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Top Chef Masters Ep. 9, spoilers

Wow, I'm really the first to post? Hmm, what do I remember. The quickfire was to cook a dish while giving your unseen partner instructions on how to do it and get them to be as similar as possible. Naomi/dad, Flloyd/sis, Traci/bro and Mary Sue/sis. I can not believe none of them recognized their own relative's voice. I know it was an odd situation and it seemed to be loud, but really? Naomi was kind of yelling at dad but only the other chefs were phased by it. Traci won w/ a fish dish, Naomi second with eggs.

The EC was to cook for an armed forces person home on leave. Naomi had a Hawaiian guy, Floyd had someone with boring tastes as did Traci, Mary Sue had the guy from Guatemala (right?). And like 400 other people, with no help. How is that even possible? Floyd was worried about doing tenderloin for a buffet but it looked great to me. Naomi had all sorts of things going on, very adventurous. Mary Sue did a nice rib dish and Traci did some supposedly different version of meat loaf but that plate looked boring as anything. I really thought it was between her and Floyd going home cuz the judges expected more, even tho Floyd's guy loved it and gave him a coin in some army tradition. So who do they send home? Naomi. She had underdone shrimp and they say she tried to do too much. I think they were just afraid to send Traci home cuz of her reputation or something. C'mon look at that boring plate. Yes she made what the guy wanted but there was no pizazz to it. I would have fallen asleep eating it. She should have gone, I'm disappointed to see Naomi leave.

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  1. The death knell for Naomi was that the shrimp was undercooked. Undercooking shrimp pretty much makes them inedible, and, as with all TC dishes that are inedible, the chef that does that goes home. Traci's dish was saved by the mashed potatoes. Although they might have looked boring, they apparently were pretty exceptional tasting since Ruth remarked on them. Mary Sue got really, really lucky that the person she chose randomly had the most interesting cuisine, and one that she was really comfortable with. At the end of the day, I'm not sure that she cooked anything that was exceptional, but it wasn't bland and it was probably more interesting than the other meals. It's interesting that the diners chose her. Looks like they don't like bland any more than the judges!

    1. I thought this episode was really boring. The challenge was touching, but the food was too pedestrian. I know they all cooked to the challenge, but I expect more from the producers, or something. I don't know, I really felt like something was off this week. Yay to Mary Sue for winning another one. I felt kind of bad for Floyd - he's been the bridesmaid a lot in this series, and I think it's getting to him.

      1. Didn't watch it (forgot yet again!), but REALLY? Naomi's gone? Too bad, I really liked her, and she had done very well throughout the season.

        4 Replies
        1. re: LindaWhit

          Me too...Naomi was so good throughout I figured she'd win it

          Now I just don't know...Mary Sue for sentimental reasons, I guess. Loved the Two Hots when FN had more actual cooking shows

          1. re: coney with everything

            Did you notice in the teaser that last year's sheftestants will be tasting - including Susan Fenniger? Guess they'll not be voting. After all, could Susan be impartial when her co-hort and good friend of many years is up for the win?

            Let's just hope they let these folks just cook their hearts out. No gimmicks, no tricks - just a straightforward, cook-whatever-you-want, show-us-your-best finale. But by the looks of the preview, that's not going to happen (unless the Elves are being tricky)...

            1. re: cmvan

              Its going to be a 4 course meal that shows their culinary style, with the stipulation that one of the courses has to be a reworking of a dish that was a critical failure on the show.

              Im a little upset its not going to be the same challenge that the last 2 TC masters had where they tell their culinary history with a meal.

            2. re: coney with everything

              Just a crazy notion, but I'm betting the Floyd will take it in the end. All the big deal about how he never wins against Mary Sue and the emotional stuff with his returning service person. Maybe it's just the Elves playing with us, but they sure are setting him up to be the audience's sentimental favorite.

          2. I tuned in late. What was the premise for the quickfire?

            I kinda liked this episode. Yes, the food was boring for the most part, but look who they were cooking for!

            I'm pulling for Floyd to come from behind and take the whole thing. ;)

            1. Floyd was very conscious in preparing the meal that he had to set aside cooking intended to score high with the judges and solely focus on the returning soldier's palate and preferences. Traci's predicament was even more constrictive, in a way, because someone who really likes meatloaf is likely to be put off if it's too rich, fancy, or varies too much from expectations of the comfortable and familiar. Basically, the producers set up a situation in which the chefs could be punished for their selflessness and for putting the wishes of the returning service personnel above other concerns. The network should provide such an special meal separately from the competition, and to do it in the manner they did was exploitative.

