Friday, July 31, 2009

Top Chef Masters - 7.29.09

First Round of Champions!

Anita, Art, Hubert, Suzanne, Michael, and Rick are back this week.

Not-Padme welcomed them back, and introduced their Quickfire - They will be working in teams, of Salt and Pepper. It's the classic mis en place relay race, a prep challenge. Their judge is Tom! They need to shuck 15 oysters, dice 5 onions, butcher 4 chickens, separate 5 eggs and beat the whites until they hold when held upside down for 5 seconds. One chef has to do 2 things on each team.

Suzanne and Hubert were neck and neck with the oysters, and then Art took over for chopping onions (Hubert did the onions, too). Hubert was doing the onions much more traditionally, but Art got them done first. Anita took to the chicken, and was up against Michael. It was tied coming out of the chickens. Art took over for the eggs, and Rick did them for the other team. Art got some yolk in his whites, and Rick took it home for Team Salt... Art called him "Mr. Kitchenaid." The winning team each gets 5 stars each heading in to the next challenge.

Before the elimination challenge, each of them have to prepare their signature dish for the other chefs.

What a beautiful table they had!

Hubert: Lobster & Truffle Cappucino with corn mandeline.

Art: Seared Grouper with hearts of palm, Trumpet mushrooms and meyer lemon zest. He served this to President Obama came in for Valentine's Day, so he's a bit proud of it.

Anita: Seared Sea Scallop with potato puree & bacon, sea urchin and mustard greens.

Michael: Fennel Balsamic quail with mosto cotto mostarda, sauteed greens and roasted apples.

Suzanne: Chopped sirloin with green peppercorn sauce & fried egg.

Rick: Roast rack of lamb with black pasilla chili sauce with figs and red wine.

And who saw this coming? Their challenge is to recreate one of the other chef's dishes, putting their own spin on it.

Hubert (since he went twice on the winning team) got to pick which one he gets to do. He chooses Anita's, and she gets his in return. Rick got Michael. Suzanne got Art. They have 45 minutes and $300 to shop, then 2 hours to cook the next day for the critics and diners.

The diners are former competitors from the competition. Jay Raynor, Gael Green's Hat, and James Oseland are the critics.

Art's take on Suzanne's dish was a ground lamb with scotch egg and sweet potato chili fries and a tomato tart with a biscuit.

Rick's take on Michael's dish is Quail stuffed with parsnips, prosciutto, and red onions, and over greens.

Suzanne's take on Art's is roast grouper with gnocchi, english peas, bacon and parsnips. Some thought her fish was overcooked and the gnocchi cold - so it seemed it might have sat. James said it felt like once upon a time, the fish was brilliant.

Hubert made a seared scallop with cream of sea urchin over fingerling mashed potatoes.

Michael's take on Ricks was Rack of Lamb stuffed with fig mostarda, chick peas and fried rosemary. It was a little undercooked and underseasoned.

Anita's take on Hubert's dish was Corn Chawanmushi, Champagne gelee and a lobster tartar biscuit sandwich.

In the end, Rick and Anita have the highest scores for the night.

Rick got a total of 23 stars. Anita's total was 24 stars. She got an extra $10,000 for her charity.

Michael ended up with 18 1/2 stars. Hubert got 21 1/2 stars and is safe. Art has 15 stars. Suzanne's cold fish brought her only to 14 1/2 stars and she's out.

Who do you think will win in the end? I don't know. They are all awesome.

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