Top Chef Masters – Recap & Review – Sous Chefs and Skydrives

photo: bravo

photo: bravo

Top Chef Masters
Sous Chefs and Skydrives

Original Air Date: Jul 24, 2013

Ryan O – Associate Editor

Top Chef Masters is back! With its return comes a number of twists. The most notable one is that the chefs are accompanied by their sous chefs. Their sous chefs will be cooking in their own competitions, however. But! The outcome of those competitions could give immunity to a chef or give them a disadvantage.

In this episode, the chefs cook for a team of skydivers — only after jumping out of a plane themselves, because, sure, why not? I mean, people love The Amazing Race and they’re always throwing people out of planes.

Here’s the list of chefs, their sous chefs, and the charities they’re competing for.

Franklin Becker, Vinson Petrillo, Autism Speaks
David Burke, Chris Shea, Table to Table
Lynn Crawford, Lora Kirk, Sunnybrook Foundation
Odette Fada, Benedetto Bartolotta, Doctors Without Borders
Neal Fraser, Jason Bowlin, Alex’s Lemonade Stand
Jennifer Jasinski, Jorel Pierce, Work Options for Women
Douglas Keane, Drew Glassell, Green Dog Rescue, Inc.
Jenn Louis, Cory Chunn, City of Hope
Richard Sandova, Greg Howe, Careers Through Culinary Arts Program
Bryan Voltaggio, Graeme Ritchie, Share Our Strength
Herbert Wilson, Bobby Silva, American Heart Association
Sang Yoon, Ted Hopson, Worldwide Orphans Foundation
Sue Zemanick, Nick Lama, Gulf Restoration Network

The sous chefs have to cook something that captures the spirit of their bosses’ cuisine. Bottom 3 will give their boss a disadvantage. Winning chef earns their boss immunity.

Greg, Laura, and Chris were in the bottom.

Drew earned immunity for Douglas.

This will be over on Bravo’s site before the episode is on. I’ll try to recap it a little bit here.

Elimination Challenge

The chefs have to prepare a family style dish for skydivers. Also, they can earn an extra hour of time if they skydive instead of driving to their destination.

Douglas is saved from having to jump by getting immunity. Everyone else decides to do it.

They have to cook at stations set up next to the field where they landed after skydiving. Their stations are set up with the ingredients their sous chefs used in their dishes.

The disadvantage? The three chefs don’t have their chef knives.

The skydiving team lands like RIGHT next to the table. It’s pretty cool.

Critics are: Gail Simmons, James Oseland, and Lesley Sutter.

Here’s what they made:

Franklin: Olive oil-poached halibut with creamed leeks, onions and scallions

David: Shrimp with smoky white bean hummus, warm vegetables, and candied lemon vinaigrette

Herb: Grilled mango-cucumber butter and red pepper gazpacho

Lynn: Maple-marinated beet salad with bacon and egg vinaigrette

Gail loves Lynn’s salad and thought the beets were well-cooked. James thought David’s shrimp was too shrimpy. Gail thought his dish had too much hummus, which weighed down the dish. Gail liked Franklin’s combination of halibut, scallions, and leeks but thought the halibut didn’t have enough flavor. James did like Herb’s sauce but thought he should’ve finished his dish — as did Gail (Herb didn’t get oysters on to his plate).

Jenn: Clams with bacon, tomato, and fregola sarda (a pasta similar to cous cous), cabbage salad with lemon vinaigrette

Sue: Mahi mahi and pepper escabeche with roasted corn and tomato basil butter

Bryan: Aromatic roasted carrots with pine nut praline, arugula chimichurri and golden raisins (his sous chef didn’t use a protein, so no protein here)

Sang: Spice-rubbed pork with Vietnamese caramel gastrique and fresh chiles

James didn’t get an unopened clam from Jenn’s dish. Lynn points out that you lose a lot of flavor in your broth if the clams don’t open. Gail notices that Sang cooked some pork well while some was really pink. Lynn liked Sang’s caramel. Bryan’s carrots initially looked unambitious to Gail but she was surprised by how good and sophisticated they were. Curtis thought Sue’s dish was a good example of home cooking from down South. James thought she held back a little bit.

Odette: Cold roast lamb with cauliflower and anchovy salad

Jennifer: Orange-ginger marinated skirt steak with pickled cabbage and fried ginger

Douglas: Kombu-cured scallop with hon-shimeji mushroom tsukemono

Neal: Pork meatballs with cavolo nero, farro, and pickled Fresno chiles

Richard: Beef tiradito with cauliflower, apples, and salmon with aji amarillo beurre blanc

Gail calls Odette’s lamb surprisingly delicious. Lynn thought the key was that the lamb was chilled. Gail is surprised by how much Douglas got done in an hour. Lynn couldn’t taste much in it. James only liked the chimichurri on Richard’s plate. James calls Neal’s dish ugly but says it has a full, radiant flavor. James thought Jennifer put too much meat on her plate while Lynn thought the fried ginger was an interesting way to add a good kick to the dish.

Critics Table

Bryan, Neal, and Odette go see the critics. They had the top dishes.

Lynn was impressed by the caramelization Bryan achieved with his carrots. Curtis was impressed by the risk Odette took with the cold lamb. James loved it and loved that it had anchovies. Gail thought Neal’s dish was refreshingly balanced.

Odette wins! $10,000 goes to Odette’s charity, Doctors without Borders.

Herb, Richard, and David had the three least-favorite dishes.

Richard had a lot of trouble with two proteins and no chef knives. David had a problem with no chef knives. Herb has no excuse for not getting his dish to the table.

Herb is going home.

What did you find to be tasty in this episode? Did you think anything was overdone? Give us your Two Cents below!

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One Response to Top Chef Masters – Recap & Review – Sous Chefs and Skydrives

  1. James’s critique about the shrimp tasting too “shrimpy” was a tad ridiculous. I mean, how else are they supposed to taste – like crab?


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