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I've got a major girl crush on Elizabeth Falkner!
Seriously, how cool is that woman? I'd like to chill with her in a beer garden come summertime over a cold hefeweizen and some brats smothered in stinky sauerkraut. Her and her swinging samurai sword move when she entered the Masters kitchen was BADASSS!!
And the other amazing chefs on this Lost Supper episode: Wylie Dufresne, Graham Elliot Bowles, and Suzanne Tracht, also blew me away as soon as i walked out into the kitchen and felt their charged energy.
This class of four culinary mackdaddys were incredible. I knew Graham by reputation and name, but i was in awe of him as soon as i saw him on set. How cool is he? Cool as a cucumber under any circumstance, pushing boundaries, and always cooking what he wants. Punk rock, did he call himself? Yeah, that works.
Although I know Wylie Defresne from my work in New York, it felt excitedly different seeing him in the Masters domain. A cerebral and thoughtful chef, my palate was ready to be challenged.
Suzanne Tracht is intriguing to me because she's not an in-your-face kind of cook, but her food is where she really expresses her quiet, yet assertive genius. It's where she lets her hair down. Her style of cooking is bountiful and luxurious, but she also goes in straight for the kill; this woman knows what to put on the plate to make your taste buds swoon.
Now, to the vending machine Quickfire! When we were shooting this part, the dusty old vending machines kept screwing up, and it made for some hilarious, but awkward moments. Wylie was up first. He slotted his quarters in, chose his ingredients, but the stingy machines would not drop his food. Either that, or they would get stuck in the machine, and then he'd look at me, and I'd look at the crew, and it was like, "Uhh, ummm .... What now?" Many a what-now moment and kicking of the machines passed before our blind taste-testers and former Top
Chef contestants were able to try their dishes. I hope it came across while watching (so much wickedly funny content gets left on the cutting room floor), but Ilan, Betty, Michael, and I all had a blast during the tasting. Michael, you are a riot!
The Elimination Challenge dinner was great fun cuz everyone was anticipating a stellar presentation. The Lost show's producers and writers were really into their challenge, and by the way, these diners are big-time foodies! We spent a good amount of time debating our
favorite Los Angeles restaurants before our masterful meal.
As far as the chef's winning dishes go, Graham's finest portion was his coffee-crusted seared tuna loin. Totally innovative and refreshing, just like Graham. Does anyone wanna meet me in Chicago to eat at Graham Elliot? You can just tell the guy loves exploring his culinary possibilities.
Elizabeth's braised wild boar was absolute finger-lickin' tastiness. I wanted to pick up the meat slices with my hands and schmear it through the sweet papaya yam pudding, which I adored. Critic James Oseland didn't like what he called its baby food-consistency, but I love
creamy textures, so i thought it was divine.
I will never, ever forget Wylie's chicken and egg dish because his banana mustard sauce was TO DIE FOR. It might sound odd to pair the two ingredients, but the tangy mustard combined with sweet banana was flat-out brilliant. I now make different versions of that sauce
whenever I think of it. One of the greatest things about Wylie's cooking is that he thinks off-the-radar, for sure, but he remains steadfastly true to his mode of cooking. Elimination Challenge or not, what the diner gets is total Wylie.
When it was Suzanne's turn and she told us that she was conjuring Christmas Dinner for our Lost Supper, she practically sealed the deal right then. Her plate of food was generous and celebratory, and she seduced us all with her harmonious use of exotic island ingredients.
Lobster, uni, risotto, boar, chardonnay sauce; lots of components that made a singularly knock-out course.
I think the best part of the Lost Supper episode was watching the sincere camaraderie between these Masters. Graham's and Wylie's competing/playing up to each other was super cute. And I'm happy to report that the impromptu chocolate chip cookies that Elizabeth baked
up in the few minutes in between Critics' Tables were some of the best I've ever eaten. She uses a bit more salt than typical — but the PERFECT amount — to make a glorious cookie. For you all who are able to go to Citizen Cake in San Francisco, I envy you!
Makes me wanna eat some desserts right now. Let's see what treats I can scrounge up in my teee-nee kitchen ... bananas, mustard, hmmmm ....
Great Blog Kelly, I'm really enjoying the Top Chef Masters. Top Chef began to become stall season after season, so i'm enjoying the change of pace. kom-sam-me-dah
Nice blog post, Kelly. It served as a nice complement to the what was stated on the show.
The downgrading of food because of texture seems a bit puzzling to me. While I would most likely be turned off by food that had a slimey or prickly texture, I don't see how one could be turned off by food that tastes smooth and creamy (aka "baby food" - like), especially if it tastes good?
Kelly! i totally love you and your show Eat out NY!! i saw you once in crate and barrel and wanted to say hi but was too afraid! you are so beautiful in person and you have such great energy on your show!
Great blog post- I too am enjoying this show- and congratulations to Suzanne- big fan of hers and her food and her attitude. Hats off to your 'girlfriend' kelly too- her charity, edible schoolyard is outstanding and excellent way to get kids to understand the benefits of growing organic food. Thanks!!
oops- meant to say Elizabeth, not Kelly. Go Edible Schoolyard! FYI- 60minutes did a piece on Chez Panisse and Alice this past weekend. Here's the link to video- mentions edible schoolyard as well! http://tinyurl.com/nxf63r
Love seeing these professionals enduring what the cheftestants have to go through. But, gad, Betty AND Ilan? If you're going to bring on former cheftestants, make it the ones that were liked! I could care less what they thought about the meals. They lost my respect on Season 2.
What the crap! This show is not deserving of the title Top Chef. It has nothing to do with the show, where is Tom and Padma? Who in the world is this new host? It's a food show and she never eats, on the few occasions that you do see her eating, she looks like she has a mouthful food and doesn't know what to do with it. These chefs have already made their money and their reputation in the food world so there is no desperate quality to the show anymore. This is NOT Top Chef, this is a poor excuse for a spin-off show of Top Chef.
awesome writing! i'm really loving the show and you are a breath of fresh air for sure! i wish i lived in ny so i could see more of you on tv
kelly, you and your blog are great! go korean women!! love the show and wish they'd show more of you. i hope they do many more seasons of top chef masters with you as the host and the same cast of critics. such a great program!!!