Aisle of White

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?

Aisle of White's Senior Editor points out some of the more amusing moments of the chefs' wedding challenge.

[Editor's Note: Yes, my blog title is a vague attempt at tipping my hat to the XXX Olympics Games in London!]

Hello, my little Jordan almonds! Sorry -- that's all I think about at weddings. This week, we forewent (I'm pretty sure that's a word) the Quickfire because we had quite a time-consuming Elimination ahead of us -- a wedding! In come Jay and Christine, a couple with a very sad story. Christine's Maid of Honor -- and Jay's sister --  passed away before their original wedding date, so they cancelled it. Then, when they tried to plan the wedding again, the venue closed. Come on! So, the chefs band together to give this couple a day they'll never forget (for good reason this time.) It was heartwarming to see how much the chefs genuinely cared about the couple's happiness. 

The couple gives the chefs some direction in that they're Filipino so the menu should be "Asian" (Oy.) and that pig and even pig's blood are traditional. And that the wedding cake is very important. We learn a lot of things about the chefs' wedding experiences, most notably that Art created Lady Gaga's 25th birthday cake and Chris cooked for his own wedding. Did you catch his old blue hair?! Also, Thierry won over his wife with croque-en-bouche. No comment. Susur Lee actually made a traditional croque-en-bouche in Season 2. Who remembers? Anyway, Filipino food is pretty trendy right now, so this should be an exciting challenge.

The chefs head to the grocery store, which I really think is the most stressful part of the whole challenge. Although, this trip was successful for some and not others. Kerry didn't get all the crab he thought he'd need, while Chris made Takashi go long for pork belly!As the chefs begin to cook, the chefs give the couple a little tasting. The part about this that caught my eye was how Kerry had the couple taste the fresh sweet corn. I just met Kerry for the first time this week, where I had the pleasure of sampling the goodies from his backyard in Sag Harbor, and he is just like how he was in that moment on the show -- excited about frseh food and wanting to teach others. A small moment but i think it revealed a lot about who he is as a chef. Also, Kerry revealed that not only was Tom Colicchio his best man but he cooked for his wedding too!

Another small moment that revealed a lot was Clark getting mad when Thierry started moving stuff from his cart. Clark has a little temper -- who knew?! (besides Mark.)

On to the wedding! The judges were just so cute with the couple -- I laughed out loud when Ruth said, "May you live happily forever." I really don't know why. Was I the only one?!

The chefs sample Patricia's mackerel ceviche, which was met with rave reviews. I don't love mackerel, but I think i just haven't had a good one yet. Thierry made the classic pork blood soup; Clark disappointed a little with his lettuce wrap (notthe bride, though, who loved them), and Takashi presented apparently a very scrumptuosu steam bun. My favorite steam bun is still the one our own Top Chef Hung used to serve at Ajna Bar. It was more of a pulled pork than pork belly inside, and it was awesome. And although Kerry thought he wouldnt' have enough crab, he did and everone loved his dish. I'm sure losing that canned crab was a blessing in disguise.

Now it's time for the other chefs to present their courses, but not before we start to see Art worrying about his cake and his soft frosting. I've been in that boat where your frosting can't stand up to the cake you've made -- it's not fun. But first, Debbie presents her grilled salad. I love a grilled salad. In fact Hugh Acheson give a great crisp kale recipe in his Epicurious column for one. It's not made on a grill, but it's the same sort of concept. Apparently Curtis was the only one who liked Debbie's salad though. I have to say the minute Debbie said her grilling would provide enough acid, I was worried for her. If you want a traditional green papaya salad -- like the one Debbie was most likely planning to make --  try this 80 Plates recipe out. 

Clark's salmon was raw for the judges. Bummer. And that was after the other chefs told him he didnt have enough time to put it back in the oven when he wanted to. Wonder what would've happened if he actually hadn't!

He did have one fan in an adorable little kid who proclaimed, "How can you hate Chinese noodles and salmon -- that is the perfect combination." Awww.

Later at Judges' Table, James would describe how raw the fish was to Clark? He just kept saying "raw." I rewound this twice. 

Chris made adobo that everone seemed to love. Lorena made flan, which is anything but Asian, but OK. 

Before the cake came out, Christine showed Curtis the memorial table, honoring her MOH and Jay's sister -- I lost it. I can't imagine how bittersweet that day was for everyone.

