Top Chef: Masters (2009) s03e03 Episode Script

Diners to Donors

Hot.
Comin' through.
Previously on Top Chef Masters Where's the dishwasher? 11 of the most acclaimed chefs in America put their reputations on the line in one culinary clash of the titans.
After one chef quit Hugh Acheson rejoined the competition.
I brought a smaller salt shaker.
[Laughter] The chefs were challenged to update '60s classics.
Ambrosia.
I have no idea what that is.
For a party hosted by Mad Men's Christina Hendricks.
I liked the traditional better.
Mary Sue's inventive deviled eggs Amazing.
Won the elimination challenge.
Delightfully unctuous in the mouth.
Thank you.
Get these plates out of here! But the cramped kitchen derailed Sue, ultimately sending her home.
[Bleep], I'm going home.
Return to the kitchen and pack your knives.
Ten chefs remain, but only one can emerge victorious and win the grand prize of $100,000 for their charity, furnished by Kitchenaid, and be crowned as the winner of Top Chef Masters.
Top Chef Masters 3x03 Diners to Donors Good morning.
All: Good morning.
Tell us what you see, Hugh.
Leather fern, salsify Curtis is flanked by a table of edible plants and flowers, but I can see that something else is being hidden.
And I'm pretty fearful at this point.
For today's quickfire, we're going back to our roots.
Literally.
Here's a range of items that you can find in the wild-- grass, leaves, flowers, roots, and these guys Horned worms.
Worms.
More than half of these are protein.
Darkling beetles.
[Bleep].
- They're high in protein.
- Whoa.
We're gonna have to cook with freaking bugs.
You've gotta be kidding me.
Crickets.
They have three times more iron than beef.
These are Canadian night crawlers.
They're really high in calcium.
[Laughter] And finally Scorpions.
Lots of vitamins, but you might wanna pull off the stingers.
Come on, guys.
At least it's organic.
So, chefs, here's your challenge.
Take these ingredients and make a five-star dish for the ultimate bug eaters.
But I'm really curious if they are enthusiastic bug eaters or if they're "I need to do it to survive" bug eaters.
Either way, I couldn't do it.
And the winning chef will win $5,000 for their charity and immunity for the elimination challenge.
There's 20 minutes on the clock.
Time starts now.
[Upbeat music] - Ugh, nasty.
- I'm grossed out.
I don't eat bugs.
I don't cook with bugs.
I'm fully aware that these insects have a lot of nutrients, vitamins, but if there's a bug that turns up in my apartment, I kill it.
I decided that I'm gonna take a southeast Asian approach here and make a coconut milk and hornworm soup.
Bleh.
I'm behind, behind, behind.
I've eaten crickets but never cooked with them.
I had crickets in Bangkok, and they were just whole and tasted like soy.
So, I wanna do an Asian-inspired dish with these crickets and kind of work in the salsify with that.
Ugh, God.
[Laughs] They're not very delicious.
Were you expecting delicious? [Laughs] I select scorpions.
I know that a lot of guys are gonna rush immediately for the fryer, and so my thought is, we'll throw 'em on the grill and grill 'em up.
I've never eaten a bug.
I used to stick 'em in my brother's mouth against his will when he was a kid.
And I'm sorry for that, Richard.
Yeah! The vinegar.
I grew up in Oregon, and we do a lot of gardening, so night crawlers is pretty innocuous for me.
These are bugs that have been eaten from cultures as long as we've been eating chicken.
I'm sure the first time somebody ate an oyster, they cracked it open and said, "should I eat this?" So that's it for the bugs for me.
I'm not sure if beetles get softer as you cook them.
Do they stay crunchy? I don't really know.
But I chopped them up pretty good.
I got the crickets.
I think this is pretty much the grossest thing I've ever had to cook with.
But I haven't won yet, and it's kind of been bugging me.
[Laughs] I'm gonna do a tempura batter with the cricket.
Then I'm gonna make a sunchoke and carrot puree.
So, all that together is gonna be a really pretty salad.
Salad.
Vinaigrette.
Ugh! [Laughs] How come I got stuck with beetles? I'll eat every kind of eyeball, brains I'll eat anything But bugs.
I'm just dry-toasting 'em.
I am thinking, "how can I mask these flavors?" I decide to make a spicy thai-flavored salad with a vinaigrette of beetles.
Perfectly toasted.
Are you buggin' out? Bugs are living, and I'm living.
[Laughs] The bugs are not living in there.
Well, those are your bugs.
My bugs are happy and safe.
I grew up in New Delhi, India.
My parents were Hindus.
We ate what was abundantly available without somebody having to take another life.
Butchering animals is something I just can't do.
What I'm presenting is a Himalayan salad.
And I've also included is a jar of green worms that they have the option of cooking with the torch I've provided for them.
