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Frasier, Gaier Squeak By In Top Chef Masters Ep. 1

They didn't have to pack their knives (ultimately, NYC chef Sue Torres did), but Ogunquit chefs Mark Gaier and Clark Frasier did not impress the judges in the first round of Top Chef Masters, Season 4, last night. In a nod to the filming location, Las Vegas, the episode had a gambling theme, with Lotto cards and in the Quickfire round, gambling pros as judges—one of whom compared Fraiser's quinoa and langoustine dish unfavorably to wheatgrass.

Later on, the chefs, who are competing independently for Maine gay-rights/support charities, ended up on the same team for the elimination challenge, creating an Indian-style buffet for Vegas entertainers. This was where the Lotto cards came in; when the two teams came back from a frenetic shopping trip to Whole Foods, host Curtis Stone handed each chef a scratch-off card, which netted them immunity, $1,000 for their charity, or losing 30 minutes of cooking time. Frasier lucked out with the money while Gaier got the time setback, prompting judge James Oseland to diss: "Maybe Mark in those 30 minutes he sat out, maybe he left out the spice." Meredith Goad has a full report in The Portland Press Herald.

· Maine Chefs Survive To Cook Another Day [PPH]
· All Coverage of Arrow's Chefs Mark Gaier And Clark Frasier [~EMAINE~]
The Quickfire challenge [Photo: Bravo TV ]