"Top Chef Masters" Finds Cooking in Pomona College's Harwood Court a Challenge in the Premiere Episode
Tim Love using the hot plate to make pozole.
Hubert Keller utilizing the counter space, i.e., a desk.
Michael Schlow cooking in a residence hall room
Last February, reality TV producers took over Harwood Court for a day to film the premiere episode of the new cooking show “Top Chef Masters.” Anne Calef ‘12, Chelsea Muir ‘11, Paloma Garcia ‘12 and Adam Buchholz ‘12 graciously gave up their dorm rooms so that renowned chefs could tackle the challenge of cooking a three-course meal in a dorm room with little more than a microwave, hot plate and toaster oven. Along with seven other students, the group also helped judge the dishes.
The "Masters Get Schooled" episode finally aired last night on Bravo at 10 p.m. (PST). Clips and chef interviews can be found at bravotv.com.
Dean of Campus Life Ric Townes was instrumental in organizing the students and the filming at the residence hall. As the show’s producers wanted students interested in food, Townes recruited members of the Food Committee, which is part of ASPC and provides students a voice in dining services program and offerings. “”The closest thing we have to a student club that works with food is the Food Committee,” says Townes. “It was neat to have some members of the committee participate in this program."
Townes says the students were immediately supportive of the idea, even though it was difficult to explain what the show was as the College was obligated not to spill the beans on which reality show was filming here. “Everyone was quick to say ‘yes’ and were enthusiastic about participating.” The film crew was here from around 6 a.m. to 6 p.m., and even “Top Chef” star Tom Colicchio showed up for about an hour to film his commentary on the chef’s meals, but which didn’t make it into the final show.
In this new spin-off of the popular show “Top Chef,” 24 world-renowned chefs compete against each other to win $100,000 for the charity of their choice. Each episode begins with a recreation of a classic “Top Chef” quickfire challenge. Then, four chef face off in an elimination challenge and the winner receives $10,000 for their charity. That chef moves on to the Champions Round, where a chef is eliminated each week for four weeks until the final Top Chef Master stands.
In the episode filmed at Pomona, master chefs Hubert Keller (Fleur de Lys), Christopher Lee (Aureole), Michael Schlow (Radius Restaurant), and Tim Love (The Lonesome Dove Western Bistro) first competed in a dessert quickfire judged by Girl Scouts, and then came to Harwood Court to cook a three-course meal.
Eleven student judges weighed in on the meals, as well as series judges Jay Rayner (writer and restaurant reviewer), James Oseland (Saveur editor-in-chief), Gael Greene (New York Magazine food critic), and “Top Chef Masters” host and food journalist Kelly Choi.
Keller won the competition, and student judge Mark Simon ’10 says it was a well-deserved victory. Keller seemed unfamiliar with the layout of the Whole Foods where the chefs shopped for ingredients and was challenged by the microwave, but he showed ingenuity when employing the residence hall’s shower to cool off and reheat macaroni.
“Hubert Keller’s food was definitely the best. [His prawn] macaroni was great and an interesting take on the dish,” says Simon. “But Tim Love seemed like a really cool guy based on very brief interactions during the taping.”
If you didn’t catch the “Masters Get Schooled” episode last night, please refer to Bravo TV’s online schedule to find a repeat airing.
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