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Apr 13, 2011 11:11 PM

Top Chef Masters, Season 3, Episode 2 - Spoilers

I liked this episode, more compelling for some reason. Feel bad for Sue going home. It doesn't seem fair that she had no space to cook in and had to spend time helping others just to clear space in order to give herself room to make her own dish. Same with Suvir. How could Bravo not give these chefs enough room to cook? Although Suvir said it was "diva" behavior that accounted for the lack of cooking stations..... Loved his shiny shoes. (ETA: and did i mishear, or did Suvir say something about cooking while being as gay as possible?? love it!) Floyd was showing a little diva-ish behavior himself at the QF re Kelis not tasting his meatball with the bread.

Mary Sue winning with deviled eggs must feel good after her lackluster cake last week. The sounded great. I think I missed it, tho - did they each have to actually prepare the "original" version of their dish as well as the updated one? (Edit: just saw part of the rerun - they did have to cook their own original version of the dish.)

Oh, and not food related: the Mad Men chick - she looks so tiny! She looks like a frigate on the show. (not in a bad way - very imposing.) Maybe that's just good acting!

(I really want to make some version of the winning vietnamese chicken meatballs that won the QF. Hopefully they'll post that. But, wouldn't be hard to improvise something similar and tasty...)

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  1. I missed the first 4 minutes of the show, and was surprised to see Hugh back. I understand it was because John Rivera Sedlar had a family emergency. I hope all is well for him. Hugh is coming off as something of a d*ck in the previews next week, isn't he? His ugly side came out a bit this week, but the previews show him in a terrible voice for next week.

    I was thrilled about Mary Sue winning. I hope that recipe is posted on the Bravo site, I'd love to see what all the fuss was about.

    1. I was a little underwhelmed by this episode. In general, I feel that TCM is less compelling than other TC iterations. It won't stop me from watching it, but honestly, I was having a hard time keeping my eyes open!

      The one thing I do like, however, is that the judges do treat the chefs a bit more gingerly when critiquing their dishes. I always feel that there is a little edge to the critiques on TC as in, "You're a horrible cook. How could you make something that tastes so bad. You had a full five minutes to cook." Here, at least, there is a recognition that these are all fine chefs who sometimes make errors under very difficult circumstances and with somewhat unusual ingredients. I am NOT looking forward to the bugs in the next episode, however. What is this? Survivor?

      1. OK, who was this guest judge for the meatball QuickFire challenge? I've never heard of her, but she was pretty strong in how she critiqued some dishes.

        I'm kind of *not* liking Hugh Acheson. There's something about him that after the first episode, I was "OK, he's gone. No biggie." And then he's back, and I'm not sure what it is, but there's something about him that just sets my teeth on edge a bit. As jeanmarieok said, he's not shown in a good light in next week's previews.

        Loved the Vietnamese meatballs AND the one with tamarind glaze (Suvir's?) Thought the restrictions in the Elimination challenge kitchen were ridiculous - not enough burners? So Suvir had to deep fry his veal? Yowza. I thought for sure that would send him home. (I didn't realize they had to cook the original version of the dish alongside their updated version for dual plating either, mc, until I saw the dishes come out together.)

        And in the previews for next week - they have to cook with BUGS? Seriously? We're going to go all Survivor TCM? REALLY Bravo? (ETA: I see that roxlet and I had the same "Survivor theme" thought! LOL)

        48 Replies
        1. re: LindaWhit

          One thing that I frequently notice when watching TCM that contrasts somewhat with TC is when the TCM chefs don't do well they seem to take it hard that the people eating their food are disappointed. Whereas the younger TC crowd tends to be more sensitive and easily angered when people don't "get" or "understand" their creativity. I guess with experience comes the maturity to realize that you're ultimately cooking to make other people happy and not to boost your own ego.

          1. re: tofuburrito

            good observation. although Suvir did get a little pissy that the nose-ringed one didn't eat the bread with his salty meatball. and Hugh also bitched about her just not getting his Mediterranean flavah. But overall i think you're right.

            1. re: mariacarmen

              That wasn't Suvir, with the bread issue, was it? It was Floyd, I believe.

              1. re: mcf

                Yes, it was Floyd...Suvir made the tamarind glazed one that was one of the 3 favorites.

