Top Chef Masters
Date Night

Episode Report Card
Lady Lola: C | Grade It Now!
If Food Be the Music of Love...

Mary Sue is rushed to prepare her next course, and it doesn't sit well with her. After some shouting and a significant wait time, she presents her seafood stew of mussels and clams Portuguese-style with sausages and wine broth. Curtis enjoys Mary Sue's implementation of the spork, but Gael Greene wonders if the crouton is too crunchy for a romantic dinner. Naomi follows with her porcini-braised chicken thigh with sweet potatoes two ways. Other than being a little oversized, the dish is a total hit.

Everyone helps out with Hugh's complicated strip steak with broccolini, onion ring, celery root puree, and Bordelaise sauce. Overall, it doesn't disappoint because Curtis and Gail take their mind off the food to speculate over how many couples in the room will be "getting some action tonight." They even joke about Oseland's chances with his tablemate. Lest we get skeeved out, it's apparent that Gael Greene deems Oseland's chewing "not attractive, not seductive." Lest ye feel gipped, we get a vignette about Gael Greene's one-night stand with Elvis, after which he beckoned her to order him a fried egg sandwich. Ahhhh, romance!

Traci is the last cheftestant to present her food, a Pink Lady apple galette with whipped crème fraîche and underscored by the words "Je T'Aime" in caramel sauce. Victoria is impressed by the gesture but still doesn't get the full impact of the moment. Sucking the romance out of the moment, Curtis deems the tart too dry. Chris jokes with Victoria that the key to a man's heart is through his stomach. She hits back that the key to a woman's heart is diamonds. On that note, Curtis decides it's time for him to make his announcement. The mothers fan themselves and grab the tissues as Curtis says that there is one couple who is at the dinner tonight for very special reasons. Chris makes his proposal, and Victoria clutches her hands to her mouth. Luckily, Victoria says a resounding yes and rushes to kiss Chris and put a ring on it. The moms come out to congratulate their kids and at least a few of the cheftestants/judges (I'm looking at you, Naomi and Oseland!) tear up. Curtis presents the happy couple with a big old honkin' bottle of red wine as well as a trip to the Terlato family vineyard.

Bonus! All the cheftestants have evil alter egos. Mary's Sue is Margaret, Traci's is Tiffani, Hugh's is Hank... The only one who stays on an even keel is Floyd. Hopefully that's not some sort of sideways swipe against his cooking ability.

Critics' table begins as Curtis calls Naomi, Mary Sue, and Floyd to face judgment. Fortunately, these dishes were their favorites. Turns out, they appreciate how aggressively Floyd seasoned his dish, not to mention the fact that his shrimp appeared to be hugging one another. Oseland said it was startling in a good way. Gael Greene thinks Mary Sue cooked her mussels and spiced her seafood perfectly. They also appreciated the rustic savoriness of Naomi's chicken. But who was the favorite? Naomi wins $10,000 for Seed Savers Exchange, which brings her total to $25,000. Floyd admits he's tired of coming in second.

That leaves Hugh, Traci, and Celina in the bottom three. They head to judgment, where the critics agree that Celina's dish was disjointed. Traci stands behind her dessert, but the judges think something was missing and that the dessert was drier than they would have liked. Oseland deems Hugh's meat too chewy, though Hugh thinks he and his fellow bottom dwellers hit the nail on the head as to what the challenge was about. Asks Curtis, "So, Hugh, do you cook down to people." Hugh says, "You gonna pay the bill? Yeah, I'll cook down to you any time."

With no comment, the three are sent to stew while the critics deliberate. They think Celina could have done more with her pretzel and been less literal, plus they're confused why she decided to serve the pretzel with a salad. Hugh's dish is deemed unambitious and banal. Curtis takes issue that Hugh knowingly "cooked down" to the lovers. They thought Traci's tart had no "wow" factor and didn't demonstrate Traci's abilities as a chef.

With that, the critics have made their decision. Celina's dish wasn't cohesive. Hugh shouldn't have cooked down. And Traci didn't raise her dish to another level. But who goes home? This week, it's Celina, who will still get a donation to her charity. Celina admits she's bummed to be leaving, if only because she wanted to earn more money for her charity. Other than that, she seems pretty cool about her dismissal. I guess that's what happens when you go on enough of these shows.

Next week: Floyd ups his game and many face logistical difficulties as the cheftestants cook for an edible science fair.

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Top Chef Masters




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