- Message Boards
- Road Trip Snack Guide
Set in the hills of the Pacific Palisades, the Getty Villa is a modern day Mt. Olympus. Tall, sleek columns give entryway to grand pavilions anchored by a vast fountain, and outdoor courtyards are guarded by Greek and Roman figurines. Lovingly manicured bushes and flower gardens dot the ornately-tiled walkways. Busts of Artemides and Athena look on toward empty benches as if to beckon a visitor. This is a place where the Gods and Goddesses would surely like to play, and on this day, the site was the backdrop to where I revealed the final Herculean challenge to our Master chefs.
And what an emotional moment it was for me!
I don’t think anyone caught me blink-blink-blinking away the tears that welled up in my eyes when Michael, Rick, and Hubert walked down the steps in front of me. I felt like I had completed a lengthy journey along with these culinary virtuosos. Each chef had expressed
his cooking style and peerless technique while being gracious with their competitors. It was the perfect prerequisite for me to commission the Autobiography in Four Plates final challenge. Us diners were in for a meal that even Dionysus would revel in.
A BACCHANALIAN FEAST
The First Food Memory
An eye-opening treat, it was, to watch and listen to Rick, Hubert, and Michael tell the stories of their childhoods. Rick’s separate closet of dating clothes, Hubert’s laundry day meals, and Michael’s pasta-making; their pasts were expressed through their food so beautifully here. And the dishes – BBQ quail, a duo of gnocchis, and the baeckeoffe – were such intimate portrayals of THEM. While I loved the tales behind Hubert and Michael’s plates, my favorite of the three
was Rick’s quail dish. Tangy ‘cue’d bird paired with juicy sweet watermelon cubes was clean and flavorful. I loved it.
Becoming a Chef
Two words: Black mole. Here’s where I think Rick captured the title. I admit I have an infatuation with black foods – squid ink, black caviar, truffles, and portobellos – and I have always had an obsession for mole sauce. Rick’s version was spectacular. Umami-loaded, rich and velvety, it coated the plate like a mink blanket and complemented the tuna and starchy sweet plaintain impeccably. The nut crunch on top of it all showed Rick’s sensitivity to texture, too. I don’t know if I can eat mole sauce again unless it’s made by Bayless.
First Restaurant Opening
Rick called his cochinita pibil sophisticated, and it certainly was. Taking what some people might consider unsavory animal bits – pig’s feet and atypical pig parts – then fashioning a cake out of that and setting it atop of creamy sunchoke puree and adding pickled red onion
was a genius creation. It stood out from Michael’s bone-laden rouget as well as Hubert’s lamb with garlic in the center. As for Hubert’s dish, I found my piece of thrice-blanched garlic to be pleasant, while the other diners claimed their garlic to be too sharp. Maybe it’s the Korean in me, but I liked that part.
Thanks for a wonderful season. It was wonderful to see the top three chefs perform under extraordinary circumstances to produce beautiful dishes. I certainly hope that there'd be a Top Chef Masters season 2 soon.
Regarding crushes, I am torn between Chef Keller and Chef Bayless. Both are charming and good looking in their own right.
All three have aged gracefully but I've had a crush on Michael for years with his dancing, devilish eyes... I would have been happy with any of the three winning. It was fantastic watching them and even if you bring the show back next year, I think you may have already gotten the cream of the crop! Fantastic show!
This was an amazing show! For full disclosure I have to say I am Mexican living in the Midwest for 8 years now. I first tried Frontera Grill about 6 years ago, and I was speechless, not only because I couldn't stop enjoying the food but because I couldn't believe how good the food was! I never thought I could find fine Mexican cuisine in the US but I was mistaken. It brought me closer to home and I was so happy to taste great Mexican food on this side of the border. I started watching the show because Rick Bayless was in it, and I learned to appreciate the camaraderie of all the chefs and liked them all. I didn't think Rick would win, I thought the judges wouldn't think Mexican food couldn't be a winner, but at the end of last night's show I was jumping like crazy (like when the Mexican national soccer team wins a match). I loved watching all the cooking process, decisions, and surprises. Bravo for such a great show! (wish I could have been invited to eat at every episode!)
