Top Chef Masters

Season 1 Episode 4

Magic Chefs

Aired Wednesday 10:00 PM Jul 08, 2009 on Bravo



  • Trivia

    • 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

    • 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

    • 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)

  • Allusions

    • Douglas: It's cool that we get to cook for Doogie Howser!

      Douglas is stoked to be cooking for actor Neil Patrick Harris, star of the current comic TV show How I Met Your Mother, as well as the title role in Doogie Howser, M.D., which followed the life of a teenage genuis who became a board certified surgeon at age 16.