But first a few thoughts on last week’s Top Chef Masters, which I did manage to see.
Susan realizing that her USC hat and jersey were a tremendous advantage and revealing that she had been a high school cheerleader.
Rick’s astute analysis of Susur’s and Marcus’s Elimination Challenge dishes:
They’re each given a charcoal grill on which to cook at a USC (Fight On!) Tailgating challenge. Susur is using his as a “flat top” and not as a grill. Rick points out that poaching dumplings in large metal pans is not what tailgating is all about. Rick also feels that Marcus is “gilding the lily” and putting out way too many things, ”torturing the plate to the point where it might backfire on him”.
Rick has an advantage over Susur in that he actually knows what tailgating is and over Marcus by keeping things simple with Chermoula Grilled Chicken Leg With Baba Ghanoush. It wasn’t simple boning out tons of chicken legs however.
I love that Tony is making grilled pizza.
Jonathan is happier grilling than doing anything OTHER THAN talking to his wife. Aww, sweet.
My prediction: Marcus will go home. But then I see the preview of Jonathan’s altercation with the critics. James says the steak could have been sliced thinner and Jonathan absolutely disagrees. Uh-oh. I still think Marcus goes home and Susan wins.
After James slams the thickness of Jonathan’s steak, Jonathan responds strongly, “JAMES, I’m telling you right now, I totally disagree with you. You’re wrong. It’s a TAILGATING thing.”
Then Gael takes Jonathan’s side. “It was perfect. You’re right. It was the perfect slice.” James continues…”In the context of THAT taco, it was kind of off-putting.” Oy! Give it up, James!
I really want to see if James can overcome being totally challenged (and rightfully so, I think) and give Jonathan a score based on the dish and not the diss. Let’s see.
Tony, perhaps spurred on by Jonathan’s interchange, completely disagrees with James’s analysis of his pizza crust as being dry and tough. Tony said he thought it was crisp, chewy and perfect.
Three chefs are called back in. I am sooooooooooo wrong. They want Susur, Marcus and Susan to come in, so obviously none of them will go home. But how could they rank Rick’s dish in the bottom? This is weird. I was right about Susan, though…at least. She wins the challenge.
The other three are called in. Rick gets 13½ stars.
Oh boy, here it is, James gives Jonathan TWO stars. Well, James obviously can’t take a challenge. And why did Gael only give Jonathan 2½ stars when she said his steak was perfect??? WHAT is going on? His total is 10½ stars.
Rick is safe, he can go back.
Tony gets 10 stars and that means Jonathan is safe. I’m so sorry about that. It really stinks. I LOVED Tony’s down to earth, skilled virtuosity and I LOVE grilled pizza. And who eats shrimp stew (a la Marcus) at a tailgating party anyway? I’m bummed. And I watching Tony and Susan together was too cute. I don't care if there's no crying in the kitchen. Boo-hoo.
I’m also sad/mad, because now I think that there is no way the judges will give the final win to Jonathan. That would really stick in James’s craw. Darn.
I’m glad Jonathan didn’t go home, but I’m not happy about who did.
I liked this episode, though, because it had a minimum of tomfoolery and it just let the chefs be the chefs and do what they do. But I wish that from here on in the critics could taste the food without knowing who cooked what, because I think personalities are interfering with judgments.