The second season of the American reality competition show Top Chef Masters was announced on October 22, 2009. In addition, it was announced that Gail Simmons would be added as a critic. The season premiered on April 7, 2010 with 22 chefs competing against each other in weekly challenges. In the season finale that premiered on June 9, 2010, Marcus Samuelsson was crowned Top Chef Master.
^1 Susur Lee and Rick Moonen tied for second with 17 stars each.
(WINNER) The chef won the season and was crowned Top Chef: Master.
(RUNNER-UP) The chef was a runner-up for the season.
(WIN) The chef won that episode's elimination challenge.
(HIGH) The chef had one of the highest scores, but was not named the winner.
(IN) The chef was declared safe and wasn't eliminated, moved on in Champions' Round.
(LOW) The chef had one of the lowest scores, but was not eliminated.
(OUT) The chef lost that week's challenge and was eliminated.
In each episode, the chefs compete to win money for their charity. The Elimination Round winners are awarded cash donations ($10,000) for their charities. For each of the first four episodes, five or six chefs compete out of the twenty-two and two chefs of their group move forward to the Champions Round.
Each episode consists of a Quickfire and an Elimination challenge. The Quickfire is a short, simple challenge that can vary from cooking, tasting or a food-related task (e.g., peeling a certain amount of apples to certain quality standard in a limited amount of time).
The Elimination challenge is a more complex challenge which usually requires cooking a meal for many people with certain requirements. The chefs are scored based on how well they execute in the Elimination and Quickfire challenges.
Unlike Season 1, where the Quickfire was scored on a scale of one to five stars, there are no stars won during the Quickfire, and instead, the winner(s) of the Quickfire will receive $5,000 for their charity or charities. The Elimination challenge is scored on a scale of one to 20 stars (five stars given by the tasters, and fifteen given by the three critics). A chef can thus win a maximum of 20 stars. The two chefs with the most stars at the end of the Elimination challenge are considered the winners and move on to the Champions Round. The eight total winners then meet up for the final weeks when one person will be eliminated in each episode until the finale where one winner is crowned Top Chef Master. The winning chef receives $100,000 for his or her designated charity.
Episode 1: First Date Dinner
Ana Sortun, Govind Armstrong, Jerry Traunfeld, Jimmy Bradley, Susan Feniger, and Tony Mantuano are the first group of chefs competing for two spots in the Champions Round.
Quickfire Challenge: In teams of two, the Masters are challenged to create a dish using ingredients from a gas station in Chinatown.
Anna Sortun and Jerry Traunfeld (Crispy Rice Cake with "Clamesco" Sauce)
Govind Armstrong and Jimmy Bradley (Cheetos Macaroni with Grilled Slim Jims and Tomato Soup)
Susan Feniger and Tony Mantuano (Maple Bread Pudding with Caramelized Bananas)
WINNERS: Susan Feniger and Tony Mantuano
Elimination Challenge: Love is in the air as the Masters (still in their teams) are challenged to evoke their sensual side using known aphrodisiac ingredients in the creation of a sumptuous meal to suit couples on a first date.
Anna Sortun and Jerry Traunfeld (Duck Leg in Vermicelli with Orange Blossom Smoked Cinnamon Almonds; Lavender Duck Breast with Red Cabbage, Pomegranate and Beets)
Govind Armstrong and Jimmy Bradley (Roast Lamb with Cauliflower Couscous & Pomegranate Reduction; Seared Lamb Carpaccio with Baby Arugula and Herb Salad)
Susan Feniger and Tony Mantuano (Black Pepper Shrimp and Scallop; Homemade Pasta with Cheese, Mushrooms and Truffles)
WINNERS: Susan Feniger and Tony Mantuano (16½ Stars)
Ana Sortun and Jerry Traundfeld (15 Stars)
Govind Armstrong and Jimmy Bradley (12½ Stars)
Episode 2: It's My Party
Carmen Gonzalez, David Burke, Marcus Samuelsson, Monica Pope, and Thierry Rautureau are the second group of chefs competing for two spots in the Champions Round.
Quickfire Challenge: The chefs must put a twist on the classic grilled cheese sandwich.
