Friday, May 28, 2010

Top Chef Masters–Feeding The Gods And I’m Not Talking About Jay or James; Susan Is Delightful; Marcus Is Remarkable And Jonathan Is Another Year Older

Top Chef Masters – Food of the Gods

I’m concerned because we’re hearing a lot from Jonathan at the beginning. Does that mean he’ll be gone at the end of the episode?

At least he gets a free pass in the Quickfire Challenge. It’s an identify-the-ingredients challenge and the rules are a little opaque. They divide up in pairs to compete.

Marcus lets Susur go first and Susur says he can name 6 ingredients. He DOES, including identifying the oil as vegetable oil. Amazing. He brags, “Luckily, I am the sauce-tasting master.”

But does this mean that Marcus doesn’t even get a chance to go? Why can’t they all just do it individually?

Susan is up against Rick. Rick is baffled. Susan tries to name 6 ingredients. Oy, she gets one ingredient wrong! Rick moves to the next round without doing anything.

Like a spelling bee, Rick, Susur and Jonathan taste the next sauce. Jonathan says he has a great wine palate, so this should be easy. Jonathan is wrong when he says there’s butter in the Thai Green Curry Sauce. That WAS an odd guess.

Susur and Rick move on and Rick has barely had one turn. The last sauce is a Lobster Sauce.

Rick: Tomato. (He sounds scared).

Susur: Lobster. (He sounds cocky.)

Rick: White wine. (He says it almost as a question.)

Susur: Garlic. (No hesitation, except HE’S WRONG.) I did NOT see that coming. I was about to proclaim Susur as the winner of the whole thing.

Rick wins and, gosh, was he lucky. He barely had to guess anything in any of the rounds to get the win. Susur was mad. “How the hell you make Lobster Sauce without garlic?” he says.

For the Elimination Challenge, they draw knives with the names of Greek gods on them. They have to create a dish inspired by their god. That should be good. Jonathan gets Poseidon, the god of the sea. Rick gets Hades, the god of the underworld and Susan has Aphrodite. Funny. Susur can’t pronounce his god of wine, Dionysus, but he should be happy because how easy is that?

Jonathan tries to dissuade Rick from using seafood. It doesn’t work.

Marcus has a highly intellectual approach to his dish for Aries, the god of war. He says lots of dishes in Ethiopia were created in time of war and they were all tartare based, because smoke and fire would alert you to the enemy. So he’ll be curing beef, salmon and scallops and not “cooking” them. HOW DID HE KNOW ALL OF THAT? About the enemy seeing smoke? He’s actually kind of awesome.

All the chefs are totally into the challenge, except Susur, who is totally confused by cooking a dish inspired by the god of wine. Just use a lot of wine, for goodness sake!!!

Next Marcus says war is raw backwards, so he’s concentrating on that. He’s really got all his bases covered.

Awww, Jonathan says he’s turning 59 tomorrow, the day of the challenge and that he really misses his family. I hope that doesn’t make him give up so he can go home.

With 2 hours left to cook, Kelly says they have a little business to attend to. All the chefs are nervous and not interested in adding to the challenge of what they have to do.

The doors open and a birthday cake in the shape of the French Alps comes rolling in on a cart for Jonathan. He says he usually spends his birthday in the French Alps and he’s very touched. The chefs eat cake and drink champagne. (Well, we only see the champagne part.)

Marcus hurts his back and Rick notices. His response? “Very interesting,” he says with a glint in his eye.

Susan loves her goddess, because she says she’s a hippie at heart and all about love, not war or anger. She is completely delightful. I adore her and want her and Jonathan and Rick in the finals.

Marcus really does have an impressive personal story. He says when he thinks about war, he thinks about how he thought his father died in one. That’s how he and his sister came to be adopted when he was three years old by a Swedish couple. He was thrilled when he found out his father was alive ten years ago.

Wow, he has led a remarkable life and achieved so much. But he can come back and win Top Chef Masters another time. I want Jonathan to win this one. (Not that HE couldn’t come back, but I imagine he wouldn’t.)

