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Top Chef Masters "Episode 9: Old School, New School " (9/19/12) [*SPOILERS*]

Is it already the penultimate show? Part of me is relieved ... actually, a big part of me is relieved.

Judges break out their toques for the Quickfire and it's James and Chris taking the win.

But it's Kerry rising to the challenge in the Elimination round when he and his high school students take the show with chicken and creamed(!) spinach.

Lorena now has more time to gin up Taco Bell bowls, or whatever they're called.

Chris v. Kerry. And so it shall be.

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  1. I liked Lorena being positive. Kerry was really driving them. thought those kids would have to decide that they like that harassment, or pick a different career path. Hope it pays off for them, too.

    Jo jo has type 2 diabetes!

    4 Replies
    1. re: Shrinkrap

      I only caught the last 15 min, will watch the whole thing at some point, but I thought Lorena went out with class. It may have all been a big fake smile but she seemed like she had no problem at all with the decision and in the little bit I saw, it seemed like everyone got along better. Will confirm that (or not) when I can.

          1. re: jeanmarieok

            thanks. I fell asleep and missed it. :(

      1. When I saw the preview last week, I complained about having other folks cook for them this late in the season. But I loved the episode. Really loved it. I enjoyed seeing their different styles of working with the kids and thought they all did a great job with that.

        Happy with the final two, still pulling for Chris.

        1 Reply
        1. re: debbiel

          I said the same thing but then they grew on me

        2. ipse, great recap.
          shall we call in seal team six to rescue you from those villians who planted you in front of the t.v. and forced you to watch?

          2 Replies
          1. re: linus

            Only if none of them write a memoir about it afterwards.

            1. re: ipsedixit

              fair enough. however, one of them is going to be a guest judge on 'top chef seattle,' in a challenge wherein the chefs have to perform many seal-like duties in addition to cooking, for the sole purpose of pissing off viewers.

          2. Lorena competing for the Healthy kids alliance and shilling for Taco Bell. Every time she talked about how important healthy eating for kids was was, Jojo having diabetes, I thought of that.

            I loved seeing Chris interact w/ the kids and how he mentored and taught them. It seemed like the other kids learned to make their dishes. Chris's kids learned about cooking. Glad Chris is in the finale. And, that Ruth called Lorena on her making good home cook meals. I did think Lorena went out w/ class.

            10 Replies
            1. re: chowser

              My daughter thought Chris acted like they were way younger than they were. Especially when he helped them steer the cart. But we are rooting for him.

              1. re: Shrinkrap

                You mean she thought he was condescending?

                Whom did she want as a tutor?

                1. re: huiray

                  I had asked her if she meant condescending, and she said no. BTW, she is 22, so.........

                2. re: Shrinkrap

                  I think Chris's direction was different. He wanted the students to understand the reason for doing things a certain way and not just teach technique

                3. re: chowser

                  I thought it was interesting that she prided herself on making healthy food when the lasagna was basically layers upon layers of cream, cheese and various meats. I mean, it's not bad per se, but not necessarily the healthiest either (although at least it's made from real ingredients, unlike fast food).

                  If anything, I think Lorena infantilized her students a little, though it came from a good place. She didn't want to push them because she wanted to reinforce their self-esteem but it came across a bit like hand-holding. At the same time, it looks like everyone had fun and that's what matters.

                  Kerry, on the other hand, was a real taskmaster, but the challenge really built up his students' confidence in the end.

                  1. re: piccola

                    yes, I thought also, the kid has type 2 diabetes, and you're going to cook *pasta*? Why not show a better way to do it, with eggplant, or squash instead. But perhaps she found that out after they shopped? I don't think so, but don't completely recall.

                    1. re: DGresh

                      I do think she found out after they started cooking, but her reaction was still along the lines of, Thank god I'm teaching them how to cook healthy foods then! Oh well.

