"Top Chef Masters" moves into a whole new realm of awesomeness
Feel silly now, MJ? Huh? Huh?
Anyway, if you haven't watched last night's episode yet (cough, slacker Boyd, cough), then you'll want to avoid the following spoilers. But the fact that I've included a pic of Dale at the bottom of this post has probably ruined it for you already. Too bad.
"Masters" is down to its final four esteemed chefs -- Rick Bayless, Anita Lo, Hubert Keller and Michael Chiarello (right) -- and all four are amazing, worth rooting for and exactly who I wanted to survive after this week's latest cutdown. Sorry Art Smith, but your name dropping (Seriously? Did you really cook for Obama? One more time, Art! Obama?) and fried chicken fixation proved annoying for the long haul.
Art's celebrity crush aside, last night was another masterful episode, with one of MJ's longstanding "Top Chef" wishes finally coming true: a vegan cook-off. That the vegan spread was for beyond cute actress/singer Zooey Deschanel? An extra slice of awesome. Though I totally wanted to see M. Ward show up so She & Him could belt out a hearty version of "Sentimental Heart" before eating Art's awful organic rice-cream.
But even without the impromptu sing-along, I was feeling pretty satisfied with everything moving forward. Then next week's promo showed up.
Baby-making Richard Blais. DJamie Tanner. Soupy Spike McSweetbread. Hothead Dale.
You remember Dale, right? He's the guy I had pegged from the first episode of Season 4 to be a complete douche ... and who totally, totally didn't let me down. Dale memorably slammed his fist into a locker after his team lost the relay Quickfire Challenge. And he also did a stupid little dance during his "Top Chef" intro, which is captured (to rather boring effect) with the still photo at right.
But Dale was also a pretty solid chef, even if he couldn't take down Stephanie Izard, the Blais-meister and ugh, Doo-Rag Lisa the Gross to land in the final three.
Next week? Well, Dale is about to enter the gangsta realm because the below promo (a shorter one was shown last night) teases an epic food fight that could result in someone going home in a body bag made of Glad wrap.
I won't ruin the whole clip for you, but basically, Dale turns into Hulk Hogan (whatcha gonna do, brother!) and Chiarello grimaces, fist tightened, while about two seconds away from bringing the Rocky Balboa thunder. Chiarello even uses a Shooter McGavin-like, "I eat pieces of (bleep) like you for breakfast" line. Score one for the Italian Stallion.
For all the accolades I've heaped on "Masters," let's face it, a charity competition doesn't lend itself to a whole lot of drama considering these professional chefs respect each other so much.
Throw a few fiery "Top Chef" alum into the mix, though? It's gonna be one for the ages, folks.
"Top Chef Masters" airs at 9 p.m. Wednesdays on Bravo.
-- Thomas Rozwadowski, firstname.lastname@example.org