                I have to say that I don't enjoy how they eat the food in a different room than the chefs are in. I like that face to face time with the chef and judges in regular TC while they are eating, and having the chef tell the judge what they made. I still find Curtis to be a little robotic.

                1. re: sibeats

                  oh, oops, sorry. yeah, me either - i think they're protecting these experienced Chefs' feelings a little too much.

                  1. re: mariacarmen

                    The other thing in the same vein that struck me immediately in the first season of TCM is the difference in the treatment they receive in the stew room, prior to being told to pack their knives and GTF outta here. In TC, the chefs were lucky if they got a glass of wine or a beer, but these current chefs.....platters of food, wine, liquor.......must be good to be king!!
                    It was just the disparity that threw me.......

          2. re: LindaWhit

            I'm kinda feeling the same thing about Hugh.

            Bugs: dislike. stupid.

            1. re: LindaWhit

              Recipe for the Vietnamese Meatball is up, as is Suvir Saran's Indian-spiced Meatball with Tamarind Glaze:



                1. re: LindaWhit

                  and here is the recipe for the deviled eggs


                  and while the recipe promises "see below" for the slow cooked egg, it's not there. But I found it here:


                  I'm unlikely to try this soon given the several ingredients that are not easy to find around me.

                  1. re: DGresh

                    Her slow cooked egg - cooked at 145 F, you will likely find the egg white disappointingly slimy and gelatinous. Try 147 or 148 for a less off-putting starting point. Alternately, you can choose to use the yolk only.

                    Good find, BTW.

                2. re: LindaWhit

                  I'm kind of *not* liking Hugh Acheson. There's something about him that after the first episode, I was "OK, he's gone. No biggie." And then he's back, and I'm not sure what it is, but there's something about him that just sets my teeth on edge a bit.
                  agreed! i *thought* i really liked him last week, and was sorry to see him go. but suddenly he's getting a bit of the villain edit and i don't like what i'm seeing...

                  1. re: LindaWhit

                    That was Kelis, the singer who did "My Milkshake". I was surprised that she seemed fairly knowledgeable and well-spoken, but really, you should eat food the way it was intended (soup with a fork?!?).

                    And Dios Mio, bugs? I can scarcely watch the little clips of that. I don't know if I'll be able to watch that episode with my glasses on!

                    1. re: Parrotgal

                      I had to Google her to listen to the song. Ummm, yeah. I'm SO not her demographic. ;-) But I agree - she wasn't eating the meatballs as they were served (i.e., on bread or with the broth). Seemed rather strange - she was ONLY about the meatballs.

                      1. re: LindaWhit

                        LW, i'm with you all around. i was so confused by the references to milkshakes at first! and when i Googled and heard the beginning of the song, i remembered that my eardrums had been assaulted by it on occasion when it was popular. i love good R&B, but to me that was just irritating noise.

                        i thought her comment to Mendes about all the ingredients needing to stand on their own was a bit patronizing and rude. granted, some judges have said in the past that they don't like to be instructed on how to eat what's put in front of them, but if it's a sandwich, eat it that way! if he had served it assembled rather than open-faced i wonder if she would have removed the bread and picked off the meatball anyway...?

                        1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                          THAT was it, ghg - the ingredients needing to stand on their own *was* patronizing. Eat the food as it's been presented to you. If you don't like the presentation, THEN you can say you don't like it.

                          1. re: LindaWhit

                            I thought it was an obnoxious put down when she called the froth "show offy." Snotty.

                            1. re: mcf

                              Bingo. I don't care if she's professionally trained. There's always a better way of critiquing.

                              1. re: LindaWhit

                                oh yes, i didn't mean that that gave her carte blanche to be nasty! she was snooty and snippy.

                                1. re: LindaWhit

                                  watching this 'professionally trained' chef critique these folks dishes, without eating the frakking bread, was like watching a physics BA with a B- GPA critique equations by stephen hawking and roger penrose, then saying "he's a trained physicist too." well yeah, i guess, but... absofreakinlutely ridonkeydiculous, i thought.

