Top Chef Masters

Season 1 Episode 4

Magic Chefs

Aired Wednesday 10:00 PM Jul 08, 2009 on Bravo
out of 10
User Rating
7 votes

By Users

Episode Summary

In the Quickfire, the four chefs take a page from season three's special "4 Star All Stars" when they find themselves manually challenged when they must cook an egg with one hand tied behind their backs- literally! Then it's on to a magically themed Elimination with Neil Patrick Harris as guest judge.moreless

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  • Fun With Magic

    This week:

    Anita Lo (Annisa in NY) charity: SHAPE

    Douglas Rodriguez (Alma de Cuba in PHI): Ayuda for the Arts

    John Besh (August in N.O.): Make It Right

    Mark Peel (Campanile in LA): Doctors Without Borders

    Quickfire Challenge:

    Cook an egg with one hand

    Anita: scrambled eggs stuffed back into shell 5 stars

    Douglas: arepa - open faced corn cake with ham 3 stars

    John: Dish did not cook 1/2 star

    Mark: duck egg pasta with light olive oil cream sauce 2 1/2 stars

    Elimination Challenge: Make a dish pertaining to a word associated with magic

    Mark - mystery

    John - surprise

    Douglas - spectacle

    Anita - illusion

    Mark made snapper en papillote

    John made three dishes. One was topped with a creme fraiche and horseradish sorbet that was frozen table side with the help of guest Neil Patrick Harris

    Douglas made duck four ways, with a coconut whose outside was set afire

    Anita made a braised daikon that was stuffed with steak tartare that looked like a scallop with caviar.


    Mark 2 1/2 + 4 + 12 = 18 1/2 stars

    John 1/2 + 2 1/2 + 9 = 12 stars

    Douglas 3 + 3 + 7 = 13 stars

    Anita 2 1/2 + 4 1/2 + 13 = 18 1/2 stars

    All in all, it was a very fun show. Again, I would love to sit for dinner at any of these restaurants.moreless
Neil Patrick Harris

Neil Patrick Harris

Guest Diner

Guest Star

David Burtka

David Burtka

Guest Diner

Guest Star

Max Maven

Max Maven

Guest Diner

Guest Star

Tom Colicchio

Tom Colicchio

Chef Introductions

Recurring Role

Featured Episode Clip

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


  • TRIVIA (2)

    • Nitpick: The editing for Chef John Besh's presentation of his Elimination dish was a bit disjointed as far as continuity. When he was first shown, he held a bowl and a whisk, and in the second cut, he was shown holding a two protective gloves in one hand, and in the third, holding one glove in each hand.

    • First Run Fan Poll:

      Which coast's cuisine is more delicious?

      1. East 52%
      2. West 18%
      3. Neither, the middle is! 30%

      (all percentages are as of the end of the initial broadcast.)

  • QUOTES (4)

    • Mark: I was noticing today that our kitchen was really quiet. No one was yelling- we had no one to yell at!
      Douglas: I was yelling at myself, you just couldn't hear me.

    • Mark: It's very tense working against the clock in the kitchen. It feels like some scene out of an early James Bond movie- (in a deep, announcer voice) the clock is ticking and the laser is creeping up the table towards your crotch!

    • Mark: (after shopping, knowing Anita's the front runner going into the Elimination Challenge) Anita doesn't say much of anything, but I think between the three of us, John, Douglas and myself, we've kind of quietly concluded that she is the one to beat. I briefly fantasized about over salting everything Anita does, (smiling impishly) but dismissed it, immediately!

    • Kelly: (referring to Gail) She's been known to cry when her eggs are not cooked properly.

  • NOTES (6)

    • Douglas' attempt to serve soup in a flaming coconut was agreed by all the diners to have been a failure in execution, but by none more than Guest Critic Gail Simmons. This is because shortly before this episode was filmed, she traveled to Vietnam and was served a marvelous shrimp soup that was actually cooked inside a coconut that is set on fire on the outside using alcohol. Sterno, which Douglas used, is a petroleum based gel that has a very strong odor, and the vapors from it added a very unpleasant taste to his dish.

    • According to her blog at the Bravo website, Gael had never been in the Magic Castle before the episode was filmed, but she was quite familiar with some aspects of it- she had written an article a number of years ago on "The Best Bathrooms in Los Angeles", and the Magic Castle made the list!

    • This isn't the first time that Neil Patrick Harris and Max Maven have appeared together on a magically themed episode of a cooking show. In 2007, they took part in an episode titled "Magicians Meal" of The Food Network's Dinner: Impossible.

    • Neil Patrick Harris was quite familiar with Mark Peel's cooking style previous to his experience at the Magic Castle- he had dined at Peel's LA restaurant Campanile a number of times. Mark says that they met briefly while Harris dined there, and that he was impressed with his palate and his real love and enthusiasm for good food.

    • David Burtka, one of the diners at the Magic Castle, is actually Neil Patrick Harris' significant other. Along with acting, David studies cooking at the Cordon Bleu culinary school.

    • Also Featured:

      Terry Reish, Chino Valley Egg Ranch (Quickfire guest diner)
      Monica May, Executive Chef, The Nickel Diner (Quickfire guest diner)