Liveblogging Top Chef Masters: Episode 3

Tonight’s masters: Rick Bayless (Frontera Grill and Tompolobampo, Chicago), Cindy Pawlcyn (Mustards Grill, Napa), Wilo Benet (Pikayo, Puerto Rico) and Ludo Lefebvre (Ludo Bites, floating restaurant).

Bayless and Pawlcyn can cook their asses off. (I love her cookbook, even though every ingredient list is 17 pages long. His books aren’t too shabby either.)  Lefebvre seems like an ass, so maybe tonight will be a little less sedate.  I’ll be pulling for Pawlcyn.

See you in 3!

9:59:  That was a subpar episode of So You Think You Can Dance.  I think the costume department is out to sabotage some of these kids.  Does the Paso Doble typically require the woman to dress like Princess Leia in the Jabba the Hut/Gold Bikini scene?  Maybe it does.  I was just under another impression, is all.

10:01: Wilo is Puerto Rico’s first celebrity chef, which must be why I’ve never heard of him.  Apparently, he was a judge in a past season, who knew?

Okay, yes, Ludo is French.  But he does, in fact, speak English, and subtitles are not necessary.  Although he is really, really French.  Fronsh, if you will.

10:04:  Is it wrong that I don’t really give a crap about the charities?  I mean, I’m glad they’re getting money and all.  But I still don’t care.

Wait, is Bayless competing for his own foundation?  I call shenanigans.  I’m still calling him to place, though.

10:05:  QUICKFIRE: A season two challenge, where the cheftastants had to base a meal around a single color.  In that season, drunk-ass Mike (he of Cheeto stuck in pureed snickers bar) won.

The judges: Three women we’ve never heard of.  I’m sure they’re lovely people.  Who the hell are they, and why do I care?

10:08:  Really, we may be American but we do understand accents.  Some of us have even TRAVELED TO OTHER COUNTRIES.  We fly in the bellies of giant, magical iron birds.  Unbelievable, I know, but true!

Bayless has green, Ludo’s got red, Cindy’s yellow and Wilo is orange.

In France, culinary training is intense.  Sometimes, petit Ludo would go home and cry at the end of the day.  But people cry at the end of the day on Hell’s Kitchen, so I don’t know what we can use that as a criterion.

10:09:  Wilo picks up some edible flowers, because they’re feminine and the judges are women, and you have to know who you’re cooking for.  Thanks for recognizing our individuality!  Flowers are girly.  Women are girly.  Therefore women like flowers.  All logically undeniable statements!

10:10: So Cindy was worried that she would be too slow, and instead she has to help Frenchy McFrencherson plate…and he STILL leaves something off.

Heez Frensh passion, eet ees too overwhelming even for heem.

10:15:  To heap insult onto indignity, the waiters forgot Ludo’s beet juice.  Either way, it looks like a plate of raw bloody cow.  A possibly alive, still bleeding cow.

Is he wearing a neckerchief?  Yes, because he is so very, very Fronsh.  Someone stop him before he makes me kill again.

10:17: Good on Wilo, I thought orange would be the toughest color.  If only he had taken the ring molds off the plate.

10:18:  WINNER:  Wilo, ring mold be damned.

10:19:  ELIMINATION CHALLENGE:  Street food…made with something gross enough that it has to be hidden under silver domes.  It’s offal!

Cindy pronounces it the way I do: awful, not oh-ful.  I feel vindicated.

Okay, it’s not all offal; there’s some tongue and pig ears in there.

10:21:  Ludo claims he can cook all these things, and yet his skin is a strangely pasty shade of pale.  Also, he cannot make street food because “They don’t have street food in France.”  So he’s making a quesadilla…going up against Rick Bayless.

Rick’s got tongue, Ludo’s got pig ears, Cindy’s got tripe and Wilo’s got beef heart.  I’m sure it’s not the hardest one, but the heart is definitely freaking me out the most.

Okay, and the tongue.

