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Top Chef Masters "Episode 7: Culinary Knock Out" (9/5/12) [*SPOILERS*]

It's elimination tournament time. Winners face off and losers face off. And Sugar Ray is there to judge it all.

Chris beats Takashi (in the bacon round).

Lorena is the other winner in the bacon round, beating Patricia.

So it's Chris versus Lorena in the sugar round (get it? "sugar"?!!).

Lorena takes the title with the old-standby, chocolate cake. Yawn.

In the chicken livers loser elimination round it's Takashi versus Patricia.

The loser? Syonara Takashi.

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  1. Sayonara.

    I just don't get Lorena Garcia's advancement through the series. Speaking personally, of course. None of her dishes have seemed enticing to me, even if I have not tasted them, based on what they appear to be. None of them.

    The format of this episode was particularly trying to me. It felt very forced and even more artificial than normal.

    3 Replies
    1. re: huiray

      If I had to characterize her cooking on the show, I think she's done better when they have a very basic ingredient list and is at a disadvantage when the chefs have more time and a wider selection of proteins to choose from.

      I liked the format. At it's heart, it is two chefs cooking a quick dish using the same ingredient. They dressed it up in a certain way to fit their guest, but it was not so different from the elimination match they had at the end of the most recent season of The Next Iron Chef.

      1. re: FoodPopulist

        I thought it was odd that the winners of the round squared off against each other. I just assumed Chris and Lorena would be in then Patricia and Takashi would fight for the last spot. And that's really what it was anyway wasn't it? It wasn't like there was a point system so that if L. killed C. in dessert, he could have gone home right? Or did I miss something? I did miss what C. and T. cooked for bacon, can anyone tell me? And I was surprised P. beat T. in the chicken liver round cuz James didn't like her underdone dish so much. Seemed like someone else agreed. What exactly did T. do wrong? (Obviously I was doing some other stuff while this was on.) I know people think Lorena is subpar but she keeps winning and I thought the attitude of the chefs toward her was a little off putting.

        And we forgot to mention that the head of Chow.com was a judge.

        1. re: Joanie

          You have to have the winners of the first round face off against each other if you want to determine a first place (for the money that goes to the winner's charity).

    2. I enjoyed the fact that Chris and Takashi help each other when competing against each other. Well played

      7 Replies
      1. re: scubadoo97

        Wasn't that a nice thing to see?
        I liked the format of this episode very much, but I was sorry to see Takashi go.

        1. re: scubadoo97

          Agree. You could also tell that everyone watching thought the same.

          I'm *so* tired of Lorena. Her grudge-holding over Patricia's telling her last week to clean up her station and to not hog the stove burners is rather childish. It seems that other chefs aren't particularly enamoured of her either. Perhaps there's more going on behind the scenes that we aren't seeing.

          Sorry to see Takashi go. I really liked him throughout the season. Would have much preferred seeing Chris, Patricia, Takashi and Kerry being in the final 4. And I liked the "battle format" of this episode. Pretty straightforward. You get one ingredient with which to work from. Although I found it interesting that the battle for 1st was with sugar; and the battle for elimination was chicken livers. I thought they might do the same - they had protein (bacon) for the initial rounds and they'd go with something sweet for the 2nd rounds. Instead, Takashi and Patricia get another protein.

          And yes - "founder" of CHOW was a judge. Kind of liked when she countered James Oseland's comment re: his chicken livers being too underdone by saying "it's subjective - mine were perfect to me."

          1. re: LindaWhit

            We're on the same page with this- so happy Patricia stayed, so sorry Takashi left! Agree about the Lorena- she should be happy she won for pete's sake and get over it! Art's gone- she needs to make new friends.
            I preferred this format hands down to the supermarket dash and pandemonium and drama in the kitchen. This was a straight forward episode about cooking showcasing ingredients most of us love to eat minus the faulty equipment, forgotten ingredient melodrama. Also loved the gorgeous old school Vegas showgirl who served the food.

