Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Top Chef Master | Episode 4 Recap

On Top Chef Masters tonight the lesson learned was that you have to watch out for the quiet ones. The contestants for tonight's episode were John Besh, Mark Peel, Anita Lo and Douglas Rodriquez. The three male chef's seemed to be good friends and had a lot to say while everyone showed a great deal of respect and friendship towards Anita, she seemed to be very quiet and reserved and she let her cooking do the talking.

In the QuickFire Challenge the chef's were required to cook a perfect egg with only the use of 1 hand. This challenge proved to be more than John Besh could handle. He only got one serving of his slow cooked egg to the judges and they said that most of it was raw and one judge, Gail Simmons, commented that it had a taste of burnt grease. This earned him only 1/2 star. Mark Peel also had problems, forgetting to put the olive oil on his fresh duck egg pasta with egg and olive oil cream sauce. His mistake cost him also, netting him only 2 1/2 stars. Douglas Rodriquez made an open faced corn cake with scrambled eggs and ham. It seemed well received but still only got him 3 stars. The winner was Anita Lo who made soft scrambled eggs and shitake mushrooms with truffle oil and oyster sauce. She creamed the guys with 5 stars. This gave her an almost insurmountable lead and let everyone know that she would be very hard to catch.

The Elimination Challenge had them cook a dinner for actor Neil Patrick Harris and some of his friends at The Magic Castle in Hollywood. They each were presented with one word that they had to use as the theme for their meal. Each word had a connection between magic and cooking. The four words were Mystery, Surprise, Illusion and Spectacle.

Mark Peel had the word Mystery and chose to make a Tai snapper in parchment with garlic mashed potatoes and leeks. The mystery was the fish was wrapped up and you did not know what it was until it was opened. John Besh had Suprise and he made salmon tartare with cauliflower blini, salmon roe salad with horseradish and creme fraiche sorbet, that he made table side with the help of Neil Patrick Harris, and he also made tempura-fried lobster wrapped in smoked salmon. Douglas Rodriquez had to work with Spectacle so he went for a flaming coconut which seemed to fizzle for the guests and the critics. His dish was duck four ways: 1) oyster ceviche with duck broth, 2)empanada with fois gras with figs, 3)sliced breast with butternut squash and 4) duck soup with young coconut.

Anita Lo smoked them all with 22 1/2 stars to Mark Peel's 18 1/2, Douglas's 13 and John Besh only ended up with 12 stars. The other lesson learned tonight is that sometimes you can try to make too much and put too much on the plate rather than doing one thing and doing it right.

Tonight's Top Chef Masters was enjoyable even though there was no real drama because after her fast start Anita Lo became the one to beat and that was a challenge that none of the chefs were up to. For her win tonight Anita Lo won $10,000 for SHARE, a charity that works with woman with Breast or Ovarian Cancer.