This week’s episode of Top Chef Masters was less than gripping for the most part, but in the end, it was one of the most moving episodes of the season. The big challenge tonight was to cook a meal for a couple getting engaged.
It was a surprise the chefs coordinated with fiancé-to-be Chris. He walked the chefs through his relationship with Victoria, the woman to whom he was proposing (complete with mushy gushy details), and they were each tasked with creating a dish that represented a milestone in the couple’s relationship. That was it -- one dish each, and no hidden twists or turns to be seen, except the couple’s mothers joining them in the kitchen to watch, which didn’t affect anything except the tear level later.
Oh, Mary Sue Milliken did provide a brief bit of excitement when she cut off the tip of her thumb then just nonchalantly tossed it into the garbage can, but that was short-lived as there was cooking to be done.
Even the dishes they created tonight were kind of a snore. Okay, the kama sutra shrimp was cute, but other than that, it was just ho hum, ho hum. Chicken thighs, a salad with a pretzel thrown on the plate, and some unimaginative steak with an onion ring were among the dishes. As each came out, everyone watched for signs that Victoria knew something was up, but there was none.
At one point she said something about food being the way to a man’s heart. When Chris asked her what the way to a woman’s heart is, she replied, "Diamonds," and Chris just about choked.
Then came dessert. Now the actual dessert that was served -- an apple tart complete with sauce spelling out one of the couple's favorite sayings, Je t'aime -- almost got Traci Des Jardins sent home, because the judges deemed it too dry. But the course as a whole was a showstopper, as during it Chris dropped to one knee and proposed.
Victoria's surprise and joy were so evident, and everyone was crying as she (after a painfully long pause) jumped into his arms and said yes. Then her mother surprised her by coming out of the kitchen, and there were more tears. It was seriously sweet and made up for the rest of the boring episode.
In the end, Naomi’s chicken thighs (braised, then the skin crisped up) wowed the judges and won her the cash for her charity this week. For slapping a pretzel on a plate with a salad, Celina Tio was sent packing.
Who do you hope to see win this season of Top Chef Masters? Did you cry during this proposal?
Image via bravotv.com