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Is 'Top Chef Masters' a foodie Olympics? Mary Sue Milliken and John Rivera Sedlar discuss

April 13, 2011 |  4:05 pm

Topchefmasters "It's about racing. It's not about cooking."

So says L.A. restaurateur John Rivera Sedlar (Playa and Rivera) about "Top Chef Masters," which premiered last week. Sedlar is one of two prominent local chefs on Season 2 -- the other is Mary Sue Milliken (Border Grill, Truck) -- and he says he went into the Bravo series totally underestimating the difficulty of the show.

Sedlar says other competitors (well-respected chefs from around the country) seemed to have prepared for "Top Chef Masters" as if it were an Olympic sport. "I think that they train. I think that they have a coach. They lift weights. They hone their knife skills," he says. "They have people investigate who the competition is."

Milliken has more understanding of the competition, since her cooking partner Susan Feniger had appeared in the previous season -- and yet Milliken was almost eliminated last week.

"I want to put my heart and soul in everything I cook, and sometimes you can't do that in 12 minutes," she says. "There were times when the time was so constraining it was ridiculous."

Read more about "Top Chef Masters" in this feature from Wednesday's Calendar section.

Photo: Mary Sue Milliken and John Rivera Sedlar. Credit: Robert Gauthier/ Los Angeles Times