Iron Pundit vs. Iron Skillet: Top Chef Masters Finale pt. 1
Here we are again for our weekly foray into the wonderful world of Top Chef Masters, Open Salon Liveblog style!
First off, a BIG Iron Pundit thank you to Pretend Farmer, who valiantly filled in for me last week, as I was off someplace with no televisions or computers. Hell, I barely had cell service.
Hubby has been out of town this week again, so I’ve been cooking up a storm. I’ve managed to turn the chipotle shrimp and corn pudding into a staple of my cooking repertoire. I’ve also been refining a pasta recipe involving pancetta and egg and peas over the last couple of weeks. I am getting close to a breakthrough on that I think.
But tonight I decided to make tonight’s pre TCM test kitchen experience extra-special: doing crab cakes and baby bok choy. And then I kicked it up another notch by inviting one of my friends over to help me cook it.
To say that Matt loves to cook is to say that Tiger Woods plays a little golf. Matt not only adores cooking all the things that I do, he’s also into the history of cooking. He not only knows how to prepare a roast chicken, he can prepare it using a recipe from the 14th Century. Trust me, we’ve been having all sorts of fun cooking up food tonight, so much so that it’s been a bit of work to tear ourselves away to watch tonight’s episode.
We’re down to four chefs now: Hubert Keller, Rick Bayless, Michael Chiarello and Anita Lo. We already know from the incessant previews that tonight’s episode will feature the return of cheftestants past, as “helpers” in the kitchen. Ah, apparently someone else noticed that the cheftestants pack a much more dramatic punch than these seasoned, successful master chefs….
9:56 p.m. -- Matt and I are settling in watching the last of last week's episode. Matt REALLY doesn't like Michael Chiarello.
9:57 p.m. -- Still can't stand Kelly Choi. She's getting sort of acidic.
9:59 p.m. -- I'm so looking forward to Michael Chiarello throwing Dale into a slow cooker.
10:01 p.m. -- Matt is dying to eat in a Rick Bayless restaurant.
10:01 p.m. -- Kelly Choi is wearing skinny pants. Bad. Idea.
10:02 p.m. -- The chefs look genuinely worried about this challenge. This is why I don't really like Chiarello as much as the others -- he really is kind of a one-trick pony.
10:04 p.m. -- Hubert likes the blindfold. It would figure that the french guy would think of the sex twist.
10:06 p.m. -- NONE of the chefs prove miraculous in the blind taste test.
10:07 p.m. -- Chiarello wins? How lucky can one guy get? Hubert is now in last place star-wise. One thing I am noticing with the eliminations is that more so than in regular Top Chef, winning the quickfire challenge is a HUGE advantage.
10:08 p.m. -- This could get really, really interesting. Old dogs and young guns....we'll see how it goes.
10:09 p.m. -- It's interesting to see how each of the chefs works. I think it's funny that the old boy network ends up being a an old GIRL network. Anita Lo knows one of the cheftestants and asks her who she should pick.
10:11 p.m. -- Chiarello's approach of testing cooking skills is not going over well with the cheftestants.
10:14 pm. -- It's really interesting to me to see the approach to authority that the younger folks have as opposed to the older chefs.
10:16 p.m. -- Chiarello wants them to pronounce his name correctly. It does seem a little bit like an ego trip....
10:19 p.m. -- Fabio goes with Chiarello. Rick gets Richard Blais.
10:20 p.m. -- Elan won his season, yet he is one of the last ones picked. Spike is with Hubert. Of course, egomaniac Spike thinks it's because he's so good.
10:22 p.m. -- The teams are looking rather interesting -- and the approaches they are taking are so different.
10:24 p.m. -- Chiarello's macho attitude is getting in the way. The interesting thing here is how much of a test of leadership this is.
10:26 p.m. -- Anita Lo in some respects has a huge advantage because she's worked with Jamie before.
10:30 p.m. -- Matt is worried that Anita is already behind and in the weeds. We're debating how valid Chiarello's approach is....the authoritarian thing is very Italian, very old school. Is it appropriate here? We can't decide.
10:31 p.m. -- What the hell is Kelley Choi wearing? "She's wearing ugly, that's what she's wearing!" says Matt.
10:32 p.m. -- I like Rick Bayless. He's just such a great guy.
10:33 p.m. -- The twist: it is now an outdoor event in direct sunlight. Anita Lo is completely fucked. A raw bar in direct sunlight is NOT going to work well.
10:35 p.m. -- Anita Lo is really in the weeds. Hubert realizes he's under the gun because he was last in the quickfire.
10:37 p.m. -- The snarky long haired brit is unimpressed with the raw bar.
10:39 p.m. -- How the hell did Hubert get 18 different dishes out there?
10:40 p.m. -- Rick Bayless is now a convert to liquid nitrogen.
10:41 p.m. -- Matt and I are oddsmaking on the outcome....both of us agree the top two will be Rick Bayless and Hubert Keller. And as much as I love her, I think Anita Lo is headed for the chopping block. Not only was her food disappointing taste-wise, a raw bar does not involve cooking, which means the judges are going to automatically downplay it.
10:44 p.m. -- That dress is freakin' killing me!
10:44 p.m. -- They LOVE Rick Bayless's buffet. Every dish seems to be really a standout to the judges.
10:46 p.m. -- The judges are gushing over Hubert and his 18 dishes. I think Oseland may have an orgasm.
10:47 p.m. -- Chiarello's swordfish didn't really go over well. And even he admits that he was less collborative than he could have been. I don't know anymore if Anita Lo is really out.
10:50 p.m. -- The judge's deliberation is pretty predictable. They loved Hubert, they loved Rick, they hated Anita Lo's and Chiarello's offerings.
10:55 p.m. -- Cannot wait for Top Chef Las Vegas!!
10:56 p.m. -- As expected, Rick and Hubert are in the top. Rick keeps getting fours.
10:56 pm -- it's coming down to the wire with Hubert. Hubert squeaks by getting all 5s from the judges. Again, could have been a very different result had the quickfire turned out differently.
10:58 p.m. -- Anita Lo not doing so well. Chiarello is not doing much better, but he manages 4 stars from Gael Greene. Anita Lo is out of the competition.
11:00 p.m. -- I am sad to see Anita Lo go. But she really was the big disappointment from this week. Next week... the finale. See you then my lovelies!!!!