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Los Angeles Times
April 22, 2010
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The Real Housewives judge 'Top Chef Masters'

“A little education can save a life,” Ludo Lefebvre said of his charity of choice, C.H.A.S.E. for Life, on Wednesday night's 'Masters'. But you'd swear he was talking about the guest quick-fire judges, the Real Housewives of Orange County.

These ladies, who had the nerve to boisterously spit out food at Hubert Keller's Fleur de Lys in their last season (video here), may have seemed like better choices for the cocktail pairing quick-fire. Sadly, their judging was no better than that earlier embarrassment. Tamra Barney couldn't tell if there was ginger in her ginger figgle cocktail, Alexis Bellino was making stink faces throughout the tasting and Lynne Curtin complains that she doesn't eat "red meat" while eating Ludo's pork dish. But the best part was when Tamra got all wishy-washy on the judging, first swooning that Wylie Durfrense's Russian Mule paired with Arctic char was "to die for," then, after Gael Green said the pairing was off, changing her mind. Wylie and the rest of the chefs had a field day assailing their opinions and really got riled up over Tamra's capricious commentary.

There were, however, unwavering and unanimous votes on Jonathan Waxman's pork tenderloin with poblano-stuffed shrimp and avocado butter paired with a lemongrass mojito. With his successful execution of lamb shepherd's pie in the pub grub elimination challenge, he and Rick Moonen will be heading on to the next round.

So when is it time to draw the line on shamelessly cross-promoting shows? I might trust the Housewives to critique Juicy Couture, but assigning a star rating to a juicy steak? I'll leave that to the pros. Plus, there are countless honest-to-goodness celebrity foodies who could take the reigns. How about giving a real foodie such as Aziz Ansari a chance?

-- Krista Simmons

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