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Top Chef Masters 2 Ep. #6 - 05/12/10 (Spoilers)

Looks like it's a Simpsons episode! Character voice Hank Azaria, creator-writer Matt Groening, and writer Matt Selman will judge a QF inspired by the show's characters. Then it's a "surf and turf" Elimination Challenge, which in the previews, looks to be less-used seafood or meats. Always an interesting challenge! And Andrew Zimmern is an additional judge for the EC.

For the QF, they all pull knives with the various Simpsons' characters' names on them.

> Susan had Moe - very sweet items - Moe/Hank seemed to like it!
> Tony had Chief Wiggum - - it looks like they all would have liked more bacon-honey - bummer that Susur screwed up Tony's extra bacon fat.
> Susur had Marge - was that purple mashed potatoes with the pork chop?
> Rick had Homer - Shrimp Sloppy Doh! (Gotta love the name!)
> Jody had Lisa - all vegetarian, and it was tough to know if they liked it, although Hank seemed to really enjoy it.
> Marcus had Apu - Hank's doing Apu saying "he would know how to apply and use the nuts!" was funny!
> Jonathan had Bart - looks like it was universally well liked!

I'm thinking either Jonathan or Marcus won the QF.

Susan - 4 stars
Tony - 3 stars
Susur - 3-1/2 stars
Marcus - 4 stars
Jody - 4 stars
Rick - 4-1/2 stars
Jonathan - 4 stars

And Rick wins!

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  1. If they don't remove the microphone from Zimmern's molar, I'm out.

    1. For the "surf", the choices were: Geoduck, Monkfish Liver, Sea Cucumber, and Giant Squid.

      For the "turf", the choices were: Goat Leg, Black Chicken, Duck Tongue, and Kangaroo.

      And the Zen Master, Jonathan, is completely lost with this challenge in the supermarket. Rut-roh! Whereas Rick Moonen chooses to get a massage in Whole Foods.

      1 Reply
      1. re: LindaWhit

        Rick's up first: he had the black chicken and monkfish liver. Seemed to go favorably.

        Tony had the squid and goat leg. His crostino looked wonderful! Unfortunately, not enough goat in with the pasta.

        Susur had the same as Rick - monkfish liver and black chicken.

        Jody had the goat leg and geoduck. Too rare on the goat, which she knew it might be, but the geoduck chowder seems to have been well received.

        Marcus had geoduck and kangaroo. A "cacophony turned into a symphony."

        Jonathan had the squid and duck tongue. A *really* messy plate, which he knew.

        Susan had the sea cucumber and kangaroo. An "ADD plate" comment from James Oseland, but Zimmern seemed to really like the flavors.

        I think they all had issues dealing with their main food choices. Hard to call on this one.

      2. Rick, Susur, Tony and Susan are in the top. And it came down to Rick and Susur for the win.

        Rick gets 16-1/2 stars.
        Susur gets 19 stars - he wins! Wow - he's been slaying it with very high scores. Rick says Susur is the one to beat.

        Jody, Marcus and Jonathan are in the bottom.

        Jonathan gets 11 stars.
        Marcus gets 11-1/2 stars.
        And Jody gets 10-1/2 stars. Damn, she's gone. I was so hoping she'd be able to stay in the competition!

        10 Replies
        1. re: LindaWhit

          I know... I'm totally bummed. She won last week, and is gone this week. Ah well!

          and imho, Rick is correct. Susur is a total rock star. but I knew that coming in. If anyone beats him, it will be one of those odd slip-ups, or strange pairings.

          1. re: ChefJune

            Based upon the scenes for next week, the elimination challenge looks like a tailgate party. Seems like Susur rocks the fine dining EC's. I'm thinking these informal events are his weakness. Next week may be where Susur stumbles. At least that's my guess.

            1. re: ChefJune

              I don't think Susur is the one to beat all the time. A rock star would be doing a lot better more often - he's been in the middle often enough (even though he didn't think he should be). Often, his ideas of what the challenge dish should be is NOT what the diners or judges think it should be. I think he could easily come in last in an informal event, as dave_c said. He does VERY well on the high-end stuff.

              I think that Rick or Jonathan could easily take this season.

