'Top Chef Masters' Improv Episode: Just The Tasty Bits


Another week, another episode of Top Chef Masters! In this week's semi-final round, Susur Lee, Marcus Samuelsson, Rick Moonen, and Jonathan Waxman cooked their hearts out in hopes of earning a spot in next week's finale episode. Who rose to the top, and who just flopped? Find out, as we delve into the most interesting moments from the show!


The Great Cookbook Swap

For this week's quickfire challenge, the chefs were asked to prepare a recipe from one of their competitor's cookbooks. Poor Susur was sweating like Whitney Houston after running a mile in a velour sweatsuit because he "cooks with his eyes," and Rick's book didn't have a photo of the recipe. All I can say is, "Wow." If Susur gets that stressed out about following step by step recipe directions, I certainly don't want to be around the day he caves and brings home his first piece of Ikea furniture.


Susur's Cookbook Cover Is Hilarious

Look at that windswept hair! If I didn't know better, I'd think I was looking at the cover of a cheesy old romance novel.

Congratulations to Marcus, who scored his first quickfire win and finally earned some money for his charity. He prepared a chicken soup with crispy tortilla chips and avocado goat cheese guacamole, a dish inspired by one of Jonathan Waxman's recipes.

It's A Bird, It's A Plane, It's The Groundlings

After the quickfire, Kelly Choi sent the chefs to see an improv show starring The Groundlings. Kelly, the jokester that she is, told the guys they'd have the night off... but she lied. The chefs soon learned that they'd be cooking an elimination dinner for the cast of The Groundlings, based on three improvised words the audience came up with during the show.

Rick's theme was "red anger bacon," Susur's theme was "chocolate peanut butter lust," Marcus' theme was "salmon violet pleasure," and Jonathan's theme was "burnt sienna avocado depression." Yikes! Jonathan really got the short end of the stick on that one. "What am I gonna do, make food that's depressing and disgusting?" he lamented. "That won't work."

For me, though, the best part of the improv show wasn't the witty commentary from the Groundlings or the crazy food pairings from the audience; it was seeing Jonathan Waxman chillin' in the audience wearing a lavender Lacoste polo:

Susur's Dirty Mind

Susur's buzz words were "chocolate, peanut butter, and lust." While cooking, he said he wanted his dish to be "sexy"—and THAT'S precisely when things started getting weird. Your honor, I call into evidence exhibit A, the actual closed captions from the episode:

Um... I don't know why Susur associates "chocolate crumbles" with "underwear"—and honestly, I DON'T WANT TO KNOW.

A Few More Sexual Innuendos For Good Measure

Maybe it was Susur's sensual chocolate dish, or maybe the Top Chef producers spiked the punch bowl with aphrodisiacs. Whatever the reason, the cast and crew of the show spent the rest of the episode spewing off more sexual innuendos than Ron Jeremy in his last film. "Oh, I'm hitting the moist section of my breast now," Kelly Choi playfully exclaimed as she tasted Jonathan's dish. Gosh, she's just sooooo funny. I bet The Groundlings are beating down her door, just begging her to join their troupe.

When he introduced his dish, Susur told the diners that his plate was supposed to resemble a "vagina" and a "pair of tongues." Honestly, I didn't see vaginas or tongues in Susur's dish half as much as I saw "waffle cones and dog poo." But maybe that's just me.

And The Winner Is...

Marcus Samuelsson! The judges loved his confit of salmon with caviar, shrimp, and sake that was inspired by the phrase "violet pleasure salmon." And in a related story, Susur's crazy vagina dessert took second place.

And The Loser Is...

Rick Moonen and Jonathan Waxman were the bottom two chefs tonight, but ultimately, Jonathan was sent home for his boring chicken dish. The judges loved the way it tasted, but didn't feel a simple roast chicken was enough to earn him a spot in the Top Chef finale.

And that brought this week's episode to an end! Stay tuned for the finale next week, when Susur casually announces that his wife's plane got SHOT DOWN IN RUSSIAN AIRSPACE. Say what?!

What did you think of the episode, Serious Eaters? Who are you rooting for in the finale?