              1. The chefs learned, with the proposal guy, that they had to cook for the judges, not the challenge so I liked that both Floyd and Traci ignored that and cooked for their people and ignored what the judges would think. I think that shows respect to the service members and their family. I'm glad that they weren't sent home for it. The chefs are in a tough situation with these challenges--please the challenge or please the judges because you can't always do both. I was sad to see Naomi go but they've all done well. I also loved the scene when Traci gave Floyd a hug and they walked out together, after Floyd got choked up about the coin and appreciation he was given. Really, that must have said it all that he did the right thing.

                1 Reply
                1. re: chowser

                  +1 to chowser and moto! It seems this season was pretty much damned if you do, damned if you don't when cooking in the challenges. It reminds me of Chopped when they're given 30 minutes to cook an ingredient that takes hours to make correctly and the judges complain about tenderness, doneness, etc...

                2. I thought this was one of the best episodes so far this season. The constraints were real, in the sense that they weren't contrived - like cooking on a bunsen burner. You really do get customers, especially when catering, who want you to cook to their tastes.

                  I really enjoyed Ruth Reichl again. For my tastes, she is spot on, with little affectation, and makes meaningful criticisms. The other two are obviously in it for the spotlight, Ruth has been in the light for a long, long time.

                  As a vet, I have to say that I enjoyed the theme and thought it entirely appropriate. They selected good representatives, from a Marine Corporal to a USAF full-bird Colonel. The food was pretty eclectic when you think about it - from ribs to tenderloin to poke. I have served a gallantine to non-foodie, meat and potatoes folks that loved it - lots of gravy always helps. But afterwards, I did think that all the extra work was not appreciated, and I could have just served them meatloaf. I was stationed at a remote site for a year and coming back, I wanted what I remembered and yearned for, not what some chef (no matter how great) thought I wanted.

                  Thanking servicefolks publicly is never exploitative, in my mind. It's precisely because we are not a militaristic, jingoistic society, that we should take extra care to thank our fellow citizen Soldiers (and Sailors and Airmen and Marines) at every opportunity.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: applehome

                    Well stated. When I would come home on leave, I didn't want anything over-the-top decadent or fancy (at least not first), I wanted my Mom's cooking. As an aside, I came home after some time overseas and fish tacos had busted out all over... I was like, "Gross!" Then I tried one. But I digress... I think it was the appropriate choice for the chefs to cook for the servicemembers and their families, and not try to wow the judges on this one. All four of those meals would have knocked my socks off after surviving months of mess hall food.

                  2. i was hoping naomi rather than mary sue would be in the final 3

                    1. I agree...NONE of them recognized the voice of a close relative? Something's fishy...I suspect the producers asked the chefs to feign ignorance in order to add drama to the reveal when those panels were pulled away. Jeez, if I heard my dad so much as clear his throat at the opposite end of an airline terminal, I'd know it was him.

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: Boswell

                        the barriers seemed to really muffle the sound. i found it hard to believe at first, but when i saw just how hard it was to hear each other at all, i was able to suspend disbelief

                      2. That poor family that was stuck sitting with James Oseland...

                        1 Reply
                        1. From the start of this lackluster season I've pegged Floyd Cardoz as the best chef of them all. That's because I ate at Tabla, his NYC restaurant, quite a few times, and loved it. But don't rely on me. Check out what Top Chef judge Ruch Reichl had to say about this restaurant when she reviewed it in 1999.

                          1. Bummed, I missed this episode and was going to watch it on Comcast On Demand, but apparently they've pulled it from the on demand menu. :-(

                            4 Replies
                            1. re: LurkerDan

                              Try the website. A lot of TV shows can be seen on line.

                              1. re: LurkerDan

                                I noticed that too. Whats UP with that?

                                1. re: Shrinkrap

                                  Apparently, Comcast added it back to their lineup? Just watched it last night.

                                  1. re: LurkerDan

                                    I vaguely remembering them doing this last year as well. I'll have to see if the last 3 episodes are there on Verizon FiOS as well. Thanks for the info.