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Top Chef Masters 8/28 [Spoilers]

It's late and I have to go to bed but I had to get this off my chest first: OMG, OMG, OMG!!! I was so certain that my beloved Bryan was going to get the boot! I'm not sure he wouldn't have deserved it but I'm glad he survived to cook another day.

I would have reluctantly accepted that his dish was not child-friendly and maybe, just maybe, they would have been right to send him home. But having read Ruth's blog on Bravo, I'm thinking she's right and he should have been on the top instead of the bottom. She suggests that they should have rewarded those who tried to encourage kids to try new foods rather than hide them. She says that by trying to disguise the food, they are sending the message that these foods are bad and should be hidden. She's right.

Can't wait to watch Battle of the Sous Chefs tomorrow.

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  1. Phew! That was close!

    Husband thinks Bryan should be gone,because it's it's not about your track record; it's about THIS challenge.

    OTOH, he could have been one of the kids judges. He would not try beet ice cream. Only vanilla.

    1. It crossed my mind that Bryan was saved because the other two chefs might be more evenly matched in a one-on-one cookoff, as they are doing. Maybe I'm just cynical.

      1. I'm bummed Bryan didn't go home. I like him too (not quite as much as half the rest of the ladies here) but his dish really seemed to be the least favorite of the kids and the judges. I felt like they all said "we CAN'T send Bryan Voltono home" and the gals got the boot. And why have a double elimination if you're just gonna have a cook off later? I didn't like this episode. I *did* like that Doug's eggplant jello went over much better than everyone (including him) thought it would.

        2 Replies
        1. re: Joanie

          I feel the same way. And the one woman (I can't remember her name) had cottage cheese as her "primary" ingredient she had to get the kids to eat and they all ate it without a thought, the b-sprouts were her second ingredient, not her primary. Bryan had only one ingredient to get them to eat and he failed.

          I was not happy with this episode at all and in general loosing interest in the season.

          1. re: Joanie

            It seems that the show was so desperate for a little bit of drama – in this case, that Bryan might be going home – they over-edited it to make it seem that way.

            This is from Curtis Stone's blog today on Bravo:
            "Sue’s mac and cheese was a great idea in theory, but mac and cheese is either hit or miss, and unfortunately, she didn’t get it right. The dish was dry, too salty, and the pasta was overcooked. It just wasn’t good."

            I don't think they ever mentioned these things on camera. Knowing this, I can see why a poorly-made basic dish like mac and cheese would lose to Bryan's dish. The editing in an attempt to trick the audience seemed to have left everyone confused instead.

            TC has never seemed to shy away from knocking out those they know will be fan favorites (Kristen last year, Jen Carroll in All-Stars), so I tend to believe Bryan wasn't kept for that reason. Maybe I'm too naive, though:)

          2. Upon further reflection, I really think Ruth was on to something. And I'm not saying this to justify the survival of my beloved Bryan. They should have applauded the chefs who did not attempt to hide the undesirable ingredient.

            Douglas's eggplant jello, Sang's cauliflower foam, Bryan's beet ice cream didn't try to hide the ingredient to fool the kids. They tried, some of them unsuccessfully, to encourage children to try the ingredient. They didn't chop it up and hide it into a tomato sauce. I'm not saying that Neal didn't make a great dish that kids loved. I'm saying - was the challenge to make kids try new things or to trick them into eating things they don't like?

            7 Replies
            1. re: chefhound

              well, hold on a sec.

              isn't using eggplant as jello, cauliflower as foam and beet as ice cream a form of "hiding" it?

              it's not like they served them in anything resembling their original form.
              i don't find putting brussels sprouts in tomato sauce any trickier or more deceitful than what the others did.

              1. re: linus

                I'm not saying the others were deceitful. I'm saying that Douglas's eggplant stilled tasted (I presume) like eggplant, Sang's cauliflower still tasted like cauliflower, Bryan's ice cream tasted like beets and they were trying to get the kids to like the taste of eggplant, cauliflower and beets.

                Neal said he put the brussel sprouts through the meat grinder, so presumably he was trying to hide the brussel sprouts and mix them into the sauce so the kids wouldn't remember they were there.

                1. re: chefhound

                  i'm sorry, i just don't see it that way. didn't the judges say they could taste the brussels sprouts?

                  1. re: linus

                    Well, let's agree to disagree. I wasn't really thinking along those lines until I read Ruth's blog. Have you read it?

                    1. re: linus

                      I think that Gail said that the judges were able to detect the Brussels sprout flavor because they were familiar with the taste but she doubted that kids would pick up on the flavor. It sounds like it was very subtle.

                    2. re: chefhound

                      I'm pretty sure that Sang said he sweetened the cauliflower foam, so maybe the kids were reacting to the sweetness vs. the actual cauliflower taste. Cauliflower (to me) doesn't have much of a taste to begin with, so if he sweetened it with sugar, it would definitely be much more palatable.

