'Top Chef Masters,' Episode 3: Just The Tasty Bits

[Photograph: Bravo.com]

Another week, another episode of Top Chef Masters...or as it was known last night, "60 Minutes of Chef Ludo Swearing At People In a French Accent."

Top Chef Masters is a bit different from other reality shows in that it has small groups of people competing against each other for a chance to move on to the champion's round. This week's competitors—Rick Moonen, Wylie Dufresne, Mark Peel, Graham Elliot Bowles, Ludo Lefebvre, and Jonathan Waxman—were all eliminated on season one of Top Chef Masters, and came back for a shot at redemption.

And so, without further ado, let's tackle the eight most interesting moments from this week's episode!


1. 'Not only do I want to win, but I really want to humiliate Wylie.'

The episode opened with a little trash talking from Graham Elliot Bowles, the only man in America whose glasses are whiter than his chef's coat. He and Wylie are longtime friends and rivals who get along swimmingly, but yet still desperately want to beat each other at all costs (if that's not a country music song waiting to happen, I don't know what is.)

2. The Return Of Pepe Le Pew (Because He's French. Get It?)

Chef Ludo Lefebvre was back, and was as cocky and entertaining as ever! I just don't understand why Bravo felt the need to caption every single word that came out of his mouth, even when it was perfectly understandable. It's like, okay Bravo, he just said the word "hello." I think I somehow would have managed to make that out on my own. But thanks anyway.

3. The Real Housewives of Orange County?! Oh No They Didn't!

Oh yes they did! Just when I thought I was starting to form a modicum of respect for Top Chef Masters, they went and asked three of the REAL HOUSEWIVES to judge a challenge. Say what?! That's like asking Stevie Wonder to judge a sandcastle contest...wrong on so many levels.

For this week's quickfire challenge, the chefs had to create a dish based on a cocktail made with Stolichnaya vodka (can you say "new sponsor"?) None of the chefs were particularly thrilled that the Real Housewives were judging, but Ludo took it the hardest. Thanks to the magic of Bravo's aforementioned captioning, we're able to bring you his exact thoughts on the matter:

Though he had strong words for the housewives, Ludo did graciously accept losing the challenge to Jonathan Waxman. Jonathan created a simple but delicious pork dish, with 20 minutes left on the clock to boot!

5. Traditional Irish Pub Fare

For the elimination challenge, the chefs were asked to reinterpret traditional Irish pub fare, and create more upscale dishes they'd be proud to serve in their own restaurants. The chefs had to decide amongst themselves who would create each dish. Since Rick Moonen's a seafood man, of course he wanted the fish & chips. But not so fast! Ludo didn't want to make things so easy for him!

Bravo, bring on the captions!


Either my mind's in the gutter, or something got a little lost in translation with that one. The jury's still out.

6. Ladies & Gentlemen, The World's Least Appetizing Yorkshire Pudding

Poor Mark Peel. He had difficulty maintaining proper oven temperature during the challenge, and ended up producing... this:


Geez, Mark! The challenge was to create something you'd be proud to serve in your restaurant, not something you'd put outside by the garbage cans to scare rats away.

Perhaps Mark said it best: "If this was a NASCAR race, my car would be doing somersaults through the air, landing on its roof, and bursting into flames." Good ol' Mark. At least he had a sense of humor about it all.

7. Survey Says...

This judges weren't the only ones sampling the chef's re-imagined pub dishes; the pub's patrons got to taste them as well. Ludo was incredibly proud of his beef stew, but the judges weren't crazy about it. More importantly, this adorable old guy loathed it, and threw up his hands in disgust and horror at the notion of it being an Irish stew..

Ludo's right. It does look like a plate of SOMETHING,. I'm just not sure it's "art."

8. Ludo Single-Handedly Reignites The Hundred Years War

Chef Ludo clearly wasn't happy with the critique his beef tenderloin with potatoes got from the judges. As such, he took the opportunity to launch an angry tirade against all English people.

"English people have no taste," he screamed. "To just cook this food, this... shephard's pie... this Irish thing... I mean what the f*** do you want to do with this f****** food, man? It's disgusting!"

I can't guarantee it, but I'm pretty sure somewhere in the world, Gordon Ramsay just threw a piece of John Dory across the room in anger. Mustn't... anger... Gordon...

In the end, Jonathan Waxman won the judges and pub patrons over with his simple shepherd's pie. He took home $5,000 for his charity, Meals On Wheels, and earned a spot in the upcoming champion's round. Jonathan was joined by Rick Moonen, who took second place with his upscale fish and chips, and also earned a spot in the champion's round.

What did you think of this week's episode, Serious Eaters? Are you as excited as I am to see the cast of Modern Family on next week's show?