Top Chef Masters – Recap & Review – Asian Night Market

photo: bravo

photo: bravo

Top Chef Masters
Asian Night Market

Original Air Date: Jul 31, 2013

Ryan O – Associate Editor
ryano@thetwocentscorp.com

The chefs have to prepare an American classic with an Asian twist. This goes better for some chefs than others. Other chefs got bogged down with bread.

For the Quickfire, the chefs have to pick up where their sous chefs left off in a race to prep ingredients. Did I mention two eliminations this episode?

Sous Chef Competition

It’s a slicing and dicing challenge. They have to fill up big tubes with pomegranate seeds, celery root, squid, and lamb.

Quickfire

The chefs pick up where the sous chefs left off. When the first sous chef finishes, all of the master chefs step in and finish any prep work left and then use those ingredients to make a dish in 30 minutes using the celery root, pomegranate, squid, and lamb. (To be clear, chefs HAVE to finish the prep before they cook.) Oh, yes, the creator of the weakest dish is going home. No pressure, sous chefs.

Chef Sang gets immunity because his sous chef wins the race.

Here’s what they made:

Jennifer: Seared Lamb loin with caramelized celery root, pomegranate reduction, and squid

Sang: Baby squid stuffed with spiced lamb sausage and pomegranate pickled celery root

Sue: Seared lamb loin, celery root puree, fennel pomegranate slaw, and crispy calamari

Lynn: Grilled rosemary lamb, celery root and pomegranate salad with grilled calamari

Jenn: Lamb tartare with fried squid, celery root, and pomegranate seeds

Richard: Lamb tartare, calamari salad, pomegranate, jicama, and mango green salad

Douglas: Lamb tataki hot pot (tataki is when meat or fish is sliced or pounded very thin and then seared, put in vinegar, and then served with ginger)

Bryan: Carpaccio of lamb and celeriac, pomegranate fish sauce and squid

Odette: Lamb chops with celery root, pepper and black olive ratatouille, and crispy squid

Franklin: Squid with lamb shawarma (you’ll remember shawarma from the final scene in Avengers), salad of celery root, arugula, and pomegranate seeds

Gail did the tasting.

Tops: Sang, Sue, Jenn are the top but Sue wins.

Bottom: Lynn, Odette, Richard are in the bottom. Richard is going home.

Elimination Challenge

The pop-up Asian night market is a big thing at the moment in LA. So, the challenge is to prepare a classic American dish with an Asian twist. They’ll have two hours to cook for 200 guests. They’ll have the help of their sous chefs.

Franklin races around the supermarket, swearing in front of kids, because he thinks someone moved his cart. No one moved his cart. It was where he left it. Dillhole.

Jenn and Sue had problems with the rolls they bought. Jenn decided there was nothing she could do since she’s making a bahn mi. Sue decided to make the lobster roll open-faced since otherwise the diner would end up with a mouthful of bread.

The critics are Gail, James, and Francis Lam. Oh, yeah, Kathie Lee is there, too. Ugh.

Jenn: Banh mi with pork meatball, chili mayo and cilantro-cucumber salad

Franklin: Peking-style burger with chicken, pork, duck, charred scallion, and eggplant fries

Odette: Glass vermicelli with mushrooms, fish ball, tomato, and miso broth

Gail loves everything inside the bread of Jenn’s bahn mi but she and James both hate the roll. Curtis loves Franklin’s burger while Gail can only taste the oil in his eggplant fries. James loves Odette’s noodles and Gail enjoys their mushroom flavor but no one likes the fish ball.

Bryan: Gyoza dumpling, chicken feet, green daikon, snap peas, and floral herbs

Neal: Panko-crusted chicken with coconut curry peanut sauce and chicken heart (yeah, the heart is just sitting there next to the giant chicken nugget, it looks weird and is bordering on gross)

Francis thinks Bryan’s soup is fantastic and has great Chinese flavor. James likes it, too. Kathie Lee hates because she is useless and annoying. Also, I think she’s drunk. James does not like Neal’s chicken heart but Curtis likes it as did Gail and Francis. James thinks Neal’s chicken nugget is too salty.

Sang: Fried shrimp head and poached tail with chili garlic aioli and Burmese cabbage slaw

Lynn: Ginger chili BBQ pulled pork and Asian slaw on a scallion biscuit (using “Asian” in that way makes about as much sense as using “European” in that same spot)

Jennifer: BLT with scallion mayo, bacon, bonito-marinated tomato, and BBQ-spiced lotus chips

James loves how Sang’s shrimp head is crunchy while the body is soft. Curtis loves the biscuit Lynn made for her pulled pork. James thinks her slaw is a bit meh. James, Francis, and Gail don’t see any twist on Jennifer’s BLT — it’s just a good BLT.

Sue: Asian lobster roll, taro chip with spicy yuzu aioli, and pickled carrots

David: Ginger BBQ chicken dumpling and wonton-miso soup

Douglas: Coconut and green cardamon cream with black sesame cookie soil

Curtis points out that Sue going open-faced for her sandwich was a smarter approach. James and Gail both find pieces of shells in the lobster roll itself. Francis thinks David’s chicken skin was really great. James thinks the dumpling was equally great. James is initially skeptical about Douglas mixing savory and sweet but he takes a bit and loves it.

Critics Table

Bryan, Douglas, and Sang are called to the table first. They’re in the top.

Gail loved Sang’s salad and James liked its umami flavor. Francis loved Douglas’s rice krispie treat. Curtis loved his cookies and cream. James calls it extraordinary. Francis can’t believe Bryan got that much flavor into his broth that quickly.

Sang is declared the winner.

Sue, Odette, and Jenn are on the bottom.

Francis didn’t like the fish ball. Odette tried to make a soft ball. James said it was almost gooey. Gail didn’t taste enough Asian flavors in Sue’s lobster salad. James points out that he and Gail had shells in their lobster rolls. James says Jenn’s sandwich was a mess. Gail thought there was too much bread. Francis did like the meatball.

The chefs leave and the critics discuss them. The chefs return.

Jenn 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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