Iron Pundit vs. Iron Skillet: Top Chef Masters ep. 4
So here we are folks, back for another episode of Top Chef Masters after a break for the July 4th holiday. Tonight, the chefs are apparently cooking for Neil Patrick Harris (aka Doogie Howser or Dr. Horrible, depending on how geeky you are).
I've been having a fantastic foodie day, lunching on poke tuna salad with our own Dorinda Fox, and cooking halibut poached in beer and brocolini sauteed with bacon and crumbled feta cheese, with a dessert of chocolate pot de creme. But I'm pounding the diet coke because I am really really tired for some reason.
But enough about me... I'll soldier through this because I'm the Iron Pundit and that's how I roll, baby.
People have been having mixed reactions to this new spin on Top Chef. On the one hand people are genuinely excited to see masters of their craft attempt these contests. But there is also the lingering notion that there should be more conflict, more drama, more personality like in the amateur version. Such is the hunger for “reality TV.”
Before we get too deep into waxing philosophical about it, let’s get on with the show…..
10:02 -- the first contestant is Douglas Rodriguez, who has "tortilla free" latin cuisine. And Anita Lo is in the mix. She's a hardworking pro, that one. She's going to be formidable.
10:03 -- and here he is, John Besh, who is a cajun hottie. I am serious in lust with John Besh. He's cute, charming, and can cook. Ladies, what else does a man need?
10:07 -- and they are doing the egg challenge. I actually love this one, because it is the maximum creativity.
10:09 -- time is up. Besh's eggs aren't cooking, he's got nuthin, Mark barely gets his duck egg pasta plated, even though his dad had one arm.
10:13 -- Douglas's eggs go over well. Mark Peel's egg pasta does well but he's a little bland. Anita Lo's presentation goes over incredibly well. And she did it one handed? Besh is stuck delivering one egg slow cooked in pot. He's not getting a whole lot of stars for that....
10:15 -- Anita Lo eggs the competition by getting 5 stars. Poor Johnnie gets only one half. (yes it was a bad, bad pun)
10:16 -- it only took about 2 seconds to get the "Doogie Hauser" reference in
10:17 -- the "mentalist" is truly hysterical.
10:18 -- I love Max Maven's voice. It's really amazing. What's with the Kung Fu pajamas?
10:18 -- the word challenges are always slightly irritating.
10:19 -- Mark Peel opts to go for paper bagging it to get "mystery." Uh oh, is John Besh thinking about liquid nitrogen?
10:20 -- I'm liking Rodriguez's brain. I like how he thinks.
10:21 -- Anita Lo becomes the girl they're all gunning for....I like that she's so well respected by the boys.
10:25 -- John was a Marine? Okay, now he's really, really hot....not fair!
10:26 -- Dougland Rodriguez is really amazing....he's got style. Not hot like John, but I like him. And here comes Tom Colicchio into the Top Chef kitchen. I like that they are bringing him into this....
10:27 -- Anita Lo is using Rice Krispies. I get why the women chefs often seem so workmanlike. It's hard to communicate authority as a woman if you are joking around.
10:28 -- Tom is pinpointing exactly the challenge of word challenges.
10:29 -- Sterno on coconuts. This could end badly.
10:29 -- I like the magic castle. It's like going to Jeckyll and Hyde's, that horrid tourista restaurant in New York.
10:30 -- the chefs are working busily. It's interesting that Rodriguez has not been on the line in years. Mark Peel is worried that he didn't time his fish properly.
10:32 -- Gail Simmons is back! Yay! No nasty long haired snarky Brit!
10:33 -- Mark is hamming up the package. The fish is going over pretty well. Mark unwittingly hits on one of Neil's favorite drinks presenting a sake.
10:34 -- Besh is playing up the magic...even using NPH as his "assistant." Bravo indeed. The surprise is really in it. John has hit a home run.
10:36 -- Anita Lo is amazing. She has created illusion incredibly well, and NPH says it's his favorite. And here comes Douglas with his coconuts.
10:38 -- I LURVE fois gras! I think the fire has totally flamed out. the diners and critics are now rating the dishes. It's really hard to tell how they stack up.
10:40 -- and now for our nightly selection of the Chef date...isn't it obvious. I would go on a date with John Besh. The really hard part is actually deciding who would cook for us. There is a part of me that would love to have Douglas Rodriguez cook (minus the coconuts), but there is a part of me that would want it to be all John Besh, all night.
10:41 -- Okay that last bit came out really smarmy....sorry.
10:43 -- so they are showing the dinner guests some magic. The rabbit pees on Kelley Choi. Payback for wearing the stupid flower in her hair again.
10:44 -- Kelley Choi is still stiff, BTW. Her announcement of the initial challenge sounded like she was announcing for a tractor pull.
10:46 -- and here come the critics. God that flower is really fucking distracting.
10:47 -- the creme fraiche sorbet was a miss because it was all too cold, but Besh's dish went well. Anita Lo's dish was loved for it's trickery.
10:48 -- Douglas Rodriguez is unhappy with his coconuts.
10:49 -- Mark Peel's dish is uncharacteristically un-Mediterranean, and obviously about mystery. They like the dish, and the pairings, and it seems he did really well, but the critics just don't sound turned on as they talk about it.
10:50 -- Besh gets marks for performance. Anita Lo gets marks for her interpretation and presentation.
10:51 -- Douglas is regretted. Mark's dish is loved for it's taste. Mark did take the mystery thing pretty literally.
10:52 -- no one is clearly in the lead here, so this is going to be interesting. Anita Lo's decisive win in the early challenge may prove to be important if the dishes are all scored really closely.
10:55 -- John Besh goes first. He had 2 stars from the diners, the judges are mixed...3 stars from all the judges.
10:56 -- Mark Peel gets 4's from the judges, and knocks John Besh out of the competition. It's okay John, you still win with me....
10:57 -- as expected, Rodriguez's flaming coconuts fizzle out with a paltry 13 stars. I really do believe that Anita's win early on will really win it for her.
10:58 -- They love her presentation. She's getting 4's and up. Anita Lo WINS!!!!!!
10:58 -- I love that there are now two women chefs in the finals.
10:59 -- Next week, they are cooking for 100 diners, without sous chefs. This is probably every exec chef's nightmare...
Thanks for coming out if you did...if you didn't, there's always next week! I'll be here, of course, ready to dig in.