Friday, July 10, 2009

Top Chef Masters 7.8.09

Sorry for the late recap - busy busy busy...

And this looks like an episode worth waiting for! It's got Neil Patrick Harris!!! Yippeee!

Tonight's chefs are:

Douglas Rodrigez, who calls his cuisine tortilla-free latino cuisine. He's playing for Ayuda for the Arts, a Hispanic Culinary Scholarship foundation.

Anita Lo, who tends to work on the line in her restaurants. Her charity is Share, a charity for breast and ovarian cancer.

John Besh is from New Orleans, and he is playing for The Make it Right Foundation.

The last chef is Mark Peel, who worked for Wolfgang Puck. He's competing for Doctors Without Borders.

Not-Padme tells them that their Quickfire Challenge is going to be the Cook an Egg with Your Hand Behind Your Back challenge, from the Top Chef Allstars challenge. The judges are Gail Simmons, Terry Reish, an egg farmer, and Monica something-or-other, who runs a new breakfast restaurant.

They have 30 minutes, and have one arm in an oven mitt behind their backs. Mark looks to have a bit of an advantage, because his father had one arm, and he grew up watching him do things one handed.

Douglas' dish is: Open-faced corn cake with scrambled eggs & ham. They loved it.

Mark's dish is: Duck Egg pasta with egg & olive oil cream sauce. They were impressed by the fact that he made pasta with one hand, but he forgot the olive oil! D'oh!

Anita's dish: Soft scrambled egg & shitake mushrooms with truffle oil and oyster sauce. This got great reviews and is gorgeous.

Poor John only got one dish plated... so they have to share. His egg is not well cooked, and it was a bad mistake.

Mark's score is 2 1/2 stars.

John's score is 1/2 star. Ouch.

Douglas' score is 3 stars.

Anita's score is the maximum 5 stars. Good job to her.

They have to cook for Neil Patrick Harris and some of his friends, at the Magic Castle in LA, and they get a magic demonstation from Max Maven, magician & mentalist. They get cards dealt to them (which are blank when he draws them!) with different qualities of magic printed on them. They have to cook with their dealt cards as inspriration -


John Besh got Surprise and is planning on doing something with liquid nitrogen.

Douglas got Spectacle and doesn't want to give anything up.

Anita got Illusion and is doing something with seafood.

Mark got Mystery, and didn't reveal much, either.

They have 2 hours to prep, and Tom gave a little visit. Hi, Tom!

After prep, they went ot the Magic Castle, which is a private club and get to the final cooking.

Mark's Mystery meal is: Tai Snapper in parchment with garlic mashed potato and leeks. The diners took a while getting into the parchment, but really liked it.

John's dish requires some help from NPH for the liquid nitrogen fun, and is salmon tartare with frozen cauliflower blini, and a cucumber salmon rose salad with frozen horseradish sorbet, and a Tempura Fried Lobster wrapped in smoked salmon.

Anita's Illusion list is a braised daikon with kombu caviar and steak tartar, which looks like a scallop, and a seascape underneath made of rice crispies. Reviews are mixed.

Douglas' Spectacle is Duck Four Ways, including an oyster ceviche, empanada with foie gras and figs sliced duck breast with confit, and a flaming coconut with soup. He put sterno on the outside of the coconut and it was a little dangerous... he wanted to use 151 Rum, but couldn't get any.

Time for some magic! Gael Green's hat liked the magic show, including a bunny emerging from a magician's mop of hair.

Critic's Table time.

John wanted to use different techniques that people don't know him for. Gael Green's Hat didn't really like the cauliflower blini, but Gail Simmons liked it.

Anita's presentation was very cool, but her broth was questionable as a side, but good as a sauce.

Douglas's flaming coconut was questioned. Gael Green's hat loved the oyster ceviche with the duck confit.

Mark's mystery dish amused Gael Green's Hat. Gail Simmons loved the pairing with sake.

Scores are tabulated.

John's total score is 12 stars.

Mark's total score is 18 1/2 stars.

Douglas' total is 13 stars.

Anita's score is 22 1/2 stars, and she moves on to the next round.

Good night. I wanted more NPH. Oh well.

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