Cast Blog: #TCMASTERS

Food of the Gods

Best of the Best

Francis Lam: What's on the Menu?

Curtis Stone's Lemon Creams with Poached Cherries

Bryan Voltaggio: "I Thought I Won. I Know I Won."

Jennifer Jasinski Was a "Great Miracle"

Lesley Suter's 'Ratatouille' Moment

What it Takes to Be Top Chef Master

The Finale Countdown

Doug and Sang: Bad Romance?

Sang is Back!

David Burke Has Titanium Balls

See Ya, Suckers!

Why Jennifer Jasinski Didn't Go Home

James Oseland's Teacher Tribute

Gail: "I Still Can't Believe Sang was Eliminated"

The Strangest Episode of 'Top Chef Masters' Yet?

Lesley Suter: On Tongue, Flautadillas, and Birthday Cake

What Has Curtis Stone "Spewing"?

A Series of Unfortunate Culinary Events Leaves Blood on the Mat

Gail: "We Couldn't Excuse Neal"

Lesley Suter: Hey, Chefs, Why So Raw?

Pull it Together, Sang!

Francis Lam: I liked Sang's Fish

Curtis Stone in Nacho Libre

Gail Simmons: "Neil Went for Our Bellies"

The Evolution of Sue Zemanick

Curtis Stone: Throwing Curveballs

Ruth Reichl: "I'd Rather Be Training a Nation of Food Warriors"

When Plex Met Toodee

'Top Chef Masters' ' Toughest Critics Yet

Gail Simmons: No "Chef" in Lynn's Dish

Restaurant Wars: 'Getting' Busy

Francis: A New Kind of Locavorism

What Being a Chef Really Means

Ruth Reichl's Perfect Los Angeles Restaurant

Restaurant Wars' Controlled Chaos

Franklin Just Did Too Much

Curtis and Lindsay: A Perfect Pairing

Curtis Stone: This Episode Sends Hearts Racing

Franklin, Can You Hear Me?

Food of the Gods

Gael Greene breaks down the competition as they create dishes inspired by Greek gods.

There is still a lot of genuine camaraderie among the five surviving Top Chef Masters as they compete to see who has the keenest palate in tonight’s warmup competition. You can see it at the beginning this week And you see it at the end as they comfort each other after hearing our verdicts from the Critics' Table.

But each is already scheming to outwit the pack as they head toward Whole Foods to shop for the elimination challenge – cooking a dish fit for the Greek God fate has granted them.

Rick tries to goad himself with determination to make up for his earlier gaffs and fires himself up to devise a devilish dish for Hades, God of the Underworld. He has that satanic laugh done perfectly.

Marcus as the youngest decides youth is his best advantage cooking for Ares, God of War. He breaks into a dash racing across the market to get first choice at the butcher counter. But he loses that advantage when he wakes up with his back out and can scarcely lift a heavy skillet. 
Susan is her usual cheerful self, marketing her Coconut jam toast as a surefire way to win Aphrodite, the God of Love and Sex. She is perhaps a little too hung up on the sex part, like a kitchen-wise Doctor Ruth, focusing on an egg, sweet butter, and ginger infused nectar as Aphrodisiacal foods.

Jonathan is more sure of himself than he was last week cooking scary exotica. He’s like a kid as he confesses to feeling lonely away from his family on his birthday. And like a kid, the surprise birthday cake quickly cheers him up. In a beat, he has decided on scallops as the key to a dish fit for Poseidon God of the Sea. And is it possible?…did the normally laidback Jonathan actually beat the crowd to corner all the scallops? I think he did.

As for Susur, he’s having a cultural meltdown again given Dionysus, god of Wine as his inspiration. Or maybe he’s just trying to seem vulnerable after a few weeks of playing the indomitable chef to beat. He has no sense of Dionysus’ ribald character – his unruly trickster play. 

Of course I only know all this after watching the show tonight. And revelations of personality, injuries, faulty thinking or outright mischief outside the actual cocktail party and the Critics' Table can’t affect my vote. For me the truth is on the plate. They are all masters. They have each triumphed earlier to reach this stage of the challenge. Anything can happen.

Susur’s roasted and confit’d Chinese pork loin with orange carrot glaze was delicious; his feta cheese rice croquette a wow. But the dish struck me as too well-bred for the unruly Dionysus. Jonthan’s inferior scallops (whether his fault or the market’s) left him merely treading water.  Marcus’s seafood beef with apple broth and oyster foam looked warlike but, I must admit, foam turns me off.  

As Susur comments hearing Susan boast that simple is the secret of her dish: “Simple is stupid.” At the very leasy, simple is naïve. I think Susan did get carried away with her orgasmic fantasy.  We critics – and I am sure Aphrodite too – were not expecting toast and jam from a Master Chef. 

What impressed me most was Rick’s crimson potatoes, the wasabi cream, the fiery pea crunch – both luscious and fitting for Hades the god of the underworld. I even forgave the too cooked swordfish for the imagination of his dish.

You could see from Jonathan’s face that he fully expected to be sent home. Perhaps he was even relieved at the thought. It was close. And so it was that we said goodbye to Susan, the darling of this now all masculine troop. A jelly sandwich was as big an insult to us as it might have been to Aphrodite.

Gael Greene
www.Insatiablecritic.com 
twitter.com/gaelgreene