              1. re: LindaWhit

                The way the show has been editied this season... If Susur gets the show stating he's confident - scored a touch down, received many of compliments and people came back for seconds/thirds, I'll take that as a sign he's going home. :-)

                1. re: LindaWhit

                  rick is a one trick pony. i am so sick of hearing about how he is a fish guy. sure he might also be french trained but he certainly isn't pushing any boundaries. i'd like to punch him in the face.

                  1. re: celfie

                    sorry you don't like Rick, but he is definitely NOT a one-trick pony!

                    Incidentally, I didn't realize the goal of TCM was to "push boundaries!" I thought the goal was to win.

                    1. re: celfie

                      He's a chef and you think he isn't pushing any boundaries? So you want to punch him in the face. Really?

                      1. re: chicgail

                        yes, you should probably call the police

                        1. re: celfie

                          Celfie, there's nothing wrong here. It's just that we're talking about cooking competition that you and I watched on TV and I just wondered why a chef not going far enough caused you to want to physically hit him.

                          It's entirely likely that the nuance you intended got lost in the posting. Or were you really that angry at the guy? -- and if you were, could you say more about that?

                          1. re: chicgail

                            i just meant that his personality is obnoxious and i wish he would stop talking about how he's a fish guy. we get it, he;s the best at fish but what else can he do? there's no way he'll beat susur

              2. QF:
                - is it just me, or does Waxman sort of look like Bart? that was my first thought when he drew the knife :)
                - i really liked Moonen's creativity with this one - my initial instinct for Homer was [naturally] donuts & beer, but that would have been much too predictable & safe.
                - Susur was really squirming when the judges were lamenting the lack of bacony goodness in Tony's dish! he must have felt pretty bad about screwing up Tony's plan.

                - all the griping about the ingredients was bringing me down. you're Masters - figure it out!
                - i've never seen "Bizarre Foods" but i enjoyed Andrew Zimmern's commentary.
                - i was surprised (but happy) that Waxman survived...and i *loved* his comment about the duck tongues looking like little duck penises :)

                and finally, a random observation:
                i'm sure Jody Adams is a fantastic chef, and i've enjoyed watching her on this show - she's actually quite funny. but i *cringed* at the shot of her sticking her bare hand into the cheese samples at Whole Foods. did anyone else catch that? i actually replayed it to be sure i didn't imagine it.

                18 Replies
                1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                  I missed the cheese sample part and can't picture "sticking her bare hand into" things, do you mean when they cut up little pieces and she didn't use a toothpick? Whatever, I was sad to see her go too and it sure seemed like it was leading up to Jonathan leaving (who seems pretty cool). I'd probably have a hard time with rare (and I assume tough) goat too.

                  Susur should have made some sort of apology after the bacon fat thing.

                  Not sure what the comment above "If they don't remove the microphone from Zimmern's molar, I'm out." meant but I like AZ.

                  1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                    I did see it, ghg, and I think she just took one small cube off the platter they had there as she rushed by. I don't think she manhandled all of the cheese. :-)

                    I was sad to see Jody go as she was the only remaining Boston-area chef on the show, but I didn't want Jonathan to leave either. I'm hoping that Jonathan recovers and does well in the next episodes. Jody's sense of humor really came out in the episodes she was featured. VERY funny!

                    I also saw Susur squirm; he definitely realized he had messed up Tony's QF dish. I wonder if Tony might have won if it had had more bacony flavor.

                    And I agree re: Zimmern; I thought he was fine and all of the special judges were able to give good commentary about the strange foods. I *am* wondering about that peanut butter and jellyfish sandwich that was made for Zimmern tho - Kelly's comment "didn't the jellyfish squish out of the sandwich?" was exactly what I was thinking! LOL

                    1. re: LindaWhit

                      Susur messed up Tony's QF AND Johnathan's elimination work. And I found his non-apology apology to be offensive. He may be a talented chef; he may be turning out good dishes, but he's not making fans where I am.

                      1. re: chicgail

                        I think that we may be falling prey to the editor's/producer's "let's make someone a villain" edit. Susur is a rock star chef, so they take him down on camera. I think that Susur probably apologized to both Tony and Jonathan, but "they" don't want to show it on camera. Sort of like what they did with the Viaggio brothers. I wonder if they consult with the "target" about their portrayal of the chef beforehand.

