TOP CHEF MASTERS Recap: Episode 1 - Give Me My Remote : Give Me My Remote

TOP CHEF MASTERS Recap: Episode 1

June 11, 2009 by  

Top Chef! Woo! Seriously, you guys, I don’t know when Bravo’s lineup became straight up television crack, but I am beyond hooked. As we’ve discussed (at the end of last season), I’m not even into food and I cannot get enough of this show. I’ve been lobbying hard, both on GMMR and to anyone who will listen, for a Top Chef All-Stars season. This isn’t it, but it’s pretty close.

As anyone who watched will know, this incarnation is a bit different from the normal seasons, in that they’re going in rounds. Four chefs compete, and the winner goes on to the final round. Billy pointed out that this is probably easier on their schedules, and I’m sure that’s right. Also, no Padma! And no Tom! I wasn’t overly crazy about any of the critics, but I think I’ll warm up to them before long. The host was kind of useless, but … well, that probably sort of comes with the territory. Padma is great eye candy, though, and I love her puke face when she eats something really gross. Hopefully we get to see Kelly’s puke face before all is said and done.

The tone of the Masters version is also just really different from the regular seasons. The chefs are playing for charity, and they’re already established and/or famous, so the stakes are really practically non-existent. I did love the one guy at the end who said that it had been a humbling experience, and every chef needs that sometimes. I don’t remember his name, so if he’s reading this, I’m just happy to serve up his next piece of humble pie! (I kid, I kid.) It was so great to see them laughing and happy and having such a great time, though. The suspense and drama wasn’t really there, but the jovial moods of the chefs was really contagious for me.

It was funny to see how the Masters dread desserts just as much as the regular chefs do, and the Girl Scout judges were HILARIOUS. I loved the chef’s reactions to them, especially to Red-Headed Judge. And did anyone else notice that Kelly’s shirt totally matched their uniforms? You know that was no accident.

Hubert’s dessert came out looking AMAZING, and so appropriate and yet classy for kids. That circle dish thing completely wowed me, and I loved the little mouse. I’m going to go right ahead and call it now, after one episode and before meeting the rest of the Masters—Huber wins! He is incredible.

I mean, seriously, cooking your pasta in the dorm room shower? That’s hilarious genius right there. And not that it has anything to do with his cooking, but how could you NOT love the pictures of him DJing? (Small aside, that made me have a total flashback to Chuck, with Casey DJing the high school reunion.) And he had the funniest laugh of all time.

I think another reason why Hubert has stolen my heart and run away with it is because he’s such a tough judge and such an absolute kitchen nazi. He was the very first judge on the very first episode of Top Chef that kicked the contestants out of his kitchen for various offenses. I loved him then and I love him now even more, seeing him goof around but kick major ass in the kitchen. I think it was obvious that he really knew what he was doing.

And that’s the other major departure here from the regular contestants. It is really, really obvious that these people have just had more experience and have a much greater understanding of what they’re doing. Take, for example, the cowboy’s frozen food calamity. (I’m sorry, I didn’t bother with names other than Hubert. He was the only one I cared about. But it’s also good news because I didn’t hate anyone else enough to be swearing at my TV. I know we’ve got at least one of those coming, but I’ll keep you in suspense on that one.) Had this been regular Top Chef, it would’ve been all weeping and gnashing of teeth, and a tragedy on the scale of a natural disaster or a genocide wiping out an entire nation. Possibly the chef with the frozen food would’ve insisted that he’d put his food in a cooler, and someone had gone back and sabotaged him by putting his food into a freezer and rearranging the entire kitchen stealthily in the night.

Not the case here. Cowboy said it sucks, but that you can either go to pieces or deal with it, and he DID deal with it and really made it work. No one even know about the mishap until afterward, which I found really, really impressive.

And not only that, but ALL of them seemed to do a good job. Although, I must say, if someone cooked cabbage in my dorm room, I’d be super mad. Cabbage smells like farts.

And oh man, how much did you guys love the nice table with wine and a table cloth that the chefs got to sit at? This is, of course, opposed to beer and lawn chairs in the store room. I think that’s awesome—keep everyone in their place!

The only other thing that really caught my eye was how at the end, where they had the chef silhouettes and Hubert’s picture showing him in the final six, every single silhouette was Hubert! Hilarious! Billy commented that they had a lazy graphic designer, and … well, yeah. Totally.

So, what did everyone think? Did you like the laid back, low stakes Top Chef Masters, or do you prefer the drama and tension of regular Top Chef? Are you going to be able to live without Padma for this season? Who do you think should’ve gone on to the next round? Did you like the star scoring system? And finally, given that they’re revisiting old Quickfire Challenges, which ones would you like to see resurrected? My vote is totally the gas station and/or vending machine challenge—LOVE those. Discuss!

SB has many interests, including photography, her pets, entertainment, traveling and writing. She does have a day job, but that mostly amounts to her being a sarcastic young woman with a lot of time on her hands, which is why she appreciates the opportunity to recap.

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4 Responses to “TOP CHEF MASTERS Recap: Episode 1”

  1. TOP CHEF MASTERS Recap: Episode 1 | Joe Hosting on June 11th, 2009 5:01 pm

    […] the whole story on Give Me My Remote Share and […]

  2. Alyson on June 11th, 2009 7:27 pm

    If all of the contestants have the joviality that these first four do, it should be great. I loved that they had personal connections to the charities on whose behalf they were competing. I think that made the stakes higher for some of them, but it’s nice that all the charities get a little something.

    Loved Hubert….I think he’s a competitor to watch in the finals.

  3. Lisa (aka LMR) on June 12th, 2009 8:04 am

    First, so good to see you SB! Second I loved all four of these guys but had a special affinity for Michael Schlow of Boston (Radius) had to pull for the local guy being a Bostonian. I too knew Hubert had it in the bag though. His dessert for the girls was so perfect for little ladies, so well thought out. Then the shower thing, well that was so McGyver I fell totally in love. I miss the usual suspects and was disappointed that it is like a semi-final type thing but it is understandable. I will still watch. Did anyone notice in previews for the season NPH is on the panel? WHAT FUN IS THAT!

  4. SB on June 12th, 2009 11:29 am

    Alyson, that’s a good point on the personal connections to charity making it slightly higher stakes. I was thinking more in terms of personal gain–these guys don’t need the money and they’re already famous and established. But definitely, that doesn’t make the charity aspect any less awesome.

    Good to see you too, Lisa! I don’t LOVE the semi-final format either, but I understand the necessity of it. And I DID see NPH! That’s so awesome, Kath is gonna die.