1. re: LindaWhit

                      It's amazing how badly people behave under pressure. Also, would Susur have done as well if he didn't get his butt whooped in the QF?

                      With Maria Hines out... I guess the Seattle based chefs just didn't quite make it. I still think Chef Traunfeld got a raw deal.

                      1. re: dave_c

                        Perhaps the phone call with his wife gave him a telephonic b*tchslap and he straightened up and flew right for EC. :-)

                        And I agree - while I would have loved to have seen Ana Sortun from Boston in the finale along with Jody Adams, her failure was what put Traunfeld out, and it's disappointing, as it seemed like his dish was the favorite of that episode.

                      2. re: LindaWhit

                        Disappointing behavior on Susur's part
                        Disappointing overall result from my perspective. I wanted to see Tramonto take it.

                        But I'm sure it will make for "interesting television" in the runoffs.

                      3. re: dave_c

                        Susur's celebrity scores were 5 stars across the board! The 4 1/2 came from the diners. They said the highest elimination round score in TCM "history."

                    2. I agree that Bravo screwed up and showed Susar obviously competing in the final rounds. It really spoiled it for us.

                      1. i really don't like the way the producers screwed around with the format this season. there was that nonsense with the pairings in the first episode, and tonight suddenly the QF winner moves on to the Champions' round? i also couldn't help but notice that in addition to the standard GE Monogram close-ups, the blast chiller got its first shout-out and close-up tonight. what's next? is one of the chefs going to talk about how they were chopping vgetables with their favorite Shun/Global/Henckles/Wusthof knife? OK, rant over :)

                        did anyone else think it was totally bizarre that Debbie Gold thought her dish was "lighter" than her competitors' dishes? she served FRIED PORK BELLY with a sweet glaze. what on Earth is light about that? Maria's salmon didn't appear to be nearly as heavy.

                        random question for the Los Angelenos - anyone know which Whole Foods location they shopped at this time? i assume it was Pasadena because i don't know of any other LA stores that have escalators...

                        13 Replies
                        1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                          Agree GHG, it does really bug me that there isn't an even playing field for the TCM. Also, I'm totally over the celebrity actor/musician/reality star judges. I have to say I'm just not as interested this time around....

                          1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                            I too agree that changing the format weekly for the first round of elimination is unfair. 5 vs 6 contestants, pairs or not, a high stakes quickfire. Should be an even playing field each week. I actually am reading this without seeing the last 20 min of the show and am surprised that those kind of different flavors of Susar's dish won over so many people (altho I guess the cast only gets a small say). I didn't feel like the chefs were too bland this week and we had a first, a chef who's found God. That was an interesting twist.

                            1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                              Yes, I meant to comment on the format in my posts last night - EXTREMELY unfair. James Traunfeld should have absolutely moved on to the finale from the 1st episode; it was so obvious that the judges felt his dish was best - but Ana Sortun's dish as part of the pairing brought him down.

                              And like QSheba, I could do without the celebrity judges - unless they have a really good palate and they're not just there to push their comedy act/television show/movie. I actually LIKED Natalie Portman and her friends on the regular TC last season - they mostly seemed like they knew what they were talking about and knew decent vegetarian food.

                                1. re: jlbwendt

                                  Arrgh. Didn't go back to their Bravo bios. Well, at least I got the last (more difficult!) name correct. ;-)

                              1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                I thought I heard a cashier say, "Thank you for shopping at Whole Foods Arroyo", and I wondered where that is, but I'm not sure.

                                1. re: milklady

                                  the Pasadena store is on Arroyo Parkway, so that answers my question! thanks :)

                                2. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                  Re Debbie Gold, I could swear I heard her say she was serving pork loin when she was telling the judges about her dish when she served them, and I thought, no way, lady, that's pork belly you bought!

                                  As for the spoiler commercials, now I'm really glad I watched it recorded and fast-forwarded through.

                                  1. re: Caitlin McGrath

                                    I noticed that too, she did say pork loin.

                                    1. re: Caitlin McGrath

                                      yes, she did call it "roasted pork loin," and that's what the on-screen chiron said as well. totally bizarre, since we all know full well that it was pan-fried belly and not roast loin.

                                      1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                        And interestingly, there's only one Debbie Gold recipe up on the TCM2 site, and that's not it (just the Pecan Tempura Stuffed Fig with Persimmon & Tangerine is up there).

                                        1. re: LindaWhit

                                          Linda, you're right - that's the only recipe credited to her. we know i'm the search queen so of course i had to check for myself ;)

                                          i also re-read Gael's blog to be sure, and she specifically said it was pork belly and mentioned the pan saute (though i considered it fried given the amount of oil she used)...yet she never acknowledged the discrepancies between what was served and how it was described.

                                          so weird.

                                        2. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                          Makes no sense. I thought we saw her chopping up the fried pork belly into little bits. It sounded like the judges had a piece of pork loin that was hard to cut with a knife.

                                    2. I said to my girlfriend last night "oh, oh, here comes the pork belly. She's done for." I've seen every episode of TC and TC Masters, has anyone ever successfully pulled off pork belly? I can only remember people crashing and burning.

                                      1 Reply
                                      1. re: jackbauer

                                        There certainly have been plenty of pork belly fiascos (right there with scallops), but IIRC, Michael V won the air force base EC with pork belly.

