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Let’s get one thing straight: I’m not one of those foodies who has fast food shame. I believe that one of life’s perfect meals is a McDonald’s Filet-o-Fish with fries and a vanilla shake, and I don’t think there’s anything wrong with that. There’s something deep in my psyche — and, I think, the psyche of most Americans — that finds tremendous contentment in these neatly-wrapped, efficient meals. The very best fast food is ultra-satisfying, goal-oriented eating. The diner wants a delicious experience, and he or she wants it — and gets it — now.
But as this week’s episode showed, high-end chefs can have subtle forms of schizophrenia when it comes to fast food. I imagine almost any Top Chef Masters-caliber toque would tell you that there’s a vast difference between the world of fine dining and the world of heat-lamp burgers; a difference in quality, in philosophy, and in the care that goes into each dish. That may be the case in some instances, but I’m not sure it’s the universal divide that some of this week’s chefs made it out to be. Good food is good food, whether it comes from a corporate test kitchen or a Top Chef Master. With the exception of Floyd, all of this week’s contenders were born and (largely) raised in North America, which means that in some way or another, all of them grew up around fast food. Americans know fast food. We know how it should look, taste, smell, and feel going down. When we hear that voice come crackling over the drive-thru intercom, we start to gear up for a very specific, deeply satisfying, easily portable meal.
That was one of the most ridiculous challenges for top chefs. I am seriously annoyed by this particular episode and the direction this show is going. It used to be about cooking. It's turning into a circus.
I agree with James, when I get a rare fast food jones I too crave a filet o'fish and it's 200% of your daily sodium. TCM at first was a bit boring with the Chefs patting each other on the back constantly, nice to see a bit of their humanity and competitivness coming through. Loving Curtis Stone as the host, Kelly was okay but I think having a award winning chef as opposed to a 'personality' on the panel adds an element of authenticity.
As a side note, my Mother just ate at TC4 winner Stephanies' Girl and the Goat in Chicago and said it was 'delicious and very reasonable', she also tried the tasting menu at Topolobampo and said it was indescribably delicious!!
I disagreed with the elimination of George. While he may not have changed his dish upon arriving at the location, his dish looked more appealing than Celina's and could easily be eaten without utensils. At least it held together in the takeout container whereas Celina's did not!!Celina's dish looked like a mess and based on the judge's comments wasn't very good either. This season has been disappointing. I hope the producers will return to the original format, where we really got to see the chef's creativity & which showcased their talents.
james, where i live fast food is awful mcdonalds hamburger are awful. i like their frys but like most people i know i try to eat good food especially not mcdonalds. we unfortunately do not get these food trucks here. I am disappointed with the judging--where is ruth no explanation at all . some of the stuff they put up with is ridiculous. you have descended into game show stuff. do we need more of that
Chuckit. I couldn't agree more.
They set up these ridiculous challenges then James and Co. proceed berate them. I have never missed an episode of any season of any of the Top Chef shows but I have about had it with Top Chef Masters. I mean really, I should have turned it off when James pitched a fit like a little girl because he felt he was waiting to long in the drive thru. I mean really, honking your horn?
I think some changes need to be made. It will get to a point when no reputable Chef will want to participate in the show for fear of the Judges shedding their reputations.
I must agree with all the complaints about this show! The challenges are ridiculous. This episode made me feel like I was having restaurant nightmares from back in the day of waiting on tables, and I just wanted to scream "wake up!" I want to see more of the talent these people have. I want to see more of the food. I've been a fan of TopChef from day 1 and I think I'm only watching this because the original is between seasons. If I wanted to watch a circus I'd watch Food Network. Please stop selling out!!!!!
I agree with chuck - this was one of the most ridiculous challenges for TCM. Running a fast food counter is NOT a test of their culinary skills by any stretch of the imagination - and anyway they were not judged on that- so why bother putting them through the mess? R-I-D-I-C-U-L-O-U-S and just a silly gimmick. Stay away from such stupid levels in TCM please. Curtis is charming as a host and James is an absolute delight as a judge. I adore James- he knows hi flavours and his foods and I respect him for that - but we need better judges to support him on the panel- the other 2 are absolute fluff. Come on guys- get serious, this is TC Masters!
I completely agree with you. This was the last straw for me I'm done with this season of Top Chef Masters. The new season of Top Chef can't come fast enough.
I can't say that as I'm a fan of the new format. After another disappointing season with Top Chef, a show I have watched since the beginning, I was looking forward to the return of Top Chef Masters. I loved the old format with four competitors per time, the star rating system and especially that we were not privy to whatever trauma drama was going on with the competitors. But now it might as well be the same as the regular show, the only difference being they are playing for charity. Boo! Bring back the old format! And would it kill either show to be consistent with who is sitting at the judge's table? Why bother naming anyone permanent? That being said - James, I love you on this show!!