Carmen Gonzalez (Italian Baguette with Manchego, Garlic, Cilantro and Lime)
David Burke (Triple Cream Cheese with Prosciutto, Almonds, Tomato and Rosemary)
Marcus Samuelsson (Grilled Gruyere and Cheddar with Gazpacho and Salad)
Monica Pope (Feta Cheese on Raisin Nut Bread with Basil, Cilantro and Mint Salad)
Thierry Rautureau (Grilled Taleggio and Goat Cheese with Olives, Harissa and a Pear, Pine Nut, and Baby Arugula Salad)
WINNER: Monica Pope
Elimination Challenge: The chefs must create a "soul food" inspired dish for Mekhi Phifer's birthday party.
Carmen Gonzalez (Oyster and Hot Sausage Stew with Cilantro)
David Burke (Sweet Potato Custard with Green Beans, Corn and Crab BBQ, Pickled Watermelon Rind and Hush Puppies)
Marcus Samuelsson (BBQ Chicken with Mac & Cheese and Collard Greens)
Monica Pope (Shrimp and Grits, Mac and Cheese Style with Smokin' Okra, Pickled Green Beans and Tomato Jam)
WINNERS: Jonathan Waxman (18½ stars) and Rick Moonen (16 stars)
Wylie Dufresne (14½ stars)
Graham Elliot Bowles (13½ stars)
Ludo Lefebvre (11 stars)
Mark Peel (9½ stars)
Episode 4: Cast and Crew Meal
Debbie Gold, Jody Adams, Maria Hines, Rick Tramonto, and Susur Lee are the fourth and final group of chefs competing for two spots in the Champions Round.
Quickfire Challenge: The chefs must create a perfectly styled fruit plate presentation. In addition, this Quickfire was a High Stakes Quickfire, so the winner of this Quickfire was guaranteed a spot in the Champion's Round, regardless of how that chef did in the Elimination Challenge.
Debbie Gold (Pecan Tempura Stuffed Fig with Persimmon and Tangerine) - 3½ stars
Jody Adams (Fig and Walnut Tart with Pomegranate Syrup and Zabaglione) - 4 stars
Maria Hines (Northwest Trio: Apple Soup, Grilled Fig, and Berries with Berry Mousse) - 3 stars
Rick Tramonto (Herb and Fruit Shooters) - 3½ stars
Susur Lee ("East Meets West" Fruit Plate with Blackberry "Ravioli" and Thai Basil) - 2½ stars
WINNER: Jody Adams
Elimination Challenge: The chefs must create and modernize a "family meal" for the cast and crew of Modern Family.
Debbie Gold (Glazed Pork Loin with Apple Butter and Winter Squash Slaw)
Jody Adams (Braised Chicken Thighs with Mushrooms, Semolina Gnocchi, and Herb Salad)
Maria Hines (Sockeye Salmon, Paprika Potatoes, Almond Slivers, and Almond Milk)
Rick Tramonto (Truffled White Beans with Escarole and Grilled Sausage)
Susur Lee (Roast Chicken and Farce Curry, Polenta and Grits, Tomato Jam, and Chili Mint Chutney)
WINNERS: Susur Lee (19½ stars) and Jody Adams (14½ stars)
Maria Hines (13½ stars)
Rick Tramonto (13 stars)
Debbie Gold (10½ stars)
Episode 5: Wedding Wars
Quickfire Challenge: The chefs are required to team up four to four and compete in a tag-team cook-off, with Jay Rayner serving as judge. First, the chefs pick a pot with a colored apron inside. Next, the teams are to decide what order they would cook in, but they are not allowed to communicate with each other in regards to the components of their dish and the chefs will wear blindfolds until they are tagged to start cooking. The teams have 40 minutes total (10 minutes individually) to alternate execution of the dish. The winning quickfire team will split $10,000 amongst their charities ($2,500 each). The winners will also receive a second advantage for the Elimination Challenge. The teams cooked in the following respective order:
Red Team: Susur Lee, Tony Mantuano, Marcus Samuelsson, Carmen Gonzalez (Pan Seared Sea Bass and Prosciutto with a Truffle Spiced Shellfish Broth) - 4 stars
Blue Team: Susan Feniger, Jody Adams, Rick Moonen, Jonathan Waxman (Mussel and Scallop Stew with Orange and Fennel) - 4½ stars
WINNERS: Blue Team; Won $10,000 to split amongst each other.
