Anita, Art, Hubert, Rick, and Michael had to fashion their ultimate burger accompanied by a side dish. I don't get to taste any of the Quickfires, but it shouldn't be a shocker when I tell you how so very much, more than ever before than in prior episodes, I wanted to chomp
into those fat, juicy discs of cow. Except for Anita's; my heart broke for her when the hungry guest judges commented how unsatisfied they were with her burger soup. It made me wonder, had Anita not paid attention to who her diners were? Three dudes expecting to chow down
on oversized red meat bombs would never be happy with a teensy bowl of burger bites swimming in cheesy liquid. Morgan, Spike, and Sang — all hamburger experts in their own rights — didn't hold back with their displeasure. Ouch.
Fast Forward to Critics' Table.
When our Q&A began, I didn't expect to feel so stifled and uncomfortable two hours later into the session. We critics began to get attached to the final Champions Round chefs without realizing just how much until the instant comes for me to dismiss someone. Left standing at the end were Anita and Art, and one of them was about to be canned. Art had been thrown into the icebox with his strawberry rice milk soup, reprimanded for not making his own ice cream. He didn't want to conjure something he wasn't well-rehearsed with, Art explained, for fear that his diners wouldn't experience a yummy meal. For Art, food is love, and bad food wouldn't be lovely.
And then Anita seemed to detach herself from those last moments, bruised by the critique of her oily eggplant and rigid lentils. Taste was personal, she had said, and Anita took her criticisms very personally.
When I announced the final scores and Anita realized she wasn't the one going home, she looked waaaay more surprised than Art himself. It was sad to see "Honeybear" Art dismissed, and he took my proclamation well. Everyone at Critics Table agreed that the kitchen wouldn't be the same without his baby brother charms, but we knew it had been a fair result.
How did you guys feel after the conclusion?
Don't forget to comment here, and tweet me, too: @KELLYCHOI. (I can't believe only TWO more episodes remain from this season!).
Art was a lot of fun, but it did seem like he was the one that should have gone home. Despite Anita and Michael having one the elimination challenges, this looks like a two-person race between Rick and Hubert. I'd be happy if any of the four to win, but I'm pulling for Rick.
I understand Art not wanting to make something that he couldn't make well, but who told him he had to use ice cream in the first place??? Seemed like a weird defense for buying a product that didn't taste good.
I thought the right person left, though Anita looked totally defeated. And MAD! Her dish looked dull and unappetizing. That said, I thought Art's 'rice cream' was worse.
Whoever picked the judges for the quickfire need to be fired! Would have loved your input on the burgers. Not fair that you couldn't have a taste.
Glad to see Art go--he was out of his league. Anita's way better, but didn't have her head in the game. Hope she recovers, she's my fave. All of the final 4 are awesome though. Fun to see these great chefs do their stuff!
Quinoa is a high-protein grain. You can cook it just like rice. Cute little tails pop out when it's done. Good stuff!
For me, it's just too hard to tell who'll go home each week. In the orig TC, it was clear who the weaklings were and who'd be left standing. But it's very blurred in masters. Who the heck will go next week?! They're all so strong. I think it's one of my reasons for loving TCM over TC. The other reason is b/c NYC's lovely Kelly Choi is hosting! Come on TCM! Let Kelly try the quickfires! I couldn't imagine how torturous it must be having to just watch the judges devour those dishes.
Quinoa is a grain that is grown in the Andes (I think). It is one of the highest protein grains and therefore is quite useful to vegetarians. It's quick and easy to cook, and you should be able to find it at most supermarkets (check next to the rice).
Ok, here goes with the info on quinoa. It is pronounced keen-wah and was a staple of the ancient Incas who called it "the mother grain". It contains more protein than most other grains and it's used as an alternative to rice or couscous as a side dish. I add it to soups and salads. I love it and it is wheat and gluten free. It's very easy to make also. Don't forget to rinse it before cooking. Try it you'll like it. I felt really bad for Anita. She mentioned that she didn't sleep well the night before so I don't think she was on her game. Love Rick, Michael and Hubert. They are very special guys. Oh, Kelly, you are the best!!!!! Keep on eating girl, you have to feed that habit!!