                      1. re: DGresh

                        I thought the same thing about JoJo. I'm sure he's been learning about high glycemic foods and all that stuff as a newly diagnosed diabetic. I understand that the science behind that is now coming under fire in some quarters but still, tons of pasta and cream and cheeses? Replacing the pasta with eggplant and making eggplant parmigiana or even just marinara would have been a much healthier choice, and still been a variation on lasagna. For that matter, she could have used spinach lasagna noodles.

                        1. re: DGresh

                          Was this a meal the "chefs" were to eat? I thought they were cooking for mystery dinners. That meal had better be Top Chef worthy if they were going to win and a chef needs to cook for the diners even if it's food they can't eat or care for

                          1. re: scubadoo97

                            No question, but I think that Lorena could have improved on *all* counts if she'd done something that wasn't your typical meal that Americans eat (too much of) at home. She could have succeeded at making something more restaurant-quality, AND more healthy. And given that Jo-Jo and she were having a discussion about learning about healthy food through cooking......

                    2. Based on plating alone, I figured Chris and Oseland had won the Quickfire.

                      Interesting how each chef worked with their kid chefs. I loved Chris taking time to actually teach his kids vs. talking at them to create the specific dish. I think he helped excite his students into really learning about food itself. Thought Kerry's pushing his students might have one of them break down but they powered through.

                      Glad Chris's dish made it through vs. Lorena's, but Lorena was gracious in her exit.

                      1. Ugh, my conspiracy theory died tonight.

                        1. So glad that Garcia woman is gone.

                          3 Replies
                          1. re: huiray

                            I figured as soon as she decided to serve family style, she was done.

                            1. re: DGresh

                              But I will be making my next lasagna in my cast iron skillet :)

                              1. re: Janet from Richmond

                                I think if she'd done them in individual ramekins or mini skillets, she might have been ok.

                          2. I got home and only saw the very end. Have no DVR.

                            Are full episodes available on the Internet?? A lunchtime watch on my computer ?

                            1. I really didn't care who won. but Kerry's attitude was bad. I know that many Executive Chefs are pushy and aggressive, but I didn't like his manner of dealing with his students. If he hadn't won, the whole experience for his kids would have been very, very negative.

                              4 Replies
                              1. re: SusieQQ

                                Hmmm, how was he supposed to show and teach them? Teaching means you might also have to correct them?

                                1. re: SusieQQ

                                  I thought Kerry was OK. He absolutely was pushy, but he wasn't unkind. He just didn't coddle them, set the bar high, and was appreciative of their results and hard work. Kind of real world - except maybe he was more appreciative than a real boss would be.

                                  1. re: SusieQQ

                                    He was demanding but not demeaning. If these kids are interested in a culinary career, understanding that they may find themselves under the gaze of a stern taskmaster would be a useful experience.

                                    1. re: SusieQQ

                                      Had these students been every day high schoolers, I'd agree. However, given that they already came in with some cooking vocational training - I don't think Kerry took a bad approach. He reminded me more of a sports coach I had in high school - but not in a bad way. He didn't "name call" and most of his pushing was in giving them tasks that were at a higher level and pushing them to work faster than they normally did. And while he did keep saying things like "faster" - there weren't any shots of him telling them to rush knife skills, carrying more weight than they could physically manage, or something else technically dangerous.

                                      Holistically, I think that a good teacher is going to give their students a mix of tough love and coddling - but in a capsule of an education having a tough task master come in for a 'master class' isn't necessarily a bad thing. And while I'm sure this is a tv edit - the notion that they finished the challenge "exhausted but proud" really reminded me of the sports analogy. Now maybe they didn't leave with ideas of a cooking philosophy like Chris's students did - but they did leave (possibly) thinking "hey, I can hang with the big dogs, I can do this". And that is equally as valuable a learning experience.

                                    2. This was one of my dream challenges that I would have come up with if I were a Top Chef producer. The stuff that Chris said about the challenge and testing a chef's communication skills is something I completely agree with.

                                      27 Replies
                                      1. re: FoodPopulist

                                        I agree - this was a test of how much of a Master in the original sense each Top Chef actually was. How much of a Master are you if you can't train apprentices?

