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November 27, 2014

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Mandalay Bay chefs serve Simpsons, surf and turf on Top Chef Masters

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TVT

Chef Rick Moonen.

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Chef Susan Feniger.

Animal leftovers and unwanted body parts are referred to as “offal” -- tongues, ears and private parts best left to the imagination. Call them “awful” even though they are labeled offal. It’s the food nobody wants or to think about using and eating.

Yet all contain protein, and tonight on the next round of Top Chef Masters, our Mandalay Bay heroes Susan Feniger of Border Grill and Rick Moonen of RM Seafood create a “scary surf and turf” dinner from those awful -- and dreaded -- body parts.

“It’s the toughest challenge we’ve ever faced,” Rick told me as Susan nodded in agreement. “A fun, interesting challenge, but talk about being on your feet for 24 hours straight!”

Tonight’s episode on Bravo is a 75-minute special, and our two hometown heroes also have to serve up a meal for The Simpsons in the Quickfire Challenge. Matt Groening and Hank Azaria are among the series’ stars judging the contestants. Just what do you serve to a cartoon character?

“That’s a baffling question,” Rick answered. “You have to tune in to see what we did.”

Rick will watch the show tonight at his RM Seafood, and I’ll join him to see if he adds to his charity donations earmarked for our local Three Square food bank. Susan will watch from her new restaurant Street in L.A., where she is competing to raise funds for the National Scleroderma Foundation.

Further congratulations are in order for Rick, who won a James Beard Foundation Award in New York for hosting the PBS special Chefs-A-Field. It’s the third James Beard Award for the series now in its fourth season. In the award-winning episode, Rick became “King of Alaska” on a salmon fishing trek to celebrate sustainable food and fisheries with the fishermen along the Yukon River Delta with the Yup’ik natives and their mystical King Salmon.

Follow our real-time tweets with Rick at RM Seafood tonight.

Follow Robin Leach on Twitter at Twitter.com/Robin_Leach.