Last night on Bravo was the final preliminary round of “Top Chef Masters,” and next week begins the finals, in which one chef will be voted off each week until someone is crowned Top Chef Master. And last night, more so than in previous episodes, there was a lot of love and mutual respect going on between the contestants…..Jonathan Waxman of New York City, better known as the dude who trained Bobby Flay; Roy Yamaguchi of Honolulu; Michael Cimarusti of Los Angeles; and Art Smith of Chicago (better known as Oprah’s chef). You could already sense that this would be a very competitive round, and it was.
Their quick fire challenge was to create a dish with just $20 and the use of a single aisle at a grocery store, drawn randomly. Jonathan drew the aisle with canned veggies and dried beans, and wound up making a red pepper and lentil salad. Art had the rice aisle and made a risotto with crispy rice salad. Michael had the baking aisle and made a chocolate parfait, and Roy had the pasta aisle and made an Asian style spaghetti with an egg on top. The judges for this were Whole Foods employees, and they liked just about all of the dishes, but loved the chocolate parfait the most…..even after Michael claimed to not be much of a dessert expert. So Michael wound up with 5 stars, Art 4.5 stars, Roy 4, and Jonathan 3.5…all of which would go toward their final score.