                          1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                            LOVE this description they gave of each other!

                            Which Dish?

                            Bryan: A lot of Michael’s dishes represent him because they are pretty unique, like his personality.

                            Michael: I think Bryan’s a lot like coq au vin. It’s such a simple dish, but it requires a lot of thought and discipline and finesse to make it taste correct. It’s not too dressed up, there’s a hint of refinement and it can be as rustic as it needs to be. And that’s Bryan.

                        1. re: LindaWhit

                          funny about the perceptions - i had the episode on back to back since i was grading papers on my computer and ALL i could think was how much i wanted to strangle zimmern and i wondered if others would post the same thing. seemed to overtalk and totally just want to hear himself speak. i have watched his show but he REALLY turned me off here. interesting you all didn't.
                          loved the quickfire.

                          1. re: AMFM

                            He DEFINITELY was given a lot more airtime than anyone else at the table, including the judges. So I understand the "hearing himself talk" comment.

                            I'm not particularly enamoured of him and don't watch his show, but didn't mind him this time.

                            1. re: LindaWhit

                              you know the other thing that killed me was that it just reeked of self-selling bravo the way the housewives were the other week. although admittedly he was way more appropriate to the setting. :)

                              1. re: AMFM

                                Zimmern's on Travel Channel, right? (I forget which channels are owned by the same folks, though.)

                                1. re: momjamin

                                  i think they are because i see commercials. would have to officially look it up. :)

                        2. re: goodhealthgourmet

                          ,but i *cringed* at the shot of her sticking her bare hand into the cheese samples at Whole Foods>

                          if that worries you, don't ever take any samples anywhere. Do you have ANY idea how many people stick their hands into the samples -- mostly unthinking?

                          1. re: ChefJune

                            i *never* take samples from communal dishes for precisely that reason.

                            1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                              Uhh...would you eat at a Chinese dinner with communal dishes where everyone used their chopsticks to take stuff from the dish...using those chopsticks they have (of course) licked and slobbered over before using same chopsticks to take stuff from that dish?

                              Just asking.

                              1. re: huiray

                                1. my dining companions typically don't "slobber."
                                2. no one i know uses their chopsticks to root around like a scavenger in a communal dish of food - you snare a piece, clump or tangle of whatever it is and transfer it to your plate.
                                3. sharing with friends and family isn't *remotely* the same thing as eating from a dish of food that's been contaminated by the [potentially] grubby hands of countless strangers. i'm not crazy about it when people i DO know take it upon themselves to stick their hands or utensils in my food, but i'd certainly prefer my sister's fork to the fingers of someone i don't know.

                                it's not like i live in a plastic bubble. but i've witnessed some pretty nasty practices of personal hygiene (or lack thereof), so i'd just as soon skip the samples.

                                1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                  Yeah, I wouldn't go to a restaurant that served huge communal platters of food for everyone to dig in with a pair of chop sticks. It would probably cut down on the cost of a buffet, though, if restaurants did that.;-)

                                  FWIW, my family serves food from the center w/ serving spoons and we don't dig into the main plate w/ our chopsticks. And, kids aren't allowed to dig in, take a bite, and put it back which I've seen kids do with those samples.

                            2. re: ChefJune

                              Not just that but I've seen kids take a bite or lick and put it back. I pass.

                          2. Jody seems like a great person. The words of wisdom from Julia Child was a great anecdote and great example for preserverence (for chefs or anyone).

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: eviemichael

                              There was just a fabulous story on PRI's The World about Jody redoing her goat dish with the help of some refugees from Haiti (sponsored by her charity, Partners in Health).


                            2. i forgot to say this last night - i wonder if the QF judges and the chefs ever have an opportunity to talk after the tasting. when Hank Azaria concluded [incorrectly] that the kale was fried, Jody Adams really seemed to want to clear that up!

                              2 Replies
                              1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                Speaking of Jody, I would love the recipe for that quickfire salad she made. It looked delectable! I looked on the Bravo site, but they seem to be only posting recipes for the winners.

                                1. re: sasha1

                                  email her at her restaurant. I'm sure she'd be glad to share.

                              2. Near the end of the episode, when it was clear Marcus Samuelsson was near the bottom, I couldn't help but think that I'd just read this morning about him having done a White House state dinner. It was just kind of touching that no matter how aclaimed one is, it hurts to do badly!