10:22: And the tripe, because it feels like you’re eating a bacteria-laden, slimy sponge.

And the pig ears, because those are treats for the dog.

10:23:  Ludo is not here to make friends.  Just to mooch off others and ask them for help plating and for advice on his food because he doesn’t know what cheese should go in a quesadilla despite years of intense Fronsh culinary training that involved beatings with chains for improperly pairing cheese and wine.  So here for that assistance, yes, but NOT friendship.

10:24:  Rick’s making a taco.  Good luck with that, Ludo.

Bayless is too good for this, but he should have thrown him under a big ol’Mexican bus and told him Velveeta is the traditional Mexican quesadilla cheese.

10:28:  The idea of a pressure cooker full of tripe exploding has been one of my recurring nightmares for years.

Seriously, the giant vat of pig ears could have been picked up at PetSmart.  Meanwhile, Rick is rendering an enormous pan of bacon, earning my love.

10:30:  Ludo’s in the weeds.  People offer him help.  People he’s already turned to for assistance.  He refuses. “Do not tell mee how to coook.”

Ludo is a dickweed.

10:32:  Everything Ludo touches, Ludo destroys.

10:33:  Obligatory hipster in a pink polo shirt and fedora asks Rick to slip him some tongue.  Thank you, hipster, I would NEVER have thought of that stunningly hilarious nugget of humor.  Be very, very proud of yourself.  Cock your hat to the side a little more, it’ll be hipper.

Gael’s hat is pleasantly non-distracting.

I gotta say, the tongue taco looks pretty good.  I think Gael is ready to ditch the rest of the stands and chow down on the tacos.

10:35:  I SAW IT!  I can confirm that Kelly Choi has taken at least one bite of food.

Ludo not only is not churning out food, he’s also a terrible street vendor.  I think he and floppy-haired English judge are going to re-create the 100 Years’ War in the parking lot of Universal Studios.

10:37:  I don’t think I could eat something called Menudo, no matter how good it looks.  Can’t we call it something else?  New Kids on the Block?  Bachman-Turner Overdrive?

Okay, Kelly Choi has also eaten the tripe.  Or at least, put it in her mouth and politely waited until off camera to spit.

10:39:  I don’t think Ludo is a real person.  I think he’s an animatronic chefbot with advanced artificial intelligence programmed to behave like the American stereotype of an asshole French chef.  It’s the only way.  This can not be a real person.

He wants to beat Rick at his own Mexican game, it would be beeg, very beeg. “Hooree up, jzust tell me I ween.”

10:43:  Oh, the quippy hispter went back to Bayless’ table more than once to make ABSOLUTELY SURE his humor was acknowledged.  One must admire hipsterdom’s tenacity when it comes to demanding self-recognition.

10:45:  JUDGES’ TABLE:  I want Ludo to SNAP.

The judges are way, way too nice on this show.  Why does Ludo still just have the one asshole?  Unless he already has the second from a particularly difficult day during his years of French training.  He doesn’t look very big, so there’s probably not room for a third, unless you put it in front.

10:48:  RIck’s faring well.  Because everyone loves a taco, and everyone loves bacon.

Wilo didn’t toast his pita.  Ludo looks at him like he just took a shit on the floor in front of the judges, because Ludo’s performance was flawless, making him totally qualified to pass judgment on others.

10:50:  The judges are a little tougher when they’re talking behind the contestant’s backs, but still.  You’re making me miss Tom Colicchio, and I can very rarely stand Tom Colicchio.

Ludo is not getting the spanking that I – and I assume everyone else who’s watching right now – would like to be watching him get.

10:52:  Brian notes, and I totally agree, that it would be nice to see a bit more actual cooking on this show, what with them being the masters.  Ditch the Colicchio intro, ditch the charities (I mean, don’t ditch them; just don’t talk to me about them) and show me more Rick Bayless making a taco, because that is why I’m here.

