The always entertaining Chef in the Hat, Thierry Rautereau, created taleggio and goat cheese morsels filled with olives, harissa and pear that he accompanied with a tiny arugula salad. I’m gaga for harissa, that North African chili condiment used a lot in European cuisine as a spread in tartines, so my hats off to Thierry, for that. However, my longing for a cheesier presence in his sandwich left me wanting more.
Lastly, chef Monica Pope’s voluptuous creation of salty feta and thick, mild farmer’s cheese with sweet dates on a buttery raisin nut bread blew me away. And orange blossom honey dressing on her salad? I’m salivating just thinking about all of it again. It must’ve helped too, that Monica had coincidentally been making lots of grilled cheeses with her daughter around that time, because even though her flavors sound like they’d appeal more to a sophisticated palette, I could see how kids would love her bold, delicious flavors just as much.
Deciding the winner was not easy.
Eating the Master’s creations alone – what with the chefs all waiting for me to come by, their warm grilled cheeses getting colder every second – is not a leisurely task.
Take a few bites, make mental notes.
Move on to the next chef.
Chew, chew, chew...Marcus is staring at me as I drink his gazpacho.
Munch, munch, munch.
Thierry’s smile is charming, but his eyes are searching for my reaction to his creation. It’s his first time making this grilled cheese, he admits.
Next table, next chef: Take a bite.
Quickly, the other sandwiches are getting cold!
It is a Quickfire, after all.
Thank you, that was extremely valuable and interesting...I will be back again to read more on this topic.
The title of your blog showed a definite lack of class and was really crude. Obviously, this was a cheap way to get the reader's attention.
You can be creative in your writing without being crude. You can do so much better.
And how about exhibiting a little warmth when you tell the Chefs to pack their knives and go? I know you are sincere and care about the chefs, but you need to work on your verbal delivery. It's pretty cold.
Hi Kelly-- I'm sorry but I have to agree with several of the other comments regarding your "cherry" comment. It was really off-putting statement, (I've been thinking about adding a comment for over a week if this tells you anything) I think you are very pretty and smart; however sometimes it seems you're trying too hard in the blogs. You however don't come across this way on TV so that's a great thing! I thought your blog this week was much more understated and well thought out. Hope you got to try a lot of delicious food this season! Love the show.
I am going to echo some previous comments in the hopes that Bravo will make a few changes. Would love to see the other guest bloggers back again ... previous TC winners, losers, etc. We've already heard a ton from the judges, don't really need more of the same. Although, I always do enjoy Tom's blogs. And I do feel the cold, rudeness in Kelly's voice - please pack your knives. There must be a more respectful way to dismiss these highly revered chefs. This is TC Masters after all. It's ok to have a distinction between the two shows. And, I was definitely disappointed with the Real Housewives judges. I hate when Bravo just tries to plug another show. Very tacky and didn't mesh well with the overall atmosphere. I was quite turned off by the nastiness of this episode. Glad to see the others weren't all so catty. I miss Hubert and Bayless.... could there be more humble gentlemen??!
I'm late in checking out the blogs for Season 2 so first off, it's great to have you and your blogs back in my universe.
As for the blog's title...jeez, people, lighten up. Here, maybe this will help. I popped my soul food restaurant cherry earlier this week. There, I guess I'm crude and vulgar too. So be it.
Soul Food!! It's much more than a sorta-bad '90's movie.
This episode inspired my lady and I to finally try the local Jamaican and Soul Food establishment, and we were not disappointed. The collard greens were the best I've ever tasted. The jerk chicken and jerk pork blew us away. The cornbread was so good we were tempted to just eat seventeen servings of that and call it a night. And for the first time, we tried curry GOAT. It was great! THANK YOU to "TCM" for inspiring us to try something new.
