April 29th, 2010
09:33 AM ET

'Top Chef Masters' recap: The final two champions

Fruit plates. Comfort food. The cast of the hit show “Modern Family.” And an interview with one of this week's chefs, Jody Adams - James Beard Award-winning owner of Boston’s Rialto Restaurant!

This week's recap of "Top Chef Masters" is piping hot and ready to be served. And this week, “sheperd’s pie” is spelled correctly.

It’s week four of the second season, and this is the final episode before the “Champion’s Round.” Two more chefs will be chosen to move on, and three will pack their knives and return to their fabulously successful culinary careers. FULL POST

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Filed under: television • Top Chef
April 22nd, 2010
09:00 AM ET

'Top Chef Masters' recap: Return of the chefs

The third episode of "Top Chef Masters" brought back six losers from last season. It just so happens that, like all of the “cheftestants” on the show, these losers are culinary legends who run some of the best restaurants in the country.

What happens when you take a sextet of larger-than-life chefs bringing their A-plus games on a mission to redeem themselves? You get macho posturing, mouth-watering dishes, and total, unmitigated failure.

You also get a Frenchman who curses at reality stars, Irish cuisine and his fellow colleagues. FULL POST

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Filed under: Top Chef
April 15th, 2010
02:29 PM ET

Simplicity is the winner on 'Top Chef Masters'

The second episode of "Top Chef Masters" had it all: melted cheeses, blood, and an underdog.

My recap of the first episode was an exercise in fanboy reverence. And I won’t apologize for that.

Here’s the thing: I can’t be snarky about "Top Chef Masters." It’s enough that snark is just wit with training wheels. But I don’t have it in me to mock a show that I hold close to my callused heart. "Top Chef Masters" isn’t a show about banshees on rampages. It’s about talented people competing for bragging rights and charity. It’s the NFL with knives, fire, and pomegranate reduction sauces. It is competitive food porn of the highest quality. And I just can’t make fun of it.

FULL POST

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Filed under: television • Top Chef
April 8th, 2010
09:46 AM ET

TV Recap: 'Top Chef Masters' season two premiere

"Top Chef Masters" was such a delicious dish the first time that it’s being served up again. Hosted by Kelly Choi, it’s the Olympics of cooking competitions, inspired by Bravo’s "Top Chef."

That breakout smash hit is one of the best reality shows on television, as it subverts the genre entirely by emphasizing, even celebrating,  talent over drama. Its spinoff, "Top Chef Masters," plays further havoc with reality norms by presenting 22 celebrity chefs at the top of their game, instead of neophytes, up-and-comers, and wannabes.  It’s like "American Idol," if Smokey Robinson, Mariah Carey and Bruce Springsteen competed.

That’s 22 insanely creative, combustible and colorful culinary captains, each competing for a personal charity and more importantly – bragging rights.

It’s an ephemeral prize, but worth its weight in saffron, especially amongst a community that author Anthony Bourdain once compared to pirates.

These are driven, successful people who want to share their passion, skills, and vision with each other, and the world. And oh yeah, to be the Top Chef Master, a title that no doubt buys a lot of celebratory champagne for the winner.

The second season of "Top Chef Masters" debuted last night. The judges are the same: Savuer Magazine Editor-in-Chief James Oseland, legendary food critic Gael Greene and author of "The Man Who Ate The World," Jay Rayner. In future episodes, Top Chef judge and gourmet-next-door Gail Simmons will appear as well. The rules are also the same: Six chefs compete at a time, with two moving on to a special “champion’s round.” During each preliminary competition, the six chefs compete in a quickfire round. The winners of that get five thousand dollars donated to their favorite charity. The elimination round is worth ten thousand dollars. And of course, the winner of Top Chef Masters gets one hundred thousand dollars donated to his or her charity.

This season’s army of kitchen icons is notable for its award-winners, pioneers and rebels, as well as for its diversity. Nearly every race, both genders and all sexual orientations are proudly represented, and then ignored, since the only thing that matters is the food. FULL POST

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Filed under: Celebrities • television • Top Chef
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