Another year, another season of Top Chef Masters... or as I like to call it, the "Oh Look, Another Ad For Ziploc!" show. This season, 22 talented chefs are competing for $100,000 for their favorite charities, as well as the all-important title of Top Chef. The competition is incredibly tough this year, so you know what that means: we're in for lots of drama, lots of Obama name dropping, and lots of Kelly Choi being, well, Kelly Choi.
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. The competitors this week were Govind Armstrong, Susan Feniger, Ana Sortun, Jerry Traunfeld, Jimmy Bradley, and Tony Mantuano.
I'll break down the episodes every week, and serve up the eight moments people will surely be talking about at the water cooler. And so, without further ado, let's get into the premiere!
1. No, That's Not '80s R&B Singer Terrence Trent D'Arby; It's Govind Armstrong
Govind is the chef/owner of 8 oz. Burger Bar in Los Angeles and South Beach. He's worked for Wolfgang Puck, and despite the gigantic mole underneath his left nostril, was even featured in one of People magazine's "50 Most Beautiful People" issues. Terrence Trent D'Arby, on the other hand, once skillfully managed to rhyme "wishing well" and "kiss and tell." See the difference there?
2. Cheetos Mac & Cheese Looks About as Gross As You'd Expect
For this week's quickfire challenge, the chefs had to create a gourmet dish using only ingredients from a gas station. Jimmy and Govind made grilled Slim-Jims and Cheetos mac & cheese. Unfortunately, Jimmy accidentally grabbed a bag of flamin' hot Cheetos, which made their dish look less like mac & cheese... and more like a bowl of multivitamins. Mmm! Healthy, and nutritious!
3. The Bravery Is a Rock Band, Not the Name of an Old War Ship (I'm Looking at You, Dad)
The judges for the quickfire challenge were The Bravery, a New York City-based rock band whose members qualified for the job by eating lots of junk food on the road. I actually wanted to see the chefs rate the band members' haircuts before they left, but no such luck.
4. "We should feed those [expletive] cat food tartar."
Jimmy Bradley, on what to make for The Bravery during the quickfire challenge. On second thought, it actually might have tasted better than the Cheeto Mac he came up with. (Team Susan and Tony ended up winning the gas station challenge with their "tasted better than it looked" maple bread pudding.)
5. Yes. Ana Sortun Totally Looks Like That Woman From A League Of Their Own
6. The Obama Factor (or as Guy Fieri Would Say, Obama-Rama-Ding-Dong)
For the elimination challenge, the teams had to prepare a meal for 30
Match.com rejects lovely couples who were on their first date. Tony Mantuano, who mentioned about 500 times that Obama eats at his restaurant when he's in Chicago, looked into the camera and smugly said, "If I can make the president and the first lady happy on their date night, I can make first time daters happy." And then, just like that, there it was: a candid photo of Obama holding a plate of Tony's food. As soon as I saw that, I knew the other contestants would soon be leaving with nothing but a parting gift that read, "I competed against a guy who had a photo of Obama eating his food, and all I got was this lousy t-shirt."
7. Dear God, Why Was Judge James Oseland Dressed Like Fred Rogers?
Would you be mine, could you be mine, won't you be my neighbor?
For the elimination challenge, Govind and Jimmy made a seared lamb carpaccio with baby arugula and herb salad, while Jerry and Ana made lavender duck breast with red cabbage.
8. Fun Fact: Leftover Feathers from Ana and Jerry's Duck Breast Were Reportedly Used to Make Gael Greene's Hat
While the judges enjoyed all the dishes, it was Susan and Tony who won them over with their black pepper shrimp and scallops. They each won $10,000 for their charity, and secured spots in the upcoming champion's round.
If you're wondering if Susan was excited, yes. Yes she was.
And that brought this week's drama to an end! Did the right people win? Did you dislike the fact that they were forced to work in teams?
All products linked here have been independently selected by our editors. We may earn a commission on purchases, as described in our affiliate policy.