Marcus did what he had to do and I'm not going to rake him over the coals for not feeling the need to aid Carmen. It's a competition, and yes, it's a friendly competition but still a competition just the same. As another chef stated (I'm blanking on who actually said it), they're here for their charities, and the charity isn't named Carmen. With that said, I think her dish looked and sounded amazing and it was obviously fantastic because the diners loved it, and surely they had no knowledge of the issues she was having. I'm thinking I'll have to try making a yucca and bacon mash though...I had the yucca mash at a Cuban joint in Philadelphia not long ago and I loved it. Adding bacon to it? Hello, heaven!!
Hi Kelly. Great job on the show! No blog this week? Please, please, please, I truly hope the producers aren't messing with this show like all the other Bravo "reality" shows. If they are telling the Master Chefs to create more conflict I will truly walk. The reason I watch this show is for the food and to see adults acting like adults. I was disappointed this week to see the chefs dissing each other somewhat. Please, Bravo, don't screw this show up too!
Did anyone think it was strange that Carmen's stew sat out on that shelf overnight and that it was served to people? If I leave a stew out overnight, I throw it out. Did I miss something?
this quickfire was weak and easy. the normal contestants could have done this with on hand behind their backs, and i wouldn't put it past whoever formulates the challenges to not have them do just that someday. if you want these "masters" experiencing what top chef really is, challenge them!!!
It doesn't surprise me that there are people in this world who are too quick to judge on a person's choice of words without giving it much thought. Case in point, the title of Kelly's blog. It was purely a clever and metaphorical way of expressing how after agonizingly not being able to taste the quickfires from season 1 TCM, that she was finally given the chance to do so on this episode. The experience for her was simply sensuous. Readers would note that the rest of her entry contained no more elements of crudeness as some have indicated. To put it short, they judged the book by its cover.
Which brings me to Chef Marcus Samuelsson. Again, his choice of words have turned him into a "classless act". In the episode, we see him whispering something calmly to Chef Monica Pope after the winner was announced. In the next scene we see her in tears. There are those who would think that it was Chef Samuelsson's fault. But consider this, was he telling her a lie? Absolutely not.
I understand that it is nice to see camaraderie and professionalism among this group of elite connoisseurs of fine cuisine in this program, but all in all it is simply a competition. It is in the act of competing that viewers as well as the participants themselves bring out their own preconceived notions as to what is deemed proper behavior in a competition. To quote from a popular saying, "It makes for great television."
Season 2 of TCM does have some notable differences from that of season 1. I'm sure it is the hope of the producers to find ways of improving the show to make it continually appealing to viewers. As do all commercially manufacturers of any product try to do, devise ways of making their product better. I will continue to enjoy both watching this program and discovering all the popular and unpopular talent in the culinary world.
Cooking is a collaborative endeavor and has been an activity that brings people, families and communities together for millennia. It strengthens and even forges friendships. The kitchen is the heart of most homes, no matter how small or modest. Every restaurant kitchen is a seemingly chaotic yet highly organized team effort and behind every chef, good or bad, is a team that makes their efforts possible. Cooking is all about relationships.
This era of the celebrity chef is just silly and absolutely incorrect. It has bred the ego maniacs that abound in that world and especially in NYC and fosters the idea that only one person is responsible for a meal. Marcus Samuelsson's behavior is a perfect example of that. He is a very good creative chef and has successful restaurants and cookbooks and on and on, but as far as what type of person he is, he falls very short.
I get that it is a competition and they are trying to "win" money for a charity but it is also a chance for all these chefs who may have only ever heard about each other to meet for the first time or reconnect and have the opportunity to cook together. It's not Survivor. All the other chefs took time out of their prep to help Carmen and even though David Burke came across as a hard ass, he still helped. Marcus was the only one who didn't. A real lack of class. Donate money from your book sales if you don't want to let the charity down.
I live in NYC and am originally from Houston and Monica Pope is doing things for the Houston food scene that are way more inspirational and helpful to the community than any effort Marcus Samuelsson has done here in NYC. She is bringing the local/sustainable food movement to H-town and her Saturday farmer's market at T'afia is an serious event. And she is about building a community rather than being a superstar chef.
If Marcus wants to win, he should take a page from season 1 winner Rick Bayless's book and be humble and appreciative of his fellow chefs.
