Top Chef Masters: Hubert Keller Dominates Dinner Tables, Turntables

The biggest star of last night’s Top Chef Masters was Gladware, for sure. Little opaque boxes with blue tops made cameos in just about every kitchen shot on the show, including taking up whole bookshelves in the tiny Pomona College dorm rooms that were the scene for the main challenge. The four chefs got their share of screen-time, though, and when Hubert Keller (Fleur De Lys) cruised to an easy victory, we can’t say we didn’t grin (and possibly make smug comments to a Bostonian friend). Other highlights included Kelly Choi’s frighteningly stern attitude, Gael Greene’s trademark hat, and the quiet realization that Jay Rayner looks a little like a British Howard Stern. The quickfire challenge involved cooking dessert for Girl Scouts, which Keller won by making chocolate mousse swans, and the second put the chefs in those dorm rooms with just a hot plate, toaster oven, and microwave to make three courses.

The first Bay Area local on the show, Keller knocked down a lot of important elements beyond simply impressing the judges’ palates. He was nice to his fellow contestants (loaning Michael Schlow his mixer during the quickfire challenge), he was clever with his technique (though having spent time in college dorms we probably wouldn’t want to eat pasta that was rinsed in one of their showers), and as our sibling site in New York points out, he has that adorable accent. Oh, and didn’t we tell you to expect a clip from an alternate reality in which Hubert Keller is a rave dj? You know you liked it.

As for the rest of the field, last night’s show made us really want to be friends with Tim Love (Lonesome Dove, Dallas), who took tequila shots, accidentally froze all his groceries and, it was pointed out, is the spitting image of Harland Williams. Michael Schlow (Radius, 606 Congress, Via Matta, Boston) seemed really confused and nervous throughout a lot of the show, and we weren’t surprised when he got eliminated, but that cabbage soup he made seemed really good. Finally, Chris Lee made a (Aureole) dessert of French toast sticks with caramelized bananas that was fascinating to us, and made us want to do a lot more applying of blow-torches to fruit. Maybe it’s time top buy some fire insurance.

[Photo: Courtesy of Bravo]


Top Chef Masters: Hubert Keller Dominates Dinner Tables, Turntables