Top Chef Masters Podcast, Ep. 2: Soul food soiree, Mekhi Phifer, and Gail Simmons resurfaces

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Tune back in next week for rants, raves and reviews on the latest episode of Top Chef!

We're already two episodes into Top Chef Masters and we've had our dose of hipsters and now our appearance by a random celebrity with no culinary ties! This season has definitely hit the ground running. What will we see next week: cooking for picky vegans or surprise catering job for 300?

This episode gave us the well-known culinary talents of David Burke, Marcus Samuelsson, Monica Pope, Thierry Rautureau (the one with the fun hat) and Carmen Gonzalez (the really tiny one). We quickly learned that Thierry is nuts (in a good way), Carmen has a fun accent, and Marcus is kind of a jerk. Oh, and that they're all highly-rated and talented chefs with incredible restaurants.

The Quickfire was an oh-so-challenging grilled cheese cook-off as judged by Kelly Choi. Believe it or not, Kelly actually chewed and swallowed her food — I think (damn camera trickery). Apparently, Monica thought she had an edge on this challenge because her daughter likes to cook grilled cheese a lot. Right. Anyway, we were also privy to Carmen's fantastic knife skills...before she ended up slicing her middle finger and shot a bandaged bird to the camera.

For the Elimination Challenge, actor Mekhi Phifer, best known for his roles in ER and High School High (among other gems like that terrible remake of Dawn of the Dead), challenged the chefs to cater a soul food-themed fête for 125 guests in honor of his birthday. Cut to the chase: Carmen loses her stew, Marcus is a jerk, and Gail Simmons is back!

Listen to us (attempt to) recap this episode and the hilarity that ensues.

Tune in to Bravo every Wednesday at 10 pm EST/9 pm C, check out our own live Tweets during the show (Jeff: @TheStew, Katie: @culinarypirate), and listen to our podcast here every week! (You can even download us on iTunes!) And if you missed an episode, you can now watch them on Hulu.

Check out our fellow Top Chef fanatics' blogs: Please Pack Your Knives And Go has a great list of quotes (and their witty quips) from last night's episode, as well as a hilarious video from Time Out Chicago starring last season's Top Chef Master (and my secret lover) Rick Bayless, and All Top Chef gives us their colorful critiques as well.

Hear the hi-larious podcast after the break:

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