            I had no idea who started CHOW before. Mildly surprised I never heard of her before but she added a fresh voice to the panel. I'm getting tired of James Oseland's whiny remarks and didn't missed Ruth but looks like she's back next week. And who knew Sugar Ray Leonard was a food lover plus all his brain cells seemed to be intact, unlike so many famous veteran boxers.

            1. re: Berheenia

              I was also glad to see that Sugar Ray still has his brain.

              Did anyone notice that the blonde judge (can't remember her name) has a head that's twice as big as the judge from CHOW? It just struck me.

            2. re: LindaWhit

              Your observations completely echo mine, Linda. I'm a bit behind in the series so I just watched last night. I wasn't enjoying this season as much as the others the first few weeks, but now am feeling like we have a mature group of chefs who are confident and classy.

              I was really sorry to see Takashi go instead of Lorena. He was a class act and a terrific chef and it would have been nice to see him in the final four.

            3. re: scubadoo97

              agree with this, it brought a tear to my eye, that they'd actually consider sharing with each other, it's a competition after all.

            4. aw shoooooooooooooooooooooot! My favorite (Takashi) is out. I missed this cause I was watching Bill Clinton. I wish Bravo would rerun the episodes, but they've taken to only doing so int he first hour after the show. Don't have a DVR.

              so, where was Kerry in all this? Or did he have some kind of immunity?

              Now I really don't care who wins. dislike Lorena.

              7 Replies
              1. re: ChefJune

                Kerry won the Quickfire, so he got immunity, and part of that was he didn't have to cook in the EC.

                1. re: ChefJune

                  I saw the beginning, just until Bill showed up, and I'm glad. I think I can catch it on line, or at the very least, at 9PM next Wednesday. Sorry Takashi is out. I guess that Lorena's food, while not being as complex and fancy as the other chef's, is very tasty. At the end of the day, it's about the taste.

                  1. re: ChefJune

                    "I wish Bravo would rerun the episodes,"

                    They are on "On Demand".

                    1. re: ChefJune

                      Bravo will rerun this episode right before the new one on Wednesday. Then they will show this ep and the next one on the morning of Sunday the 16th.

                      1. re: FoodPopulist

                        I've only seen the real estate show on right before the new episodes this season.

                        1. re: FoodPopulist

                          Unfortunately when they rerun the episodes they add all this garbage at the bottom third of the screen...tweets, comments, really annoying stuff. It especially irks me because half the time it is covering up the food and you can't see anything!

                        2. I too am tired of Lorena Garcia. I kind of like the food that Chris Cosentino has been making (although I couldn't stand his Chef vs. City FN show).

                          I was a bit surprised to see one of the top people from this site (owned by CBS) as a Top Chef judge on Bravo (owned by NBC). I guess the elves don't care and apparently neither do the networks.

                          5 Replies
                          1. re: John E.

                            Yeah I was over Lorena a while back but what's a top chef show without a villain and drama??? I assume market research tells them that we need drama or we get bored, but personally I'd be happier just watching a cooking competition without the made up drama. I guess I'm not the norm.

                            1. re: scubadoo97

                              I'm happier with the drama and wish they would play it up, but I also like my NLF/NBA/MLB and my political campaigns to be bloodsports.

                              1. re: FoodPopulist

                                See I knew there were viewers like you :) Market research doesn't lie

                            2. re: John E.

                              Travel Channel repeated No Reservations: San Francisco last night which featured Cosentino cooking offal.

                              He was entertaining on that show, but of course he was a supporting player to AB

                              1. re: coney with everything

                                I don't think it was Consentino on the Chef vs. City that I did not care for. It was the format and his partner on the show, Aarón Sanchez that I found annoying.

                            3. Sorry to see Takashi leave. Sorry to see Patricia stay.

                              1 Reply
                              1. re: chicgail

                                I am sooo with you on this assessment chicgail.

