Top Chef Masters Recap: Dave Hill on Fried Shrimp Heads and Kathie Lee Gifford

Curtis Stone:<em> Mise en place</em> Inspector General.
Curtis Stone: Mise en place Inspector General. Photo: Courtesy of Bravo

Bravo kicked off the new season of Top Chef Masters last week, and this year Grub Street has tapped comedian Dave Hill — a virgin viewer of any Top Chef show until this specific assignment — to offer his thoughts. His comments on season five’s second episode are straight ahead.

Top Chef Masters: Do not even get me started. Before I had had a chance to even recover from last week’s season-five premiere episode, what with its Canadians and skydiving and everything, now here’s Curtis Stone showing up on the TV I keep next to the soaking tub again last night for episode two. Of course, Curtis was his usual dreamy self and it’s hard to watch him without starting to plan out totally not-gay vacations he and I could go on together in my head, but that’s not what I’m here to talk about right now. What really matters is that things are heating up on this show so much already I practically had to be put on a respirator after I got done watching it last night, and you can ask anyone who lives in my building about that.

Episode two got started with a near bloodbath between the sous chefs, in which they all had to race to make a mise en place, a French thing I had never heard of before. The deal with this is whoever finished theirs first made it so their chef didn’t get shit-canned that episode. While they were making it, this one sous chef named Greg cut his finger and practically bled to death right there on camera, but then everyone was like “Greg, get your shit together, dude,” and he was like “Yeah, you’re right. I’m really not sure what’s been going on with me lately.” (Also, the sous chef Graeme still has that damn Mohawk. You’d think Curtis or somebody would have had “the talk” with him by now, but whatever.)

Anyway, this sous chef named Ted won the mise en place contest and his chef Sang Yoon was super psyched and didn’t seem in any way like he wanted to shoot him in the face as chefs so often do with their sous chefs it seems. After that, all the chefs started cooking like the wind in the quickfire round using the lamb, pomegranate, celery, and squid from the mise en place mentioned in paragraph two. Chef Sue Zemanick won with a lovely seared lamb dish I totally would have eaten the crap out of and once again all the other chefs acted really happy for her even though you could tell they really wanted to push her into moving traffic or something. Meanwhile, judge Gail Simmons, also known as Superfox, basically told chef Richard Sandoval to go screw himself and clean out his locker before she puked or something. Man, he was pissed.

After all the other chefs got done pretending like they were really gonna miss Richard, it was time for the elimination challenge. This time around, all the chefs had to make an Asian version of an American dish, which would have been pretty cool on its own but then — when we least expect it — Kathie Lee Gifford shows up and just starts being a total bitch to everyone and it’s awesome. Do I love her? Do I hate her? I don’t even know, but I swear she practically made some of the chefs cry. It was nuts. I bet Hoda wouldn’t have pulled that shit, but whatever — that’s how they make it work. Also, Kathie Lee, if you are reading this, just putting this out there but Kathie Lee and Hoda and Dave — just sleep on it, if possible.

Chef Sang Yoon’s fried shrimp head and poached tail with chili-garlic aioli and Burmese cabbage slaw ended up being the judges’ favorite in the end and he was pumped. Meanwhile, chefs Jenn Louis, Odette Fada, and Sue Zemanick practically made all the judges puke with all the stuff they tried cooking. And unfortunately for Jenn, all the judges agreed her bastardized bánh mì sucked the most so they were all like “Get the hell out of my sight before I do something we’ll both regret” or something. Even when she’s being a total monster though, that Gail Simmons still looks like a total babe and I just can’t stay mad at her. Who’s with me?

Episode three of Top Chef Masters airs next Wednesday at 10 p.m. on the popular Bravo network. Brace yourself.

Earlier: Top Chef Masters Recap: Dave Hill on Skydiving Chefs and James Oseland’s Sweater

Top Chef Masters Recap: Dave Hill on Fried Shrimp Heads and Kathie Lee