IM’ing Top Chef Masters

By: Kate Nerenberg, Alejandro Salinas

Last night, we sat down and watched the premiere of Top Chef Masters, a Top Chef spinoff featuring world-renowned chefs battling it out in the name of charity. We were so excited about the show that we decided to chat about it in real time with one of our fellow After Hours bloggers. Turns out, a great cause does not necessarily make great television. Here’s what we had to say about the show’s first episode.

Kate: You ready for some Top Chef time?
Alejandro: You bet. I’m two beers in already, FYI.
Alejandro: BTW, how gut-wrenching is it to rewatch Carla lose?
Kate: I know!
Alejandro: Here we go.
Kate: Gael Greene. Shows her face!!
Alejandro: The Gael Greene crazy-hat watch starts now.
Alejandro: Where is Padma?
Kate: Glad family products are back.
Kate: Padma’s going to do the regular Top Chef.
Alejandro: NO PADMA?!
Alejandro: Also, I recognized ZERO chefs from the intro.
Alejandro: Tom Colicchio!
Alejandro: I LOVE TOM!
Kate: Tom’s on the other side of the plate here, huh?
Alejandro: Hubert Keller, I remember him from last season’s Top Chef finale.
Alejandro: Love or hate the Fabio-lous hair?
Kate: It goes with the personality, I think. Let’s hope it doesn’t fall in the food!
Alejandro: So what’s the show’s format anyway? Where are all the other chefs? I’m confused.
Kate: I think there are only a few chefs per episode. Patience, young grasshopper.
Kate: Tim Love cooks in a cowboy hat!?!?
Alejandro: At least there is no risk of his hair getting on the food.
Alejandro: Kelly is no Padma .
Kate: I think Padma’s hotter.
Alejandro: Exactly.
Alejandro: Plus, Kelly looks like she could eat some burgers. Padma could teach her a thing or two about that. Kate: Wait, eight year-old girls are the judges for the MASTERS?
Alejandro: Not a good start. Not good at all
Kate: Who’s gonna make a Thin Mint?
Alejandro: I’m the one who needs a shot of tequila, not Tim.
Kate: Cowboy starts early.
Alejandro: I can’t focus on what Hubert is saying.
Alejandro: I’m just worried about the hair in my food. And what’s this about him swimming with the dolphins?
Kate: Luckily, I can’t get the captions to come off my TV, so it’s all translated for me.
Alejandro: HAHAHA.
Kate: Chicken-fried strawberry!?!?! He’s gonna give those little sparrows heart attacks.
Alejandro: Or an eating disorder. Too far?
Kate: There’s the Monogram-oven plug.
Kate: “Who doesn’t like dessert on a stick?” says Christopher Lee . . .
Alejandro: Kids as judges aside, I think this is an interesting challenge to start with.
Alejandro: Like Kelly said, this is a challenge all Top Chef-ers have struggled with.
Kate: Schlow’s desserts look like, um . . . ew.
Kate: And he wasn’t even drinking.
Alejandro: Also, why are Tom and Gail back but not Padma? It’s because of that sleazy burger commercial isn’t it?
Kate: Let’s see what the cute girls think.
Alejandro: Michael’s dessert looks like turds.
Kate: Haha, apparently they taste like Tagalongs . . . mmmm I love those.
Alejandro: Tim’s food looks nice at least.
Alejandro: Good presentation, but chicken-fried strawberry is just too odd for me.
Kate: Yeah, a little fried crazy.
Kate: Hubert’s badass.
Alejandro: Hubert is a hit.
Kate: Oh, here’s the dessert on the stick. A little burnt.
Alejandro: Little redhead judge is tough—I like her.
Kate: Can they put a Top Chef badge on their sashes?
Alejandro: Wait—this is new. What’s with the star system?
Alejandro: Did they explain that and I missed it?
Kate: I don’t know. Where’s Padma? Haha.
Kate: Elimination challenge: It’s like they’re growing up all over again. First little kids, now college.
Alejandro: SEE, me drinking beforehand was just foreshadowing to the college challenge.
Kate: I’m drinking PBR—doesn’t get much more college than that.
Alejandro: OK, they finally explained the system. 20 minutes into the show.
Kate: Tim’s slow in the supermarket. I think he was back in the liquor section hitting the tequila bottles.
Alejandro: Watching these masters struggle in the grocery store is fun, like watching a dog trying to walk on its hind legs, to quote Mean Girls.
Alejandro: This is Top Chef Masters! Man up or get out of the kitchen, as sexy Tom would say. What is Hubert making?
Kate: I don’t know . . . maybe another mouse?
Kate: Where’s the commercial with the soda bottles that jump off the shelves?
Alejandro: Tim looks so puzzled about the frozen food. Dude, that’s what happens when you put food in the freezer.
Kate: The cowboy was SO hitting the bottle.
Alejandro: Only possible explanation for such an egregious mistake. I think I like him more now.