Finally, the cake came, and the look on James' face was priceless. He turns to Ruth and says, "Oh shit!" and starts laughing. I love thes off-the-cuff moments from our judges. The cake was truly a leaning tower. But more than that, James was upset there was none of the glaze you expect from that kind of cake. But, the groom loved it. And in the end, that's all that matters -- the bridge and groom were happy. 

Ultimately, Patricia's little bite won and Debbie's salad sent her home to grill more lettuce. "I like to grill lettuce a lot." Don't we all, Debbie, don't we all.

Next week's episode is very exciting, so I can't wit for you all to see it. until then, Have a Nosh!

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

Bryan compares his Top Chef Masters finale to his Top Chef Season 6 finale. How are you feeling going into the finale? Tired? Reinvigorated?
Bryan Voltaggio: Certainly not tired. This is something we do every day, day in and day out, cooking. Going into the finale, I am feeling excited and nervous -- I want to do a great job and win. What went through your mind when you found out Graeme won the last Battle of the Sous Chefs?
BV: I was very excited for Graeme because he finally had an opportunity to shine and he brought it all to the table. I felt a great sense of redemption for him because he got to win a challenge when it counted the most. I strongly believe that Graeme helped us get all the way tothe end-- he clinched it to get us to the finale. Can you elaborate on your menu planning? How did you decide which dish will go for which course?
BV: When it comes to the menu, and what I learned the first go round on Top Chef, you need to cook what you know. There are time limitations, surprises (planned and unplanned), so you need to do what you can to troubleshoot and get good results on the plate. You can't bring anything to the challenge that you've never done before. I go back to dishes we've created at VOLT, things that Graeme and I both know, things that I don't even have to speak to Graeme about. You had a little over 20 minutes less than you thought you would have to prep because of traffic. How nervous were you that you wouldn't get it done?
BV: Traffic was a big factor, but I knew the food, I knew the menu, and I knew I could get it all done. It was worth going to get the extra ingredients (the proteins), and it was worth it in the end. How do you feel each dish turned out? Was there anything you would have done differently?
BV: I was very proud of every plate I put forward. I thought that every dish was done flawlessly, and I achieved every goal I set out for. What made you include an element from Michael's repertoire in your dish (the seaweed mashed potatoes)?
BV: I wanted to put out some sort of element that represented Michael because he's not only family, but I also respect him very much as a chef. As the judges critiqued your food at Critics' Table, what did you think?
BV: I thought that I had nothing but positive comments -- there wasn't anything glaring that made me feel like I misstepped. I felt really good after Critics' After the heavy comment about your beef dish? Did you think you won?
BV: Yes, I thought I won. I know I won. What went through your mind once the critics told Doug he won? How did it differ from when Michael won?
BV: I thought for sure they were going to call my name because I felt confident about my food. Maybe they saw something in Doug's dishes that put it over the top. Compared to when Michael won, it wasn't a proud moment for me because I wasn't playing and rooting for both myself and my brother. I really wanted to win the money for my charity and it was an opportunity for redemption. If anything, I owed it to Michael to win because I wanted to compete again and go for the win. You are on a roll in our Viewers' Choice. Anything you'd like to say to your fans?
BV: I appreciate all the support, and the fans need to know that their efforts will go to feed many hungry children across the country. I encourage everyone to continue to reach out and support Share Our Strength. How's your relationship now with the other contestants?
BV: My relationship with everyone is great. We all got along, and I felt respected amongst the group. At first, they were nervous when I came in because I had competed before. That just goes to show that it was a tough competition, and we're all good at what we do. I still communicate with everyone from the group -- mostly David Burke. What was your favorite overall challenge?
BV: Favorite challenge was the last one. It is always best to cook the food you want to cook- that's where I've always put my best food forward. What was the hardest part of the competition for you?
BV: Being away. There are always two sides to it -- one of the greatest things when you are in a competition, all your focus is on that and not on outside influences. It's a break from the day-to-day restaurant life, but the other reality is that you want to be back home with your family and at your restaurant. Did anything funny happen behind the scenes that you can share?
BV: I had a lot of fun with the Face Juggler app behind the scenes. We were acting like children a lot of the times behind the scenes which kept the grueling schedule and challenges bearable. Anything else you'd like to add?
BV: I want to thank Graeme for everything and helping me along this journey. He is a big player in how we got all the way to the end, and I appreciate all his hard work day in and day out at VOLT.