It’s good that we three judges of Top Chef Masters don’t get more than a glance at the competing chefs in the kitchen and can’t eavesdrop on their comments. I practically wept myself when I saw the tears running down chef Wilot Benet’s face as he spoke of the children’s hospital in Puerto Rico he hoped would benefit from his triumph with offal street food.
Of course I did believe that for some of these established masters and star chefs the most compelling motivation in playing the game with the risk of looking foolish was the $100,000 they could win for their charity.
If I had known Graham Elliot Bowles' nephew was waiting for a heart transplant, could I have voted for anyone else? I could certainly have forgiven Wylie Dufresne his coffee-dusted granola if I’d heard his touching responses about autism.
All I can say is I’m so glad we could be mean or nitpicky or bemused or betwitched based on the food and the challenge alone.
I gave my top vote to Rick Bayless because his tongue tacos were delicious – easy to eat without spilling, zesty with bacon and chorizo – and they were an easy sell with the crowd at Universal Studios. On winning, when he blurted out how happy this would make poor farm families, I was touched. But I couldn’t get Wilo’s tears out of my mind.
His Puerto Rican pita pocket was lush with both spicy mayo and rich cheese melted into cream. Maybe he was too carefully slivering the beef heart and pretty much hiding it in among the other julienned meats, and yes, it was a bit messy to eat. But I loved it too. Still I stick by my vote.
I just couldn’t quite take Ludo seriously. Granted, he had the toughest of the meats to cook and sell. He started out as the classicly-trained French chef cooking the rubbery appendages in court-bouillon. But then he knew he had to hide them. Did he really think he could toss off dozens of quesadillas from a street food cart, one by one, with a couple of hot plates. I had no idea till I saw the show why he chose quesadillas to hide his pig’s ear. He seemed to think it would be a double triumph if he could best Bayless at a Mexican dish.
Listening to the chefs again last night, I was struck by their competiveness, that determination to win for themselves as well as the charity. Getting to see them for the first time in the kitchen and the supermarket, I was amazed to see how supportive they were, helping each other, without ever compromising that drive to triumph. As everyone pitched in to help Ludo get his dish out in time, I am guessing each thought their own dish would take the vote anyway.
I have to admit had a special soft spot for Cindy – of course soft spots are not permitted but there it was: she was a woman who had earned her chef’s cred at a time when no one wanted women in the kitchen and she was the oldest, trying to keep up. I thought turning her tripe into menudo was a great solution — clearly the passersby at Universal weren’t afraid of her “Yummy Tummy” at all but we judges agreed it lacked depth and needed more cooking while Rick’s solution to the challenge – unarguably much simpler – was quite perfect.
How could you not like Ludo Gael?! We know he is great chef, and aren't all top chefs very competitive?
Rick Bayless is good too, but got a little lucky with the ingredients. And yes, who wouldn't love a taco with a little chorizo and bacon?
It's a fun show, and so far all of the chefs have only helped to increase their visibility in a good way!
Wow - this is more like it. These chefs make "Top Chef" contestants look like kindergarteners. Unbelievable skill and creativity with these Masters. Fascinating to watch.
Did you catch when Rick went to shake his hand and Ludo snubbed him? And Ludo is certainty not a master. Both his challenges he was a mess and horrible with timing!He is very LA. I say Rick Bayless is going to take it all!
You're not the only one who couldn't take Ludo seriously. The more he talked about "freaking out" and the fact that he was a French chef with his special technique, the more I wanted to see him off my television. "I can cook with pig's ear, I can cook with tongue, I can cook with tripe, I can cook with cow hearts. I'm French! OOH LA LA!" Ugh la la. He's the first guy who I think didn't belong here. He was like the French version of Coach from "Survivor". Anyway, having actually eaten cow hearts I was curious as to the comments of how they were made to be not chewy. I guess they really WERE sliced thin! I thought Cindy was going to score better based on all the comments and soundbites I had been hearing during the Universal feeding frenzy.
I wouldn't like a taco with bacon. I love bacon and love tacos even more. One time at El Cholo in Los Angeles I got the Tacos al Carbon, which has asada and bacon. I didn't like the addition of the bacon as the taco became too heavy, greasy, and salty.
Im so happy Ludo lost. What an arrogant poser. That guy is not a french chef. He was so ill prepared. Why the hell would you decide to cook something in a competition that you have never cooked before? Nobody thinks your cute, and your accent is annoying. BTW, I've eaten at Ludo Bites, and its everything you think it would be, pretentious, all asthetic, and no substance. Just like Ludo.
Did you see the episode that you missed here on Bravo TV.com? I didn't either...another network that fails to get the point of the internet.
I'm a prooud homosexual but Bravo might make me rethink my strategy in the future. Gays unite....if our network won't do it right let's make another!