                                  1. re: TheFoodEater

                                    absofreakinlutely ridonkeydiculous, i thought.
                                    that was worth a giggle :)

                                    1. re: TheFoodEater

                                      And it's even more "absofreakinlutely ridonkeydiculous" (::::vbg::::) when you know that she's "professionally trained" by taking a saucier course at the London Le Cordon Bleu.

                                      1. re: TheFoodEater

                                        however, there are physics BA's with B- averages who may be able to critique hawking. ask einstein. and ask hawking. school performance and genius do not necessarily equate. we are more than our resumes.

                                        1. re: AMFM

                                          Very true, though your examples are still exceptions to the rule.

                                          It was apparent from her comments, not her education, that she didn't really know what she was talking about. Her education comes into play because Curtis Stone made a point of mentioning it (which may not have been her fault, to be fair) as though it qualified her as an expert. It didn't. And though I personally didn't find her egregiously rude, she did come off as a bit arrogant in her comments, pretending to expertise she didn't have.

                                          1. re: cowboyardee

                                            Exactly. It would be as if someone took a music lesson and then critiqued her music by saying he didn't think a C# and F# belonged together in a song, or to say holding a long note is show-offy --it would show that person's ignorance more than critique her musical ability.

                                            1. re: cowboyardee

                                              I am sure Curtis Stone mentioned it because otherwise, people on chowhound would be saying "what qualifications does this pop singer have to be a judge on TCM???"

                                              1. re: LurkerDan

                                                Seemed like that strategy backfired then. There wasn't anywhere near this much fuss about the Jonas Brothers as judges. But then they didn't pretend they were experts.

                                            2. re: AMFM

                                              i guess a better example would been letting a person who just took their third piano lesson judge between Glenn Gould and Martha Argerich, and then saying "she's also a pianist."

                                              1. re: TheFoodEater

                                                i am not speaking of her in particular... just the generalization.

                                      2. re: LindaWhit

                                        It was a meatball challenge and she chose to judge solely on the meatballs. She was consistent, she didn't eat the bread and she didn't drink the soup. Further, there's no requirement that a diner eat the food as presented.

                                        1. re: Worldwide Diner

                                          "It was a meatball challenge and she chose to judge solely on the meatballs"

                                          Why should that choice be respected? Seems dumb to me, and not in keeping with the spirit of the show. If a chefs makes you a dish, you taste the dish and not just an individual component unless you're specifically instructed to do otherwise.

                                          That "each component should stand on its own' line of explanation was ridiculous, and if she was even a halfway decent cook she should know better..

                                          1. re: cowboyardee

                                            Absolutely, my husband and I were discussing that last night. It's synergy, not each component separately. Floyd got screwed.

                                            1. re: buttertart

                                              i don't recall seeing any instructions on the plate as to how floyd's plate was to be eaten. certainly, none were shown on the broadcast.
                                              chefs on this show and in restaurants seem to have no problem giving judges and diners specific instructions on how to eat their food. when they don't, and they criticize the judges and diners for doing not doing so, they are usually criticized for it.
                                              there was a ball of meat resting on a piece of bread. if he wanted the meatball eaten as a sandwich, he could have plated it that way.
                                              it was a meatball challenge, not a sandwich challenge.
                                              kelis' s description and criticism of the meatball's saltiness and the foam on the other dish were far less hyperbolic, snippy, snarky and mean spirited than the vast majority of descriptions of oversalted food and foams seen on top chef.
                                              no gross, twisted faces, whiny tones of voice, or descriptions such as "cat vomit" for the foam were used.
                                              home cooks and many amateurs probably don't make these types of foams on a regular basis; indeed, this is probably what one would describe as an advanced technique for the majority of people preparing food.
                                              calling this technique "show offy" is the opposite of patronising.
                                              as far as celebrity, non-cooking professional judges who have been on top chef and top chef masters, kelis was among the more pleasant, fair, even handed and articulate.
                                              her comments were much less snarky, more informed and more descriptive than those by such perfectly pleasant guests as joe jonas, zoey deschanel and jimmy fallon.

                                              1. re: mrbleppo

                                                This is the only time I ever saw the show and I am not commenting on Kelis's manner.

                                                1. re: mrbleppo

                                                  as far as celebrity, non-cooking professional judges who have been on top chef and top chef masters, kelis was among the more pleasant, fair, even handed and articulate.

