Top Chef Masters
Would You Like Fries with That

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Cheap Eats

Just as everyone is getting deeper and deeper in the weeds, the critics enter. Traci abandons her post as cashier and joins the back-of-house folks to help them get it done. James Oseland and Alan Sytsma hit up the front-of-house and order one of everything, while Curtis and Danyelle Freeman visit the drive-through to do the same. Unfortunately, they do so right as Naomi takes her headset off to help the front-of-house folks deliver their food. Curtis finally honks his horn and gets her attention. She knows she screwed up.

First off, the judges find Hugh's bahn mi of pork and liver pate with chili watermelon, serrano, and feta messy and a bit underwhelming. Mary Sue's skirt steak quesadilla diablo is a hit, especially the quinoa fritters and sweet pepper garlic mayo. They don't think Alex's salmon fish taco with fennel and apple slaw, and butternut squash fritters is taco-y enough, though the butternut squash fritter pleases Danyelle. Celina quickly realizes that the quesadillas and fish tacos are a hot sell over her lamb, pork, and garbanzo wrap with pickled cauliflower. And the judges' harsh criticism of its messiness and general lack of being an actual wrap, so much as a "pancake with a bunch of stuff on it" bears this out. Oseland says he thinks these chefs are so far doing an "okay" job but is looking forward to seeing what the next batch has to offer.

The judges and the chefs switch positions for round two. Alex takes on the role of runner, Mary Sue mans the window, Celina expedites, and Hugh works the cash register while Traci, Naomi, George, and Floyd prepare their dishes. Alex immediately takes issue with Hugh's bravado affecting his ability to run the register efficiently. It's not long before this batch of cheftestants is also in the weeds, which is of course exactly when the critics step up to place their orders. Hugh thinks Celina is doing a poor job as an expediter, and Mary Sue runs into some trouble with Oseland and Sytsma when she can't deliver their food within a minute or two. Things get dicey back in the kitchen, particularly when it comes to George's dish, and Oseland takes particular delight in tooting his horn in the car.

Finally, everything is served. Oseland deems George's pork and chorizo skewer with clam, cucumber, and olive side the ugliest food he's ever seen in his life, and Curtis thinks it should have been adapted when George was told what the challenge would be. Traci's chicken chili verde burrito with jicama sticks and tortilla chips is fist-poundingly good, according to Curtis, and worthy of a sit-down restaurant, says Sytsma. Floyd's chicken Frankie with cucumber, daikon, and grape slaw is an exemplary wrap. Finally, Danyelle thinks Naomi is on autopilot with her rib eye steak sandwich on ciabatta with Caesar salad and herbed croutons. She says only could someone with immunity decide to make a Caesar salad that even Curtis doesn't look sexy eating without utensils.

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Top Chef Masters

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