Elimination Challenge: The teams are challenged to Season 4's most grueling challenge, "Wedding Wars". In the teams used for the Quickfire, the chefs must cater a 150-guest wedding. Each team will prepare a different menu, one team responsible for meeting the bride's requests, while the other for the groom. Each team is also required to create their own wedding cake, one meeting the bride's requests, and one for the groom's requests. The Blue Team, as the winners of the Quickfire, decide to cater for the bride, and decide to stay away from the groom's limited palate. The wedding is to take place the next day, and the teams are given 45 minutes to discuss and plan the menu with the bride or groom, $5000 to shop at both a large food warehouse and Whole Foods Market, and 6 hours of preparation time in the Top Chef kitchen followed by 6 additional hours to cook at the banquet.
Appetizers: Lobster Roll with Asian Pear (Samuelsson); Honey Mustard Cured Tuna (Samuelsson); Jumbo Lump Crab cake with Avocado Relish (Gonzalez)
Main Dishes: Flaming Ouzo Shrimp (Mantuano); Au Gratin Potatoes (Mantuano); Pasta with Fire-Roasted Tomatoes, Capers, and Feta (Mantuano); Roasted Corn Salsa (Gonzalez); Roast Beef Tenderloin with Grilled Onion Ragout and Pomegranate Sauce (Samuelsson)
Desserts: Upside Down Raisin Pudding with Butterscotch Sauce (Lee); Chocolate Profiterole and Whipped Cream (Lee); Carrot Cake (Lee)
Appetizers: Potatoes Bhajia with Mint Cilantro Sauce and Tamarind Date Chutney (Feniger); Red Pepper Pancakes with Smoked Salmon, Caviar, and Lemon Zest (Waxman); Pancetta and Melted Raclette Tart (Adams)
Main Dishes: Dijon Rack of Lamb with Rosemary, Farro, and Autumn Vegetables (Adams); Roast Chicken with Tarragon Velouté and Cauliflower Purée (Waxman); "Seafood Mixed Grill": Opah, Coho Salmon, and Swordfish on Sweet and Sour Eggplant (Moonen)
Wedding Cake: Egyptian Semolina Cake with Berries and Cream (Feniger)
Dessert: Bananas Foster with Candied Pecans and Rum Caramel Sauce (Adams)
WINNING TEAM: Blue Team
INDIVIDUAL WINNER: Jody Adams
ELIMINATED: Carmen Gonzalez (11 stars)
Episode 6: Scary Surf and Turf
Quickfire Challenge: Each chef must create a dish inspired by a character from The Simpsons.
Susan Feniger (Millet Crispy Treats with Peanut Butter Chips, Donuts, and Mexican Hot Chocolate) (Moe) - 4 stars
Tony Mantuano (Fried Bacon Honey Pizza Dough with Boozy Coffee) (Chief Wiggum) - 3 stars
Marcus Samuelsson (Tomato Soup with Rice, Chickpeas, Chutney, Melon, and Nuts) (Apu) - 4 stars
Jonathan Waxman (Spaghetti Bambino with Grilled Tomato, Ham, and Cheese Sandwich) (Bart) - 4 stars
Rick Moonen (Shrimp "Sloppy D'oh!" with Truffle Chips and Beer) (Homer) - 4½ stars
Jody Adams (Cracked Wheat Salad with Goat's Milk Ricotta, Barbecued Beets, and Baked Kale Chips) (Lisa) - 4 stars
Susur Lee (Purple Potatoes, Pan Roasted Pork Chop, and Glazed Grapes with Mustard Sauce) (Marge) - 3½ stars
Susan Feniger (Marinated Sea Cucumber, Fried Sea Cucumber, and Kangaroo with Juniper Sauce) - Top 4
Tony Mantuano (Crostino with Calamari in Zimino, Braised Goat Sauce, and Goat Cheese Ravioli) - Top 4
Marcus Samuelsson (Geoduck and Kangaroo Sausage, Geoduck with Couscous, and Geoduck and Kangaroo Tartare) - 11½ stars
Jonathan Waxman (Giant Squid Fritto Misto, Fried Duck Tongue, and Fideo with Duck Tongue) - 11 stars
Rick Moonen (Poached Black Chicken Mousse and Roulade, Monkfish Liver Torchon, and Buttered Leeks) - 16½ stars
Jody Adams (Sicilian Spiced Roast Goat, Geoduck and Chickpea Chowder, and Homemade Harissa) - 10½ stars
Susur Lee (Poached Monkfish Liver, Black Chicken, Black Chicken Velouté, and Black Chicken with Monkfish Liver) - 19 stars
WINNER: Susur Lee (19 stars)
ELIMINATED: Jody Adams (10½ stars)
Episode 7: Tailgating
Quickfire Challenge: Each chef must create a dish using leg proteins.
