Thursday, July 30, 2009

Top Chef Masters: 7.22.09

I'm a week late! Sorry!

Jonathan Waxman is a former musician, and he trained people like Bobby Flay. Impressive. He's playing for Meals on Wheels.

Roy Yamaguchi is "the King of Fusion," and he is playing for Imua Family Services, to help kids with special needs get education and support.

Art Smith from Chicago, who is Oprah's chef, among other things. He's playing for Common Threads, a charity to teach kids how to cook. I like that.

Michael Cimurusti is a seafood specialist. He's playing for the Grameen Foundation, to empower women.

Not-Padme introduced their Quickfire to them. They drew knives for numbers and they have to cook from the aisle of Whole Foods, with minimal other stuff. They have $25.

Jonathan has the canned good aisle and had a hard time seeing properly, and was upset by that. Michel had the baked goods aisle and wasn't happy about that. Roy had the Italian food aisle and wished for soy sauce. Art had beans and grains and wished to make risotto.

Their judges are Whole Foods workers.

Roy had the pasta/olive oil aisle and produced - Pasta with fried egg and Asian flavors. The first reactions are "weird." However, one of the judges really liked it.

Jonathan had the International Foods Aisle and made - Mint, lentil, and roasted red pepper salad. It sounded really good to me.

Art had the beans and grains aisle and made - Multi-grain risotto with crispy rice salad. It got fantastic reviews.

Michael had the baking aisle and made - Chocolate parfait with ginger sautyrne syrup and sesame crackers. It also got really good reviews.

Jonathan got 3 1/2 stars. Roy got 4 stars. Art got 4 1/2 stars. Michael took it home with 5 stars. Good for him.

For the main challenge, they will draw knives but not reveal their picks. They will be creating a mystery box for other contestants and the chefs will have to use 7 of the ingredients in the box, to create something for culinary students and judges. The chefs are all hoping not to get sabotage, and seem to be nice about it. They have $300.

Roy drew Art. He got lots of produce and chicken.

Art drew Roy. He got Mahi Mahi, short ribs, and other good things.

Michael got Jonathan and gave him pork chops as one of his ingredients.

Jonathan got Michael and he got Lamb, portobellos, purple cauliflower, kumquats, and fun things... but Michael denied him fish.

They have 2 hours to cook.

Art made - Fried Chicken 2 ways, and mango pie. Gail Simmons thought it oozed Art Smith.

Roy made Short rib Kalbi and Mahi mahi. Gayle Green's hat thinks that mahi mahi can be boring, but loved the way he made it. Gail Simmons thought that it had too much lemon grass.

Michael made Loin of Lamb with sunchoke puree, brocolli rabe and purple cauliflower, and orange sauce that didn't make it to all the plates. Oops.

Jonathan made pork sausage & chop with cauliflower and celery root puree and black truffle. He bemoaned that he doesn't like more than 3 things on a plate. He called it an 80's retro dish. Gayle Green's Hat thought it was a charming idea and everyone seemed to like the flavors.

Critic's Table

Gayle Green's Hat thought that Michael's dish was better without the sauce, so she was happy not to have gotten a plate with sauce. Michael's roasted mushrooms had a bit of mandarin juice on them, and they sounded delicious.

Art's two chicken dishes were slightly competitive, but they loved his personality.

Roy's mahi mahi was unevenly cooked. Gayle Green's hat had perfect fish, but didn't like the mixture of the fish and the beef.

Jonathan's plating was questioned. His treatment of truffles (mircroplaning) was not questioned.

Jonathan's final total was 20 stars. Roy's final total was 15 stars. Michael's total was 17 1/2 stars. Art's final total was 22 stars, and Oprah's chef went on to the Champions Round.

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