1:15.
Guys, I'm saving you some worm omelet.
It's delicious.
[Laughs] I ate my cricket.
I tasted it.
- Time's up! - Oh! I've gotta tell ya, I've never been so nervous about dinner.
[Laughs] Grilled scorpion? Could be worse.
Ruth, Myke, how's it going? Hey, Curtis.
Great.
Thanks.
Good to meet you.
- Nice to meet you.
- Howdy.
Nice to meet you.
Yeah! I'm excited to see Mykel Hawke and Ruth England from Man, Woman, Wild.
They are definitely qualified tasters for this bug-off that we're having.
Do you really eat this stuff in the wild? - Yeah, yeah.
- Yeah, well, you have to.
The time has come.
I'm not sure that I'm that excited about it, but our first dish-- tempura-fried night crawlers with elder flower and herb salad in a pistachio vinaigrette.
There's a bitter aftertaste there.
I've really put some disgusting things in my mouth since I've been married to Myke - Oh, my God.
- [Laughs] But that is kind of up there.
Man, it looks good, and it tastes good.
- I'll try the salad.
- Oh, Curtis.
Oh, man, I can't be bothered with the salad when you got them good bugs sitting there looking at me.
[Laughter] I think it's outstanding.
It's the best worm I've ever eaten.
Hey! So here we've got some fried crickets with a sunchoke and carrot puree and blood orange vinaigrette.
I love this one.
The puree is really delicate.
It's kind of like a mousse.
I don't know how this chef has managed to cook a sunchoke puree in 20 minutes.
I think it looks horrible, but it tastes great.
[Laughter] Well, you can't please them all.
Next we have soy crickets with a salad of salsify.
It looks kind of exquisite with the hairs on its legs still intact.
I don't like the utensils so much.
It's plenty salty-- and that's always good-- and thoroughly cooked.
Normally, though, I find the legs a little bit scratchy going down the throat, so I remove the legs Right.
Before I prepare them.
I was trying to keep it true to its origin, my cricket.
When I had crickets in Bangkok, those cricket legs, I was sucking those things out of my teeth for an hour, but these were a little softer.
I actually liked these crickets better.
Next up we've got a himalayan jungle and market salad.
There's a jar there, and I've just noticed a little blowtorch.
I mean, this is a copout.
They haven't actually cooked them.
I mean Am I to surmise that no one's gonna step up and torch one of these little boogers? - I am not.
- Do it.
Come on, Myke.
First let's finish him off, okay? No.
Oh, God, Myke.
Oh! [Laughter] Oh, gross! - Yuck.
- All right.
Let's give this guy a stab and jab.
This is killing me.
Absolutely fine.
He comes with lots of flavor.
I must say that the tasters have my respect for having indulged me and my dish, even though it was out of norm.
Well, I thought the salad was good.
Let's move on.
Okay.
So, here we've got some grilled scorpion with a smoked poached egg and some oyster roots.
- Oh, did you grill them? - You grilled it? - Yeah.
- Mmm.
You know what? Mixed all up - It's quite good.
- It works really well, yeah.
And I like the smokiness of the egg.
- Absolutely.
- Thank you.
Here we've got a Thai sunchoke salad with toasted beetle vinaigrette.
Mmm! It's got some real crunch to it.
- We're big coriander fans.
- Oh, yeah.
And that's chock full of it.
I like it.
So, here we've got a carrot, cilantro, and orange salad with chipotle-dusted and fried scorpions with an aloe vinaigrette.
- How'd it turn out? - A little bitter.
Now, see this fellow here? He swolled up during the cooking.
"Swolled up.
" Kinda like 'em when they do that.
I like the crunchy carrot and the flavor of the cilantro.
- I don't like the aloe.
- Right.
It's too bitter.
Our next dish, it's actually an omelet of night crawlers, amaranth, and roasted shiitake.
Eggs and bacon is a good old-fashioned standard, and throwing the worms in there, to me, makes it.
So I'm digging the dish.
He loves it! Our next dish is angel hair with beetles and flowers.
You hear the crunch.
You can hear the crunch.
It actually tastes dang good.
It really does.
I like the crispness of the beetle case in contrast with the softness of the angel hair.
Ah.
This is a hornworm and coconut soup with kaffir lime, lemongrass, ginger, arugula, and basil.
There it goes.
Ooh.
And the worm? That's, uh, awful tasting.
If you do a worm, I'll do a worm.
Just eat it.
I did not cut it up small enough.
I look at Curtis, and he's already looking pale green and white, and just looks like he's getting sick to his stomach.
I don't think it'll make my menu.
- Mmm, mmm, mmm - He's about to hurl.
You had a few favorites and a couple that you didn't like so much, but it's decision time.
Everybody needs to chip in with service! So bossy.
