Last night was the fourth preliminary round of “Top Chef Masters” on Bravo, and the challenges are surely not getting any easier. For this one, the four contestants were Mark Peel from Los Angeles; Douglas Rodriguez, who owns several restaurants nationwide; John Besh from New Orleans; and Anita Lo from New York City.
Host Kelly Choi announced the quickfire challenge, and as they have been using some of the more interesting challenges from past seasons of “Top Chef,” they continued that by asking the chefs to create a dish with eggs, but with one hand tied behind their back. The judges were “Top Chef” regular Gail Simmons, as well as two other experts in eggs including a diner owner. Douglas went first and made a corn cake with eggs and ham. Mark, who said his dad was born with one arm, knew a little something about this particular “disability,” was a bit more ambitious, making a duck egg pasta with an olive oil cream sauce. Anita cooked the egg in its shell with shiitake mushrooms and truffle oil. And John made simple slow-cooked eggs, but he cooked them too slowly, because they weren’t done in the 25-minute alotted time.
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Don’t be shocked….I will get to the yuck part in a minute. But first, last night’s episode, the third in the inaugural season of “Top Chef Masters,” began with the introduction of the four contestants….Rick Bayless from Chicago; Cindy Pawlcyn of Napa, CA; Wilo Benet from San Juan; and Ludo Lefebvre from Los Angeles by way of France. Their Quickfire challenge was another favorite “Top Chef” challenge, the color theme, where each draws a color and then has to create a dish based solely on that one color.
Rick had green and made a roasted vegetable dish with green mole sauce over a banana leaf. CIndy drew yellow, and made a vegetable curry over yellow tinted grits with corn tortillas. Wilo had orange, and made a salmon tartare with carrots and orange edible flowers. Ludo had red, and made a beet gazpacho and steak tartare. But he forgot the tomatoes, and then the wait staff forgot his beet juice, at least temporarily. The judges, former “Top Chef” contestants, liked Wilo’s salmon the best, giving him 4.5 stars. Rick scored 4, Cindy 3.5 and Ludo 3. Ludo, the Frenchman that he is, was bitter in falling behind so early.
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