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Hello my little Top Chef Masters! I never said it before but whenever I utter the name "Floyd" I think of John Cusack. Sure, his character's name is Lloyd -- and not Floyd -- Dobler in Say Anything, but y'know, same difference. And although you might think that drawing a connection between one of the most emo characters of the time (It is John Cusack we're talking about here) and Chef Floyd Cardoz is a stretch, but I'm going to anyway. Oh, Floyd is this season's Top Chef Master by the way. Yay! Mazel to Floyd on his huge win. He was consistenly the runner-up this season, but he won the Elimination Challenge when it mattered most. You can tell by watching his exit video that Floyd always had the runner-up mentality, maybe he considered himself the underdog. Like Lloyd Dobler, he never thought he would win -- in the fim's case -- the heart of the smartest, most driven girl in school. But with a lot of passion they both win in the end. Awww.
For the Elimination Challenge, the chefs had to cook a meal that reflected their culinary lives. This challenge isn't a new one, but what was an interesting twist was that one of the courses actually had to reflect the life of one of the esteemed judges -- James, Gael, or Ruth. Each judge's story was more different than the next. I was positively fascinated by the judges' stories, and what I found most fascinating was the range of types of cuisine they each chose. I have a feeling not many other chefs would have executed James' request quite so easily, and the same can be said for Ruth's lemon tart too (it is a dessert after all). The chef that struggled the most with this particular course was truly Traci. She didn't understand the duck and Bearnaise combination, and although she attempted to simply create a dish inspired by the memory and not make a literal interpretation, unfortunately only half of her duo was up to par. The chefs got a handle on the concepts, prepped their dishes with the help of their trusty executive and sous chefs (I always love seeing this interaction by the way.) And, since I have no shame I'll say that Floyd's chef is kind of a dreamboat! After, the chef were taken for a surprise trip, and who praytell would dwell in that tiny, tiny house? Why, Curis Stone! Seeing the very tall Curtis in the tiny cottage cracked me up. Seeing Curtis in his chef whites had me swooning. Finally we got to see Curtis cook for his Masters, and even they were impressed! After that little respite, it was showtime the next day, with the ridiciulous list of diners entering the eating ground, including Tom Colicchio, Rick Moonen, Jonathan Waxman, and Mary Sue's business partner, Susan Feniger (who rightfully admitted that she couldn't be objective about Mary Sue's cooking), to name a few.Through the courses, each of the chefs seemed to have some ups and down, and honestly, I couldn't tell who won! I thought it could've gone to Mary Sue because she was the only chef who truly nailed her judge's request. And that request was a lemon souffle. Although I actually hate citrus in my cooking and I dont particularly care for souffles, I did try the lemon tart at Bouchon, which was recommended to me, and it was amazing, sooo maybe there is hope. I sure would've liked to try Mary Sue's dessert. And to think her souffles were only moments away from falling completely, but they looked just perfect. The height she got on them was truly impressive. Although the very thing Floyd restrained -- the spice -- was the one thing the jduges were craving, the judges seemed to be able to taste the soul in Floyd's food, which seemed like condiment enough for them. In the end, Floyd came out on top, and honestly it couldn't have happened to a nicer guy. He was genuinely shocked, and I'm sure couldn't be happier (I'm sure Fresh Direct, his frozen meal distributor, is pretty pleased too!) All three chefs have so much to be proud of -- they each represented themselves well.
Now, onto a couple other things:
First, you all know I love Hugh. Sooo one of our talented new interns created this video of his best one-liners! Oh, memories.
Also! I've read all of your comments every week, and I truly appreciate the feedback. I, for one, think this was a great season of cooking, introducing me to many chefs I wasn't as famlar with as I should have been, and I'm excited to go their restaurants, which I will obviously tell you about in my blog moving forward. Let me know if you were happy with the outcome! Until next season -- Have a Nosh!