                                        1. re: ratgirlagogo

                                          You know what would be a great challenge is to have the kids go on and make their own meals, planned, shopped, etc by themselves and see what they come up with. THAT would show how well they were trained.

                                        2. re: FoodPopulist

                                          Chris has grown on my so much since the first episode. I thought he was abrasive.

                                          Now, I want to have his children.

                                            1. re: LindaWhit

                                              And impossible for a number of reasons ;-)

                                              Seriously, I am resisting the urge to stalk him.

                                              1. re: Janet from Richmond

                                                LOL! I'm pretty sure I know a couple of the reasons. :-) But yes, he does grow on you. But I liked his working and personal interaction with Patricia Yeo from the beginning (although he easily butted heads with other TCMs), so I was hoping he be in the thick of it at the end.

                                                1. re: LindaWhit

                                                  Wasn't his problem in the beginning only w/ Art? And, it seemed like it was more Art's fault but I could be remembering wrong now. I loved his interactions w/ Patricia and Takashi. A finale w/ him and Takashi would be great. Hey, wouldn't it be fun if TCM had special editions of "Showdowns you'd like to see" ? Although, I guess the two did have a showdown and it was the best part of the series, imo. When he gave his pork belly to Takashi because he didn't want to win on a technicality--that was the best.

                                                  1. re: chowser

                                                    Interestingly, Chris said on "Watch What Happens" last night (yes, I watched, even tho I don't like Andy Cohen) that he and Art have been friends for 8 years and that it was really "no big deal. Bravo has *VERY* good editors!"

                                                    1. re: chowser

                                                      Yeah it was with Art and Art was pushing his buttons just being Art.
                                                      Chris seems to be a likeable guy who went from "bad kid" to passionate chef.
                                                      He's my favorite to win. Finale recorded just haven't watched it yet

                                                  2. re: Janet from Richmond

                                                    Impossible? What, a vasectomy? He's biologically a woman? Hey, is anybody watching "The New Normal"?

                                                    1. re: Shrinkrap

                                                      Umm . . . "biological clock" ring an alarm?

                                                        1. re: gaffk

                                                          Biological clock and surgically no longer able to have children :-) Chris and I could give it a try though.....lol

                                                          1. re: Janet from Richmond

                                                            You never know unless you try!
                                                            And if at first you don't succeed, try try again! lmao

                                                  3. re: Janet from Richmond

                                                    Ha!!! But back off. I threw him my support weeks ago. He's mine!!!

                                                        1. re: debbiel

                                                          You got it :-D May the best woman prevail!!

                                                          Either way, Chris will be the winner....hehe

                                                          1. re: Janet from Richmond

                                                            You two are sounding like me and goodhealthgourmet fighting over Eric Ripert. ;-)

                                                            1. re: LindaWhit

                                                              LW, I was thinking the saaaaame thing! I love it :)

                                                            2. re: Janet from Richmond

                                                              I would get in on this because I am crazy about Chris and also want to stalk him but I'm saving all my love for Hugh. Have you read his blogs on Bravo? He is so smart and funny!

                                                              1. re: chefhound

                                                                I've been rooting for Chris since I FIRST saw he was on the show.... I'm so glad he's in the final two!! But I so agree that Hugh is hilarious, and his intelligence definitely shows. I'm a big fan of sarcastic, wry humour.

                                                                1. re: kubasd

                                                                  Hugh's blog is the only one worth reading. The others are ok but nothing special.

                                                                  Maybe they should do a Top Chef Masters All-Stars. Chris and Hugh could battle it out for our love.

                                                                  1. re: chefhound

                                                                    That would be great. And I agree about his blog being the only one worth reading.

                                                        2. re: Janet from Richmond

                                                          Aside from the children thing, I totally agree with you. I didn't much care for Chris at first, but now I'm pulling for him. And I thought he was amazing as a mentor.

                                                      1. I gather Chris Cosentino has women fighting for his favors.

                                                        Poor Kerry Heffernan...no one seems to seek his attentions.