Alejandro: They’re cooking in actual college dorms.
Kate: I mean, it’s only right for the challenge.
Alejandro: And the dorms are ACTUAL dorm size, not the crazy pads you see on teen shows.
Kate: Or on REAL WORLD!
Alejandro: Ugh, let’s not get started on that.
Kate: Wait, Hubert is a DJ?
Alejandro: That would explain the hair.
Kate: How’s he gonna get his food unfrozen? Chef mike! The microwave!
Alejandro: Microwaving—now this is my kind of “cooking.”
Kate: Enter awkward college student.
Alejandro: Hubert looks like the frontrunner to me. Thoughts?
Kate: I think so, too. I think Christopher could be the dark horse. Michael’s screwed. Tim’s already drunk.
Alejandro: Just make that pasta, Hubert. I’m betting more unusual things have happened in that restroom.
Kate: Tim’s really been hitting the sauce. He would be better off throwing in the towel now and finding the keg party.
Alejandro: That’s just his Southern drawl—I hope.
Alejandro: Oooh . . . Gael Greene crazy hat number one!
Kate: Yes! And an off-the-shoulder shirt from one of the college students. Priceless.
Alejandro: Judge Jay Raener looks constipated.
Kate: Haha.
Alejandro: Unremarkable seems to be the bottom line for Tim.
Kate: Hubert looks to have come out on top in the first course.
Alejandro: Is that a branch on Gael’s cardigan?
Alejandro: Score two for Hubert.
Alejandro: Judge Jay just called Michael’s food “great football-watching food.” Did he mean that as a compliment?
Kate: Those Brits.
Alejandro: Tim is out.
Kate: Tough critics.
Kate: Oh, I want that mac and cheese. That’s no easy mac.
Alejandro: And so apropos for the college challenge. I lived off of mac and cheese while in school.
Kate: Um . . . let me just say Annie’s mac and cheese and a bottle of Tabasco = senior year.
Alejandro: It’s Hubert’s challenge. No contest.
Alejandro: So how do we feel about this spinoff so far?
Kate: So far, I’m not 100 percent sold. I like when the contestants are all cocky and then get cut down. You?
Alejandro: I can’t decide if this show is the equivalent of Real Housewives of NYC or Real Housewives of New Jersey. Kelly is the Jersey version of Padma, though.
Kate: She so is!!
Kate: The chefs are lying. They all have chef mikes in their kitchens.
Alejandro: Except Hubert, he looks like he might still count with an abacus.
Kate: It seems like they’re all children compared to Hubert.
Alejandro: I thought Michael had a chance until Gael ripped his pork dish.
Kate: Gael does have a branch on her sweater! It’s bigger than her shoulder pads too.
Kate: You know why Tim added too much salt? He was thinking he could have it with the tequila.
Kate: Kelly doesn’t seem to have the same culinary knowledge that Padma does.
Alejandro: That’s saying something, because Padma is usually the weakest link when it comes to the judges’ table.
Kate: James Oseland reminds me of Ted Allen. Jay’s hair is a little crazy.
Kate: What’s missing in this spinoff is the drama, the childish antics.
Kate: And let’s be honest, who doesn’t like to see a good cat fight?
Alejandro: You’re right, the contestant drama is really missing.
Alejandro: Reputations must remain untainted, brands protected, and zzzzz . . .
Kate: The hour did go by fast, though. I think Hubert’s got it in the bag.
Alejandro: Ready to declare Hubert the winner?
Kate: I mean, the French invented cuisine, right?
Alejandro: Yeah, but they also pioneered unshaven armpits on women—just putting things in perspective.
Alejandro: But I agree, Hubert has it in the bag.
Kate: Michael’s got nothing. Lucky 13 (and a half) stars.
Alejandro: Kelly doesn’t even get to vote. Useless.
Kate: Totally useless.
Alejandro: Look at Tim! Surprised he was not at the bottom.
Kate: He just beat Michael. I’ll drink to that.
Kate: Christopher! You crazy, boy.
Kate: Tim’s going back to the ranch.
Alejandro: Auf wiedersehen.
Alejandro: There is no tension, despite the music. Clearly Hubert is gonna win.
Kate: And he just did.
Alejandro: I give this episode two and half stars.
Alejandro: Mostly because of Gael and Hubert.
Kate: I think James has some Mr. Rogers potential. But yeah, all in all, TAME.
Alejandro: It was more entertaining than watching Janice Dickinson get shocked by Holly Montag on I'm a Celebrity Get Me Out of Here. But not as fun as watching a drunken Janice Dickinson cursing at aspiring models after face-planting down a flight of stairs.
Alejandro: Ooh, scenes from upcoming episodes! Neil Patrick Harris! Zoey Deschanel!
Alejandro: Clearly, Bravo knows the gays love this show.

What did you think? Did Hubert deserve to win? Was Tim that terrible? Let us know in the comments!