‘Top Chef Masters’ review: A boxing match and a shocking decision

Did Wednesday night’s episode of “Top Chef Masters” remind anyone else of an “Iron Chef” competition? There were secret ingredients, showdowns, and a panel of judges. However, there were also contestants that we have come to know very well all season long, and there was humor mixed in with the intensity.

Really, this episode was one of our favorites to watch after the entire season, mostly because there was so much head-to-head competition and the challenges really were so simple. After Kerry ending up winning immunity, the remaining chefs had to each face off one-on-one in a boxing style showdown with guest judge Sugar Ray Leonard. In each heat, they were each given one ingredient to make a dish in an incredibly short amount of time. It was a true test of creativity, and it was also thrilling to watch their showmanship in front of an audience. Lorena Garcia seemed to cherish this environment more than anyone else as someone who cooks regularly on TV, and it helped to propel her to wins versus Patricia and then Chris in the winners’ bracket. This was a huge victory for her, especially since she had her own insecurities about being taken seriously in the competition.

As for the losers, Patricia and Takashi each only had a short amount of time to create something strong using chicken liver, and this is not an easy thing to do. From a personal standpoint, we really couldn’t decide who was better; while Patricia rubbed us the wrong way early this season, she has grown on us. Takashi, meanwhile, has always been charming and is a Quickfire Challenge beast with three of them under his belt. Even in spite of this, though, it was not enough to keep Takashi in this competition. We are incredibly sad to see him go, but there is at least some consolation in that he won $20,000 for the American Red Cross Disaster Relief Fund. We would eat his food any day of the week … even the dreaded chicken liver.

What did you think about this episode, and who are you rooting for now? If you want to check out our pick for one of our other favorite challenges of the season, be sure to visit the link here.

Photo: Bravo

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