After weeks upon weeks of promotion and hype, the much anticipated “fight” episode of Top Chef: Masters arrived last night. This was finally the moment when we’d get to see the ultimate meltdown: a veritable imbroglio between Ludo Lefebvre and Rick Moonen. What could have possible led up to this most unprofessional altercation? And what would the fallout be?
Well, don’t get too excited. What we saw in the promos was essentially ALL we saw on the show. There was a trifling backstory to it all (seafood master Rick got to cook fish & chips for a pub challenge; Ludo thought it was unfair), but truly, the big fight lasted all of ten seconds on screen, with Ludo complaining about Rick’s advantage — perhaps tongue in cheek — and Rick unleashing his now trademark “Hey! HEY! I’M TALKING HERE!!” And then it was over. Or at least, that’s all Bravo deigned to show us. We immediately cut away to the Critics Table, thus sweeping the rest of this impasse under the proverbial rug. Booo.

Clearly, had there been anything more to the fight, Bravo would have aired it, which leads me to believe there really wasn’t much of a fight at all. The chefs probably busted out laughing two seconds later. Luckily, there was plenty of great entertainment outside of this incident to make this probably the best episode of the season. Why? Well, it all comes down to three members of The Real Housewives of Orange County, who served as dubious judges for the Quickfire challenge. Lynn, Alexis, and Tamra — three culinary powerhouses if there ever were any — sat down at the judges table with none other than Gael Greene, who clearly was thrown in there so that the responses to the food weren’t too incredibly ridiculous.
As expected, these OC denizens were hardly impressive with their critiques. Tamra, who has spent many an episode gagging on exotic dishes such as foie gras and oysters and caviar, seemed a bit, uh, wishy-washy with her observations. First she loved something, but when Gael weighed in with her informed opinion, Tamra suddenly changed her mind, no longer impressed with the food she was orgasming over just moments before. Lynn, meanwhile, seemed preoccupied with the fat content of each dish, and Alexis — well, she just seemed at a loss without Jim. No surprise there.
Nevertheless, the women provided all sorts of unintentional comedy, augmented, of course, by the flustered responses of the chefs who had to sit and watch this all. Truth be told, there’s no right or wrong when it comes to judging food. All the ladies have a complete right to their opinion. But that being said… yeah, they came off as idiots.

“I never serve food in circular bowls. My bowls are square. Ziss eez not fair!!”

Gael: “I haven’t laughed this hard since a young T.S. Elliot tickled the soles of my feet with a peacock feather he’d found in Covent Garden. He later took me in his arms and made love to me on the banks of the River Thames, often moaning with pleasure and occasionally calling me Skimbleshanks. It was a joy.”

Graham: “And this is salt, and this is pepper, and this is cumin, and this is coriander, and this is paprika, and this is–“
“I get it dude.”

“Oh hello. Are you interested in a glass of POISON?”

Lynne: “I don’t know if I like this. If it has more than thirty calories, I can’t eat it.”
Alexis: “I just called JIm, and he said this tastes exquisite.”
Tamra: “This is amazing. I absolutely love it. Heaven in my mouth.”
Gael: “It just didn’t sit quite right with me.”
Tamra: “Me neither. It sucked.”

“Don’t mind me. I’m just standing by MY MOST FAVORITE BLACKBOARD IN THE ENTIRE WORLD!!!”

“Has anyone else been stricken by debilitating ennui? Anyone?”

“Hey. HEY! I’m slicing LEMONS HERE!!”

“Rick gets to use a spatula. He always uses a spatula. Me, I must use a strainer. I don’t use strainers. ZEES EEZ NOT FAIR!!!”

“Rick gets to walk in the kitchen. I have to run. I don’t run in the kitchen! ZEES EEZ NOT FAIR AT ALL!!!”

Gail: “It’s so nice to be on a panel that doesn’t make fun of me all the time.”
Kelly: “Well, I think you’re wonderful and would never say a bad thing about you.”
“Thank you!”
“Feel free to eat away without judgment!”
“I will!”
“If you want seconds or thirds, that’s okay by me!”
“Well, I don’t, but thanks for the thought.”
“And if you want a to-go box, we’ll be more than happy to get one for you.”
“I don’t want a to-go box.”
“We can get KFC after this. You want that? The new Double Down is supposed to be crazy. I’ll get you one!”
“No, I don’t even eat that crap.”
“Gail, this is a no judgment zone. It’s okay. You can eat all the fried chicken you want, and I know you want to. And that’s OKAY!”
“I don’t WANT fried chicken.”
“Aww, you’re cute. Waiter? Two buckets of chicken wings for Gail please.”

Gael: “This pub reminds me of one frisky summer I spent in Dublin at the height of the War. I don’t remember much, but I do recall a husky barkeep named Ciaran. His breath smelled like whiskey and soda bread; his skin like old peat. We made love every night on a keg of Guinness until finally I left for Aberdeen and he for the Shetland Isles. Another victory for ol’ Skimbleshanks.”

“I am incensed! I do not cook with silver pots! I cook with enameled pots! ZEES IZ NOT FAIR!!!”

“Hey, HEY! I’m BLENDIN’ HERE!!!”

“Is anyone else here totally WASTED?”

Jonathan: “Wooohooo!! I’m driving my car truck down the highway!”
Wylie: “Okay, no more mojitos for you.”

Kelly: “Drink up, men. You’ll find the taste strong and powerful. Almost like…”


What did you think about the episode? How about those Housewives?

4 replies on “TOP CHEF MASTERS PHOTOCAP: Raising The Bar”

  1. Graham is enormous. That’s just not healthy.
    I would like to see a redo of the Offal quickfire challenge.

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