Top Chef Masters

Top Chef: Masters (season 2)
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I admit it, I love certain reality television shows. You won’t find me watching any of the Real Housewives (wherever they may be from) or any of the Survivors (I just don’t get it), but the whole Top Chef series – Top Chef, Masters, Just Desserts – has me riveted. It also has given me a whole new list of must-visit restaurants for my future travels.

I was watching Top Chef Masters last night (it was Wednesday’s show, but I just can’t seem to stay up that late) and realized a couple of things that make this show so great:

  • Unlike the regular Top Chef, these people have all, in some form or another, made a name for themselves. So, they can afford to be nice to each other. There is no cut-throat ingredient snatching here.
  • I don’t think I have seen anyone make anything truly inedible on this show. They all know how to cook. A little too much salt can happen to even the best of us.
  • At this stage in the show – even going back a couple of weeks – they are all like-able. Bravo apparently doesn’t need to fill some of the obvious “roles” they have typecast in the past.

I also happen to enjoy the challenges. This week’s quickfire involved cooking only in a microwave. I use my microwave to melt chocolate for baking and reheat leftovers, so I understand the frustration of having to cook a whole breakfast in one. I’m sure there are plenty of people saying “How can they be so negative? Lots of people use microwaves.” But I maintain that lots of people heat things (unevenly) in microwaves. Do people really cook entire meals in them? (Feel free to chime in here with your favorite microwave meal.)

Next the chefs had to create food based on science principles. Love the concept, although I am not sure I would want to eat food out of a Petri dish. Ever.

Mary Sue Milliken made dulce de leche churros in a beaker. Who even knew that was possible? She demonstrated viscosity through the use of different sauces. Drippy sauces and fried food is clearly a winning recipe.

Hugh made a salad with friend okra. This was for high school students, and the salad proved to not be the way to go. Floyd once again lost to Mary Sue despite his beef cooking at different temperatures to prove the Maillard Reaction of browning (or something like that – I’m not too scientifically inclined, so that one threw me for a loop.) The judges criticized Tracy for her obvious choice of tuna ceviche. I will admit, if the first thing I thought of to show how acidity works is to make a ceviche, than maybe it is a tad obvious.

Overall, the season has been a lot of fun. I love James Oseland and Ruth Reichl (although she scares me just a bit). I was delighted to see Padma back this week. Admittedly, I kind of miss the drama and yelling of the regular, non-famous-chef-edition. Do I care who wins Masters? Nope. I like them all.

Who is your pick?

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