“Top Chef Masters” wrapped up its second season and crowned its second king.
Although the finale seemed to lack the cutthroat competitiveness of the usual “Top Chef” series, there was still plenty of suspense considering each chef delivered exceptional menus with many highs.
It was Marcus Samuelsson that bested seafood king Rick Moonen and fan/chef favorite Susur Lee at their own games, bringing African food into the fine dining world.
The competition was close, however, and Samuelsson won by a mere half point — 17.5 over Lee and Moonen’s 17 points each.
The three chefs were tasked with bringing together three courses that represented their journeys as chefs. First course would be their first significant food memory, second course was inspired by a meal that made them decide to become chefs and the final course would describe themselves as chefs.
Although various parts of dishes garnered praise from the judges (Rick’s scallop, Susur’s entire final course) it was Samuelsson’s foie flan that amazed and piqued the judges’ curiosity. Besides bragging rights, Samuelsson also won a $100,000 grand prize for his charity.
First course – Smoked char with sweet horseradish and shellfish broth with apples and celery root; mashed root vegetables
Second course – Salt-cured duck with foie gras flan, sour tomato jam and aged balsamic
Third course – Berbere-flavored hamachi meatball, porcini couscous, sea urchin froth
First course – Hamachi and live sea scallop crudo, glazed kushi oyster, American sturgeon caviar
Second course – Pork belly with poached egg, Sardinian gnocchi with parmesan and white truffle, turnip
Third course – Venison with espresso salt and pear butter, stuffed cipollini onions, matsutake mushrroms & brussels sprouts natural jus with red wine reduction reduction
First course – Steamed scallop w/ cantonese black bean sauce, shrimp & crab croquette with chili sauce
Second course – Tuna with wasabi mousee, charred sea bream, artichoke asparagus and daikon salad with ginger flower
Third course – Lamb Thailandaise with chang mai sausage, green curry, polenta
Samuelsson celebrated with an Ethiopian ululation and applause.
Photo credit: Bravo