                              2. I wanted to see Takashi and Chris in the final two, Patricia as the top three. Takashi was so close to winning immunity, too. I loved seeing Chris and Takashi in their duel. It must have been fun to be up close and personal. I was glad that Chris won that round. Molten chocolate cake and grilled pineapples take the win--we never see those in a home cook's repetoire because they're so complex and innovative to make.

                                1. I was sorry to see Takashi go home.

                                  1. Nooooooooooooooo!!!!! I wanted to see Chris beat Takashi in the finals. Really bummed to see Takashi cut.

                                    I liked the format of this EC a lot. I thought Sugar Ray was worthless. Stupid one liner cooking equals boxing lines.

                                    I'm not a Lorena fan, but Patricia was driving me nuts thus episode. Her win over Takashi was extra disappointing because I'd tired of her Lorena bashing.

                                    Go Chris!!

                                    23 Replies
                                    1. re: debbiel

                                      Yeah, the double "cat yowl" when paired with her was particularly annoying.

                                      1. re: DGresh

                                        Maybe they should do an all-female edition of Top Chef to maximize cat-fight potential.

                                        1. re: FoodPopulist

                                          So let me get this straight: a feud between two female chefs is automatically a cat fight? What about all the dudes who get in similar tiffs, like Chris and Art? Funny how no one blinks twice.

                                          1. re: piccola

                                            No, you miss the point. Both Patricia and Lorena went "Yowl" and clawed at each other. They themselves "called it" a cat fight. And Patricia did it a second time.

                                            1. re: DGresh

                                              No, that part I got. It's the part where having an all-female show would lead to more catfights that I don't understand.

                                            2. re: piccola

                                              picc, I really liked Art, seemed to be a sweet guy, but his southern 'only' cuisine seemed to be his downfall. yea, he can make a biscuit, but there's more to cooking that biscuits and gravy and fried chicken. still though, like him as a person.

                                              didn't see the Chris/Art fight. I think Lorena handled her anger toward Patricia nicely. what I saw of Patricia tells me I wouldn't track down a restaurant of hers to seek out.

                                              1. re: iL Divo

                                                Following her across the kitchen? All that eye rolling at anything she did? Taking up half the burners on the stove for a work surface? Sounds a little out of line to me.

                                                1. re: iL Divo

                                                  I'm not an Art fan and I'm not defending any of the ladies in particular (I feel like they're both being presented in fairly stereotypical ways anyway). I was just annoyed at the suggestion that an all-female cast would bring lots of "catfights," as opposed to the standard drama that comes with co-ed reality shows.

                                              2. re: FoodPopulist

                                                From what I can tell, Lorena is now used to overseeing restaurants, not working in one as part of a group, as Patricia still does daily. Different skill sets and behaviors.

                                                Throw in healthy egos (which all of these chefs have to have to survive), the fact that Lorena was still mad at Art leaving - and unpleasantness was bound to happen sometime.

                                                I have newfound respect for Lorena, as to how much she hustled in the dessert round. But Patricia, Chris and Takashi (sniffle!) are still my favs.

                                                1. re: happybaker

                                                  I thought that at first about Lorena until I thought about what she made. Flourless chocolate cake, grilled pineapple. It's stuff that a skilled home cook could make but not on par w/ what the other chefs came up with. At the end of the day, I understand it's about execution at that immediate time but I expect chefs to take it up a notch or so. I might be biased against Lorena because of the Taco Bell stuff, though.

                                                  1. re: chowser

                                                    The Taco Bell connection does rub me the wrong way

                                                    1. re: scubadoo97

                                                      And it's reinforced for me by the constant Taco Bell commercials featuring her during the show.

                                                    2. re: chowser

                                                      I actually buy into a conspiracy theory that Lorena is still there because Taco Bell is a sponsor. Her food looks ok, but did it really beat out Takashi and Patricia? I hate that Takashi is gone; now I'll have to root for Chris. (I loved how those two shared ingredients--even cooked.)

