Thursday, June 18, 2009

Top Chef Masters Round Two

Meet your Round Two contestants. For long time Top Chef fans, you'll recognize Elizabeth and Wylie from previous judging experiences. Like Hubert Keller, they come into the kitchen as favorites compared to the Top Chef virgins. Will their experience help them? Onto the Quickfire.
Yes, it's the most excellent vending machine challenge from Season Two. Sadly not one of these chefs complained a peep at all about the challenge so I'm guessing Mike Migdley's title as Master Bitcher is safe. 30 minutes to make an Amuse Bouche from the ingredients from the machines AND the well stocked pantry. Suzanne Tracht, known for her use of fresh ingredients is looking highly agitated.
Simma' down now, woman!

The salty bags and sugary cans of product tucked safely away, their 30 minute time limit starts ticking away.

Falkner goes all Wagner with her Ride of the Valkyries use of Nitro.
Suzanne channels her teenagers to create her dish which is smart considering one of the judges is Midgley.
Young Graham seems to be handling the pressure well while...
...Wylie seems to be the one in the weeds.

Now for your Judges. You know them, you may or may not love them, here they are, live from Season Two, Betty, Ilan and Mike .
Up first is Wylie with his Grilled Cheese and Crispy Ham and Dr. Pepper Reduction.Betty calls out the sludgy sauce, Ilan thinks it's too big but Mike loved it. Wylie knows to not count on too many stars.

Suzanne is up next with her Fried Shallot Rings, Microgreen Salad & Dr. Pepper Aioli.
All three judges suck down every trace of the dish.Betty Lickin' Good!

Suzanne EXPLODES with happiness.

Elizabeth tries to break out of her little pink box with Braised Beef Jerky with Orange Juice, Lemon and Horseradish Ice Cream.This is a split decision with the boys enjoying it but Betty hating it with a passion.

Graham is last with his Tuna Salad with Pickled Shallot, Ginger Orange Bubbles & Beef Jerky Miso Powder
As with Suzanne's dish it's a hit with all three judges.

Now before we get to the final results, I have bone to pick. In the original Season Two Vending Machine Challenge, quite a few dishes were called out for being outside the box of the definition of Amuse Bouche, mostly for being too large a serving or too difficult to easily eat in one or at the most two bites. I'm seeing the same thing here. Aren't we seeing more appetizer than amuse? Shouldn't it look more like this?
(Oh crap, now I've gone and pissed off Suzanne!!)
The winner with 5 Stars?

Proving once again, cooking for teenagers is a winning strategy.

Next Up on Top Chef Masters Round Two?
Suzanne tries to stay awake for the Elimination Round!


frogponder said...

chortle! I bet Suzanne Tracht brings down the house during the finale!

LaDivaCucina said...

I think you are right about the amuse bouche size, it should only be a bite or two!

Love how you pulled the photos of the dishes, nice to be able to take a closer look.

Suzanne was the only one that wasn't cocky and look where it got her!

Big Shamu said...

I meant to put a note in there about the photos but ran out of time. I pulled the food shots off the Bravo website and they are MUCH better than in previous seasons of Top Chef. I'll probably put a shout out to the good folks at Bravo for stepping up their game.