A look at the 3 remaining ‘Top Chef Masters’ contestants


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Rather than rehash the play-by-play of last night’s episode like the rest of the blogosphere, let’s take a peek at the remaining chefs and what they bring to the table.

Considering each chef’s strengths and weaknesses, who do you think will take home the title? Discussion after the jump.


(Spoiler alert! If you read on you’ll figure out who was eliminated last night.)

Susur Lee

Strength: Several weeks ago, reader ‘I Cooka da Fish’ wrote about having worked with Lee in Toronto. Every day after shopping at the international market, he’d lay a sheet out in the middle of the dining room and spread out his wares. Like a painter, Lee would stare at his canvas of produce and create the menu for the night. This little anecdote tells us a lot about his creativity, but that’s not his only strength. He also possesses pastry-making skills that many competitors have lacked in the past. During the wedding challenge, he busted out an impressive croquembouche, raisin bread pudding, chocolate profiteroles and his first-ever carrot cake, while the rest of the team each made one dish. And last night’s comically phallic chocolate mousse had the comedian judges from the Groundlings chuckling, and wanting more.

Weakness: Though Susur works quickly, he is perhaps a bit unfocused at times. There’s also been a common theme of cultural misunderstanding throughout the season.

Rick Moonen

Strength: There is no doubt that Rick Moonen is the master of sustainable seafood. But he’s also a team player. Last night’s episode showed him lending Marcus Samuelson his unused funds at Whole Foods, making the goofy chef even more lovable. Granted, many have complained about how mindful the master chefs are to each other, wanting a bit more fiery competition, but Moonen’s good sportsmanship is endearing. Who knows, maybe karma will kick in during the finals. Also, Moonen has an impeccable palate, which we saw in last week’s episode. That certainly couldn’t hurt.

Weakness: His big personality and self-proclaimed ADD could distract him from the final prize. Hopefully his deft skill with seafood isn’t his only weapon.

Marcus Samuelson

Strength: Samuelson has been portrayed as a cutthroat competitor with international flair. He focuses on bold, complex, layered flavors, remaining true to his roots. Samuelson is young and daring, and in really great shape -- certainly a benefit in timed competition. Throughout the season we’ve seen him running circles around the other chefs.

Weakness: His show-no-mercy attitude could hurt him in the end. He’s cut others in line at the meat counter a few times, and maybe the chefs are ready for payback. Perhaps he’ll need some help and the others won’t be there to lend a hand.

What do you think might be the kryptonite of these three chefs? Who do you think has what it takes to become the next Top Chef Master?

-- Krista Simmons

Follow me on Twitter @kristasimmons

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