Naomi likes to listen to herself talk.
If you can't hear me, get closer! Chefs, you were asked to turn a bunch of creepy-crawlies into really interesting dishes.
They were all interesting.
There's no doubt about that.
You really amazed me.
You cooked some beautiful food, and I didn't expect it, so well done.
Ruth, tell us about some of your least favorites.
The garden and market salad and jar of hornworm and hornworm poo.
Who was responsible for that? I grew up as a practicing Hindu vegetarian, and my hands can cook, but I can't take a life.
- All good.
- Thank you.
So, what was your least favorite? - That ginger soup.
- George! If you're not an entomophagist-- you know, a knuckle dragger-- you wouldn't know that that skin is plasticky so it'd be better to chop it smaller.
Just stayed with me for a while.
We both liked Who was responsible for the fried crickets and the carrot puree? I really liked that one.
Ah, Hugh.
You can actually see the bug, and it was very, very nicely cooked, and I'm concerned about crickets not being cooked long enough.
We like crickets well done.
And another one we liked was the sunchoke salad with the beetle vinaigrette.
That was me.
I mean, that's kind of the-- a good way to go about it, because the legs and the shell are so hard.
It was tasty.
Thank you.
Ruth, what was your favorite? Hugh, with his fried tempura crickets.
Well done! [Applause] So, Hugh, that's $5,000 for your charity, Wholesome Wave, furnished by Lexus.
The win felt good.
Winning $5,000 for Wholesome Wave, allows them to do another great initiative, like they've done with the doubling of value of food stamps.
And, of course, you have immunity this week.
Will take it.
I am the Phoenix of this competition, and my skill should really pay off handsomely when I open up Hugh's Bug Shack.
Ruth, Myke, thanks so much for coming to join us.
- It was almost all a pleasure.
- Pleasure.
You're all here to make money for your charity, so tonight you'll be cooking for a special fundraising dinner.
We've invited fans of the show to support your charities by putting their money where their mouth is.
You'll work as a group to create a ten-course tasting menu, but each of you will be responsible for one course each.
As always, the winning dish will receive $10,000.
And on top of that, the guests will select their favorite dish and donate to that chef's charity.
It's $100 a plate.
With 50 guests, that means there's an extra $5,000 up for grabs for your charity.
But the critics are choosing their least favorite dishes of the night, and one chef will be going home.
You have just three hours to cook, and there's no time to shop, so you'll be working with what's in the pantry.
We're each responsible for one course.
We have three hours to prep, and this is feeling like it's gonna be a little too easy.
I mean, there's something not quite right happening.
Now, the prep for this event may not be as easy as you think.
We wanna see how you cope under pressure, so expect a few curveballs coming your way.
Time starts now.
Everybody in here.
Go, go, go, go - Let's look at the protein.
- Pork belly, pork tenderloin, rib eye.
I have immunity.
I would like to do the last dessert.
- Okay, what is it? - Panna cotta.
- A chocolate dessert.
- Can I do shrimp, guys? - You're doing spinach? - A cold spinach and chickpea salad.
I got meat.
I just wanna get everything written down and make sure that we don't end up with, you know, six pastas and two soups.
Just a minute.
As the leader of a team that was definitely the underdogs in Restaurant Wars, I know what it takes to win.
We don't have anybody doing the first course.
I've been doing this for a long time, and although I appreciate Naomi's take-charge attitude, it needs to be taken with a little bit of temperance.
Naomi likes to listen to herself talk.
Can you do a pasta or a hot app? Uh We need a hot app.
So, my thought turns very quickly to doing a very classic risotto.
Start it.
Do it.
My range of experience gives me the ability to plug myself in anywhere I'm needed, and I like that challenge.
Should we just go shiitake pancetta? Yeah, that sounds good.
Alex, what's your course again? Is that a soup? Salmon.
It's hot.
It's gazpacho vegetables.
Well, is it a soup or is it No, it's a salmon with gazpacho vegetables and tomatillo sauce.
Okay.
I'm double-checking your menus.
If you can't hear me, get closer! So bossy.
Mary Sue, tuna ceviche on plantain chips.
Suvir, chat salad.
George, appetizer of shrimp.
My soup I know is right.
John Currence, you have risotto.
Floyd, your fish says "rice-flaked sole.
" Yes.
Alex, spiced salmon in gazpacho vegetables.
Traci, roasted rib eye with slow-cooked broccoli, and I don't know what that says.
- Chervil? - Gerbil? - And chard.
- Chard.
I love gerbil.
Hugh, buttermilk berry panna cotta with strawberry soup.
Celina, yours says "chocolate puddin' with ginger donut.
" Thank you, everybody! [Suspenseful music] One, two, three, four Given that baking was the start of my whole culinary career, I'm just gonna do a dessert again.
