'Top Chef Masters' Recap: Things Get Cheap & Fast

Curtis StoneOn this week’s episode of Top Chef Masters, the chefs were pushed well outside their comfort zone in both challenges. First up was the Quick Fire Challenge in which the fancy chefs used to cooking with the world's finest ingredients had to get frugal -- super frugal.

They each had to make an appetizer for $1 in 20 minutes. Impossible as it sounds, they came up with some pretty impressive stuff. From carrot soup to calamari, they delivered on a dime ... or about nine dimes in most cases. It was inspiring to see how much can be done with so little, but also an indication of just how much we're likely overcharged in restaurants -- big time. A delicious-looking bread and asparagus salad from Naomi Pomeroy won the challenge.


Next up, the elimination competition further challenged the chefs to take a step (or 50) down into the world of fast food. Without knowing what they were doing, they had to shop for a main dish and an appetizer to serve 100 people who would have no access to utensils. Once they had their ingredients, they were delivered to their surprise cooking location -- a fast food restaurant I've never heard of called Farmer Boys.

The chefs had to not only cook the food, but also man the drive-thru and cash registers. They complained, fussed, and made it abundantly clear that they were not fast food people, but still they came up with some pretty good fare. Some of it, there's no way I would want to see at a fast food joint, like salmon tacos; other creations would be welcome, such as quinoa fritters and freshly made skirt steak quesadillas.

George Mendes, who had the most difficult time accepting the challenge, produced the losing dish -- some ugly combination of pork and chorizo the judges despised. He was sent packing his knives in another elimination ceremony that no one -- not even the contestants -- really cared that much about.

Good news for next week -- music group Maroon 5 will spice things up with an appearance as guest judges.

Did you watch Top Chef Masters tonight? Which dish from the show would you most like to try? Do you think you could make an appetizer for $1?

Image via bravotv.com

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