In the episode that saw the return of not so masterful chefs from Top Chef Masters season 1, simplicity won again, like in the last episode, and the chefs who learned their lessons from their first run prevailed.
Jonathan Waxman of Barbuto in New York City and Rick Moonen of Oceana also in NYC are advancing to the champions round, with their glamorized versions of (Irish) grub food receiving more stars than the other chefs. Jonathan lost to Art Smith and his fried chicken in the first season (pictured), while Rick lost to the very fiery / scary Michael Chiarello, who got as far as the top three.
On deck to return were Graham Elliot Bowles from Chicago, Wylie Dufresne of wd-50 in New York City, Mark Peel of Campanile in Los Angeles and the almost cartoonish Ludo Lefebvre also of LA's LudoBites.
The quickfire challenge had a little cross-Bravo placement, with the ladies from The Real Housewives Of Orange County sampling the chefs' quickfire cocktail-paired dishes ... but not doing the judging, which was odd. Jonathan also won the challenge with his pork tenderloin.
On the elimination challenge, the judges sort of criticized Ludo for his take on Irish stew, Graham tried to mask the kidneys' flavor in milk and Jonathan's understated lamb, mashed potatoes and parmesan wowed the judges. If there was anything he learned on Top Chef Masters season 1, he said, it's go simple and do it well.
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