                                                  Well, that is your opinion. Others who watched the show obviously felt differently upon their viewing of the show. I personally don't think that calling a presentation "show offy" is all that pleasant or nice. But YMMV.

                                                  1. re: LindaWhit

                                                    I thought she tried to come off as a know it all--she seemed to set up her own criteria of what food should be like, eg. each part of a dish should stand on its own. I wonder if she tried the bread by itself, she might have thought that was undersalted. Foam is immediately dismissed as "show offy". Plus, she criticized the other chef (can't remember who anymore) about flavors that don't go together when they're traditional components of middle eastern food. Why are they having musicians judge food anyway? This was along the lines of having the Housewives on a challenge.

                                                    1. re: chowser

                                                      Supposedly, she was a professionally trained. Does that mean culinary school? Did she graduate? Did she have professional experience? Don't know.

                                                      "Kelis told her guests that while taking a break from music, she attended culinary school, where she found her a new love ... cooking."


                                                      "'Milkshake' singer Kelis wants to launch her own range of cooking sauces after taking a course at renowned London culinary school Le Cordon Bleu.

                                                      Kelis wants to launch her own range of sauces.

                                                      The ËśMilkshake' singer is now a certified saucier after taking a course at renowned London culinary school Le Cordon Bleu and she wants to share her taste bud-tickling skills with the world."

                                                      "a course" - it's the new Sandra Lee. @@

                                                      Her standing in the industry as compared to those master chefs preparing the food she tasted is at the bottom of the culinary ladder, IMO.

                                                      1. re: chowser

                                                        whose criteria is she supposed to use to judge the food? she's the one who tasted it.
                                                        i don't recall paula deen turning to padma and saying, gee, i don't know, what do you think?

                                                        it's so very odd her mild mannered and good natured comments -- again, compared to the majority of judges on this show -- on the food has engendered such enmity. i guess she either killed someone's cat, or maybe committed the horrible crime of putting out records posters here haven't heard.

                                                        if the worse thing anyone ever says about something you create is it's "show offy" or "it should stand on its own," you got a pretty charmed life.

                                                        1. re: mrbleppo

                                                          Yeah I also didn't get why people got so upset at her. And I'm old enough that I had to google her to figure out what all the milkshake stuff was about (and so old that even when I heard the song I still said "huh?"). She seemed intelligent and I thought her comments were fine. Her tastebuds, her opinions.

                                                    2. re: mrbleppo

                                                      I agree..... Although I did say "ouch" a few time.

                                        2. re: Parrotgal

                                          they said she was a trained chef, didn't they? I can't remember where.... I've never heard the song, and now i'm afraid to listen for fear of having it stuck in my head!

                                          1. re: mariacarmen

                                            they said she went to culinary school, but there was no mention of her having worked as a professional cook.

                                        3. re: LindaWhit

                                          I also hate that to some extent the results were affected by order of presentation, and the whole "crowding issue". Mary Sue even acknowledged that she lucked out in the ordering. A chef in his/her own kitchen, if they had a small kitchen, would design the courses offered so that everything could be done at the same time. Duh. So it's really not a good challenge to give them a small kitchen with pre-determined dishes to do.

                                          1. re: LindaWhit

                                            Is it me or is this group of chefs less respectful to each other than in previous seasons?

                                            One reason I enjoy TCM is that it's all about the cooking. There was so much respect in the kitchen that more cooking could be shown. No time wasted on petty bickering and drama. This season seems to be a bit less courteous. Second episode and Suvir is talking about divas in the kitchen and the preview for the next episode makes it look like there's going to be some fighting going on.

                                            I want be inspired by their ideas, learn new things. I hope TCM doesn't deteriorate into the juvenile bickering of TC. After watching Rick Bayless on TCM1, I was so impressed by his food (and his attitude and behavior), I put Topolobampo on the top of my list of places to eat when I got to Chicago (next to Alinea). I had the black mole and it lived up to my expectations and open my eyes to what Mexican cuisine was about.

                                            So far, none of the dishes has roused more than a vague interest. I'm actually more excited by Mike Isabella's pepperoni sauce, which I'm going to make this weekend! And I'm on Team Blais!

