Skip to main content

The Masterclass Returns: Top Chef Masters Premieres Tonight on Bravo

Get your knives ready: Top Chef Masters returns tonight with a brand-new season of culinary competition, extreme criticism, and put-upon expressions as another batch of 22 master chefs (including some familiar faces, six in number, who get another shot) return to the Top Chef kitchen to compete for charity.

Be sure to stay up for tonight's fantastic season premiere of Top Chef Masters ("First Date Dinners"), airing at 11 pm ET/PT (don't worry: the series relocates to 10 pm next week), in which six master chefs--Ana Sortun, Govind Armstrong, Jerry Traunfeld, Jimmy Bradley, Susan Feniger, and Tony Mantuano--are put through their paces with a Quickfire and Elimination Challenge that will test their conceptual, execution, and time management skills while putting a charitable donation--and the ability to advance to the next round--on the line.

The competition has always been fierce on Top Chef--the forebear of this series which instead features up-and-coming chefs looking for restaurant seed money--but, given the high-profile that these master chefs have, there's even more pressure to prove themselves.

I don't want to say too much about tonight's episode, other than the fact that it's the perfect introduction to the series if you missed the first season of Top Chef Masters while also offering the requisite level of skill and drama that we've come to know and love, as well as astute--if sometimes biting--criticisms from the table of critics assembled here, including James Oseland, Gael Greene, Gail Simmons, and Jay Rayner. (Simmons isn't in tonight's episode, which I previewed, but I imagine that she'll appear in the rotation at some point down the line.)

While the six chefs entering this first round include some very well-known chefs--including Los Angeles' Susan Feniger (of Street) and Govind Armstrong (of 8 oz. Burger and formerly Table 8)--they find themselves thrown into the deep end just as much as the junior competitors on the regular Top Chef series, as they are forced to recreate one of the trickiest Quickfire Challenges (where all of the ingredients must come from a gas station convenience store) and prepare a dish for couples on their first date.

There is a catch and it's a big one: these masters are paired off at random in tonight's episode and will win or fail as a single unit, with two of them advancing to the next round. Given that these are giants of the culinary world, it's pretty big task to have them work together and have to succeed as a team rather than individuals. On the one hand, I admire the series' producers for forcing them into even more uncomfortable waters but I also can't help but wonder just how each of them would have performed solo with these tasks, given their skill sets and experience levels.

Still, that's the only complaint I have about a season premiere that's completely captivating and engaging. One chef makes a blunder of a comment about having to work with another chef and is forced to eat his words later when he sees what a great collaborator she is, making him perhaps question his earlier snap judgment. It's moments like that that allow Top Chef Masters to not place these culinary gods on pedestals but instead force them to get their hands dirty with the rest of the mortals. And if they learn something about themselves and their fellow chefs, so much the better.

Me, I just can't wait to see what they cook up next as I'll be making a reservation for this delicious culinary competition series each week.

Top Chef Masters premieres tonight at 11 pm ET/PT before moving into its regular timeslot of 10 pm next week.


Shelby said…
Hmm... I wonder if they'll be working in pairs every episode or just in tonight's? Could be interesting but I like to see what each chef does on their own as well.
Tillie said…
I cannot wait to see it tonight!!

Popular posts from this blog

Katie Lee Packs Her Knives: Breaking News from Bravo's "Top Chef"

The android has left the building. Or the test kitchen, anyway. Top Chef 's robotic host Katie Lee Joel, the veritable "Uptown Girl" herself (pictured at left), will NOT be sticking around for a second course of Bravo's hit culinary competition. According to a well-placed insider, Joel will "not be returning" to the show. No reason for her departure was cited. Unfortunately, the perfect replacement for Joel, Top Chef judge and professional chef Tom Colicchio, will not be taking over as the reality series' host (damn!). Instead, the show's producers are currently scouring to find a replacement for Joel. Top Chef 's second season was announced by Bravo last month, but no return date has been set for the series' ten-episode sophomore season. Stay tuned as this story develops. UPDATE (6/27): Bravo has now confirmed the above story .

BBC Culture: Matthew Weiner: Mad Men’s creator on its final episodes

The creative force behind the period drama talks about where his characters are as his show begins its final episodes. “We left off with everyone’s material needs being met in an extreme way,” says Mad Men creator Matthew Weiner of where we last saw the characters on his critically acclaimed period drama when the show went on hiatus 10 months ago. “Then the issue is, what else is there?” That is the central question with the return to US TV of the AMC hit, one demanding to be answered by both the show’s characters, and its creator whose success is the envy of the television industry. Mad Men has been a defining part of Weiner’s life for the last 15 years. He wrote the pilot script on spec while he was a staff writer on CBS’ Ted Danson sitcom Becker in 1999, using it to land a writing gig on HBO’s The Sopranos in 2002. It would take another five years, filled with multiple rejections, before the first episode of Mad Men would make it on the air. Someone with less determination or vision

Have a Burning Question for Team Darlton, Matthew Fox, Evangeline Lilly, or Michael Emerson?

Lost fans: you don't have to make your way to the island via Ajira Airways in order to ask a question of the creative team or the series' stars. Televisionary is taking questions from fans to put to Lost 's executive producers/showrunners Damon Lindelof and Carlton Cuse and stars Matthew Fox ("Jack Shephard"), Evangeline Lilly ("Kate Austen"), and Michael Emerson ("Benjamin Linus") for a series of on-camera interviews taking place this weekend. If you have a specific question for any of the above producers or actors from Lost , please leave it in the comments section below . I'll be accepting questions until midnight PT tonight and, while I can't promise I'll be able to ask any specific inquiry due to the brevity of these on-camera interviews, I am looking for some insightful and thought-provoking questions to add to the mix. So who knows: your burning question might get asked after all.