topchefmasters1First run at the champions’ round tonight, and I’ve mostly forgotten who’s going to be there. Hang on…
– Susan Feniger
– Tony Mantuano
– Carmen Gonzalez
– Marcus Samuelsson
– Rick Moonen
– Jonathan Waxman
– Jody Adams
– Susur Lee

I totally remembered that and DID NOT have to look it up. I’m pulling for Waxman, who’s really the only sensible choice.

THE PAST FOUR WEEKS: We started with 22 excellent chefs. Everyone was very cordial to everyone else except for Marcus, who made it to the champions round and Ludo, who did not. Marcus is clearly the bigger dick of the two, so there’s a life lesson for you.

10:02: QUICKFIRE: Team challenge, blindfolded tag-team cookoff. I mean, people cook one at a time while their teammates are blindfolded, they don’t actually cook blindfolded. Which might make things more interesting.

10:04: Marcus is taking the last leg for his team, because he is the best and because everyone knows the rule that the insufferable douche goes last. Jonathan is forced into taking it for his team even though he’s scared of the blindfold and may well have a breakdown before it’s his turn.

10:05: Fish for everyone!

10:06: Yeah, Waxman is going down behind that blindfold. I’d lend him a valium, but he already moves slowly enough.

10:08: He makes a comeback! Moonen called it. He dicked around for half his time, got a twinkle in his eye and BAM. He is like a ninja. His solution: add more butter. And THAT is why he rules the school.

10:09: The Marcus team has prosciutto and seabass and a seafood broth. Jay is the only judge, and I don’t particularly like listening to him talk to himself.

The Jonathan team…also has a seafood stew, with orange and fennel.

Why is Kelly Choi wearing a pop-up Halloween store Elvira costume shirt circa 1997?

10:13: Commercials. Yes, I totally get that you’re comparing Buitoni agnolotti with the Duomo and the Sistine Chapel. Makes sense. I mean, hey, they’re STUFFED.

10:15: The word “Bravolebrity” doesn’t get any easier to swallow, no matter how many times I hear it. I’m sure it was the brainchild of Andy Cohen.

10:16: Winner: Team Waxman. Obviously

ELIMINATION CHALLENGE: Wedding Wars. Rick Moonen just can’t muster an ounce of exciting about anything, can he? “Wedding wars…oh boy.”

Two days, 150 guests, both teams have to make a wedding cake.

10:17: Aw, the bride and groom are each 3 apples high. Or Kelly Choi is a LOT taller than I thought she was. They’re still bigger than Carmen, though.

10:19: Bride: “I don’t really eat shellfish.” Waxman: “I could do clams…” Seafood Fail.

10:21: Hey, Tony’s here! Where you been at, Tony?

10:22: Holy crap, Susur’s got some freaking adorable kids. Somehow, the freakishly rectangular head works on the little ones. They’ll grow out of it, I’m sure.

10:24: Marcus wants his food (for the groom that doesn’t like strong flavors) to be strongly flavored, because it has to reflect him. Because Marcus Knows Best.

Is Moonen’s coke habit rubbing off on Carmen?

10:26: The more I think about it, the less I like Marcus. Which is saying something, because I didn’t like him to begin with. Who do I love? Susur’s wife, who sounds hilarious. Also, the hippies of British Columbia, who apparently make a mean carrot cake.

10:29: Waxman: “I don’t think filet is a good choice…it can be undercooked, it can be overcooked.” Yes, those are the options.

Rick Moonen is the most depressing cokehead ever.

HOLY SHIT, WHAT IS WAXMAN DOING TO THAT CAKE? The “Titantic” theme cake I once made with all the blue food coloring and the Swedish fish was not as heinous as that “cake.”

10:31: unBalaban is back! Meanwhile, the bride is (failing to) rock some serious cleavage in that dress. You already nabbed the man, honey.

10:32: Brian: “Poor Rick Moonen, he’s such a drama queen.” Although to be fair, he is nigh-setting himself on fire to get his shit done. Literally.

Seriously lady, put those puppies away.

10:34: unBalaban, in describing the food, has some serious claw hands, like he’s suddenly been seized with early-onset rheumatoid arthritis.

10:36: unBalaban, sitting with his head cupped in his hands, has officially fallen in love with Tony, who could not be flying any more under the radar. Brian: “Who’s this guy?”

10:37: Commercials: You can always spot a Calvin Klein perfume commercial from a mile away. And I don’t mean that as a compliment.

Who likes slots? Who likes talking horses? You belong in Yonkers!

10:39: Interlude! The Waxman cake is still atrocious. Rick: “It’s the Charlie Brown Christmas Tree of wedding cakes.” I can’t disagree.

10:43: Is carrot cake supposed to be mint green?

Gael, on Waxman’s oeuvre: “I’m shocked by this cake.”

10:44: I wonder if the other chefs have to look out to keep from stepping on Carmen.

10:45: Gael’s hat matches unBalaban’s tie, and that makes me happy. I missed their synchronistic dressing.

Can you have an “excessive” dessert table? I submit that you cannot.

10:46: Team Waxman takes the elimination. And Rick experiences a moment of near-joy. But not actual joy.

Jody takes the individual win for her lamb and bananas foster!

10:48: Team Marcus cannot even pretend to be happy for their colleagues, and for once it’s not just Marcus being a pompous dickbag. Susur: “The blue team win and I get angry.” SUSUR SMASH.

10:50: “He said he wanted potatoes au gratin just like he had growing up.” So Tony tracked down his mother and made her do it.

Jay: suspicious of Tony’s pasta, because pasta killed his uncle.

10:52: Wow, Carmen’s dishes are as wee as she is.

Brian, on unBalaban: “He’s very gushy over everyone’s food tonight…I think he’s on E.”

10:54: Commercials: You like to share…and you like to blindfold your friends so you can hoard chocolate. That’s healthy; no, really.

Who are these 45% of people who did NOT pick “open bar” as the best part of a wedding? The ceremony? Really?

10:57: Time for the losers’ scores. I fear for Carmen, although I would love love love to see Marcus bite it.

And…I was right to be scared for Carmen. Shafted by the critics, although not by the guests.

10:58: Damn. Apparently people are so used to poorly cooked beef at weddings that they’ll rate it highly.