Down to the final four, last night's penultimate episode of Top Chef Masters started off with the ol' Blind Taste Test challenge, which revealed that poor Anita Lo can't identify peanut butter. Then, for better or worse, the Bravo producers (quite literally) introduced some drama into the previously drama-free season by bringing back some notable past cheftestants to work as sous chefs for the masters. Of course, most of the characters haven't changed much. Spike still comes off douchey, Blais still plays with liquid nitrogen, and Fabio still has his memorable one-liners (i.e, "I'm sweating like a mountain goat at the beach."). The great Jamie Lauren, who somehow ended up standing next to a giant person, was there too and had a memorable line of her own: “Everyone wants to work with Hubert ... No one wants to work with Chiarello.” Aw.
The episode will be remembered for Michael Chiarello's portrayal—fair or not—as something of a hardass, as he managed his sous chefs with more of an iron fist than his counterparts. Most notably, the Napa Stylist butted heads with Dale, whose temper tantrum really did his reputation absolutely no favors.
Looking back, I cannot see myself handling it in a different way. When confronted by this 'Master' chef, I took his comments and tone to be insulting. Had this situation taken place with, for example Joel Robuchon, Charlie Trotter, Thomas Keller, Alain Ducasse, I know I would react differently, as I have had nothing but the utmost respect and admiration for these great chefs.Ouch. But Dale, buddy: screaming at a master chef on national TV is probably not the best career move. And other chefs might not have been so calm as Chiarello. Like Robbie Lewis: 'I would've punched that kid Dale in the face.'"
Anyway, amidst all the posturing, dramatics and whatchoogonnadoboutits, Hubert Keller still managed to come off the perfect, sweet old man superchef as he churned out 18 (!) dishes for his buffet. In the end, Anita Lo got the ax, leaving the three men to close out the season next week.
Some bonus listage:
· Won't Viewers Have Top Chef Fatigue Just in Time For TC Vegas? [~ENY~]
· Kelly Choi: "I wasn’t the one who had to risk being made to look like a fool." [Bravo]
· James Oseland: "I don’t blame you if you think I’m a jerk." [Bravo]
· Live Blogging From the Gawker Commenters [Gawker]
· Separated at Birth: Bayless' Beard and Spencer's Beard [Yumsugar]
· Gael Greene Is Currently Monkey-Watching [Twitter]