Cooking for the prestige, if you will.
I was most disappointed last week when I turned on my TV and there was no new episode of Top Chef Masters in my queue. Actually, disappointed wasn’t the word. More like puzzled. Yes, I sat there for five minutes, navigating through the depths of my DVR to see if the fault was mine or Andy Cohen’s. It was the latter (ain’t that always the case?). Bravo had bumped the episode, presumably to make way for the long weekend. Thankfully, we finally got our dose of haute culinary competition last night, and perhaps as a way of extending an olive branch to those of us who had been miffed the week prior, Bravo supplied us with not only Neil Patrick Harris, but the welcome return of our dear friend Gail Simmons, bless her heart, and even Tom Colicchio. Oh, and the challenge was pretty damn near awesome too. All is excused.
Basically, the chefs had to whip up a meal to be served at Los Angeles’s very own Magic Castle (not to be confused with the Gothic Castle), with each “cheftestant” receiving a special theme: surprise, mystery, illusion, and spectacle. Needless to say, there was plenty of culinary legerdemain on display. I was a major fan of Anita Lo’s intriguing faux-scallop (ILLUSION!), and I was equally happy that Douglas Rodriguez’s attempt to light coconuts on fire was an epic fail. He was entirely too smug for me, and thankfully, the experience seemed to humble him quite a bit. Speaking of humbling, I felt bad for John Besh, who flamed out spectacularly last night. First he only prepared one meager, undercooked egg for the Quickfire â€”Â netting him a lowly half star for his efforts. Then he chilled everyone’s palates with a purportedly ice cold blini, the bane of Western Civilization it would seem. Yikes. Not a good showing. At least Mark Peel fared well. Representing local Los Angeles stalwart Campanille, Mark came thiiis close to winning the episode, but an earlier mishap with olive oil (or lack thereof) during the Quickfire kept him from the victory. Ah well. Sucks for him. But I was rooting for Anita anyway; so it’s all good.
Anyway, onto the pics…