                                1. I thought the QF was unfair. If you're not familiar with the Simpsons, like Susur, then how can you make a dish that most suits the character? It looked like Susur received a lot of help from his fellow chefs on that one. That purple mashed looked much more like frosting--when purple potatoes are cooked, they tend to look more grayish than purple, especially that shade.

                                  Susur makes art when he cooks. I don't know if it's editing but he doesn't come off as a nice person, just arrogant. I'm impressed with what he's managed to turn out and the creativity behind it all.

                                  10 Replies
                                  1. re: chowser

                                    Susur's Marge (or is it Margill) dish isn't quite as wacky as Hung's smurf village quick fire dish.

                                    Did Susur have a cooking show on Food TV (before TV was replaced by Network)?
                                    I seem to remember it was the late 90's where an Asian chef with a ponytail was cooking. Very dry delivery and a voice similar to Lee's.

                                    1. re: dave_c

                                      IIRC, I saw him on "Chef du Jour" a couple of times. I also remember him being a guest on Ming Tsai's "East Meets West" show.

                                      1. re: gyc

                                        There was a show call At the Table With and they did a profile of Susur

                                        under TV shows, click on " At the Table With"

                                        1. re: justto

                                          I don't know if its because I'm not in Canada, but that video is no longer available.

                                          1. re: hobbess

                                            hobbess, what browser are you using? i couldn't get the links with Firefox, but Safari worked.

                                            1. re: hobbess

                                              We cannot download video from the Bravo web-site up in the Great White North. You may want to try Food Network Canada since they are showing the series a week behind the US.

                                      2. re: chowser

                                        susur is a master whose ability is unquestionable. he has every right to speak highly of himself - he is proud of his own ability. rightfully so.

                                        1. re: celfie

                                          Yes, he has the right but a little humility never hurt anyone, especially in the Asian culture.

                                          1. re: chowser

                                            But, in the Asian culture, he wouldn't be the same chef either. In Asian restaurants, innovation isn't as highly regarded as it is here.

                                            1. re: hobbess

                                              In Chinese culture cooks generally come from a poorer background and are not generally well regarded... very blue collar and rough around the edges.

                                      3. Completely not related to food: The editing elves have me liking Susur & Jonathan more and more and Rick & Marcus less and less.

                                        3 Replies
                                        1. re: mojoeater

                                          Hmm, I was thinking I like Marcus more than that first episode he was on. Rick kind of goes back and forth for me. I like the big Italian guy but he's so mellow.

                                          1. re: Joanie

                                            The only chef (of the ones remaining) whose food I haven't eaten is Susur Lee. "The big Italian guy" -- Tony Mantuano, chef of Spiaggia in Chicago -- is really just as laid back as he comes off on the show. and his food is nothing short of spectacular. Wonder if he could be a "dark horse...?"

                                            1. re: ChefJune

                                              While some of them might fall short on the challenges, I think they all seem to be amazing chefs, much more so than last time when there were definite "great" ones and "less" great. How did they pick the quick fire winner when it seemed everyone hit an exceptional mark?

                                        2. Lol at people saying Susur will fail at an informal event and that he only excels at the high end stuff. The elimination challenge where he received the highest score on Top Chef elimination history was to make family style comfort food for the crew of a TV show.

                                          I know you guys want him to fail because you're naive enough to be blinded by the stupid editing but at least make some sense.

                                          3 Replies
                                          1. re: Evilbanana11

                                            sheesh, haughty much? naivete has nothing to do with it.

                                            1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                              Seriously. Evil, you *really* went there? You've been reading here long enough to know that many of us aren't naive. Give us a little credit.

                                              Just because YOU like him doesn't mean the rest of us have to. And just because YOU think he's the best doesn't mean the rest of us have to think the same way.

                                            2. re: Evilbanana11

                                              I did comment that informal events would be his weakness, but mainly referring to the tailgate party.

                                              The EC where he scored high... he had access to a kitchen and pantry.

                                              My theory was Susur wouldn't "get" the concept of tailgating and grilling in austere conditions so he would be at a disadvantage.

                                              Personally, I don't want to see him fail, but I may be naive.
                                              I just don't trust Canadians... lol... j/k. :-D