Despite this blogger confusing breaking "news" with being a jackass (and the inevitable virtual domino effect), we still were psyched about the second installment of Bravo's "Top Chef Masters" last night, particularly because it was Graham Elliot Bowles' turn in the spotlight.
Bowles is comfortably cheeky in front of the camera (some would say too much so, as the video below suggests) and he didn't disappoint Wednesday. Having his bud Wylie Dufresne of New York's wd-50 in his competitive quartet helped.
The episode started off as the Wylie-and-Eliot show, with Bowles really in his element; the quickfire challenge was to make something out of vending machine fare, and he didn't disappoint with his version of tuna salad. Dufresne, meanwhile, was flustered and cursing (leave it to the young 'uns to get the bleep machine working after last week's oh-so-genteel premiere).
Dufresne improved in the elimination challenge, which was to cook dinner for the producers and writers of "Lost" using boar, papayas and other wild and tropical fare, plus only canned/shelf stable pantry goods. But in the end, it was L.A. chef Suzanne Tracht's calm, collected cuisine that edged out Bowles' by two stars. So close, GEB, so close.
If there's one quibble we have so far, it's that the pace of the editing leaves us feeling a little stiffed. You get glimpses of insight into the chefs' techniques. At judges' table, for example, Bowles quickly explains that since he couldn't use fresh garlic or herbs, he pressed salsa he was allowed to buy through a chinois strainer, then rinsed off the residual garlic and onion bits and used those in his tuna trio. We just want more of that.
Also: We miss Tom. Judges' table is just not the same.
Next week: Rick Bayless. And quesadillas.
Addendum: Get your vote on - who would you want to be stranded on a desert island with? Bowles, Dufresne, Tracht or Elizabeth Falkner, last night's fourth cheftestant? Free dinner at the chosen one's restaurant at stake.