Cooking for the prestige, if you will.

I was most disappointed last week when I turned on my TV and there was no new episode of Top Chef Masters in my queue. Actually, disappointed wasn’t the word. More like puzzled. Yes, I sat there for five minutes, navigating through the depths of my DVR to see if the fault was mine or Andy Cohen’s. It was the latter (ain’t that always the case?). Bravo had bumped the episode, presumably to make way for the long weekend. Thankfully, we finally got our dose of haute culinary competition last night, and perhaps as a way of extending an olive branch to those of us who had been miffed the week prior, Bravo supplied us with not only Neil Patrick Harris, but the welcome return of our dear friend Gail Simmons, bless her heart, and even Tom Colicchio. Oh, and the challenge was pretty damn near awesome too. All is excused.
Basically, the chefs had to whip up a meal to be served at Los Angeles’s very own Magic Castle (not to be confused with the Gothic Castle), with each “cheftestant” receiving a special theme: surprise, mystery, illusion, and spectacle. Needless to say, there was plenty of culinary legerdemain on display. I was a major fan of Anita Lo’s intriguing faux-scallop (ILLUSION!), and I was equally happy that Douglas Rodriguez’s attempt to light coconuts on fire was an epic fail. He was entirely too smug for me, and thankfully, the experience seemed to humble him quite a bit. Speaking of humbling, I felt bad for John Besh, who flamed out spectacularly last night. First he only prepared one meager, undercooked egg for the Quickfire — netting him a lowly half star for his efforts. Then he chilled everyone’s palates with a purportedly ice cold blini, the bane of Western Civilization it would seem. Yikes. Not a good showing. At least Mark Peel fared well. Representing local Los Angeles stalwart Campanille, Mark came thiiis close to winning the episode, but an earlier mishap with olive oil (or lack thereof) during the Quickfire kept him from the victory. Ah well. Sucks for him. But I was rooting for Anita anyway; so it’s all good.
Anyway, onto the pics…

“Did you see that? Criss Angel can SUCK IT.”

“Here’s my magic trick: I found a tablecloth in Boca Raton, and abracadabra! It’s my dress now!”

“Effin Colicchio roping me into this bullshit game so I can ruin my goddamn reputation.”

“What? I don’t see the big deal? So I gave Gail three extra portions. Padma told me she’d eat it.”

“Yeah, Padma told me Gail was on a ‘DIET,’ which is funny because she ate all the Rice Krispies, WHICH were garnish, I should add.”

Tom: “I’m not judging or mentoring this week. I just dropped by because, well, quite frankly — I’m very lonely.”

“Here Neil. Hold this, and if Gail tries to stick her hands in there, just bat them away.”

Gael Greene: “Let me tell you something: I frequently have erotic dreams where I lie naked en papillote, waiting for my man lover to unravel the paper that imprisons me so he can make love to me on a bed of leeks and microgreens.”

“My theme is ‘Spectacle;’ so on that note, I’m going to light the whole room on fire and burn this place to the ground. Ta-da!”

4 replies on “TOP CHEF MASTERS PHOTOCAP: Magic in the Kitchen”

  1. b – I think the dude with the Dumbo ears is Mark Pool (not Peel).
    I really wanted someone to serve Gail rubbery brown eggs.!
    NPH was a bit of a piss-pot but I liked it.
    Anita blew away the boys. Girl Power.

  2. I don’t know why no one on the judging panel commented on the foul stench that pink flammable stuff would have added to Douglas Rodriguez’s dish (his attempt to light coconuts on fire) — it would have been an overwhelming and extremely off-putting smell.

  3. Good to see guest judge Ed Alonzo finally got a job outside of The Max on Saved by the Bell.

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