Well, for that and to hate Ludo, which has been my raison d’etre for the night. (See, Bravo, some of us even SPEAK non-English languages!)

10:55:  Bravo:  Not all of these things are offal.  Tongue is not offal.  Heart is not offal.  They are muscles.  This is a cooking show.  Get your shit together.

10:56:  Bob Balaban gives Cindy 2.5 stars.  HARSH.  She doesn’t even beat Ludo.  I’m hurt, I really am.

I also don’t know how I feel about the star-rating system, it’s a little too Star Search for me.

10:57:  BAYLESS CREAMS LUDO.  Suck on that, Frenchy.

Brian:  “Take that, Ludo-cris…Are you going to use that?”  (Ha! But he’s not wearing a fedora)

(Let it be known that Brian is not a ridiculous hipster, although he does like irony.  But sometimes I just can’t pass up a good tie-in.)

10:58:  Bayless, my second choice, takes it handily. He wins money for his own foundation, because his grocery store line of chips and frozen burritos doesn’t bring in enough to fund it.  (I kid because I love.)

Of course, I still think he’ll get his ass beat by Hubert in the end.  And I’m still looking askance at him for playing for his own charity.

10:59: Ludo: “How much did you pay to win, Reeck?”

Me: “How much would you all pay me to mail a flaming pig’s heart to Ludo?”

No really, how much?  Because I want to do it, I just need a little push.

NEXT WEEK: Neil Patrick Harris!  John Besh!  I heart John Besh, I totally thought he should have become the next Iron Chef over Michael Symon (sorry, Michael).

ONE YEAR AGO: Cheap Ass Monday: A Little Fancy, A Little Schmancy

[tags]top chef, bravo, reality television, cooking, chefs[tags]

21 thoughts on “Liveblogging Top Chef Masters: Episode 3

  1. Joining via mobile, dammit! Is my memory fucked or are three out of four of these previous judges? Cindy judged season 1 prefinale, no?

  2. Dude, I’m totally with you. I’m glad money goes to charities, but I don’t want social responsibility with my trash t.v.

    And I mean “dude” with the utmost respect.

  3. If I was Rick Bayless, and my-name-is-ludo-i-live-on-the-second-floor asked me what cheese is mexican, I’d say Kraft singles without blinking. Stupid git.

  4. I like how they get to get half in the can before hearing the results, which will not change their lives one iota. They should extend the same consideration to the regular Top Chef contestants, to make final judging that much more exciting.

  5. Frontera Farmer Foundation is a wonderful, local, grassroots non profit. Why do you have an issue with someone who wants to make money for their own non profit? Many local, small farmers in the Chicago area would not exist, without ongoing support from the Frontera Farmer Foundation. Read more at http://www.highbeam.com/doc/1G1-183497381.html or check out the foundation’s web site. Don’t hate. Don’t judge. Support.

  6. Michelle, I will personally supply the beef heart I feed it to my puffer fish every night. Really.) if you will supply the address. Also, not flaming, but not on ice either. Think about it! As far as paying you, how much do you want?

  7. Tongue taco… Sounds kinky! Well, I had a good notion that Bayless was going to win, but I was very surprised at the spread. I believed that Wilo and Cindy would have done better than Ludo too, so I was shocked that Ludo beat Cindy in the final judgment. I have to also agree to limit the time spent on talking about the charities, seeing as this is a COOKING show. Oh well, Bravo has shown that they can screw up Top Chef in big ways (HoseLeah, Crazy Hat McDoucherson, etc…), so no need to make an improvement to satisfy the viewers! Oh well, Michelle’s rants more than make up for Bravo’s lacks!

  8. My favorite moment was when Bayless said he was going to do tacos and Ludo told the camera that he wished he hadn’t told Rick that he was doing quesadillas. “‘e copied me.”

    Right. Because otherwise Rick fucking Bayless would never have thought of tacos de lengua without Frenchie.

