Top Chef Masters

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Mad Meals

It's verdict time! Curtis asks Kelis to name her three least favorite dishes. She calls out George's chicken and short rib first, because she considered the proteins an odd combination and thinks that broth is "show-offy." Floyd's overpowering salt in his meatball sandwich also landed him in the bottom, and the clashing flavors of Hugh's lamb and shiitake mushroom dish garnered him low scores. As for Kelis's favorites, Sue's classic pork belly and spaghetti combo, John's Vietnamese meatball, and the sweet and spicy blend of Suvir's tamarind-glazed meatball earned top marks. And the winner is... John! He takes home $5,000 for his charity Share Our Strength, which aims to eradicate child hunger by 2015.

Curtis tells the cheftestants that they'll be time traveling back to the '60s for this week's elimination challenge. He rolls out a tray full of covered platters and tells the judges to pick a fondue fork to determine which retro classic they'll be tackling. George gets chicken a la King, Sue draws duck a l'orange, Alex gets bread pudding (which he has never made before, that dessert luddite!), Floyd draws ambrosia salad (he's never even heard of it), Traci gets beef stroganoff, John draws oysters Rockefeller, Mary Sue takes deviled eggs, Celina gets coq au vin, Naomi draws grasshopper pie, vegetarian Suvir gets veal Oscar, and Hugh draws beef Wellington. Curtis introduces the guests of honor: Mad Men's Christina Hendricks and her husband, Body of Proof star and Garden State scene-stealer Geoffrey Arend. They both admit they hate '60s food, then tell the chefs they're hosting a cocktail party for 40 guests and ask them to create appetizer-sized reinventions of the dishes they've just chosen. Their only advice: "Stay away from Vienna sausages if possible."

The chefs hit up Whole Foods with 45 minutes and $200. Louisianans John and Sue are both really happy with their picks. Mary Sue played it safe last challenge, so she wants to step out of the box with her deviled eggs and try a Japanese approach. Floyd is still trying to figure out what his dish is and is repulsed by the canned pineapple, oranges, and cherries in ambrosia. With that, the chefs wrap up and head back to the kitchen.

With two hours prep time, Hugh vows not to be made a fool of twice. Suvir thinks he can infuse some flavor in veal Oscar by adding some Indian touches of cilantro, mint, ginger and shallots. Meanwhile, Alex is playing it safe for his first attempt at bread pudding. Celina hosts an American classics night at her restaurant and is, as such, very happy with the chance to rejigger coq au vin. Traci plans to deconstruct beef stroganoff into a tartare. Floyd has finally learned what ambrosia is and decides to make the old school gloop into a light and airy mousse similar to one his wife makes. With five minutes left, Alex sees everyone else running around like mad men (wah wah) and wonders if he's playing too close to the vest. On the opposite end of the spectrum, John is dealing with fresh oysters that he can't open until the day of the challenge so as not to spoil them, so he fears that things could take a turn for the disastrous when he gets in the kitchen tomorrow.

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Top Chef Masters

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