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“Top Chef Masters” Season 5, Episode 4: The Week in Quotes
Surprise parties, turd-shaped desserts, and Steve Sanders.
Oh gosh, Lindsay Price. I remember you from the early 90210 days, when you had to play the impossible-to-believe part of Janet Sosna, a young woman who gravitated toward Steve Sanders for purely (ohmahgod, barf) sexual reasons. Anyone who grew up in the ’90s knows the only real reason for a lady to hang out with Steve Sanders was a) to get within pheromone-whiffing distance of Dylan, or b) in hopes that Kelly Taylor might toss you a pair of last week’s dangly earrings. Anyway, that whole thing was sordid and gross, and I’m much more on board with Price’s new role: devoted fiancée to Aussie host Curtis Stone.
In episode four, the soon-to be Mrs. Stone stops by the TCM set to help scheme a surprise engagement party for her sunkissed future spouse. Cohosting this shindig: none other than Saveur EIC James Oseland, who even throws on a purple sweater to honor the Grimace-fur garment Stone blinded us with during last week’s episode.
“He needs to marry that shit.”
After a Quickfire involving curries and Goose Island Beer— Sang Yoon won again—Oseland stops by the kitchen to lay it on the Masters that they’ll be cooking passed hors d’oeuvres for a party attended by Price and Stone’s friends and family. (Damn, Price. If ever there has been a more elaborate way to get free catering at a party, I’d like to know what that is. Well played, lady.)
The chefs are divided into three teams. Bryan Voltaggio, Lynn Crawford, and Yoon get grouped together because their sous chefs apparently underperformed during the online challenge that no one with a job has time to watch. The bosses’ punishment: They will only have 15 minutes to shop at Whole Foods, while the other two teams get 30. This ends up not mattering at all. Douglas Keane’s underling won him immunity and the opportunity to pick two teammates; he goes with David Burke and Sue Zemanick. Zemanick, meanwhile, has been keeping a sly eye on the lovely Price, and even hints that Stone better put a ring on it pronto lest somebody else move on in. Leftovers Neal Fraser, Jennifer Jasinski, and Franklin Becker form a reluctant third team, and it’s off to the races.
“Stop being so charming, Bryan, it’s annoying.”
While the guests gather for the Bravo-funded bash, the chefs are hard at work on their dishes. Voltaggio earnestly confesses how much he loves to cook romantic dinners for his wife, inspiring Yoon to dig a little deeper—but try as he might to seek out a crack in Voltaggio’s shining armor, there’s just no there there. (Confidential to Yoon: Stop wasting your time on Mr. Perfect and sidle up next to Zemanick next time you’re sipping a few brews in the stew room. There’s a distinct possibility she’s out to steal Curtis Stone’s future wife who used to date Steve Sanders, who everyone knows is in love with Kelly Taylor, who was clearly made for Dylan, who—ugh this brings us to Brenda, doesn’t it? Nobody wants that.)
Stone enters the party and does something with his considerable jaw that indicates surprise. Phew—for a second there I thought he might have caught on! Okay actually I’m pretty much 100 percent sure he know what was happening. But the good news is that it’s really difficult to care one way or another.
“It was a skidmark.”
Our team of judges gathers around the stage to enjoy some canapés alongside Stone and Price’s nearest and dearest. As they make their way through the chefs’ apps, Oseland and Gail Simmons take every opportunity to wax scatological, and you can plainly see the white rage behind regal Ruth Reichl’s blinking expression as she composes a tweet-haiku in her head. “Bright soundstage. Succulent bay scallops and my bangs are perfect. Alas, Simmons sullies us with poop jokes.”
There are delicious but turd-invoking chocolate cheesecake pops from David Burke, and the swipe of chocolate Becker has painted beneath his doughnut dessert inspires a skidmark crack from the ever-more-cheeky Miss Simmons. At least the cheesecake tasted good—the doughnuts, not so much. Becker’s team, it’s plain to see, is about to get flushed.
“Clearly I’m not a bartender.”
As if that skidmark were not enough to stain his good name, Becker presents another dish that the judges want to plunge down the pipe: a pink sake, guava, and coconut cocktail that Simmons “despised” and Oseland calls a “confused pinkish liquid” (which sounds like a symptom of something you might contract from Steve Sanders). What with Jasinski’s overwrought lobster-lentil thing and whatever Fraser made that I forgot about, the leftover team is an easy target at judges’ table, and ultimately Becker gets the axe.
Before that happens, the dream team that is Keane, Burke, and Zemanick receives lots of lauds, and—because who needs all the excitement that picking a winner might generate?—the judges opt to give all three of them the top prize this week. Then it’s off to the Peach Pit for milkshakes and megaburgers.
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