I hated this show to end, BRAVO to BRAVO for an exciting show. Please bring it back!! You are a beautiful gracious host & so lucky to have been in the company of all those accomplised chefs. The finale was so exciting, I called my daughter in Hawaii & brother in South Carolina to remind them to watch, we are all such big fans, and we get so excited just talking about the FOOD. All three chefs were winners for me, but my serious crush is Michael, maybe the macho thing LOL. Wish I could have tasted all those dishes they prepared, everything looked divine, THANK YOU AGAIN FOR A GREAT SHOW!!
Loved this show, hope Bravo decides to bring it back. The finale was the best, you guys did not disappoint. Wish I was there to taste all that deliciousness!!! You've been a beautiful, gracious host, and how lucky are you to be around all those great chefs. My big crush was with Michael, he is so charming and what a wonderful story teller. Please BRAVO bring this show back!!
Black food and velvet blankets - your writing in this post was luscious! I thought you were a great hostess - and I like garlic too. The final challenge was genius. It was moving and emotional and inspiring. How amazing that each chef expressed a link with a parent - mothers and fathers. We receive our first food from our parents and that love and care clearly motivated these men to love and care for others through food. I thought they were all very attractive. Hubert was humble and quirky and cool; Rick was sweet and cerebral and giving; Michael was intense and sharp and ornery. I was amazed that Michael's food memory came from his mother helping him with dough. Who would have thought? If I had to marry any of them, I would probably marry Michael. But I always choose bad boys and live to regret it.
Thank you, Kelly, for doing an outstanding job as host. I really appreciated all your insights and discussions about the food we did not have an opportunity to taste.
I LOVED the premise of the last episode, which really gave these chef's an opportunity to express their personal stories and their passion for food. My hat is off to the person who came up with this brilliant idea! No gimmicks or tricks, just the opportunity to cook and tell their stories through food.
My heartthrob has always been Hubert Keller. Sexy and super talented Hubert. Can a master chef REALLY be that genuinely kind and nice? Yes, he can, if it's Hubert Keller. What an extraordinary person he is. However, I'm not sorry that Rick Bayless won. I think Rick won for his super bright bold Mexican flavors, creativity and risk-tasking. Bravo Rick!
Kelly, I hope to see you again. Thanks for everything!
Kelly, You have the most beautiful writing in your blog! Your writing really expressed in pictures so vividly the dishes that you had with all your senses as if I could taste it! I felt like I was watching 3D Smellavision/Tastavision from your blog! WOW! You should get a critics award for your writing! I know you were not a judge, but your writing blog was brilliant and as colorful and sensual as the food you enjoyed! You are the BEST!!!
Kelly, My husband and I have always enjoyed your shows about NY secrets and NY food. We were very happy to see you as host of this show. We hope TCM comes back and that you are the host!
I have always had a crush on Michael, but Rick & Hubert are really attractive too.
Kelly, beautiful writing! By far, you have the best posts I've ever read on Bravo. You definitely personify brains plus beauty.
I was so touched by the chefs' dishes and thoughtfulness to the challenge. This finale kicks any TC finale's butt. I was surprised Michael beat Hubert. I agree, the garlic would've made me love the dish more. love garlic. But I wasn't surprised by Rick. He's been so consistently good and I've always loved his food. Congrats Rick!
TOP CHEF MASTERS SEASON 2! Wonder who'll show up next. I have so much respect for the chefs who sign up for this show. They have nothing to prove but they still risk a little ego hurtin'.