                                                      1. re: gaffk

                                                        They were awesome together. Masters indeed.

                                                        1. re: happybaker

                                                          They were great together. I have so much respect for Chris for what he did. I'm rooting for Chris now. I was disappointed that we didn't see the two in the finale but this competition was great.

                                                        2. re: gaffk

                                                          Well, she didn't directly beat Takashi. She directly beat Patricia first, and then Chris. Not having tasted the food, who knows? But I do not believe that it's out of the realm of reasonable possibility that she could beat each of them in a single head to head competition. That doesn't mean she's a better chef. Just that in a particular challenge, she could beat them.

                                                          But I'm still declared for Chris. Actually, so comfortably declared for Chris not taht Takashi is out of it.

                                                          1. re: debbiel

                                                            Which is one reason (not the only) why I disliked the format here. If they're going to have a one-on-one format, make it a round-robin format rather than a knockout format with the ridiculous boxing scenario & trappings as well.
                                                            There were only four of them - having each one go at it against every other means only 6 matches, while the knockout needed 4 matches anyway. Each could be scored by points (or stars, a la restaurant reviews and like they did in the first season) awarded from the judging panel, and their scores added up to determine the winner and loser. In the case of a tie between two at either the top or the bottom, have a cook-off. Make it an hour-and-half episode if needs be.

                                                          2. re: gaffk

                                                            .....I pegged Takashi to take it all the way to the end. surprised he got the boot, I think he is too

                                                            1. re: iL Divo

                                                              I agree. I was so disappointed he was eliminated.

                                                          3. re: chowser

                                                            But is zabaione that much more difficult?

                                                            1. re: debbiel

                                                              Yes, like making perfect poached eggs or scrambled eggs are easy to mess up.

                                                              1. re: debbiel

                                                                bingo debbie, I really was thinking the same thing.........'that's all he could come up with?' but it is time consuming and I think I'd love it as an end to a meal.

                                                              2. re: chowser

                                                                I agree. I really don't get how that dessert beat Chris' zabaglione. Her dish was pretty amateurish.

                                                      2. I guess I'm alone.

                                                        While I'm not enamored with Lorena, I think the way Patricia talks to her and the childish looks she gives/faces she makes is beyond juvenile. I try and give her the benefit of doubt and assume much of it is the editing folks but something is there which I find distasteful. (pun unintended.)

                                                        9 Replies
                                                        1. re: hambone

                                                          You have to wonder if they are told to play it up for ratings. You have to remember that this is reality TV which has little to do with reality

                                                          1. re: scubadoo97

                                                            I allow for that but I think there is a bully/clique thing going on there which is of the chefs' doing.

                                                            1. re: hambone

                                                              I don't know if it's bully/clique but it's obvious the other chefs don't think as highly of Lorena. But, the question is whether it's with good cause.

                                                              1. re: chowser

                                                                I have a friend who did Chopped. It was obvious that the other chefs did not think highly of him. And each round he beat them. At the end, he took home the $10k (I think that's the prize) and they gave interviews about how they are the better chefs.

                                                                1. re: chowser

                                                                  I've noticed that too chows: she seems nice enough on camera as they pretty much all do, but the camera's when they're off, may tell a whole other story.......... < true enough for all of them though.

                                                                  1. re: iL Divo

                                                                    My feeling is that she doesn't know how to work harmoniously in a kitchen, probably due to inexperience. Two episodes ago, she took 6 of the 12 burners in the kitchen to make soup. And this is with six contestants left in the game. It's a bit of a self-absorbed move on her part.

                                                                    1. re: Miss Needle

                                                                      Exactly, Miss Needle. It seems she's set off the other chefs with her interactions *in* the kitchen (other than Art). Taking over half of the burners when you've got so many others also working to do some catering (or whatever the challenge was) shows little thought for anyone else but herself. A sign of a good chef is being able to work with each other (see: Takashi and Cosentino sharing ingredients in the Knock Out challenge).