I did not do very well last time I did it, but I'm gonna go for it because I wanna show that I can do pastries well.
What are you making? Chocolate puddin' with a ginger donut.
Chocolate pudding? Save two bowls for me.
I'm adding extra cocoa to compensate for its lack of chocolatiness.
I just wanna make sure that the puddin' has the texture I want.
Here you go.
Chocolate puddin'.
Mmm! They took the water.
Okay, no running water.
That's cool.
Okay, here's the first curveball.
There's no water.
Where's the water? No water and no hood vents, guys.
Wait, what's the curveball? - No water.
- Oh, God.
I'm gonna be working with raw fish, and I can't wash my hands.
I like doing charity events, but this one is totally insane.
Nice.
It happens to be very interesting that the water goes off, because I'm competing for charitywater.
org.
It brings water to people that don't have water to drink.
It's something that I feel that most of us take for granted.
Okay, we've got water in circulators.
Let's start melting some ice.
I gotta make sure that I don't contaminate anything, because I can't wash it.
So the first thing I do is I go and take some ice from the freezer, and I put it in a pot and throw it on the stove.
I'm behind ya.
We've got two hours and 30 minutes left.
Can I take some of that water? Nope, that's not water.
I need water to cook my soup with, so if you guys have extra water I can make cream of celery soup with five ingredients.
I've done it before.
If something goes crazy, I can step off and not spend too much time focused on the soup.
The dining rooms aren't set up at all.
Are we in charge of the dining room? We're in charge of getting a party together.
That's what we're in charge of.
Oh, mother[bleep].
They're just being too dramatic.
Chefs can't understand why I have the Zen quality of being very calm, even in the face of the worst challenge.
I believe it's because I never trained in a kitchen.
A kitchen for me is therapeutic, it's calming, and it's magic.
[Indistinct] Sorry, chefs, hopefully the water going off hasn't affected you too much, but service tonight will start 30 minutes earlier than planned.
Great.
Perfect.
If the challenge was not difficult enough, now all of a sudden we've got a fifth of our time taken away.
Everybody, simplify your dish.
I'm cooking a big batch of risotto, so time is something that I'm incredibly aware of.
Losing 30 minutes it's gonna kill the garnish that I wanna do.
Hey, Traci, are you done in the fryer? Do me a favor.
Taste this for salt.
- I will.
- I don't want to over-salt it.
My dish has a ton of elements to it that have to be prepared.
I'm never too frenzied, but this half an hour does shock me.
I am afraid I don't have much time to finish the dish.
I personally might add more acid in there to balance the sweetness I have it right here.
Perfect.
We have three tables of nine, three tables of five, a table of eight, and a table of four.
I think I've done a lot of work strategizing how involved I'm gonna be with the diners, how I'm gonna split out my servers, because the hardest part about today is just the timing.
You know, like, is the food gonna come out of the kitchen fast enough? You're gonna expo from over here? You know, I am gonna expo from right in the middle running to over there to write things down.
I would definitely consider myself a leader, so I decide to step up and help Naomi.
I hope I can contribute to the overall effectiveness of the ten-course meal.
These first tables right here, they will be our preparatory stations in setting up for plating.
That's the pickup area, so I think we're planning on plating down there.
Uh, Hugh's I don't understand.
Can I just plate here my first course? Hugh's got a vision with that.
I'm not envisioning that.
I've become the bossy person.
Everyone's like, "ugh, you're the mom.
You're the bossy one.
" Well, whatever.
I don't care.
All I care about now is to get this meal done.
So far we have no water, minus half an hour.
Curtis comes in, and I know something's up.
I have some bad news.
Tonight's waiters will not be coming.
The service is totally up to you.
Good luck.
You gotta be kidding me.
No, no, no.
Are you directing? I'm sending 'em out.
Naomi's just trying to take total control and so am I.
Set your own [bleep]damn table.
Now all of a sudden there's no waiters.
We're gonna have to serve our own food.
As far as the curveballs so far, that's the most difficult to deal with.
You have to do everything, and you will not have time to change gears in the middle of this thing.
Everybody needs to be finished with their course.
Everybody needs to chip in with service.
I don't think we should be working on our courses while service is going on.
It's impossible on proteins.
Not possible.
[Scoffs] Naomi's bossing around a bunch of people that aren't really used to being bossed around, but I got stuff to do, and I'm not gonna pay attention to the politics that are going on.
There it is, okay? Is it going on a liner plate at all or no? Good.
Yeah, it needs to go on a liner plate.
[Upbeat music] Okay, I need first course plated now.
After you plate that, if you wanna pour the wine that's on the table, that is a very nice thing to do.
Being the first one out the door, there's just a level of panic and worry.
Wait, wait, wait, wait, wait What, what, what, what, what? Do you see the difference? But I've been making ceviche for 25 years, so I can do it.
