Cast Blog: #TCMASTERS

Fast and Furious

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?

Fast and Furious

Curtis Stone provides perspective on George Mendes' elimination.

This week’s Quickfire was a true test of every chef, because as much as we love to create delicious food, we have to be really conscious of our food costs. All in all, I think the chef’s did an unbelievable job. Celina’s spicy carrot soup with lime-pickled shrimp was outstanding as was Alex’s spiced squid. But I’m a little concerned for our industry, because we’re now likely to have people expecting amazing food like this for a dollar.

I have to say I felt for the chef’s during this week’s Elimination Challenge. Asking the best chefs in the country to cook fast food is naturally not going to be their favorite challenge. But let’s face it, we all eat all kinds of food, and great chefs should be able to cook everything from haute cuisine to something you eat while sitting on the sofa. In true Top Chef Masters style, we gave them the almost impossible challenge of keeping up with the lunch rush. And while the service was a little slow, the food was the best I’ve ever seen in the fast casual environment. I can still taste Mary Sue’s fabulous skirt steak quesadilla and quinoa fritters. I wasn’t expecting Floyd’s chicken Frankie to be great, but let me tell you, if you were served that at a drive thru window, you’d be going straight back into the parking lot to order another.

When I had George’s pork and chorizo skewers, I felt sorry for him, because he was in a tough spot to serve that as fast food. I admire that he chose to stick with a fine dining approach despite the fast casual environment. Unfortunately, however, it was his demise as the critics found it to be the weakest dish. I don’t disagree, but I want to say one thing about George: If you’re ever lucky enough to eat at Aldea in Manhattan, you will be blown away. I think George is one of the most talented chefs in America right now and his food is outstanding. Celina may have been a little lucky to stay in the competition after her lamb, pork, and garbanzo pancake. While her food was tasty, it was difficult to eat.

Talking about all of this is making me hungry. If only these chefs had fast food restaurants in my neighborhood!

Bon appétit,
Curtis