  9. kimbaa and gracie, you are loyal companions. HA to the american cheese comment. great minds think alike.

    asch, i’m not judging the foundation or what it does, and am not discouraging anyone from supporting it. in fact, i already knew about the FFF and what it does, having lived in chicago, and i couldn’t be more behind its work and mission (although i support farmers more local to me now thru CSAs and farmers’ markets). no one is judging. no one is being unsupportive.

    what i AM doing is making fun of a reality show contestant. does he deserve to be picked on for raising money for his own charity, or for having a mass market line of tortilla chips? no. does ludo deserve to have a flaming cow heart delivered to him? of course not, although that proposition is somewhat more debatable. is suzanne tracht actually in a semi-vegetative state? no. is this a blog where reality show contestants are judged indiscriminately? yes.

    brian, i’m scared of your pufferfish. why would you keep a vampire fish as a pet? also: $50 plus you pay postage.

    gainer, i feel like i could be rantier, but this show makes it difficult.

    floret, right? what the fuck was he smoking?

  10. Omg. Did anyone else notice how red Ludo’s nose was???????? Um, is there something you would like to tell us Ludo? Suck in the eighties perhaps? Set that aside, what a douche bag.

    I (V) Bayless. And YEAH Besh!!!!!!!!

  11. i’m sure the producers requested said hipster to repeat his cocky statement. It’s just usually they don’t USE that second take.

  12. Ohmyword. This was too hilarious. I couldn’t speak when Ludo said that Bayless copied him. Right. Because tacos and quesadillas? Same thing. Exactly. No difference. And because Rick Bayless would never, ever have gone the Mexican food direction without Ludo leading him. Sigh.

    …And imagine my shock when Kelly Choi actually took bites of a couple of the dishes. I think they’re reading your blog, Michelle, and the producers forced her to eat something on camera. Mmm hmm.

    Since I’m already harping on it can someone please tell me WHY they keep putting stick-thin supermodels on to host cooking shows? WHY *shakes fist at sky* Can’t they find some spokesmodel who has enough flesh on her bones to look like she eats at least once weekly?

    Ditto on the ‘not eating menudo’. I can only think of Ricky Martin when they say menudo.

    Harkening back to last week (because I like the verb ‘to harken’) Suzanne Tracht, while her food is slamming, has such a lack of enthusiasm that it sucked some of the enthusiasm out of THIS week’s episode. My aunt has a name for people like Tracht. She calls them ‘flatliners’. Tracht is the posterchild for flatliners.

  13. I’m late on this because I didn’t watch live (thank you TiVo)

    Did anyone see the disclaimer at the end of the show that producers and Bravo have some say so in who wins – I had to back that up — what the heck?

    Is that the same for Top Chef (sorry never watched it)?

  14. Did anyone catch the hated “Chopped” this past week? One of Gordon Ramsey’s sous took home the prize- kicked ass, actually. My husband remarked in a faux British accent “maybe Gohdon can go five minutes without cahlling me a donkey now.”

  15. Off topic, but I wanted to share this jewel from an online hotel review.

    “We stayed in a king size room. It had a little love seat, coffee table, desk, frig and microwave.”

  16. sherpas, yeah, he actually doesn’t have a french accent at all, that’s just what happens when he eight-balls.

    edgertor, probably true. so it makes it extra funny that they threw in the 2d take to make the guy look like a douche.

    either that, or they’re really awful editors. maybe they’re pissed at the extra semi-season they’re being forced to edit.

    rebecca, i don’t know. gail simmons at least looks like she eats, but padma and now kelly…i don’t get it.

    flatlines, heh. totally using that.

    jenn, yeah, it is. i think all reality competition shows that aren’t based purely on viewer votes have the same disclaimer.

    emily, i didn’t (although i’ve heard it’s getting better, i haven’t yet been able to go back to it.)

    also, re: hotel review: fucking a.

  17. I don’t know… I think Twitchy Judge showed a surprising amount of spunk…

    … he was practically hissing.

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