Good show. What normal human doesn't love a burger. I am addicted two your show. Wish Art would have lasted longer. It is so cool that you let Gael Greene wear your clothes. Your hats especially!! Twitter is down & I am missing my sexy food talk. What are favorite food joints out here in LA. Good Food 2U, Good things 2U, Good Day 2U and Good Bye 2U. TC
Only two more episodes left! Kelly! Please say you're coming back! I've seen u on NYCTVOD and ur more than qualified to have your own nationally broadcasted food show. Let's have an EAT OUT AMERICA so NYC can't hog you.
WTH happened to Anita this week?! I've loved her creativity throughout the show. But that ugly, depressing brown plate just looked awful. I'm hoping she gets some sleep and comes full force next week. I miss Art...
No! Art! It's always sad when a chef has to go home for something they're not proud of. After seeing Anita's performance, i'm thinking Rick will take the crown.
P.S. Kelly, my family and I love you and I love reading your blogs! For those who've never seen Kelly on her other shows, she's incredibly knowledgeable and fun to watch. It's a shame they don't utilize your qualifications more.
I think the right four are left in the competition. Any one of them are worthy of the title but my personal fave is Hubert...
To have this class of chefs prepare a VEGAN meal is such an unbelievable waste of time and talent. No disrespect to vegan food preparation, but its just too specialized (and limiting) of a skill set. These are some of America's very best - this challenge gave them virtually NO opportunity to display their talents.
Boo Top Chef!
I don't know why Top Chef won't do a Top Raw Vegan Chef. It exist and it would be great for the raw vegan community to have something to watch on tv!!!
I didn't want Art to go home but didn't want Anita to go, either. They are both so talented. But I also think they have both learned how tough the top chef competition really is, and how hard it is to stay on-site together and cook in a competition day after day. Everyone ends up having a less-than-good day at some point.
At this point, my wager would be on Rick Bayliss to win the whole thing.
Is the recipe posted for Art's brittle the one made for the show - including the banned butter? Or is there a substitute that's properly vegan?
I'm not understanding why you are all discounting Chef Michael's ability. Sounds like Ivy league Elitist snobbery to me. He has acquired two (2) emmys for his outstanding TV shows about the Napa Valley here in California and I believe has also received one or two other awards (James Beard - F & W best chef etc.). My money's on him. I do believe anyone of these remaining Chefs can win this. Each of these last 4 Chefs are super stars. It is and will certainly be great fun. Kelly, if you have any influence with the producers, tell them we want TCM Season two. About sweet Art ... heaven knows I'm no expert, but he just seemed out of his league although he tried to talk himself into the correct mindset. Nevertheless, he was fun to watch and a joy to get to know. Can't wait 'til next Wednesday ...
THANK YOU BRAVO for showing how difficult it is to make something gluten free! Throw vegan on top of that and wow, what a challenge. I am gluten intolerant and would love to see all recipes posted. For the person who wrote that Michael did not deserve the win, PLEASE purchase some gluten-free pasta and cook it yourself. There are seconds (or less) from success to mush. Wheat/semolina, etc. pasta is far more forgiving than gluten free. I am disappointed by the people at the table, especially Zooey (who is so cool) that they did not comment how hard it is to cook that pasta to get it right. Kudo's to Michael for cooking it, and especially cooking it al dente. If the judges knew how hard it was to cook it that way they would have even been more impressed. Tears for Art going home. His personality rocks but it does seem like the right 4 are there. Based on the previews next week I hope Michael does not get sabotaged.
I loved this episode! You could tell cooking vegan really challenged these top chefs. It was kinda disappointing hearing some of gael and jay's comments about vegan. But, it was so nice to see and read about how kelly and james embraced their vegan dishes. I totally agree that vegan can mean culinary bliss. Great article kelly!
