Top Chef Masters Recap: Dave Hill on Mobster Fish and Fancy Nachos

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Neal Fraser spent years training so he could make fancy nachos on TV. Photo: Isabella Vosmikova/Bravo

Hello. This is resident culinary expert Dave Hill with yet another really insightful recap of Top Chef Masters, what critics are already calling my favorite show in the history of television where chefs fight to death (at least I’m hoping that’s where this is headed). Last night, the popular Bravo network aired episode seven of season five, and that shit was nuts.

Things got off to a troubling start as host Curtis Stone emerged in what I honestly have to say was his worst outfit of the entire season so far. Seriously, the wardrobe person was either drunk or phoning it in because the check jacket with the blue shirt (which — duh — had too much cyan in it to go with that jacket!) simply did not work for me at all.

I realize this is a cooking show and I really shouldn’t be focusing on this sort of thing, but it enraged me, dammit. If I weren’t so easily able to get lost in Curtis’s dreamy eyes just as soon as he starts talking — something that I bet happens to a lot of other completely straight guys just like me who would like nothing more than to spend an afternoon playing touch football with Curtis and then heading back to the house for a few cold ones while we wait for our clothes to come out of the dryer — I probably would have had to stop watching last night’s episode altogether.

Anyway, after some crazy-ass sous-chef battle, chef Jennifer Jasinski is allowed to reenter the competition for whatever reason and it’s off to the Quickfire Challenge. This time around, Ali Larter, an actress I have heard of and would like to have sexual intercourse with, walked out and you could totally tell all of the chefs had major boners, even the ladies.

Ali said something about how she likes when people make fancy versions of foods that are normally kind of bullshit and then told the chefs to take a crack at nachos.

It was at this point that Curtis made a humorous nacho cheese joke and I found myself sitting at home laughing. Then the chefs got to work as David Burke instantly fell apart for some reason and whipped up a plate of nachos that looked like they were made by a damn child. He even put squid ink in them, an ingredient that basically everyone knows is total bullshit. It’s almost like he wanted to lose.

Meanwhile, chef Douglas Keane, who it turns out had a brain tumor (they showed pictures of his crazy brain tumor surgery scar and everything and I swear I almost spit my ice cream right out onto the goddamn floor!) whipped up some crazy nacho dish that Ali and Curtis decided was the best.

For the Elimination Challenge, the chefs were asked to make a hot and cold seafood dish, and were sent out into the world for their ingredients, something that always makes me nervous, as most of them seem to really fall apart when left to their own devices away from the Top Chef Masters set.

The chefs had to choose their fish right off the back of a truck and everything. It was like a scene from a mafia movie, and I’m pretty sure I’m not the only one that thought/hoped there was maybe going to be a body back there. In fact, it would have been cool to maybe bring back one of the previously eliminated chefs that way, but I am just thinking out loud here.

Anyway, the chefs had to pair off for this round, with Sang and Bryan, Neal and David, and Douglas and Jennifer all reluctantly joining forces to try to save their asses.

After the Elimination Challenge, of course, it was time for the judges to come out and be total dicks about everything as usual. Gail Simmons looked great as always, and, after a couple of seconds of watching her, I bet if Ali Larter had begged me to make sweet, sweet love to her I would have been all like, No, Ali, I’m with Gail now. I need you to be cool with that.

Anyway, the judges barely tolerated Sang’s bullshit sablefish dish and really, really liked Douglas and Jennifer's sexily named John Dory two ways. Meanwhile, chef Neal Fraser and his Robin Hood facial hair brought up the rear with their sea bass and citrus tomato pepper vinaigrette, a dish I wouldn’t serve to a damn dog.

For this, the judges told Neal and that goddamn goatee of his to pack up his things and get the hell out of their sight before they just come over there and kick his ass or something. I mean, they didn’t use those words, but you could still totally tell that’s what they were thinking.

The next incredible episode of Top Chef Masters is on Bravo next Wednesday at 10 p.m. After that, Andy Cohen will come out and get all “cray-cray,” I bet. God, I love that guy.