Brian Malarkey

'Top Chef' alum Brian Malarkey turns the tables on Top Chef Masters.

on Jun 18, 2009

Completely awesome to be able to watch so many of the chefs that are colossal figures in our industry compete head to head, tat-to-tat, foam to the throne!

... without the bells and whistles and witty commentary from the likes of Alton Brown and the dramatically lit Kitchen Stadium, stocked with all of the most talented cooks and chefs from their own restaurants with the common goal of cooking their food in a controlled environment, with priceless equipment, and word on the street a few hints as to what the secret ingredient may be (notice how they never huddle when the time starts to discuss “What the hell are we going to make?!”)

These 24 “Master” chefs have left the comforts of home to duel in the fast-paced, slightly comical, and always over-the-top realm of TOP CHEF! Nobody to help them, never enough time, and definitely no idea of where or what they will be cooking. For five seasons, Top Chef has been entertaining viewers by mind-warping countless numbers of up-and coming chefs with these Quickfire and Elimation Challenges that are more than likely never going to happen in the real culinary world. 

As a former contestant I love watching the big kids, the varsity players scramble, sweat. and cuss, but what I really like watching are some of the superstars own the challenges, thus defining themselves as true Masters.

The good, the bad, and the ugly from Week 1:

The Good: The Uber Hubert Keller killing it with the sweet little mousse and his comparing DJing to cooking in the fact that both require all of the senses. This guy rocks and I hope to be as cool as him when I grow up. 

The Bad: Michael Schlow melting as bad as his dessert! This reminded me of the very first challenge when you are so unaccustomed to the cameras. The speed and the nerves get the best of you.

The Ugly: Really not so ugly but sad – Tim Love was awesome and I hated to see him ride off into the sunset after having been bucked off with the frozen groceries, but getting back on and riding like hell!

Christopher Lee was smooth all the way, just not today against the man with the silver mane laying down the dorm room grooves!

Week 2:

Suzanne Tract: Wins with modesty and calmness, as she refers to it: “Simple Elegance,” going with comfort food when the challenge is “The Lost Supper” sealed the deal for her. What I learned from Top Chef is not to cook your own food to win but cook the food that fits the challenge, thus making you more versatile and more likely to be a master than a one trick pony. Cough Cough! Molecular Gastronomy!

Gram Elliot Bowles is my type of chef — passionate and funny, big flavor that isn't meant to be too serious.  A big guy that likes to play with his food!  All the best to his nephew and I hope he’s already had his transplant!

Elizabeth Falkner: Braised Jerky and Ice Cream, Boring Boar, Papaya Pudding – cancel my reservation! But cooking cookies when the stress is on was really cool! 

Wylie Dufresne: Hilarious, stressed, and very competitive! I loved watching him go home because I’ve seen him toss so many of my fellow Top Chef alum! He can obviously cook great chicken and eggs but he should have realized that he was “Lost” when he limited himself by pushing his molecular gastronomy approach. 

Let's pick who you think is going to win this thing:

My favorites are:

Uber Hubert of course
Rick Bayless
Douglas Rodriquez
Rick Moonen
Michael Chiarello
and
Art Smith!

Who do you like?

Until next week!