[Dinging] Well, that was fun.
Thank you all for coming here tonight.
Please take your seats and enjoy your dinner.
Pay attention now to what course number you're doing.
Odd numbers will happen at the front two tables.
Mary Sue, you're number one.
Evens over here.
[Chatter, laughter] - Chardonnay? - Excellent, thank you.
Celina, now, of course you know James and Danyelle.
And someone new to the critics' table, Alan Sytsma, the editor of Grub Street.
- Pleasure to meet you.
- Very nice to meet you.
I'm really excited to meet Alan Sytsma.
He just really understands food and knows flavor combinations and just so knowledgeable about it all.
I'll see you soon.
Thank you.
- You're welcome.
- Cheers.
I don't know if everyone at the table knows-- I was James' intern when I started my food writing career.
- Is that right? - Oh, really? Yes.
That was my first job of not cutting carrots.
- Welcome to the critics' table.
- You've come full circle.
Let's just talk really quickly about how we're gonna serve the dining room.
You really need to be raring to go as soon as you see that last ticket on your next course.
The plantain chips are right here.
Can I get a plate? [Dinging] I just wanted to tell everyone this is our Peruvian ceviche served on a plantain chip.
It's aji amarillo, which are llow peppers from Peru, with tuna ceviche.
Enjoy! That sounds lovely, I have to say.
Mary Sue's appetizer.
It's an appealing presentation, but there's just not a whole lot of flavor here.
It's kind of flat.
The avocado, just that little bit, it's giving me an impression of kind of like a poorly made guacamole.
It's starting off really well.
How do you feel like everything's going out there? - Good.
- People really liked your - Are you good? - Yes.
So these are the judges' plates here.
- This one? - No, that one and this one.
This challenge poses for me an opportunity to showcase the brilliance of Indian cooking.
Not only is it about me getting a great dish to them, but also about educating the palate.
For the second course, we have a chickpea, potato, and yogurt salad from northern India.
The greens are baby spinach.
Enjoy.
Suvir's chat really does look really gorgeous.
- Wow, this is delicious.
- How is it? Suvir's yogurt, it kind of rounds out the whole dish.
The only bone to pick that I have about Suvir's dish is the fact that he's so inside his comfort zone.
Why not push yourself a step further? - I wanted to lick my plate.
- Yeah.
Wow.
I mean, just wow! Delicious.
What else is it besides, uh, chana? You'll copy me for the next challenge.
I'm not giving it to you.
Okay, I'm gonna keep plating shrimp as we go.
- Not that one.
- Take two.
No, stop, stop.
Put it down, put it down.
Take this one.
I know that we have some of the best chefs in the nation helping with the service, but there's a lot of money on the line for my charity, and I think, at the end of the day, you can never trust your competition.
We need to go, guys! - Oh, great.
- And there it is.
This is George's appetizer.
Well, we have a Portuguese, uh, shrimp alhinho cooked in olive oil, paprika, seasoned with a little bit of toasted coriander seeds, uh, roasted red beets, pickled carrots, and vanilla oil.
It's a really gorgeous plate of food.
George perfectly cooked the shrimp.
The tooth of the beet on George's dish also is just absolutely perfect.
I only have one small complaint about George's dish.
The salt? Yeah, it's too salty.
- Is it good? - It works.
Yeah, the garlic on the shrimp was perfect.
Here.
This is beautiful.
Look at that color.
I love you.
You're so sweet.
Can I get an edge wipe right here from you? I love you.
She only loves you if you give her an edge wipe.
Naomi has made a very simple dish and a beautiful dish at that, but I think it may not shine enough because it's just so simple.
Here's my judges' right here, okay? You know, I feel like I'm taking a little bit of a risk going with something so boring as soup.
Okay, we got four seconds.
We gotta go.
Let's go, guys! But I feel fairly confident about my dish.
Okay, go ahead to judges.
Here.
Four are right here.
Please start going.
Okay, got it? From the right.
- Thank you.
- Enjoy.
This is my course tonight.
It's a celery veloute with a salsa verde, and then it's finished with a lemon agrumato oil and a tiny bit of espelette pepper.
Please enjoy.
This is such a gorgeous-looking dish.
Wow! It's delicious.
I really wasn't expecting so much flavor from a veloute.
I think it's a very rich soup.
Considering we've got nine other courses to eat, I wonder whether the chefs are thinking about their own course a little more than the entire dinner.
I think it's a little "every man for himself.
" Yeah.
It's amazing.
Yeah, I wanted to live in this.
John, a minute and 50 we need to be walking out the door.
I need a small spoon to start plating up with.
As time is coming up, I'm feeling good about it.
One minute! John, one minute! It's risotto.
It just is plain beautiful, and it doesn't need anything else.
