Speaking of television, has any one else been watching Top Chef Masters?
The second episode aired last night, and I am hooked!
For the uninitiated, the show is based on the popular Top Chef competition reality show- but instead of using unknowns, the competitors are established, award-winning chefs. Including many that have actually served as judges on Top Chef!
The set up is a little different. Instead of having a large field of competitors that are gradually whittled down, only four chefs compete each week. After all, these are busy chefs with restaurants to run! Each round has a quick fire challenge and an elimination round. The chef with the most combined points wins a chance to compete in the final round for the grand prize. Of course, they are all competing for charity.
It is really fun to see these established chefs competing in many of the same challenges that have been used in the Top Chef program. It reminds you of how crazy these challenges really are, and how talented the contestants on these shows must be. The dynamic of the competitors is different. Many of the chefs already know each other, (Last night Dufresne and Bowles had a humorous side-competition going on as they attempted to one-up each other) and if they don't know each other already, they have probably heard of each other and have respect for their work.
The chefs have different personal challenges too. On the first episode, one of the chefs remarked that it had been years since he had done his own shopping! But some of the pitfalls that have happened to Top Chef contestants happen to these chefs too. A chef in the first episode accidentally put his product in the freezer overnight instead of the refrigerator. A chef in this weeks episode over-reduced his sauce in the elimination challenge- and then accidentally sent one plate out with 2 of an element on it, while one plate was missing it. Of course, it was a judge who was missing something!
The judges of the competition are well-respected critics which is a great twist to the program. After all, these chefs are used to being judged by critics all the time. And a review in the real world can make or break a restaurant. (Well, probably not for chefs at this level)
So if you haven't checked it out yet, set your DVR! Next week has Rick Bayless and I can't wait.