                                      2. Jody and I have been friends as well as colleagues for many years, so I was really happy to see her move into the next round so early. I might have been pi$$ed with that format if the winner had been one of the others... OTOH, it's interesting to have them mix things up and not have everything be so predictable.

                                        While all of them would like to be the next Top Chef Master, they are all winners, because they are getting great pr for themselves and their restaurants. In any time that's a good thing, but in this economy, with all fine dining in trouble, it's extra-special. So in a sense, they are all winners.

                                        I'm sure they were all a bit "trepidacious" to be in the same round with Susur. He is definitely a rock star chef.

                                        6 Replies
                                        1. re: ChefJune

                                          "I'm sure they were all a bit "trepidacious" to be in the same round with Susur. He is definitely a rock star chef."
                                          agreed - Susur is the Hubert Keller of this season.

                                          1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                            Except Hubert Keller was unfailingly polite and didn't demonstrate any jerkiness as Lee did. He seemed completely incredulous that anyone couldn't absolutely adore whatever he put on the plate. I have to agree - his QuickFire plate was WAY too busy with too much on it. He (Lee) was pretty dismissive in whatever he said about the food photographer's comment about his plate - something along the lines that he (food photographer) didn't know what he was talking about. Ummm, he's a well-known food photographer - I think he's got chops when he knows what looks good!

                                            1. re: LindaWhit

                                              @Linda, i was referring strictly to the effect Susur's reputation seems to have on the other competitors, not to his personality or behavior.

                                              1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                Ahhh, yes, I agree on that effect for both Keller and Lee. ***Except*** :::grin::: that Keller doesn't seem to ooze the perception that he *knows* he's all that, whereas Lee does. He has that "I'm better than you" persona. Yes, he might be, but I just like the way Keller is better.

                                                Yes, I know I'm going back to personality. Sorry. I just like Keller better. :-)

                                                1. re: LindaWhit

                                                  Don't apologize, Linda, I have a total crush on HK myself. ;-)

                                            2. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                              mmmmmm Hubert Keller is certainly one of the most talented chefs in the US, but I wouldn't call him a "rock star." He reminds me more of Tony Mantuano from this season's cast. Since the first group of chefs was paired up, you didn't really see his personality or passion. I really disliked that way of pairing and lumping two together for Judges Table.

                                          2. man this season is such a disappointment they really have neglected to highlight any of the technique and preperation

                                            3 Replies
                                            1. re: celfie

                                              Yeah so far I'm pretty disappointed with some of those who have been moving on and the format just plain sucks, they should have just used a consistent elimination process and not have the quickfire's important be so random.

                                              Also although many of you complain about Susur Lee's behavior, many chef's act like that and its not uncommon in kitchens. Nothing everything is nice and polite in the restaurant industry and its easy to think that judging from last season. Heck most of the cooks I work with are quite fouled mouth and in a hectic and high stress environment I don't blame them.

                                              Susur Lee is just very competitive and I do think the judging in quickfires can be off due to different interpretations food. The guy is a food photographer and these days its all about modern and simple presentations. It seems the appearance was more important than taste for this quickfire which is what annoyed me.

                                              Either way I'm glad someone of his calibur moved up and hope to see him do amazing stuff.

                                              1. re: Johnny L

                                                I personally enjoy Susur's attitude. He is a hard working and very talented chef - his pride is earned and deserved. There is nothing wrong with recognizing one's ability so long as you truly are the best.

                                                I do kind of get the impression that they (the show) was messing with him intentionally or through editing for dramatic purposes. I also found it bizarre that they put him against chefs not anywhere near his caliber. I think he simply won by default because having him compete in further episodes is good tv (charisma+notoriety)

                                                1. re: celfie

                                                  Maria Hines food is amazing. If you had it, you would put her food up with anyone.

                                            2. One thing that bugged me about this episode was that at least one (and perhaps two, I don't recall) chefs in the elimination challenge got "credit" for modernizing their dish by sprinkling a micro green salad on top. That's all you need to do? Wow, easy.

                                              3 Replies
                                              1. re: DGresh

                                                a-ha! i knew there was something missing from the conversation - thanks for bringing this up. that was another bizarro moment when Gail Simmons said that adding that pop of green brightness was a modern twist. right, because they didn't have greens or herbs a few decades ago...? i get the sense that the judges/critics are going easier on the Masters - i honestly think that if this was a regular TC season the chef would have actually gotten dinged for missing the boat on this one. i can totally picture Tom saying that the point of the challenge was to *transform* the dish into something new, and that sprinkling some trendy micro-greens on it is hardly transformational.

                                                1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                  Sometime you never know with Bravo's editing.

                                                  1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                    I don't disagree generally, but the chef whose dish had the herb salad that Gail commented on was Jody Adams. So whether that would have been enough wasn't relevant, because she already had her place. I think it was clear from the start of last season that the judges are more deferential in TCM, not only in how they address the chefs, but also in how they talk about the food, than in regular TC. Hell, they don't even want to talk about judging - they're "critics," i.e. critics like those who review the chefs' food, and it's the critics' table, not the judges' table. They're pretty protective of the chefs' reputations on TCM.