I love this show! I love that these chefs were willing to participate in Top Chef. I was a little worried that it was a new cast at first because I'm an avid Top Chef viewer. But Kelly, you're wonderful, and the new judges are great! (Although I do miss Tom). What a great show and I am looking forward to next weeks episode. Oh, and I do think that the panel of judges has chosen the proper finalists. These are the best of the best! (Looking forward to eating at Hubert's restaurant next week when I go to Las Vegas!!)
What's with the butter in Art Smith's brittle recipe? It would be nice to reproduce, but that ingredient makes it useless for vegans. (I hope he didn't use that recipe in the show!)
Thanks for the vegan challenge! Jay--saying that poor vegan eat only beige! What color are carrots, tomatoes, and broccoli compared to chicken, turkey, and fish? My only guess is that he is color blind.
I have never enjoyed Top Chef more. TCM is awesome. Cream of the Crop and they are so goshed darned nice and brotherly to each other, even while competing fiercely. Michael Chiarello and Rick Bayless have been long time TV favorites of mine and it's fun to find out they are friends. I hope they tie because I can't bear for either one of them to lose. They are so sexy too. Hubert is new to me but he's an awesome Master Chef and cool guy too. I'm hooked and hope there will be a season 2 also.
Finally, a challenge were certain foods were not allowed. There are many children that are on gluten and casein free recipes, along with avoiding soy products, so this was a great show to watch. Since I have life-threatening food allergies, along with a daughter that has several, I feel it is easy to cook with a "secret ingredient" but much more difficult to cook when key ingredients are eliminated. I would love to see even more challenges like this.
Good show. Enjoyed the challenge but the vegan thing made me groan to start. This is not what the good Lord meant for us to eat. Sorry
I love watching TC Masters, I was afraid it wouldn't be as much fun as the original, but I enjoy it even more. The comraderie of the competing chefs is great to watch, no mean-spiritedness in this group. Just a bunch of great chefs a little out of their element, they are competitive and yet still able to be nice to each other and very professional in their attitudes. I hope future cheftestants are watching and learning from this group. Also hoping we will see a season two of the masters. Now if we could get Kelly to replace Padma, all would be right with Top Chef!
Ok, this is waaay off the subject, but did anyone get to taste Moonen's quickfire challenge food or did he have to throw it in the garbage? He would be a finalist if he had completed his quickfire. I want to see another season of TCM so he can redeem himself.
Quinoa pasta? I never even knew that existed. Art's dessert was just a bad, bad idea from start to finish, and it's a shame to have seen him eliminated. Anita's dominance up to now caused total shock to me in seeing how she faltered this week.
With regard to the 8/12 episode it just shows that the younger generation of contestants/chefs (not all but definately Dale, Spike especially) are so immature compared to the master chefs. It's a pleasure watching the masters cook and compete nicely instead of the back stabbing with the younger Top Chef contestants. Maybe I'll just wait till next year for the Master show ago and skip this season Top Chef...maybe.
Add my voice to those wondering what Art Smith used instead of butter in the almond brittle. I also find it unlikely that his mother and grandmother used agave syrup, but Art is a master chef even if he won't be the Top Chef Master, so I assume he has tinkered with the recipe over time. (Hey, don't we all!)
BTW, I'd like to add that I'm glad Top Chef Master FINALLY gave the competitors some dietary restrictions to deal with.
One of my favorite TC episodes was the one where they had to cook for the camp of kids on low calorie diets. The looks on the chef's faces when they were told how many calories there are in extra virgin olive oil were priceless!
My wife is allergic to garlic and also Type II diabetic, one of her best friends is deathly allergic to olives and one of mine is deathly allergic to mushrooms.
Now, Chef, try cooking a full dinner with THOSE restrictions, or better yet, try to find something they can order on the menu in your restaurant!
Awesome! So glad you did a vegan based episode. I'm vegan myself (for almost 11 years now) and I've been waiting to see an episode like this. It was great! Thanks! :-) P.S. We are pulling for Hubert!