Susan Feniger (Cumin-Cilantro Chicken with Pickled Tomatoes on Quinoa and Raisin Pilaf) - 4½ stars
Tony Mantuano (Warm Crab and Potato Salad with Three Types of Coriander) - 3½ stars
Marcus Samuelsson (Confit of Frog Legs with Curry Broth and Crab Rice) - 3 stars
Jonathan Waxman (Capellini with King Crab Leg, Jalapeños, and Mint) - 3½ stars
Rick Moonen (Egg in a Hole with Roasted Octopus Leg and Bérnaise Sauce) - 3 stars
Susur Lee (Indochine Roasted Leg of Lamb with Lamb Meatballs, Pine Nuts, and Dry Cherry Sauce) - 4 stars
WINNER: Susan Feniger
Elimination Challenge: The contestants are asked to create dishes for a tailgating party at a University of Southern California football game. The chefs are given preparation time both at the Top Chef kitchen and at the field, prior to serving, on grills. This elimination challenge was originally used in Season 4.
Susan Feniger (Skirt Steak Tacos with Black Bean and Corn Salsa and Roasted Pepper Salsas) - 16 stars
Tony Mantuano (Grilled Pizza with Mozzarella, Tomatoes, Romano, Arugula, and Prosciutto) - 10 stars
Marcus Samuelsson (Grilled Chicken and Shrimp Soup with Grilled Vegetable Couscous and a Burger) - 14½ stars
Jonathan Waxman (New York Steak Tacos with Grilled Vegetables and Bordelaise Sauce) - 10½ stars
Rick Moonen (Chermoula Grilled Chicken with Baba Ghanoush and Spicy Slaw on Pita Bread) - 13½ stars
Susur Lee (Korean Style Skirt Steak with Roasted Cauliflower and Austrian Dumplings) - 15 stars
WINNER: Susan Feniger (16 stars)
ELIMINATED: Tony Mantuano (10 stars)
Episode 8: Food of the Gods
Quickfire Challenge: The five remaining chefs compete in a game of "Identify That Ingredient" which was originally used in Season 5. The chefs pick pots to determine their opponent for round one. Since there are an odd number of chefs, one chef receives a pass to round two. Each pair is given 15 seconds to taste a specific sauce and each chef in the pair must then bid on the number of ingredients they think they can correctly name. Bids pass back and forth until one chef challenges the other to match the last placed bid. If a complete list of correct ingredients is given, the challenged chef moves on to the next round. Naming any incorrect ingredient ends the round and the challenger moves on. The round one opponents are Marcus Samuelsson vs. Susur Lee and Susan Feniger vs. Rick Moonen, with Jonathan Waxman receiving the pass to round two.
Elimination Challenge: The chefs are challenged to create dishes inspired by a Greek god. First, the chefs draw knives with names of various Greek gods. Chefs are told they will be making tasting portions for fifty diners and will have four hours to complete their dishes.
