Last night on Bravo’s “Top Chef: Las Vegas,” the remaining 12 contestants were asked to rough it, literally. But first, a unique quickfire challenge that would be judged by special guest Tim Love, who was a contestant on “Top Chef Masters” and owns Lonesome Dove Western Bistro and The Love Shack in Fort Worth, Texas. The challenge, as voted on by TV viewers, was to cook something using a unique ingredient–cactus. Thankfully this beat out the other two possibilities–rattlesnake and kangaroo. (ewwwww).
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Last night was the premiere episode of “Top Chef Masters” on Bravo, a spinoff of the extremely popular “Top Chef” show that recently completed its fifth season. As we reported on Monday, this show pits four established, top-notch chefs against one another six weeks, and then the six winners compete against one another for a few more weeks, with one elimination taking place each week until the master is crowned.
The first episode featured Hubert Keller of Fleur de Lys in San Francisco; Michael Schlow of Radius Restaurant in Boston; Tim Love of the Lonesome Dove Western Bistro in Fort Worth; and Christopher Lee of Aureole in New York City. Kelly Choi was the host and her first assignment for the chefs was to create a dessert dish for the distinguished palates of four girl scouts. They mostly cringed, with Schlow in particular admitting he had no formal training as a baker.
But they forged ahead. Schlow’s cakes literally flopped but he managed to put something on the plate. Love made a favorite of his daughters — strawberries three ways, including a “chicken fried” strawberry. Lee went with French toast cubes, and Keller won with his play on chocolate mousse and meringues — which he shaped into little animals. So he had a jump start in points with 5. Love and Lee had 3.5 each and Schlow started with 2.5. Those points would go toward their final score after the main challenge.
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If you’ve been jonesing for your “Top Chef” fix since Hosea was crowned Season 5 champ a few months back, you’re in for a summer treat–a new reality series called “Top Chef Masters.” Unlike the original series, “Masters” pits top-notch professional chefs against one another each week for charity, and then the winners of the first six rounds will square off the last few weeks of the season, with one chef being eliminated each week until someone is named Top Chef Master. That winner will receive $100,000 for their charity.
Guest stars and judges will include Neil Patrick Harris, Zooey Deschanel and Jeff Lewis, as well as “Top Chef” regulars Tom Colicchio, Padma Lakshmi and Gail Simmons.
The first episode airs this Wednesday, June 10 on Bravo at 10pm ET/PT and 9pm central and will feature chefs Hubert Keller, Christopher Lee, Tim Love, and Michael Schlow. Hosting the show is Kelly Choi, food journalist and creator/producer/host of “Eat Out NY.”
After watching a screener of the first episode, I can only say that I cannot wait to see more of this show and to see how it all unfolds over the course of the summer. It doesn’t matter if you’ve seen “Top Chef” before or not–if you’re a foodie, or if you just like good reality TV, you’ll want to watch this or season pass it on your TiVo. We’ll also be blogging the show each Thursday after Wednesday’s episode, so follow it all here on Premium Hollywood as well.