Top Chef Masters Season 5, Episode 1: Sous Chefs and Real Chefs

Top Chef Masters Season 5 Episode 1

Reprinted with permission from

It’s Top Chef Masters! And their sous chefs! Which means twice the number of cooks, and I’m already confused. So who are these chefs? Douglas Keane (Cyrus), Neal Fraser (Redbird), Sang Yoon (Lukshon), David Burke (no introduction required), Lynn Crawford (Ruby Watcho), Franklin Becker (The Little Beet), Bryan Voltaggio (Season 6 of Top Chef), Jenn Louis (Lincoln), Herb Wilson (Sushi Samba), and a half dozen other people who didn’t get introductory montages. And then in walk their sous chefs, totally muddling the television screen with white jackets.

So here’s how it’s going to work, I think. The sous chefs will compete against each other in their own competition aired on If the sous chefs do well, the chefs will have immunity. If not, the chefs will have obstacles. When the chefs are eliminated, their sous chefs are eliminated as well. This is like when Project Runway tried to make the show about the models, and the producers eventually realized that nobody wants to watch the models do anything other than stomp the runway.

The sous chefs are removed from our television screens for their first competition, and the chefs (should I call them Sous Chefs and Real Chefs? I shouldn’t, but I will), and the Real Chefs are given a choice—if the Real Chefs skydive, they have two hours of cook time, and if they drive to the location, only one hour. The Real Chefs will have to use whatever ingredients their Sous Chefs used. The results of the Sous Chef competition are announced, and three of the Real Chefs have a handicap in the next challenge, and Doug has immunity.

Everyone except for Doug jumps out of a perfectly good airplane and finds their ingredients in the middle of a field. The three Real Chefs with the handicap (who I will not call the Handicapped Chefs, even though I really, really want to) quickly realize what their disadvantage is—they only have a butter knife, some scissors, and a spatula or two as kitchen tools.

Top Chef Masters Season 5 Episode 1 (2)

Poaching, searing, slicing, and Herb is having trouble shucking his oysters. So who tanked and who shined? There’s Lynn’s pretty beet salad, David’s shrimp was too shrimpy, the halibut was bland, and Herb didn’t get his fried oysters on the plate. Jenn’s clams didn’t open, Sue cooked mahi mahi, Bryan made a plate of veggies, and Sang’s pork chop looks delicious. Odette presented chilled lamb and cauliflower, Jennifer prepared marinated skirt steak, Douglas cooked a Japanese scallop dish I can’t pronounce, Neal made pork meatballs, and Richard cut beef with a butter knife.

Curtis Stone, you handsome man. Who wins and who loses? Bryan, Neal, and Odette have the best dishes, and the winner is Odette and her chilled lamb and cauliflower. The worst dishes are from Herb, Richard, and David. Richard uses the old butter knife excuse. David seems surprised at the shrimpiness of his shrimps, but gets credit for deveining his shrimp with a butter knife. Herb totally takes responsibility for not getting his food on the plate. The judges send Herb home with a few fond memories.

Not bad for a season premiere. Next week, more cooking.

facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditlinkedinmailby feather

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>