Hi, ladies and gentlemen, what I've given you guys tonight is a very classically prepared risotto with oven-roasted shiitakes, prosciutto, toasted pine nuts, and then there's just a touch of smoked paprika.
Enjoy.
Forgive me for being out of breath.
We're a little short-handed tonight, as you've seen! Thank you very much.
I'm interested in the addition of the pine nuts, because as a textural element, I don't know if I necessarily want the crunch that they're offering.
Oh, I like it.
I think that it adds something crunchy and toasty.
You know, John has not really challenged himself very far with this dish.
Our diners are gonna choose their favorite dish, and they're gonna pay $100 for that dish.
So would you pay $100 for this risotto? Both: No.
No.
But as I get into it, I'm liking it more.
[Whistles] I need to walk out the door with judges' plates.
Let's go.
Take the other two.
I got ya.
I wanna make sure that my fish goes on the plate at the last minute, and the consistency of the sauce and the vegetables are what I want, and everything is hot.
Our next dish tonight is a dish influenced from India.
It's a rice-flaked sole with roasted cauliflower, apple, and a sundried ginger broth.
Enjoy.
It's loud, and bold, and sweet, and sharp.
It's fantastic.
I think the broth underneath Floyd's fish is a little assertive.
I like the texture with the crispies on top, but the broth is a little too strong.
Behind you.
Hot, hot.
- Alex.
- Yeah? You're such a badass.
- One, two, three.
- Wait, Hugh.
Naomi is out there.
No, no.
[Bleep].
I'm sorry.
Hugh and Naomi, they both want to send plates out in a different manner.
And both have opinions, and both are strong people.
I don't think they're working together so much, and I wasn't gonna get in the middle of that.
Are you directing, or am I sending them? I'm sending 'em out.
That's great.
So There's some frustrations between Naomi and I.
She's just trying to take total control and so am I.
- Just go? - Yeah.
Talk to Naomi.
This is a quasi-team competition, and I'm leaving this up with a lot of resistance.
So, you mother[bleep] set your own [bleep]damn table.
It was a bit bland.
All I tasted was pickle.
I need a veg right now.
I can't even tell you how many times on events like this that something surprises you.
One night power went out, and the cooks cooked with flashlights in their mouths.
We're going together, you and I? The worst night at my restaurant was when both restrooms went out, and then I've gotta tell my guests they have to walk across the street to the grocery if they need to use the restroom.
It kind of sucked.
I almost murdered a pantry cook because he had taken salt to put on top of a creme brulee, and he couldn't make it caramelize, and so he just sent it out to the table.
And that's not to say that I conducted myself entirely diplomatically, but I didn't kill him.
Are you directing, or am I sending them? I'm sending 'em out.
That's great.
So - Just go? - Yeah.
Talk to Naomi.
This is a quasi-team competition.
I'll go out there.
The atmosphere in the kitchen is pretty tense right now.
I'm just concerned about, are you gonna help me? Remember we said this and this and this, and all of a sudden, it's just every man for himself.
It's not normal for me to be assertive, so I don't get excited by it, because I've never been taught to be that way, so There's some frustrations between Naomi and I.
Sometimes service gets a little bit ornery.
I will scream at people.
It doesn't mean that I have anything against them.
It's just a pretty hard-drivin' job that we have to do every day.
This is my foray into southwestern cooking.
That's a roasted salmon with gazpacho vegetables in a roasted chili and a tomatillo sauce.
Hope you enjoy it.
I'm very happy with the dish.
My issue, some people like salmon cooked correctly, and some people like it cooked what they consider correctly, and some people don't like salmon, so I've gotta say, I'm a bit surprised to see someone like Alex cutting up tortilla strips and putting them on a piece of delicately cooked salmon.
Mine's perfectly cooked.
It's a perfect medium-rare.
Mine is on this side of being raw.
I'm not a big fan of this fish.
I guess I just thought it was really fresh, and light, and very flavorful.
You need to release your inner Michelin.
Nah.
I don't think they dig it.
Not that one.
I want this one.
Okay, go! Walk it.
I'm feeling very good about my dish.
It's the only meat course, so I'm thinking, it's gonna be a $100 dish.
So this is roasted rib eye with slow-cooked broccoli and red wine sauce and fried shallots.
Enjoy.
Thank you.
You can tell just by setting your eyes on this dish that Traci knows how to cook meat.
- I love it.
- You love it? Really? It's a little musty.
The puree, to me, it looks swampy, it tastes a little flat.
You guys are young.
You've just been brainwashed by all this non-cooking of vegetables.
What Traci has given us here is bold, cooked vegetables.
All the flavors on this plate, they all work really well together.
Lift it up and just-- when you pull it away from the edge to let the air into the bottom, then it'll fall right out.
I'm feeling pretty good about my dish.