Hi Kelly, I enjoyed watching the show and looking forward to watching it every Wednesday, I am a fan. I was rooting for Hubert, but I know Rick will run away with the title. My only wish was that when you brought in some previous top chef contestants and winners, it was great, the only one I don't like is Dale, he kind of disrespect Michael, Dale is a rookie and Michael is a master chef, I think he needs to apologize to Michael and change his attitude toward other chef. I personally think Michael deserved better than how he treats him, its a disgrace. My other thoughts was that, the judges know who their favorite and the vote can swing the winner. I think it would be fair to the chef, if the scoring system is different, like after the deliberation judges should write their score in a card and after you announced the diner's score, then the judges can show the score. Thank you and hope to see the next season. ML
Classy, well-done show, especially the fantastic finale. We felt honored to watch it! The finale was was a pinnacle of food tv and certainly the most classy hour of reality tv ever shown. We're very happy Bayless won and look forward to tasting his food some day. We also really appreciated his Frontera charity - how brave and refreshing that someone chose a charity that provides starter funds for the recipients to use to grow (literally!) and succeed by their own merits, instead of a charity that simply provides services! But in our hearts we were rooting for Keller - a class act and a joy to watch during the entire series.
I have to say that Rick is my favorite because he is so nice! So humble and so calming. Hubert had some of those qualities too.
I agree with most of the other posts, I really appreciated the professionalism and lack of rudeness and ego you get from the other chefs on Top Chef. Perhaps it is the maturity of the Masters or that they don't have to prove anything. In the future and I sure hope there is a second season, you might consider keeping the Dales out of the show. That was really uncalled for.
Loved the show!
I love your wardrobe Every dress is a dress I raally want to own. I think Bravo's designers should copy and mass market affordable copies of your dresses. I would buy every one. They are unique, beautiful and difficult to match. I enjoyed the program very much. The grace of the master chefs inspire.
Kelly, What a wonderful series!! My husband and I never missed a program. I initially was so sorry that none of our chefs that were more connected to American cooking (my interpretation but said differently by Jay in his blog) made it to the finals. (Where was Paula Dean???) You ended with Old World French, Old World Italian, Old World Mexican and the week before Old World Asian. Is this due to more worldly palates and Judges?? I think so. I also think Old World Mexican/Hispanic food has skyrocketed in our country and I think Rick winning has proven this and definitely goes beyond Jalapenos, Tacos and Guacamole and moved into the ancient and old world way of cooking these foods. I find this totally amazing!! Way to go Rick! Beyond being Chefs these three finalist were 3 of the most genuinely kind and hard working chefs for their charities. What great GUYS!!!!!
Michael Chiarello has a very impressive resume and I'm sure he has worked extremely hard to get to the superior accomplished level which he is now at. It's obvious that he is a very talented chef and should be proud. That said, his attitude is unappealing. He seemed disgusted any time he was asked to work with, or be judged by, younger chefs. It was an unattractive trait to watch.
In our house you're our pick for hosting Top Chef. Loved Top Masters and the humble chefs who all had great sense of humor. Have watched Top Chef from season 1 but liked Master even better, you can have good drama without people being horrible to each other.
I picked the three final chefs as my favorites from the first show.They all are winners.Their food was wonderfully done and the regard they had for each other was a joy to see. Dale showed so much disrespect to Chef Michael. He had a lot of nerve as these chefs have worked so hard to get where they are.I enjoyed this show and I thank them for a great job.Any one of them could have won but since Chef Rick did I'll say "Bravo" to a great Chef and a great human being!
When Rick Bayless said he was going to make Black Mole- Mole Negro, I knew he was going to win it because I have tasted Black Mole and it really is black gold. It is the best tasting stuff! Im sure Rick's was even better than the Black Mole I had in LA at a Oaxacan Restaurant. Im so happy that Rick won!!! Congratulations!
I loved all of your clothes and jewelry on the show. Can you share who makes the cute necklace with silver circles in different sizes on it? Loved you and the show!
If you do not have another series of Top Chef Masters you must be mad,mad,mad!` This was so very marvelous I must have watched each episode at least 3 times. I thought Micheal should have won=but ces't la vie!!
Love the series... the host on the other hand is atrocious and should absolutely not come back next year. She is flat, seems to know nothing and really offers nothing to the show. If you are thinking of using her as the replacement for Padma in the next year it would be a big mistake.
I wish I could find something nice to say about the host but alas I can not...
Kelly - you are beuatiful and gifted and I worship the ground you walk on. I hope you send a chunk of your bravo paycheck to Arick Wierson; he must have be some sort of TV genious for plucking you out of obscurity. Your asension to the throne of Food broadcasting is incredible ad I wish you the best of luck.