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May 5, 2011 12:51 AM

Top Chef Masters Season 3, Episode 5 (Spoilers)

I liked the QF $1 appetizer challenge. Shows you what a little ingenuity can do. Thought they did well with such a limitation. Granted, they had Whole Foods-quality food, but that could only mean they had to watch their bottom line even more - a dollar at WF buys you far less than it would most anywhere else. Naomi getting immunity with an asparagus bread salad was quite a coup - there wasn't even a protein in that dish, was there? I thought Alex's squid dish was going to win - it looked the most delicious to me. I also liked the look of Hugh's Salade Lyonnaise (anything with a poached egg on it gets my vote.) Tho Hugh continues to bug.

The fast food EC was a train wreck, but I was still impressed by some of those dishes - Floyd's beef Frankie, in particular looked great. George was rightfully sent home, in my opinion - his looked awful - skewered clams? Although they said they were properly cooked. Alex's salmon tacos sounded bad too - i have to agree that it's my least favorite fish choice for a taco.

Oseland's blog:

sigh... bring on the hate.....

Can't people have fun with this show anymore? I haven't latched on enough yet to be rooting for a particular Chef, but I'm still enjoying the show, tho I know many here aren't. Maybe it's as some have said - it came too quickly on the heels of TCAS. You used to be able to build up some anticipation and desire.....

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  1. As a Mary Sue fan, I am thrilled at her win (so that's two wins for her, isn't it? and she's been on the bottom 3 times now?). I would have been annoyed if Alex went home for those tacos - I thought that was the best adaptation possible for protein, when he learned where he was cooking.

    I liked the QF, too. It was interesting to see what they came up with for less than a dollar. This was a much better episode than the previous two.....

    1 Reply
    1. re: jeanmarieok

      She has been on the bottom three times, but weren't two of those more for being on the losing team rather than having the poorest dish? Which brings up a point that bothers me with this season of Masters. On Top Chef, the judges are pretty clear when a chef is before them because they were on the losing team despite having a good dish. This year on Masters, the critics seem compelled to find fault with every dish on the losing team even when it seems unwarranted based on the comments made during tasting.

    2. I missed the first part of the show, but my overwhelming sense was of how condescending and nasty the judging seemed. I found the comments a real turn off, and I haven't had an enormous problem with that before now. Ugh. It was only when the chefs who were in the bottom three left the JT area that they had nice comments. Otherwise, both the comments and the scowls on the faces of the judges were a real turn off.

      Some stray observations: I was glad Mary Sue won, but having her own food truck definitely gave her an edge in the competition. I think that in general, the female chefs are rocking it this time around, which is something I do enjoy seeing. Hugh is a nut job, IMHO.

      8 Replies
      1. re: roxlet

        I didn't hate the episode as a whole. Reasonably interesting. Food seemed alright.

        But I wish I could put my finger on exactly what it is about the judges that annoys the crap out of me. Whenever Oseland is served anything he doesn't love, he whines and bitches like it's a personal attack on his delicate sensibilities. Really, that skewer was the ugliest food you've ever seen? Really? I can't even articulate what it is about the dude from grub street or restaurant girl that bothers me so much, aside from pointing out the obvious that they come off as unqualified and completely devoid of insight. Curtis Stone, though I don't have any particular fondness for him, comes off pretty well just by comparison.

        Where is Jen Carrol when you need her?

        (also, wasn't this episode 5?)

        1. re: cowboyardee

          There was just something about James Oseland in the car with his protege at the drive-thru window that I just turned me off. Maybe it was the sense that they were really enjoying the difficulties that the chef's were having -- it seemed as if they were gloating. And I initially defended Oseland because I think that Saveur is the best food magazine post Gourmet's demise. And I liked his first book enormously. But the way he seemed to cackle with his protege was a turn off. And that eating girl, or whatever her moniker is, appears to be extremely ignorant about food. At least for TC, you have judges with experience within the food world.

          1. re: roxlet

            I like Saveur myself. I can't quite reconcile in my mind Oseland the lameass judge from TCM and Oseland the likable editor-in-chief of one of the few food magazines worth reading. Go figure.

            1. re: roxlet

              If only there were some way to tell Oseland and his protege apart. They think alike. They eat alike. They even talk alike. They're identical nerds born to separate mothers. And the two of them, by themselves are killing off this show. Looks like Gayle is coming back next week. Thank heavens.

              1. re: roxlet

                I agree about the gloating. Give these hard-working chefs an almost impossible challenge and then, instead of saying "I'm amazed at what they were able to do" find fault anywhere you can. Not nice.

                1. re: DGresh

                  Oseland actually did say that, i thought..... i'll have to watch again. maybe it was wallaby-boy.

              2. re: cowboyardee

                Restaurant Girl moves one side of her mouth more than the other. The Grub Street dude looks like an unhip nerd. His hairdo is atrocious.

                1. re: cowboyardee

                  Agreed on these 3 judges - Oseland has a very "pinched" face all the time - including when he attempts a smile - and he just irks me beyond all get-out. And the baby-faced boy from Grub Street just seems so - I don't know ... young? "Did you ever think when I was interning for you we'd be sitting in a fast food place?" Ugh. The two of them seriously need to go.

                  Thank goodness Gail Simmons was on this week's episode. Will be interesting to see Gael Greene again NEXT week.

              3. I thought Celina's un-wrap was the most awful looking dish last night, although George's did look as though he really didn't care whether he stayed or left.

                I find the judges' (oops, critics') phony "ugh" looks demeaning, silly and unnecessary. Can't they just say with a straight face whether or not they liked the dishes? This is not 3rd grade.

                I like Oseland as a food writer and as an editor, but I am not at all impressed by his snark and whining as a "critic" for TCM. It detracts badly from the show, imho. I also take issue with the Elves calling someone a "permanent judge" (Bourdain on TCAS and Reichl on TCM) and they aren't present more than half the time. Just use them when they're available and don't play with the viewers!

                I'm not totally put off by the youthfulness of the majority of these judges, but feel there are a lot of very qualified culinary professionals and food writers who would be very credible, and am wondering why they are robbing the cradle. What is the average age of the Magical Elves? Does anyone know? That might shen some light on their selections.

                3 Replies
                1. re: ChefJune

                  I was thinking the same thing about Ruth. At least Gail is on next week. Cowboyardee - you are right, this is Episode 5 - sorry. I'll ask Mods to make the change to the title.

                  1. re: ChefJune

                    Surely, there are many older critics and foodpeople who might be better judges... but the age of this crop isn't really the problem. Rather, the problem is that one judge is an Oseland protege who seemingly has nothing at all to add and is positively dripping with anti-charisma, while the other is probably the single worst critic I could name offhand (she's got the big trifecta: no food knowledge, no writing talent, and no professional scruples).

                    A precocious 9-year-old would make a better judge - at least she'd be cute. Gail on regular Top Chef is young, and also a fine judge.

                    You mention the age of the Elves. While I don't know offhand, I can say having read a couple of the producer's blogs for regular Top Chef that she comes off as a plausible fan of Restaurant Girl. Sorta more into pop culture than food, and mostly into food to the extent that it's trendy (which, to be fair, should be expected from a reality TV producer).

                    You judge.

                  2. mariacarmen: I am pretty sure last night was episode 5, not 4. If Mary Sue has now won 2 and was on the bottom in the other 3???

                    1. George's clams weren't skewered, they were served inside a cucumber. The skewers were pork and chorizo. Looked awful.

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: saeyedoc

                        oh you're right. and yes, they did.