Top Chef Masters by Quincy IL
“A Soldier’s Story”
The final four Top Chefs arrive in their kitchen to find dividers on their work tables. There is two of everything needed for the chefs to create meals. They are told that they will teach another chef a recipe of their choice. They put blinders on and the four unknown chefs come into the room. We are introduced to Naomi’s father, Mary Sue’s sister, Floyd’s sister and Traci’s brother.
The quick fire challenge is for the Top Chef to create a dish and the unknown chef to duplicate that dish taught to him or her by the Top Chef. None of the Top Chef’s recognizes the voices of the unknown chef helping them.
Naomi has difficulty in helping her chef to follow her instructions so she gets frustrated and yells at him. They poach eggs after her unknown chef locates his eggs.
Mary Sue is her typical smiling self. She is smart and nice. Her chef takes instruction well. They make a spinach salad with shredded chicken.
Floyd recognizes a slight Indian accent and wonders who his chef is. He realizes that she understands his instructions and that is helpful. Floyd creates stir fried shrimp with mushrooms and asparagus. He makes it simple because he suspects his chef is not a real chef when he hears Naomi yelling across the room.
Traci realizes that her chef is not a chef because he did not know the word, “chiffanade.” She tells him to mince. Traci makes halibut. She makes brown vinegar vinaigrette. This is a recipe that she has taught to other chefs before. Traci thinks the directors chose the best family member, Mitch, for a kitchen adventure.
Floyd feels sorry for the chef that Naomi is yelling at and the chef takes Naomi in stride. Fathers tend to ignore bad behavior in grown daughters on national TV. Naomi can’t believe the chef does not know what a shallot is. When she finally sees the chef is Mitch, her father, she screams, but in a good way this time.
Curtis Stone is the judge. He looks at the two dishes at each table after removing the dividers to reveal the family members. Naomi screams when she sees it’s her dad and her dad reveals that she is like this in his home when she visits too. Their dishes are similar in appearance and the eggs are perfect.
Floyd’s sister, Debra, is a good cook and after he discovers that she is the unknown chef, he wishes he had made something more challenging.
Mary Sue’s sister, Chris, created a matching dish that is delicious.
Traci’s brother’s dish is very similar to hers and tastes great.
The least favorite dishes belong to Floyd and Mary Sue. Traci wins the challenge and $5,000 for her charity.
The Elimination Challenge
The Top Chefs will create a buffet to feed 100 people with four menus based on the favorite foods of four US service men who recently returned to their families from the assignments overseas.
Four family members will help the Top Chefs design the menu. The Chefs ask questions about their loved one and the favorite foods that they love when they are home.
Mary Sue takes a knife with the words, “Marine Corp.”
Traci’s knife has the words, “Navy.”
Naomi …Air Force
Naomi will make a Hawaiian meal for Carissa’s dad who just came home from Afghanistan. She will make pork and a pOpolo which is a ball of seaweed that is salted. (spelling from a food site.)
Floyd will make a beef roast tenderloin and clam chowder. This is difficult for a buffet. The other challenge is his soldier does not like spices. He is a meat and potatoes man, but Floyd is a top chef so he makes garlic potatoes, a spinach salad with pomegranate, and mushrooms. His Army soldier lost 26 lbs in Afghanistan so he is really hungry.
Traci’s sailor likes meat loaf, potatoes and peach cobbler. Traci will have more trouble with the simplicity. She will add a Caesar’s Salad.
Mary Sue will make ribs, potatoes, asparagus and an apple dish.
For four hours they work nonstop in the kitchen before packing the food and going to an American Legion Hall for the family buffet dinner. They finish cooking/reheating the food and set up the buffet for serving. They greet the guests as they finish preparing the meal.
The military men and their families are on stage and they are honored by the judges of the Top Chef Masters Competition: James Oseland, Curtis Stone, Ruth Reidl and Danielle Freeman (Restaurant Girl.)
Tears and smiles are mixed and then the families are served. The judges eat with each family and the families pick the winner which is Mary Sue. Floyd is given a coin by his family and he cries from happiness and exhaustion. He is also miserable that he lost to Mary Sue in each of their challenges. She did not notice that he was her competition.
The four Top Chefs share a toast before three go to the Critic’s table. The judges explain that they are all great chefs and then tear apart their individual dishes. Naomi’s shrimp was undercooked. She later disagrees with this, but is silent during judging. The major issue with both Traci’s meatloaf and Floyd’s beef was the lack of spices, but both of their military men prefer their meat cooked this way. The families all loved the food prepared for them. James Oseland has a salt meter in his delicate mouth and he feels Naomi’s meat loaf was too salty. Curtis Stone defends Naomi’s Hawaiian menu as she always took risks in the challenge.
The Top Chef Master sent home is Naomi. She hugs the other chefs and packs her knives. Naomi has a daughter and she learned that she can take more time for her family because both Mary Sue and Traci arrange their schedules for the lives, not for their careers.
Next week is the finale.
These men and women are incredible in the kitchen. It’s amazing that they can create a meal for so many in a few hours. They work hard and are competitive, but there is no back stabbing and they really care about each other. I am impressed with these chefs.
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