Top Chef Masters: Mountain Goats at the Beach

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Top Chef returns next week with its sixth season set in Las Vegas. We've been enjoying Top Chef Masters this summer and thought we'd chime in with a few thoughts as the competition wraps up and we prepare for the the main event.

Note: We reveal the winner and loser below.

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Last night's episode had the final four master chefs – Rick Bayless, Michael Chiarello, Hubert Keller and Anita Lo – facing off in our favorite quickfire challenge. The results were ... surprising. More on that below in our thoughts on the episode:

  1. You really do eat with your eyes. It’s been quite some time since these master chefs went to culinary school and they’ve each found a niche in a specific type of cuisine, but we were still surprised by some of their off-base guesses in the blindfold tasting quickfire challenge. Rick Bayless identified a mango as a plum and hoisin as ranch dressing. What? Anita Lo overthought peanut butter and guessed tahini. They both, however, had no problem with poppadom.
  2. The chefs, they like to flirt. A few episodes back, Michael Chiarello couldn’t get enough of the ladies at a catered event. This time, Hubert Keller declared that being blindfolded by host Kelly Choi was the best part of the Quickfire. Alrighty.
  3. Speed dating is not for everyone. While Rick and Hubert quickly found their perfect sous-chef matches with past Top Chef contestants (Bayless + Blais 4-Ever), the other two masters weren’t so lucky. Anita jumped quickly for former employee Jamie Lauren only to later remember her tendency to get caught up in the details and give her the boot. Michael “What’s My Name” Chiarello made no friends with his knife skill drills, although a dust-up with Dale Talde turned out to be nothing but hype.
  4. James Oseland needs to stay on television. If he does not, we will truly miss his wonderful facial expressions. His one-liners at the judges table are also great. “I’d give you a galaxy of stars if I could,” he gushed to Hubert.
  5. “Furry,” “mealy” and “doughy.” These are three things swordfish should not be, yet they were all words used by the judges to describe Michael's. Eek.
  6. When in doubt, cut to Fabio. “I’m sweating like a mountain goat at the beach,” he said as the master chefs were told to suddenly cut one sous-chef. We think he may have used that one before, but does it really matter?
  7. Adapt, or go home. Anita was bummed when the venue shifted from a dining room to a terrace and realized her raw bar would be in direct sunlight. She stuck with her original plan though, and in the end, even her “heavenly” braised pork rib wasn’t enough to save her. Michael admitted early in the season that he has something to prove as he returns to the kitchen after his television hiatus. That still seems true as he prepares to face off with Rick and Hubert (this week's winner) in next week’s finale.

What did you think of last night's episode?

Related: Top Chef New York New Orleans: And the Winner Is...

(Images: Bravo)

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