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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Yamaguchi does Hawaii proud

By Wanda A. Adams

Hawaii news photo - The Honolulu Advertiser

Roy Yamaguchi

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As fans of foodie TV and "Top Chef Masters" know, Roy Yamaguchi will not be advancing to the "Masters" finals, which debuts at 9 p.m. tonight on Bravo. But no matter. Yamaguchi did Hawai'i proud, even if the judges didn't quite get it.

In an elimination challenge that required competitors to cook from a "mystery box," Yamaguchi prepared a kal bi-style short rib dish and mahi mahi in a lemongrass-infused sauce. He received high praise from food critic and judge Gael Greene, who said she never order smahi, finding it uninteresting. but thought Yamaguchi's dish was "delicious." But he was dinged because his two dishes didn't seem to go together. Wot? You never heard of mixed plate?

The finalist position went to chef, author, TV personality and (like Yamaguchi) James Beard Award winner Art Smith of Chicago, who pleased the judges down-homey Southern-style chicken dishes

Still, the charity for whom Yamaguchi was cooking, Imua Family Services, which serves children with special needs, will get a check. And both a Yamaguchi cooking video and one about his "Top Chef" experience is on the Bravo.com site now.

Further, Yamaguchi did something of which Islanders can be proud: He was candid acknowledging that he is a planner and that thinking on his feet is not his best thing. "I thought that was very brave of him," said judge James Oseland.