The panna cotta is modern and interesting, and I do have immunity.
I need these run just two at a time, because they're a little tricky.
This is a strawberry and buttermilk panna cotta with a little bit of black pepper in it.
And on top are frozen blackBerry seedlings, and then there's a strawberry and champagne soup underneath.
Garnished with chili thread and fresh mint.
So enjoy! He's a real showman, you know God, he's, like, practically like Liberace there.
Two and a half hours from conception to service.
To do that and to have that perfect firm texture is really impressive.
It's hard to understand why he put these chili hairs in.
For me, they're a really nice bridge between all of those savory dishes into sweet territory.
I think it was smart to have something like that.
Something light, something to just sort of cleanse the palate.
It was delicious.
- It was great sweetness.
- Yeah, it was.
Everything was perfect.
It looked really pretty.
The strawberries were very good.
I ate enough of it to get sick.
Let me pick the four judges'.
- Yeah, you pick the judges'.
- I feel fantastic.
I like the chocolate puddin'.
It's smooth, it's creamy.
It's the last course.
I hope I get a couple $100 votes for my dish.
Who doesn't like chocolate puddin'? Feel free to pick up the ginger donut, dunk it on in there.
It's just a chocolate puddin' topped with a little Fleur de sel and a ginger cake donut.
Enjoy! It's not pudding.
I make tons of desserts, and I've made tons of puddings, but I didn't grow up in America.
So my understanding of a pudding is very different from those canned or plastic-wrap puddings that Americans grew up eating, and that's what I taste in Celina's pudding.
I really love the flavor of Celina's donut.
But Celina's puddin' is a little chalky.
It's a little bit gritty.
It's sort of a tasteless chocolate pudding.
It just doesn't blow me away.
I wish the donut was slightly fluffier and slightly warmer.
De-licious.
People are freaking out.
They're loving it.
That's what the server said last time, too, so I don't listen to any feedback from them.
Well, what a fantastic dinner.
It was perfect.
You've seen so many different chefs and so many personalities.
And I think it was a great, great journey we took tonight.
Everybody's food was gorgeous.
Good job out front.
I'm elated.
I think everybody worked together very, very well.
There were stumbles and falls here and there.
Little things like that are to be expected, and overall, I think the team should be and is really proud.
Now, I'm sure I speak for all of us when I thank the chefs for such a delicious meal.
Well done.
Congratulations.
Now, diners, it's time to pick your favorite dish from the evening and decide who you're gonna give your donation to.
You know, I think in the end, I think we surprised them, and did a really good job, and got everything out.
Nothing suffered.
I mean, everything came out on time.
It was beautiful! It was a beautiful meal! Nice work, everybody.
Chefs, despite all the curveballs that were thrown your way, I would think that you guys had been working together for a year.
And you're a brigade that sort of handle whatever comes their way, which, let's face it, as chefs, that's what we do, right? So, congratulations.
All: Thank you.
Naomi and Suvir, we'd like to see you at the critics' table.
[Suspenseful music] Naomi and Suvir, your challenge was to work as a team and create a ten-course tasting menu for a charity dinner, and both of you did an outstanding job.
Your dishes received the most votes from our diners.
Wow.
And the critics also loved your dishes.
Naomi, your dish received 43% of the votes, so $1,800 goes to your charity, The Seed Savers Association.
Naomi, your soup was outstanding, and I loved the lemon oil on top.
That acidity brought out such a brightness to the soup.
Thank you.
Suvir, your dish got 40% of the votes, which means your charity, Agricultural Stewardship, will receive $1,700.
That's great.
Suvir, your chat was sophisticated, warm, complicated, and very delicious.
Thank you.
Chefs, the critics' favorite will receive an additional $10,000 furnished by Lexus.
And the winning chef is Naomi.
Wow.
- Yes! - Wow! - That's good.
Excellent.
- It's a huge honor.
There was a lot of simplicity involved in my soup, which was, I think, a risk in itself.
That's wonderful.
Thank you.
The charity I'm playing for is called Seed Savers Exchange.
They're an incredible organization that catalogs and distributes heirloom seeds to protect biodiversity.
Well done to both of you, but now I'm gonna have to ask you both to return to the wine room and have some of your colleagues join us.
Thank you very much.
And, uh, the guests seemed really happy.
Yeah, that's all-- that's all that matters.
Who won? All right! Great.
So, um, they'd like to see, uh, Mary Sue, Celina, and John.
[Suspenseful music] Mary Sue, John, Celina, the critics rated your food, and they thought that they were the least successful of the night.
Mary Sue, you've had some great results, and you've been back at the critics' table sort of facing the music a couple of times.
How are you feeling? It is a roller coaster.
Up and down.
How did you feel about the ceviche? I liked the ceviche.