I don't mind Kelly's blog but the title is a bit risque. I didn't think it was quite right. Kind of gave a strange visual.
Kelly's blogs are always enjoyable to read! She goes into the details of what she is thinking at the time of each episode, and really provides great insight into the chefs and her viewpoint as host. Her attention to detail and sincerity is evident in each post. I read every blog she wrote in TCM Season 1 and 2 so far, and think she is fantastic!
Please please please get some guest bloggers on here. No one wants to hear from the critics (sorry, it's true). Bring on Harold! Casey! Get Tiffany on here! Let's here it from their perspective, as we did last year.
Kelly Choi is a terrible host on Top Chef Masters. She has an unearned sense of arrogance about herself. Even when she trying to be sweet it comes off snotty or rude. You could take some lessons from Padma. Despite your beauty and potential knowledge of food, your a complete turn off. Hope it changes!
The title of this is very inappropriate. I've never seen you anywhere else Kelly but I agee with the previous commenter that it's very crude. Not just for a food blog but for any blog.
You're an intelligent, articulate woman--why the vulgarity? It makes you seem like you're trying to relate to teenagers (or are simply immature), and diminishes your other fine qualities. Please lose it!
So far this season, things are askew. The chefs seem less masterful than last time. They are also more anonymous. The average viewer may not think an obscure chef from Oregon or Washington State is at the top of the food chain.
The scores are given in an odd order. How did you know that Carmen was the winner before the judges gave their scores? In addition, you no longer bother being respectful when you dismiss a losing "master". You just coldly tell them to beat it. Why reinvent the wheel? Last season, you were nicer to the losers.
Cherry? Really? Kind of crude for a food blog, don't you think?
Glad you finally got to try some of the QF food. It always adds a persoanl touch when the host actually gets to step into another aspect of the show. My wife was waiting for the "Ratatouille moment," where the chef who luckily stumbled on the taste evoking your childhood would win. I was waiting for the other side of that coin, where after you tasted all the sandwiches you would launch into a tirade. "What's wrong with you people? I asked for a grilled cheese sandwich! You never heard of Kraft singles? Wonder bread? Campbell's tomato soup? And where was my chocolate milk? I've been GOOD!" It's always interesting to see what a master chef will whip up in that situation, but some of them did seem to get a little busy.
Marcus is the only chef I recognized, having seen him as a guest judge on previous seasons of Top Chef. He always struck me as a rather classy gentleman, and I was worried that watching him cooking in such a pressured situation would reveal him to be more like a "Mos Chef" instead of a Top Chef. Alas, that seems to be the case somewhat, but I'm sure editing has a lot to do with that.
Every time you mentioned the "Chef in the Hat" I kept expecting to see Spike Mendelsohn. Of course, Thierry is the acknowledged master, and has obviously had the shtick longer.
Good for Carmen to pull a win out of such a bad mistake. Sad that Monica felt so badly about not continuing. Marcus seemed to really get under her skin. He had a point, though, and I like to think that only the chefs who actually had the time to help Carmen did so.
Is there a reason Bravo has not set up a message board for this season?
This ep felt a bit off the mark. The chefs seem more generic and less well known. Their attitudes and temperments were less mature, less professional. Marcus repeated his mantra, "this is a competition" to the nth degree. He even gave Monica Pope the most insulting good-bye present: his advice "to stay with her own dish next time". The critics were very stingy with their scores after lavishing compliments during judging. Even you sent each loser off with an unsmiling, unappreciative shove, coldly saying, "Please Pack YOUR Knives!" What ever happened to your warm, "It's been a pleasure to have you, but you'll have to pack your knives and go"? So far, I'm not liking this season.
After watching the preview for next week, I want to ask, why are you having the Housewives of OC judge these amazing Chefs food. These women were shown last season spitting out food from a top Las Vegas Resturant. They openly say they are not adventureous with food. Really what was Top Chef Master's and Bravo thinking? I am more interested in seeing what people who really enjoy food and respect food think of these chefs. The NY Housewives could have made a better judgement than the OC Housewives.