Top Chef Masters – Episode 2 (SPOILERS INCLUDED)

David Burke

Marcus Samuelsson

Monica Pope

Carmen Gonzalez

Thierry Rautereau

Quickfire

Kelly, who seems too skinny to be a huge grilled cheese fan.  I am not sure she eats like a bulimic, or has the metabolism of a hummingbird.  Anyway, she wants the chefs to make her a sexy grilled cheese.

Gonzalez – Italian baguette with manchego

Burke – proscuitto, triple cream cheese,

Samuelsson – gruyere and cheddar

Rauterau – tallegio and harissa

Pope – feta and farmer cheese with dates

The Challenge

At this point, we get the classic celebrity walk through for the challenge.  This time, Mekhi Phifer.  Mekhi Phifer?  Is he still alive?  The guy who killed Julia Stiles, sweet wonderful Julia?  OK, ok … we’ll suspend disbelief.  Phifer’s birthday is being catered by these folks – and he is doing a soul food theme.

Monica Pope, winning the quickfire gets exclusive choice of a protein – so she chooses shrimp to make a mac n cheese style shrimp and grits … oh dear, mmmm.

Thierry Rautreau is doing a moroccan style braised shoulder.  Marcus Samuelsson is doing a BBQ Ribs.  Carmen is making some sort of stew and crap … after the prep the day before, at the location, the next day they are to bring their food to some hotel roof where the party be going down.

Or, at least that’s what we thought!  Someone left their tray in the kitchen.  Carmen the next day discovers it’s her.  Can she possibly piece this together?  Driving back in LA traffic makes it unlikely given the time constraints.  The other chefs want to help but understandably are preoccupied.  Monica is trying to help, but there might be a burned dish, not sure.  Off to commercial.

Gail judging this week – what nice, er … eyes.  First Monica – diners love it, judges thought the grits were a bit creamy, i am slobbering.  Marcus did bbq ribs, mac and cheese, collard greens … judges loved the mac, bbq sauce a bit cloying, Marcus did not help the disaster.  Carmen comes back and survives it with an oyster stew, hot sausage stew, she declined the Yuca because the mash went poorly – judges loved the gumbo, missed the mash.  David did a sweet potato custard with hush puppy … great hush puppy, fun presntation.  Thierry did the pork shoulder – his hat, very silly, and I am not sure if the moroccan thing is soul foody, but definitely foo foo.  Mekhi likes it, but he likes everything.  Pork is valued, but the cauliflower is close to overdone.

Judges Table

The judges thought Monica’s dish was the most soulful but the shrimp might have not been optimally cooked.  Marcus mac and cheese was highly loved but the greens were low.  David the judges agreed went a bit too out there.  Carmen they wished had more, but the sob story came out – and she saved a possible disaster.  Thierry might have been their favorite, but the onion in the salad was raw.

Carmen: 15.5 stars!  Somehow it clinched a top 2 position … wow.  This feels contrived, but hey whatever.

Thierry 11 stars … too much going on

David 10 strs … once again, too experimental.

Monica 13 stars … the shrimp did not help, but 13 is still a reasonably tricky score

Marcus 14.5 stars … it came down to the diners who gave a huge 4.5 stars!  Of course Marcus for 4.5!  He’s uber famous.

Marcus is a cocky bastard – but a talented one …

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