I wanted to-- I wanted to taste the fish.
It was just one note.
It was a bit bland.
I think I was trying to walk the line between making a really super-strong, assertive ceviche and having it be the first course out the gate.
The pickled onions on top took over.
All I tasted was pickle.
John, the risotto, it was an excellently made, classic risotto.
I thought it was great.
But I wonder why it was such a, kind of a straightforward representation of risotto.
Risotto is unchanged and not experimented with, because I think chefs respect the fundamental of that dish and that it stands on its own.
But when you're competing, is that the dish that's gonna stand out the most? Celina, you chose to cook a dessert for us tonight.
- Mm-hmm.
- And it's not the first time we've seen you go for the dessert.
Is the pastry kitchen something you love? Not necessarily, but I don't think one light panna cotta was ough to finish ten courses.
Loved the bite of the ginger in that donut.
The texture of the puddin' was a little off for me.
I just couldn't, you know, get with the chocolate puddin' underneath.
It wasn't rich enough chocolate.
This cocoa powder wasn't the cocoa powder that I'm used to, so I added more, and then that changed the texture.
You know what, Celina? Get out of dessertville.
Chefs, I'm gonna ask you to go back and wait in the wine room for us while they deliberate.
Thank you.
- Thank you, guys.
- Thank you.
Ugh! What happened? What was the critique? They're like, "you didn't get after it and kick ass.
" So, you know, it is what it is.
Let's start with Mary Sue's ceviche.
The point of ceviche is to taste the subtle nuances of the fish.
Instead, it only tasted like the pickled onion on top.
Mary Sue took on the first course, which, in my opinion, is a very difficult one to take on.
Oh, God, yeah.
It's also an opportunity that she just didn't take advantage of.
I mean, you really can announce the meal You know, it's true.
These chefs need to be making an impression from beginning, to middle, to end.
Let's talk about John's risotto.
I thought it was a perfectly good risotto.
My problem with it is he played it safe.
Here, the challenge was to really wow the diners.
I don't understand why he'd think, "I know what I can do it with--a risotto.
" Mistake.
So, let's talk about Celina's dessert.
What did you think? It was gritty.
It really could've been more emphatically flavored.
I can't imagine her saying, "I'm gonna make chocolate pudding.
" I'm gonna pay $100 for this.
Like, it just fell flat.
It's the first thing you learn if you go to culinary school and you learn how to do the simple, basic desserts, and to me that's kind of what we got from Celina.
It was a highlights dinner, and you needed to be a highlight.
It's about being excellent at what you do.
So you're all in agreement on which dish was your least favorite? [Suspenseful music] Mary Sue, John, and Celina, the three of you had the critics' least favorite dishes.
Danyelle.
Celina, unfortunately the quality of the cocoa powder, I think, really took a toll on your pudding, and it gave it this gritty texture.
John, at the end of the day, your risotto was just average.
Mary Sue, you made a good ceviche, but coming from you, we expected a great ceviche, and it just wasn't quite there tonight.
Mary Sue, John, Celina, one of you will be going home.
The chef eliminated from Top Chef Masters tonight is John.
Fair call.
- Aww! - [Sighs] Thank you.
I'm glad to have had the opportunity to work with the guys that I'd always wanted to meet and have the opportunity to work with-- you know, it's great.
And, John, you should hold your head very high, 'cause you've represented yourself as a great chef.
And, of course, you did win a quickfire, so there's $5,000 for No Kid Hungry.
I'm proud to have been able to be here and do that for them.
John, please return to the kitchen and pack your knives.
Thank you, guys.
Bye, guys.
Thank you.
I still think John's a great chef, and I still think he did a good job, but it just wasn't good enough tonight.
- No question.
- Oh, absolutely.
He's a fantastic chef.
My egg is scrambled right now.
Got it.
It's sobering.
There's some pride out there on the table right now.
Leaving those guys behind is gonna be the toughest part of this for me.
Dude, it's been a pleasure.
To be basically stripped down naked with nothing but your knives and your ability, it's a lot of pressure.
But as challenging as this is, it's just a carnival freak show of magnificence.
I'll miss you guys.
[Applause] I love you guys.
I really do.
I love you guys.
Next time on Top Chef Masters Your challenge is to give the contestants of The Biggest Loser what they're craving without going over their calorie limit of 1500.
I have no idea how we're gonna pull this off.
- Over 100 pounds.
- Wow! If we go over 1500, we're all gone.
Get ready for your funeral.
I'm now nervous to come back on the ranch to cook for you guys.
- Step it up, Curtis.
- Right? Suvir goes on a rant about how bad red meat is right in front of my dish.
I would never do that.
I'm sinister.
You did plenty.
More than you should've.
Suvir has crossed the line.
For more information on Top Chef Masters, visit bravotv.
com.