Top Chef Masters Gets ‘Raw,’ Says Judge

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James Oseland on Top Chef Masters. Photo: Courtesey of Bravo

So far, Bravos Top Chef Masters has been marked by a surprising civility among its supposedly cutthroat superstar chef contestants. Is all that camaraderie for real? Yes, says judge James Oseland but dont expect it to last. At a Shake Shack fete saluting his magazines Burger Bible in the September issue, the Saveur editor spoke frankly about the cooks in the TV kitchen. These are pros who dont have time for the undergrad nonsense, Oseland said, but that doesnt mean everyone is gracious all the time. I dont know what theyll show [tonight], but everybody is starting to get tired and things get a little raw.

But as with all reality shows, the proof isnt in the editing. To Oseland, French chef Ludo Lefebvre came across horribly but he was really a nice guy and a good cook. Sometimes even good food doesnt make the cut. Los Angeles chef Suzanne Tracht got booted on last weeks episode despite an absolutely terrific dish, Oseland said. She makes brilliant, homey food but the other chefs use so many more ingredients, textures and techniques. In particular, Anita Lo offered food throughout the show that was intellectual and incredible, he says. Oselands single favorite dish? Rich Baylesss rack of lamb with chiles: Phenomenal. Perfection.