They arrive at the venue. Susan puts twigs and a flower in her headband to get in an Aphrodite mood. Too cute.

Jonathan is cooking his dish to order. Is that Kate Gosselin walking in??? No, but they keep focusing on her lookalike. Susan tells the folks to drink their cocktails and “get aroused” as she rushes to plate the food. The chefs' dishes are here.

The critics all like Susur’s dish, except for the warm olives.

Marcus tells the critics about his dish being made with very little smoke, so they can hide away from enemy. He should cook for the armed services. The diners love Marcus’s salmon. The critics do too, except Gail says the flavors are a little muddy.

Susan’s coconut toast and coconut jam with a fried egg seem to go over well.

Rick tells Jay if he doesn’t like his dish he can go to hell. Funny. Rick’s “hellacious dish” of crusted swordfish is a complete success, EXCEPT that Gael says the swordfish, while flavorful, is overcooked.

Please let Jonathan do well. I’m praying to Poseidon that his dish is great. The critics like his dish overall, but think his scallops are over-seasoned. Could that possibly be enough to send him home?

It seemed that everyone did well.

The chefs all get called back in. About Susur, Gail says: “Every ingredient was focused and was prepared beautifully.”

About Jonathan: Gail agrees with Jonathan’s own description of his dish and says, “There was a bit of messiness there.” Jonathan points to himself and raises his eyebrows as in “Well, YEAH!” They all laugh. (Good, keep them laughing.)

The critics look skeptically at Marcus as he explains the scope of his dish.

Rick gives the critics his hellish laugh, which was freaking out his competitors all day. They are amused. Gail says his beetroot/potato combination is “so simple, so beautiful”. Jay mentions his fish was slightly overcooked.

Susan says she was thrilled to be Aphrodite. I love her. When Jay says “it’s the kind of food (you’d) eat after…, rather than before.” She pauses and completely agrees. More laughter.

What will happen? I kinda think at this point that it might be Marcus. But after the critics’ discussion, it seems like it might be sweet Susan, because they didn’t think her dish was complex enough.

Alright, let’s see what happens:

I really and truly stink at this! Marcus and Rick have the highest scores. 15½ stars for Marcus and 18 stars for Rick. He’s the winner. They are sent back to the kitchen.

Isn’t it still Jonathan’s birthday? They just can’t send him home. Susur gets 15 stars. Susan gets 10½. It’s down to Susan and Jonathan. WHAT do they know? Jonathan gets 3, 2½, 3 and FOUR stars. WHAT does that add up to?!! Oh, 12½ stars. He stays. Susan goes.

Waaahhh!!!! She still has a big smile on her face. I’m sooo sorry. She was great. I loved her cooking, her personality, her joie de vivre. She really is a fantastic character, as well as a great chef. Darn! And I would absolutely order her Coconut Jam Toast with Butter, Soy AND a Fried Egg at Street. So THERE, critics!!!


Nandini Vishwanath said...

I love love love Susan too. She seems to spread such joy :)

And Waxman too. The others, am very doubtful about, I think. I'm okay with them

I don't like Susur Lee, to answer your question, simply coz of his attitude. I think a chef is a team leader and he is too arrogant to be one. If he was just a cook, then yes. Otherwise, no.

Sue said...

Hiya Nandini,
That's so right about Susan. She's a complete joy. I'm glad there are other Jonathan fans too. I want him to win so badly.

People really seem to dislike Susur. I did at first, but he does have skills, plenty of them. And I think it's funny that he must have learned his English from some really vigorously cursing cooks.

I think they've included him because he's a "character". I don't see him winning, but I am always so wrong. I think right now the momentum is with Rick. Boohoo.

Tracy said...

I'm with you -- I love, love, love Susan. I would love to be around her -- I'd like some of that joy to rub off on me.

But I like all the other chefs as well. Even Susur -- I see him as driven, not arrogant. But now that Susan is out, I'm with you -- I'd love to see Jonathan win.

Sue said...

Hi Tracy,
Susan is so delightful. I'll miss her. Yeah, Susur doesn't rub me the wrong way like he does other people, but I still want Jonathan to win. I agree it IS a really good group this season.