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To my Top Chef Masters Freshman Class:
Dear Michael, Art, Roy, and Jonathan:
I will always have a huge mushy spot in my heart for you four.
Though our episode is the last of the preliminary rounds to air before the Champions Round begins next week (they obv saved the best group for last), you all were the first crew of fresh-faced culinary badasses I met during taping.
And what a premiere day. I was nervous! Here I was, about to tell Oprah’s once personal chef Art, Godfather of Italian cooking Jonathan, King of Asian Fusion Roy, and Fish Whisperer Whiz kid Michael what conditions they were about to cook in, and with what. Say whahh??
When the PA walked me from the green room to the sprawling Masters Kitchen set that morning, I thought my heart was gonna pound out of my chest. ‘Wow, this is Hollywood!’ I thought. Bright lights, big expectations, tricked-up downtown studio in the City of Angels! My jitters, however, started mellowing as soon as you four walked in toward your stations oozing your confident dispositions. You guys laid down your knives and looked up at me in eager anticipation — like freshmen! Cameras roll!
Hungry readers, you know what the outcome was for these kitchen cook-a-lots: Aisle Trial Quickfire Challenge surprises master chefs, Michael takes that contest with his whipped chocolate parfait, and the Mystery Box challenge sets the stage for the finale of this episode.
What stands out the most for me was how much love and admiration these four had for each other. Each of them mentions it throughout the show, but that camaraderie was truly sincere, built on decades of friendship for some of these men. It made the dinner party at “my apartment” magical. You remember that bit that aired between the Quickfire and Elimination
contests? That’s what our intimate soiree got boiled down to for TV, but for the five of us, the
cameras seemed to disappear and we were lost in our feel-good time and savory delights. Roy grilled the steaks, Michael dressed the shrimp, Jonathan tossed a salad, and Art (aka Honeybear) baked a berry pie. I can honestly tell you that it was one of the best meals I had had during the past year. It was so much fun that even the camera crew wanted to stop working and play with us. If only we could throw a dinner party like that with each group of chefs every single time!
Kelly I have to know who you were wearing in tonight's final elimination episode. It was just such a pretty dress and I want one!
I too was so impressed with the camaraderie of these 4 awesome chefs! Many love the cut-throat competition, but this episode was such a breath of fresh air!
As far as the winner - all I can say is that this is the second Chicago chef to take all in the Masters.....Chicago is a culinary force to be reckoned with!!!!!!
First of all, I couldn't tell that was your first episode at all, you may have been nervous before it started, but it sure didn't show on screen. Secondly, this was the most amazingly fun episode of Top Chef (Masters or not) ever. This group of competitors was simply fantastic to watch and I'm sure a pure joy to be around. I knew Art Smith would be fun to watch, but I really was blown away by the respect and chemistry that the four chefs had for each other! As always Kelly, it's a pleasure to watch you host this show, you've done more than fill Padma's shoes, you've put your own twist on the job and have brought such great knowledge and passion to the show. I walk away cheerful and with a huge smile on my face after every episode, in no small part due to your work. I work a block away from Art and Soul so I know what I'm doing after work tomorrow, bring on the fried chicken!
I shouldn't be shocked tonight, but I am. Clearly everyone prefered Jonathan Waxman's dish and yet he was not put through. Was that a PC moment? Do we always have to have someone gay in the finals even if his dish was not that great or inventive? So where's the black man or woman if you are so PC? And to give top marks for fried chicken to a Top Chef Master. . .what? My God, my boyfriend could have won!!!!!!! He makes the best fried chicken I have ever eaten.
Kelly, I envy you your dinner with those four. Did you get to do the same with the other chefs?
Also, I'm dying to know, where did you get the dress you wore for the elimination challenge (the one with the circles all over it)? I loved it!
Kelly that red dress from tonight's episode (July 22) is just beautiful. Can you tell me who the designer is?
Kelly Choi, you need to be the main host of Top Chef! You blow Padma out of the WATER!!!
You are THE best!
Love the blog Kelly! I like the insights you give. I can only imgagine how awe-inspiring this particular job was for you. I would have loved to have seen more footage of the dinner.
But I have to say, for your first show, you seemed very at-ease with everything and like you had been hosting for years.
Hi I am a die hard fun of Top Chef Masters. Please bring Andrew Zimmerman on, I want to know if he cooks real food Frank
I so much enjoy you hosting over Padma. You seem so sincere and "uneffected". I am sooo jealous that you got to host the chefs at your apartment. I would have loved to have been there. Wish we could have seen more footage of the meal that was prepared.
love you on the show! i don't want masters to end! is there a season 2 lined up? b/c my friends and i want to see more of you. why'd i leave nyc?! i wish we could see more of your food knowledge and loveable personality on top chef like i did on eat out ny. p.s. thanks for the engaging blog posts.
I'm going to miss the camaraderie amongst all the contestants and judges when this show ends, because I have a bad feeling the forthcoming Vegas "Top Chef" is going to be sauced up by the producers to "Real Housewives" levels of drama, trash and stupidity...
Anyway, Art's win doesn't surprise me per se, because he's about as TCM as the definition gets, but I think I was surprised about the simplicity of what he served getting such high marks. That's not to say his win wasn't deserved, but I would have expected some more of something new in this competition.
Cannot WAIT for the final rounds!
Kelly, The food has all looked amazing, but the clothes that you are wearing are to die for. The flowered dress two weeks ago looked perfect. Most of the shows on Bravo involve hosts in things that I would not be caught dead in, but I have loved every single outfit they have shown you in. Do you get to shop for your own, or is there a buyer for the show? I have to know!
I wished the dinner party at "your apt" was shown a bit more (at least a couple of mins). this should've been done for the other eps too. just seeing the masters and you conversing and getting to know each other over great food really got me excited. i can't believe this was your first ep. you're very eloquent and seem down to earth. keep up the good work, kelly!
Kelly, I LOVE the show and could watch it forever.I think it would be alot of fun for you to have the chefs try cooking for a school lunchroom so they have to change their ideas and make something kids would eat.
Kelly, I love the show and could watch it forever. I think it would be fun if you had the chefs cook for a school lunchroom, that way the chefs would have to make a nutritious meal that LOOKED appetizing so the kids would actually eat it.
A fan of the show and you are simply delightful! I went ga-ga for that Black with turqouis border and Gustav Klimt-ish embellishment!!! Looks like a collection Galliano did for Dior. Whose is it?! XOXO!
I love the show and you are simply delightful!
I went ga-ga for that mod black with turqouise detail and Gustav Klimt-ish embellishments!! Whose is it?
Keep up the great work! XOXO. Tatiana, San Juan PR
Kelly, Love the show. Can't wait to see who wins.
In watching the judging, I can't help but wonder how the comments might be different if the judges didn't know who made the dishes. They often put their comments in terms of what they expected that chef's food to taste like.
it's an interesting idea, but not sure if it works to incorporate it for next season. It's more of a test for the critics i guess.
Thanks for a great season. -Mike