UPDATE, Aug. 17 - In an interview yesterday with PPH's Meredith Goad, Mark and Clark said they are both hoping Top Chef Masters asks them back. "It was great to compete. I think if we were in a similar competition or were invited back ... we would definitely have a greater knowledge of what to do, how to do, what not to do."
Episode 4 of Top Chef Masters last night started with a focus on Clark Fraiser, perhaps a clue of the bad news to come? "He was getting an awful lot of air time," writes Meredith Goad in The Portland Press Herald. Last week, Fraiser's other half, Mark Gaier, was sent packing, and even though the duo, who own Arrows and MC Perkins Cove in Ogunquit were competing as individuals, Fraiser admitted it was a little strange to be in the mix alone. "Is this going to settle some household arguments about who's the better chef?" asked host Curtis Stone. "Ohhhh, I'm not going there!" replied Fraiser, with a toss of his blond head. He initially did well in the Quickfire challenge - the chefs had 15 minutes to assemble interesting salads from a salad bar. Judges were Kate Pierson and Fred Schneider of the B-52s; interestingly, Pierson said she had visited "the world's longest salad bar somewhere in Maine" (anyone know where that could be?)
For the primary challenge, Fraiser was paired with NYC chef Kerry Heffernan, which was an awkward match. The chefs were helicoptered to the rim of the Grand Canyon, where under tents in the rain, each team of two had to prepare a dish using foods common to the native Hualapai tribe - who would be judging them. All were clearly awed by the prospect. "I feel quite honored to be honored by the Hualapai tribe to cook for them," Fraiser said. "To take their native ingredients and to elevate them, as chefs, to honor them."
Unfortunately, he and Heffernan drew the two least-exciting ingredients - beef and corn and had different ideas about how to plate Heffernan's spice-rubbed grilled filet with sage pistou with Fraiser's corn and chili ragout. Fraiser wanted a more rustic presentation, "not a fussy swoosh on the plate ... but I can't have a fist fight on the rim of the Grand Canyon over how we're going to plate the food." The judges felt their dish was the weakest, especially Fraiser's "soft, bland" corn. "One thing that really impresses me about Clark is his technique and we just didn't see enough of it today," said Saveur editor James Oseland.