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Top Chef Masters Season 2: Episode 5 Recap

Posted on 05/06/2010 by Chandra in Top Chef Masters

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Top Chef Masters Season 2


by Chandra Clewley



Tonight’s Top Chef Masters Season 2 is the beginning of the Champions Round. We are left with Susur Lee, Marcus Samuellson, Carmen Gonzalez, Tony Mantuano, Susan Fenigar, Rick Moonan, Jonathan Waxman, and Jody Adams.  


For the Quick Fire Challenge, the chefs divide into two teams:

Blue: Susan, Rick, Jonathan and Jody

Red: Susur, Marcus, Carmen and Tony


The challenge is a Tag Team Cook-off where each team will make one dish and each member cooks for 10 minutes, while the other members are blindfolded. Rick finds it ironic that he was the guest judge on the original Top Chef episode where this challenge took place. Jonathan is terrified of being blindfolded and doesn’t know if he will make it.


Red Team:  Tony goes first and wants to set the team up so he grabs basics like butter and olive oil. Carmen goes next and figures they are going Italian so she preps the fish that Tony has grabbed. Then Susur goes and starts adding spices and flavor. Last is Marcus, who decided to divide the dish into 2 separate dishes.


Blue Team: Susan thinks Rick is a fish guy so she grabs seafood for a seafood stew. Next, Jody interprets the clues and decides to get a sauce going after remembering Jen in the original challenge. Rick feels lost but thinks Bouillabaisse after trying the sauce, and then Jonathan comes in and works his Jedi magic by finding a pace and adding butter.


The finished product of the Red team is a Pan Seared Sea Bass and Prosciutto with Truffle Spiced Shellfish Broth. The critics aren’t convinced the dishes should have gone together.

The Blue team presents a Mussel and Scallop Stew with Orange and Fennel and Jay likes the scallops better but finds bitterness from the fennel. In the end the Blue Team takes the challenge.


The Elimination Challenge is upon them, and they stay in teams to find that they are doing Wedding Wars.  Susur is angry that they lost the Quick Fire challenge. The chefs have 12 hours, 6 hours the day and 6 hours the next day to pull together the wedding catering for 150 guests including a wedding cake. The bride and groom come in. The bride wants either Asian or French and the groom is meat and potatoes. The Blue team gets to pick and they go with the bride, which leaves the Red team with the groom. 


While they are prepping everyone is in the weeds. Marcus is in charge of making the beef for the groom and he wants something bold and seasons the meat liberally. Tony is worried that Marcus isn’t listening to what the groom wants, which is blander. Meanwhile, Jonathan is attempting to stack the wedding cake which is looking atrocious. Jonathan is concerned with Jody serving lamb which the bride specifically said she didn't like.


For the Blue Team the Hors d’Oeuvres:

Susan: Potatoes Bhajia with Mint Cilantro Sauce and Tamarind Date Chutney. The judges call it “perfection”

Jonathan: Red Pepper Pancakes with Smoked Salmon, Caviar and Lemon Zest. The critics call it “Very very good” but “a little too big to be bite sized”.

Jody: Pancetta and Melted Raclette Tart. It has“crispness” and is “easy to eat”


For the main course the Blue Team serves: 

Jody: Dijon Rack of Lamb with Rosemary, Farro and Autumn Vegetables. The critics say it is “cooked perfectly, and fabulous.”

Jonathan: Roasted Chicken with Tarragon Veloute and Cauliflower Puree. The critics call him “the chicken master”

Rick: Seafood Mixed Grill with Opah, Coho Salmon, and Swordfish on Sweet and Sour Eggplant. The critics feel it is overcooked.


For dessert, the Blue team presents:

Susan: Egyptian Semolina Cake with Berries and Cream which was dry.

Jody: Bananas Foster with Candied Pecans and Rum Caramel Sauce which was really special.


The Red Team’s Hors d’Oeuvres:

Marcus: Lobster Roll with Asian Pear which the critics called “bright and rich”, He also makes a Honey Mustard Cured Tuna which they called “sophisticated”.

Carmen: Jumbo Lump Crab Cake with Avocado Relish which the critics said could “stand up in Maryland, but was no more than a crab cake.”


For the Red Team’s Main Course they serve:

Tony: Flaming Ouzo Shrimp (which are “prefect”), Au Gratin Potatoes (“fantastic”) and Pasta with Fire Roasted Tomatoes, Capers and Feta (the pasta is overcooked).

Carmen: Roasted Corn Salsa (“amazing”)

Marcus: Roast Beef Tenderloin with Grilled Onion Ragout and Pomegranate Sauce which the critics describe as “mushy”.


For dessert, The Red Team’s “Ninja” Susur Lee creates a French wedding cake called a Croque En Bouche, an Upside down Raising Pudding with Butterscotch Sauce, a Chocolate Profiterole and Whipping Cream and the grooms Carrot Cake.


Overall, the Blue team takes the win. The Red team deals with Marcus’s mushy beef, Carmen not having enough food in the game, Tony’s overcooked pasta and Susur’s not-so-great Carrot Cake. In the end, Carmen Gonzalez ends up going home for lack of food.


Catch an all new Top Chef Masters Season 2: Champion Round next Wednesday at 10/9 c on Bravo.


(Image courtesy of Bravo)


Follow Chandra at http://twitter.com/ChandraClewley


For more Top Chef Masters, visit Sirlinksalot.net



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