Last night began the finals of Bravo’s inaugural “Top Chef Masters,” and all I kept thinking was that if I was there in person, I would be more in awe than I was simply watching it. These six are some of the best chefs in the world, and here they were in the same room. Anyway, meet the contestants–Hubert Keller, Anita Lo, Rick Bayless, Michael Chiarello, Suzanne Tracht and Art Smith. There were similarities between some of them and yet each chef has a unique culinary point of view.
Their first (quick fire) challenge was another “Top Chef” favorite, the relay race. They divided into teams of three–Anita, Rick and Hubert against Suzanne, Michael and Art. The tasks were to shuck oysters, chop onions, cut up a chicken and then whisk egg whites until they hold for 5 seconds when the bowl is turned upside down. With four tasks, one person from each team would have to do two of them. The judge was “Top Chef” personality Tom Colicchio. Hubert and Suzanne faced off with the oysters and Suzanne was like a machine, making it look incredibly easy, but Hubert caught up to her eventually. Then Hubert and Art faced off with the onions and both were incredibly fast and efficient. Anita and Michael did the chicken, and Anita was a bit faster, but wow….I can’t even do this if I have an hour, and they were carving entire chickens in seconds. Finally, Rick and Art faced off with the eggs…they had to first separate them, and Art got hung up by having a stray yolk he had to remove from the bowl. But it didn’t matter…Rick whisked those whites into what resembled whipped cream in lightning fast fashion and he passed the 5 second test, giving his team the victory. That meant Anita, Rick and Hubert began with 5 stars, while Suzanne, Michael and Art began with 4 stars each.