Susan Feniger (Toast with Coconut Jam and Sweet Butter, Fried Egg with White Pepper and Dark Soy) (Aphrodite) - 10½ stars
Marcus Samuelsson (Cured Beef and Salmon with Apple Broth and Oyster Foam) (Ares) - 15½ stars
Jonathan Waxman (Seared Scallops, Romesco Sauce, Cherry Tomatoes, String Beans, and Celery Purée) (Poseidon) - 12½ stars
Rick Moonen (Spice Crusted Swordfish, Crimson Potatoes, Daikon, Radishes, and Parsnips) (Hades) - 18 stars
Susur Lee (Roasted Pork Loin in Chinese Wine and Croquette with Feta and Santorini Olives) (Dionysus) - 15 stars
WINNER: Rick Moonen (18 stars)
ELIMINATED: Susan Feniger (10½ stars)
Episode 9: Improv
Quickfire Challenge: The four remaining chefs are given 45 minutes to create a dish from a recipe included in a cookbook of one of the other chefs. Halfway through their cooking time, the chefs are told to convert their dishes into soups while still retaining the original recipe's integrity. A variation of this Quickfire Challenge was originally used in Season 5.
Marcus Samuelsson (Chicken Soup with Crispy Tortilla Chips and Avocado Goat Cheese Guacamole) - 4½ stars
Jonathan Waxman (Chicken Thai Curry Soup with Thai Basil) - 3 stars
Rick Moonen (Scallop, Mussel & Pancetta Asian Style Cioppino) - 3½ stars
Susur Lee (Tunisian Fish Soup with Olives, Capers, White Wine, Cumin and Coriander Seeds) - 4 stars
WINNER: Marcus Samuelsson
Elimination Challenge: The chefs attend a performance of the improvisational comedy troupe, The Groundlings. During the performance, the actors obtained combinations of a color, emotion, and ingredient from the audience. The chefs must create a meal encompassing these traits. A variation of this Elimination Challenge was originally used in Season 4.
Marcus Sammuelsson (Violet, Pleasure, Salmon) (Confit of Salmon with Caviar, Shrimp and Sake) - 17½ stars
Jonathan Waxman (Burnt Sienna, Depression, Avocado) (Mesquite Grilled Chicken Breast, French Fries, Yams and Avocado with Grapefruit) - 11½ stars
Rick Moonen (Red, Anger, Bacon) (Pork Loin with Poached Oysters, Bacon and Spicy Kim Chee with Maudite Beer) - 13½ stars
Susur Lee (Chocolate, Lust, Peanut Butter) (Chocolate Mousse Infused with Coriander and a Caramel Peanut Butter Mousse and a Chocolate Crumble) - 17 stars
WINNER: Marcus Samuelsson (17½ stars)
ELIMINATED: Jonathan Waxman (11½ stars)
Episode 10: Finale
Final Challenge: In the last challenge of the season, the three remaining chefs are tasked with preparing a three-course meal that is their biography. The first course is their first cooking memory. The second course is the meal that inspired them to become a chef. The third course is what defines them as a chef. There are two twists in this episode. First, the diners include the finalists from the first season of Top Chef Masters, Rick Bayless, Michael Chiarello, and Hubert Keller, as well as Tom Colicchio, the head judge from Top Chef. Second, the sous chefs from each of the contestants' restaurants are brought in to help the respective chefs.
Smoked Char with Sweet Horseradish and Shellfish Broth with Apples, Celery Root and Mashed Root Vegetables
Salt-cured Duck with Foie Gras Flan, Sour Tomato Jam and Aged Balsamic
Berbere-flavored Hamachi Meatball, Porcini Couscous and Sea Urchin Froth
Hamachi and Live Sea Scallop Crudo with Glazed Kushi Oyster and American Sturgeon Caviar
Pork Belly with Poached Egg, Sardinian Gnocchi with Parmesan and White Truffle and Turnip
Venison with Espresso Salt and Pear Butter, Stuffed Cipollini Onions, Shiitake Mushrooms & Brussels Sprouts and Natural Jus with Red Wine Reduction
Steamed Scallop with Cantonese Black Bean Sauce and Shrimp and Crab Croquette with Chili Sauce
Tuna with Wasabi Mousse, Charred Sea Bream, and Artichoke, Asparagus and Daikon Salad with Ginger Flower
Lamb Thailandaise with Chang Mai Sausage, Green Curry and Polenta