                      1. re: LindaWhit

                        Yeah, and really unhealthy, since sweetness increases cravings for more sweetness.

                2. For what ever reason... my sweet, sweet Bryan is on to another week. That's all I really care about. Love David Burke too!)

                  10 Replies
                  1. re: Phoebe

                    Man you guys are obsessed with Bryan. He's cute (as was the photo of his son helping him cook) but that laugh becomes goofier and goofier and he dodged a bullet. I'm down with Doug.

                    1. re: Joanie

                      I'm pretty happy with all the remaining chefs other than Neal. Francis Lam creeps me out, he's as photogenic as Oseland.

                      1. re: Worldwide Diner

                        Francis and Gail: "Hey, you're the kid that hates the tummy song. Let's sing it together!" I felt bad for everyone.

                      2. re: Joanie

                        It's not that he's good looking, which he is, but he's not supermodel gorgeous like Curtis. I'm obsessed with/attracted to his talent. His skill and his brilliant culinary mind is what I find appealing.

                        Which is why I am also becoming more and more obsessed with Douglas. I was disappointed to hear that he was married. I was considering stalking him.

                        1. re: Joanie

                          I'm down with Doug too. I'd totally go out with him.

                            1. re: gaffk

                              Probably not. My other half probably wouldn't either :)

                            2. re: juliejulez

                              Love him - and his charity is dogs!!!!!

                              1. re: wincountrygirl

                                I posted this in an earlier thread, but in the first episode where his charity was introduced, I was watching with my teenage son. Doug said something like "we take dogs that were going to be euthanized....." and my son thought to himself, horrified, that he was going to say "turn them into delicious food"! It is a cooking show after all!

                                1. re: DGresh

                                  I love it!!! Actually, when I was a kid I thought neurasthenia was like the peace corps - you know, Youth in Asia!!!

                        2. I'm glad Bryan survived, and I think it's ok as I do think he was using the beet in a beety way. I'll note that in his tasting menus at Volt he's fond of beets :) I also thought mac and cheese is not particularly healthy, and doesn't really feature the veggies. I thought the pasta as a win was a bit of a bummer; I think the eggplant should have won. The sprouts were hiding in the sauce. I also noted that many of the chefs were explicitly saying "want to try some beets?" or "want to try some eggplant?" That was brave of them!

                          1. I'm still baffled by the "let's eliminate two chefs and then save one" strategy. Is this the only way they could keep Battle of the Sous Chefs alive? (I assume we're approaching the no-immunity zone.)

                            And I agree with others that Neal really did hide his ingredients by grinding them and putting them in the sauce. (Even he remarked he may get dinged for his approach.)

                            And I'm digging Doug more and more each week. I think I may now even favor him over Bryan.

                            5 Replies
                            1. re: gaffk

                              the double elimination + immunity did seem a bit drastic for the bottom 4 which became bottom 3

                              1. re: gaffk

                                "And I'm digging Doug more and more each week."

                                My favorite thing in the whole show was when Doug said that Sang was sure he was in the bottom since there he was standing next to Jello Boy.

                                1. re: ratgirlagogo

                                  That was great. The other chefs thought Doug had shot himself in the foot when he picked the eggplant. And then, when he turned it into jello? They *knew* he was going home.

                                  I think he really deserved the win; unlike Neal, Doug certainly didn't try to hide his healthy ingredient.

                                2. re: gaffk

                                  I thought it was Sang who noted he might get dinged for hiding the cauliflower in the foam?

                                  1. re: LindaWhit

                                    I think both chefs (Neal and Sang) were "hiding" the veggies and knew it. Bryan and Doug put their veggies out front, but only Doug was really successful. I'll admit it . . . I'm abandoning Bryan for Doug; both Neal and Sang are free to leave now.

                                3. I was scared too. And, he actually did deserve it for this challenge - really beets?? But he is so talented it would have been a shame. I have a feeling they kept him based on more than the one challenge as they are supposed to - I think they want him in the top 3 at least.

                                  1. I was not a fan of this episode. After scanning the blogs, I think they made the right decision on who was sent packing. (Do they sequester the Master Chefs like they do the regular Top Chef contestants?)

                                    I am not a fan of the episodes where there are dozens of children running about. I seem to recall an early episode of Top Chef all stars that featured a bunch of children.

                                    By the way, does anyone know who those costumed characters were?

                                    The only time I was amused by costumed characters on a cooking show was when the three Muppets were on Top Chef All Stars for only the quickfire.

                                    5 Replies
                                    1. re: John E.

                                      The costumed characters are from a kids show called Yo Gabba Gabba! I loved David Burke's reaction to them. I was also sure that Bryan was dead man walking as well. I'm glad to see he made it, as I find his food so inventive. I also loved how Sue kept dishing on Sang, calling him an a$$hole, and telling the others to beat him (also an earlier episode where she told her sous that she wouldn't work for Sang, because he was an ass.

