Ruth Reichl's Perfect Los Angeles Restaurant

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

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?

James Oseland Fights for Franklin

Ruth Reichl's Perfect Los Angeles Restaurant

Ruth creates her own menu from the chefs' varied offerings.

Halfway through the season, we’re starting to get a sense of who these chefs really are, what they’re made of.

I’d have known, without being told, that the brilliant Cobb Salad-inspired salmon was Bryan’s dish. He’s been blowing me away, week after week, with extremely smart food. This one struck me as the perfect interpretation of modern Los Angeles; it’s playful, light, filled with interesting textures and fascinating flavors. And yet, at the same time, it makes a bow to history.

And of course, that beef and broccoli dish belonged to Sang. He too knows how to honor the past while looking to the future, and he seems determined to remind us of the strong Asian influence on California cooking. I loved the way he deconstructed a classic Chinese-American dish, making it not only modern, but absolutely his own. There was something quite wonderful about the addition of black bean ghee, as if he was trying to remind us of the enormous influence of Indian food. 

You could have put that barely cooked salmon with its ginger shiso, and aromatic dashi gelee in front of me anywhere in the world, and I’d have known that Douglas had made it. He’s a classic cook who’s enthralled with Japan, and the lessons he learned there go bone deep; his understanding of simplicity and balance is so profound that I think he’d be incapable of putting a single extraneous ingredient onto a plate. 

If you put those three dishes on a menu, added Neal’s light and lovely olive oil cake, and Sue’s sprightly little salad, you’d have the perfect modern Los Angeles restaurant. Put David out in front -- aren’t we’re all falling a little bit in love with this sweet open guy? -- and you’ve got a restaurant you’d eat in often. Especially if you get to do it with Busy Philipps; she just lights up the room.