Top Chef Masters – Recap & Review – Curtis’ Surprise Party

photo: bravo

photo: bravo

Top Chef Masters
Curtis’ Surprise Party

Original Air Date: Aug 14, 2013

Ryan O – Associate Editor

Well, the episode title is Curtis’ Surprise Party and it’s not that Curtis is throwing a surprise party. He’s the surprisee, as it were. He’s engaged and the chefs cook for him and the two families.

Meanwhile, Sang continues to roll. Could he be the one to beat?


The chefs have to marry a curry dish with a Goose Island beer. They have a bunch of spices to work with — no premade curries here. They have 30 minutes.

Here’s what they made:

Franklin: Malaysian curried mussels with okra and scallions, paired with sofie beer

Jennifer: Harissa mussels with eggplant, chickpeas, chile papadam chips and matilda beer broth

Douglas: Coconut water consomme, petrale sole and mango, paired with sofie beer

Lynn: Vegetable curry with green apples and cashews, paired with sofie beer

Sang: Thai yellow curry with Kaffir lime and chicken thighs, paired with sofie beer

Neal: Grilled chicken leg, basmati rice and coconut curry sauce, paired with sofie beer

Bryan: Wood-oven roasted shrimp, peanut, coconut, and orange cells, paired with sofie beer

Bottom: Douglas — didn’t feel enough like curry, Franklin — too complicated

Top: Lynn — the vegetable curry made him feel good, Sang — Delicious, most curry-like

Sang wins. Sang is rolling!

Elimination Challenge

James walks into the kitchen. Tomorrow, his magazine, Saveur, is throwing a party and the chefs will be providing the food.

In the Sous Chef battle, the chefs selected dishes they thought their sous chefs would prepare well.

Douglas’s sous chef won and he has immunity. On the other hand, Lynn, Bryan, and Sang’s sous chefs finished in the bottom. They’ll be on the same team.

Doug picks David and Sue. The last team is Neal, Jennifer, and Franklin.

Sang, Bryan, and Lynn will have just 15 minutes to shop for food; the other two teams will have 30 minutes.

After Curtis leaves, James tells the chefs they’re throwing a surprise engagement party for Curtis. Curtis’ financee, actress Lindsay Price, enters the kitchen. The chefs plan their menu with her.

Sang, Bryan, and Lynn overcome their 15-minute shopping penalty by planning.

The judges are Gail, James, and Ruth.

Here’s what they made:

Sang: Deconstructed Korean BBQ with ssamjang vinaigrette, scallions, and black sesame sauce

Lindsay thought it was delicious.

Lynn: Curried crab cakes with mango-ginger relish

Curtis thinks it tastes very nice.

Bryan: Bay scallops, grapefruit, and maple vinegar

Gail thinks the dollop of yogurt fights with the citrus. Ruth says the scallop was lovely.

Bryan, Lynn, and Sang: Yellow corn cake with bourbon ice cream and caramel

Gail says it tastes like a bland sponge cake.

Neal: Lamb kafta with peanut coconut curry

James says the meat was too fatty. Gail thought the flavor was good but it wasn’t easy to eat, which is a drawback for a canape.

Jennifer: Lobster, lentil, and coconut ravioli with macadamia and red curry

No one can taste the lobster.

Franklin: Salmon with citrus, avocado, and cucumber and pink sake guava coconut cocktail

James calls the cocktail a confused pinkish liquid that you didn’t want to have with the salmon.

Franklin: Ricotta chocolate doughnuts

James says it has a great texture but no taste.

Sue, David, and Doug: Korean BBQ surf and turf with steak and lobster

Gail liked the taste. Lindsay, who is Korean, says it was good but not Korean.

Sue: Curried crab beignet with cilantro aioli

No one says much.

Douglas: Shiitake umami broth

Ruth says it has a very nice shiitake flavor.

David: Chocolate cheesecake pops with peppermint whipped cream

Curtis loves it. Gail says it made her giggle and she’s glad she ate three.

Critics Table

Sue, Doug, and David go see the critics first. They’re on top.

Gail says Doug’s broth was deceptively complex. James says the beignet was fantastic. Curtis says she used crab well, spiced it but still let the crab flavor shine through. Ruth says the dessert was great.

The team is all declared winners.

Franklin, Neal, and Jennifer are on the bottom.

James says Neal’s lamb kafta was too fatty and greasy. Ruth says Jennifer’s pasta dough was too thick. Gail says she didn’t taste the filling. Gail thought the salmon had a lot of flavor, but was confused by the cocktail. Ruth was not a fan of the doughnuts. She thought they were too bland. James says he was hoping for more chocolate flavor.

Franklin is out.

Next week: Restaurant Wars!

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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