                                      1. re: kimfair1

                                        I was just telling a friend at lunch that David Burke's reaction to the characters was the best part of the episode.

                                        1. re: kimfair1

                                          I must have forgotten about Burke's reaction, was it glee or disgust?

                                          1. re: John E.

                                            total confusion. As would mine be, as my youngest is 17.

                                        2. re: John E.

                                          Being a curmudgeon who has no kids or grands, I am happily oblivious to the latest versions of the Large Primary Colored Cartoon Characters. Who just happen, mind you, to produce their own dolls/music/videos/various and sundry paraphernalia, all sold separately, natch.

                                          Makes life easier. I can ignore so much.

                                        3. I didn't like the whole premise of the show. You just don't know what kids are or aren't going to like. I had no problem as a kid eating ANY of the ingredients they featured (and do that many kids really hate melon? MELON? Seriously?).

                                          However, the thing I have the clearest memory of hating, refusing to eat, and having one of those YOU CAN'T LEAVE THE TABLE UNTIL YOU EAT IT fights, was over scallops, of all things. I loved fish as a kid, we ate a lot of it, much of it fish caught by my dad. But I couldn't choke the scallops down, and I still remember the rotten, sour, iodiny flavor they had to me. Not the way they taste to me today at all, and I assume not the way they tasted to my parents. So I know there can be a physical developmental aspect to a child's palate or lack thereof.

                                          4 Replies
                                          1. re: ratgirlagogo

                                            I loved beets, processing and all. Still do and had no idea kids hate them until recently.

                                            Melon is a crapshoot. My brother's kids love cantaloupe but won't eat honeydew. I only liked watermelon as a kid.

                                            1. re: ennuisans

                                              Same here. As a kid I loved canteloupe, but wouldn't touch watermelon (the exact opposite of my sisters). I'll eat them all now, but stil prefer canteloupe and find watemelon a bit too mushy.

                                            2. re: ratgirlagogo

                                              That's so interesting. I'd never heard of scallops as a kid, and I'd bet my parents hadn't either. Right now I wouldn't waste them on my kids OR my husband if they didn't want them.

                                              I can't think of anything we had to sit until we ate, although I'd probably eat a bug then, and I'd eat one now.

                                              But I won't eat a boneless, skinless, chicken breast.

                                              1. re: ratgirlagogo

                                                I loved scallops as a kid and still do. I did not like beets as a kid and still do not.

                                                I liked watermelon as a kid and did not especially care for cantelope and honeydew. It turned out I just didn't like under ripe cantelope, although I much prefer muskmelon. I'm still not a fan of honeydew but will eat it if it's in a fruit salad.

                                                Again, I don't care for episodes catering to or featuring children. (Although there was an episode of TC Canada where the first TC Canada winner came back with his son to judge in a following season. Maybe it is because it was only a single kid and not a mess of kids.)

                                              2. Anyone willing to bet on the outcome of the cook-off between the two chefs?

                                                4 Replies
                                                    1. I *finally* watched this episode - PHEW! is all I can say! I thought for sure that Brian V. was going home when he picked the beets.

                                                      I thought for sure that Sang's cauliflower foam cream would have been on the bottom, as he *was* hiding the veggie. But I guess if kids are coming back for more of it and liked it, it might be a good thing. And Doug's eggplant jello was one of the favorites? That was a surprise. But I *knew* that Neal would win with his pasta "bolognese" with the brussels sprouts.

                                                      5 Replies
                                                      1. re: LindaWhit

                                                        I knew Brian would be in trouble when he said he cooks for his kids so should do well in this challenge. I thought beets would be easy to do in a cake or brownie. Make a red velvet cake. Or, he could have done beet caviar and the kids would have had fun with that.

                                                        I was surprised that eggplant jello was at the top, given the reaction during the tasting but Doug was so funny about it. The question I have is how much cauliflower do you get when it's foamed? Is it even a teaspoon?

                                                        1. re: chowser

                                                          I had many of the same thoughts.

                                                          There were other things available and he chose beets? Risky.

                                                          And the first thing I thought of was red velvet cake, since both beets and chocolate are earthy in their own way.

                                                          I would have been ok with him getting the boot. I thought he should.

                                                          1. re: chowser

                                                            I thought a cake as well, chowser, and was surprised he didn't go that route.

                                                            1. re: LindaWhit

                                                              Wasn't there something in the instructions about the dish being healthful? That may have crossed Bryan's mind when he was deciding on what dish to make. Apparently, Bryan has a lot of beet dishes in his restaurants so I suppose he was confident he could come up with a dish kids would like.

                                                              I am glad Bryan did not go and I also believe the blogs that say his dish was the least objectionable of the three at the bottom.

                                                              On another note, people have mentioned his wierd laugh. I am amused by his laugh and think we didn't hear enough of it on TC6 where he seemed to be all business.

                                                              1. re: John E.

                                                                He definitely seems more relaxed on TCM.