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Top Chef Masters Recap: Slow Food Train Wreck at a Fast Food Restaurant

Last week Suvir was sent home for bitching about the horrors of eating meat and then making a bland veggie burger to clearly prove why one should still eat meat.

This episode is about fast food. The cheftestants walk into the kitchen to find food ingredients with prices on each item.

Quickfire Challenge

Blondie Curtis Stone (I like that they exchanged the usual hot woman host for a hot male host. I guess Bravo's Andy Cohen finally realized that straight men are probably not the typical Top Chef audience) asks the cheftestants, "Where can you get food cooked by a top chef with the ingredients equaling not more than $1?"

Apparently right here and right now, because the cheftestants have 20 minutes and one dollar's worth of ingredients to cook a delicious appetizer.

The cheftestants make:

  • Celina - Spicy carrot soup with lime shrimp
  • Mary Sue - Bacon, lettuce and tomato salad 
  • Naomi - Bread salad with tomato vinaigrette
  • Hugh - Lyonnais salad with poached egg
  • Alex - Spiced squid with garlic
  • George - Grilled calamari salad
  • Traci - Chicken Paillard
  • Floyd - Fricassee of shrimp with beef and tomatoes

The winner is Naomi's bread and asparagus salad.

Elimination Challenge

The cheftestants are only told they'll each be cooking for 100 people and these people won't have any utensils for this challenge.

Apparently, soup is out. Or so you'd think, right?

The cheftestants don't know what they're cooking for -but they're shopping blindly.

Hugh only can think of slaw. Slaw? With your hands? He says "Yes. We've all eaten slaw with our hands but it's done in private." Once again, I'm not sure whether to worship him or report him to the authorities.

Floyd is praying that there's a grill or sauté pan or something that he can cook in.

The cheftestants arrive at a place called Farmer Boys where everything is fresh made to order and yet it's some fast food restaurant. They'll work in two shifts - one shift cooks while the other calls the orders and serves.

George says he's bringing clams to fast food. I guess George never went to Brooklyn to eat fried clams at Nathan's. Or any other clam shack near any seaside town, for that matter.

Naomi is at the window first taking the orders and the cheftestants are failing horrible. Hugh, Celina and Mary Sue are cooking and the line is forming and forming...and the food isn't coming out of the kitchen and each side is blaming the other.

George is saying the he's not accustomed to working like this - Hey George shut the f**k up and cook - you volunteered to be on Top Chef. Hugh said cooking like this is like a famous architect not being able to make a house out of Lego (heh, heh).

Naomi is at the window when James Oseland walks into the restaurant and there's this huge line. James and Alex from Grubstreet order one of everything. They're number 98...and Naomi is probably serving number 5. Naomi takes off her headset while Curtis stone is waiting in a car. When she finally answers about six hours later, he asks for one of each.

The judges change places for the second shift. Now its time for Mary Sue to take over the window and Hugh takes over the cash register. Curtis goes up to the counter and to order everything while James orders two of everything at the drive through. George is slow cooking everything. James starts honking his horn. This is a train wreck.

James says George's food is the ugliest food he's ever seen. The cheftestants attempt to make:

  • Hugh - Banh Mi of Pork with watermelon feta salad
  • Mary Sue  - Skirt steak quesadilla
  • Alex  - Salmon fish taco (which is really a burrito)
  • Celina  - Some wrap - James says it's a pancake with stuff on it.
  • Traci  - Chicken burrito Verde
  • Floyd  - Chicken Frankies with cucumber (what's a Frankie?) 
  • Naomi - Rib eye steak sandwich with Caesar salad
  • George  - Pork skewers with chorizo and clam

Judges Table

Alex, George and Celina are called into the Judges Table. Their dishes were the least favorites. Danielle said Celina's wrap was more of an unwrap because it fell apart. George's skewer was poor, yet he sticks by his decision. Alex's salmon fish taco was more of a burrito and was too sweet. The losers are sent back to sulk.

Mary Sue, Traci and Floyd are asked to Judges Table - they're the favorites. Floyd's Frankie wrap was amazing - what the hell is a Frankie wrap? (Note: A Frankie is a sort of Indian wrap. Here's a Food Network recipe for a vegetable Frankie.)

The winner is Mary Sue (which is weird because hasn't she been at the bottom three every single week?)

So the bottom three Celina, George and Alex are back in front of the judges. By the way, I love that James Oseland tried to look like a normal person by wearing a plaid shirt, but succeded in looking like a human picnic. George is kicked off.

Next week: Running around in seven minutes. Caviar. Maroon Five. Rock & Roll. Tour Bus.

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Laine Doss is the food and spirits editor for Miami New Times, covering the restaurant and bar scene in South Florida. She has been featured on Cooking Channel’s Eat Street and Food Network’s Great Food Truck Race. Doss won an Alternative Weekly award for her feature on what it’s like to wait tables. In a previous life, she appeared off-Broadway and shook many a cocktail as a bartender at venues in South Florida and New York City. When she’s not writing, you can find Doss running some marathon then celebrating at the nearest watering hole.
Contact: Laine Doss

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