                                            1. re: chefhound

                                              And you WILL report on the pepperoni sauce, won't you? (perhaps a link on the TC Reunion Show thread to wherever you review it?)

                                              1. re: LindaWhit

                                                Sure will.

                                                I'm doing it in my new pressure cooker (another thing Top Chef has turned me on to). I'm serving the pork shoulder too. I wonder if Mike cooked the pork shoulder with the sauce or separately. Anyhow, I'm going to try it together in the pressure cooker.

                                              2. re: chefhound

                                                Perhaps they are less respectful (or seem so) because of the format, competing against a large group of chefs, week after week, as they get picked off one by one, is quite different than the tournament format of seasons past.

                                            2. <I was having a hard time keeping my eyes open!>

                                              I actually DID fall asleep during both viewings last night. Had to come here to see who won!

                                              I am not a fan of Hugh Acheson, whomever he is. Maybe he'd be a good fit for Marcel's show?

                                              9 Replies
                                              1. re: ChefJune

                                                Interestingly enough, Hugh Acheson is one of only 4 names I recognized, along with Mary Sue Milliken, Traci Des Jardins, and George Mendes.

                                                1. re: ChefJune

                                                  I missed the quickfire and came in about half-way through. I'm a fan of the classics so I enjoyed the elimination challenge. Pulling for Mary Sue - received a signed letter from her a couple of weeks ago for making the top 20 in the Alaska fish taco contest. It doesn't take much to get my support (plus, I do like Border Grill).

                                                  1. re: tofuburrito

                                                    wow, congrats! was she a judge, or did Border Grill sponsor the contest?

                                                    1. re: mariacarmen

                                                      Thanks! Border Grill & Alaska Seafood sponsored the contest.

                                                    2. re: tofuburrito

                                                      I ate a Border Grill in Santa Monica last Friday ,and a viewing party was planned.

                                                    3. re: ChefJune

                                                      Re: Hugh. Those are *some* eyebrows! and yes he really didn't look very appealing as a person in the previews for next week.

                                                        1. re: sibeats

                                                          I thought he had gotten rid of the unibrow in the later shots, but honestly.

                                                          1. re: sibeats

                                                            LOL! yes, *eyebrow* IS correct. That's the first thing I noticed about him and now I can't stop staring! : /

                                                      1. I watched this for the first time ever because of Christina H being on it, I have to confess. And yes she does look much smaller - quite like a Barbie doll - in person, do they pad her for her part as Joan? The food produced in that segment by and large didn't look that exciting (and meatballs?).

                                                        No interest in watching it again, really - it seems to me that Sue set herself up for a fall precisely by helping others (train wreck division) and that Hugh guy is a real you know what.

                                                        If decency is to be rewarded Suvir should win.

                                                        7 Replies
                                                        1. re: buttertart

                                                          Do you mean Cristina Tio? Are there two Cristinas competing? Or are you talking about that strange person who judged the quickfire?

                                                          Linda, where is Acheson from?

                                                          1. re: ChefJune

                                                            she means Christina Hendricks - the redhead who hosted the dinner party with her husband. she's an actress from the show Mad Men, which was the point of the 1960's challenge...Chef Tio's first name is Celina.

                                                            Acheson has several restaurants in Atlanta & Athens, Georgia.

                                                            1. re: ChefJune

                                                              He's an Atlanta chef, and I've seen his name listed several times as a James Beard nominee. That's really all I know of him - perhaps (since he's in Atlanta) I've seen his name tied in with Richard Blais? LOL

                                                              1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                he's got the JB noms, and he was a Food & Wine Best New Chef back in '02.

                                                              2. re: ChefJune

                                                                I thinK Buttertart is talking about Christina Hendricks from Mad Men. She is kind of amazing!

                                                                And Chef Tio is Celina. From Julian in Kansas City! Yaay!

                                                              3. re: buttertart

                                                                They do pad her for Joan, both in front and in back.

                                                                I actually really liked the comments from both Christina Hendricks and her husband, I thought they both had interesting points of view. Does the guest judge not actually get to judge for Top Chef Masters? It was weird that they had her there during the party and then just went off to Judges Table by themselves.

                                                                1. re: JasmineG

                                                                  Yes Christina Hendricks from Mad Men, love her to bits. They were both quite engaging and cogent on the food.