So lets get this out of the way 1st: it is definitely a bummer that neither Kevin Gillespie or Stefan are on this season (the first one-because I love him, the second one-because he actually was entertaining to watch) but I guess we should not look a gift horse in the mouth because all signs point to TOP CHEF ALL STARS basically being AMAZING. (and as someone who has now blogged 4 or 5 seasons of it (I lose count) for BYT- I feel like I got pretty good at figuring this stuff out).
ANYWAY- the best thing about TOP CHEF ALL STARS is that over the years through Top Chef reunion dinners, special holiday challenges, guest judging, guest helping in finales etc…this has become the equivalent of Real World/Road Rules of food shows: no matter what season you were in, everyone has met everyone, everyone has been in a fight with everyone (or at least with Marcel), everyone has beaten someone over something, and they’re all grateful to the top chef teet that keeps feeding them year after year. Which, I guess, makes TOP CHEF ALL STARS the equivalent of THE GAUNTLET (I just wonder who gets to be Trishelle)
But all jokes aside, THE BEST THING about TOP CHEF ALL STARS is that we don’t need to get to know these people: we already do (“know” them) in the most intimate, Bravo-like way. Most of us cruised in knowing who we’re rooting for, right? (Kevin! Who is not there!)
But here is who is in da house this season:
- Tiffani (with an I) – the feisty red-headed bitchy lesbian from Season 1
- Stephen- the wet rag of an over-dresser/sommelier from Season 1 (I never know why they alway keep bringing him back)
- Elia – the cool Spanish girl who shaved her head in Season 2
- Marcel – teen Wolverine from Season 2
- Tre- the one everyone thinks should have won in Season 3
- Gay Dale from season 3
- Casey – the pretty, super composed Texan one in Season 3 who ruined Carla’s chance’s of winning season 5
- Richard Blais – the molecular cuisine superfan from Season 4
- Spike! (you know) – from Season 4
- Antonia – the calm, undervalued one who kept fighting with Spike in season 4
- Asian Dale from season 4
- Jamie- the feisty blonde red-headed bitchy lesbian from Season 5
- Fabio – the one we all loved in Season 5
- Leah – the dead fish from Season 5 (JOKES!)
- Carla- the hootie ho from Season 5
- Jen-the super nervous, super talented one from season 6
- Mike Isabella- awwww, the one we all liked to hate from season 6
- Angelo – the one that got sick/was a crybaby in the finale of season 7
- Tiffany (with a y) – the one who probably should have gone further in season 7
I listed everyone’s seasons because BRAVO being BRAVO totally decided to milk all the past season rivalries, references and more for all that it is worth.
THE QUICKFIRE WAS THIS: gather round with your season’s chef’s and make a dish to represent your season’s home city, which turned out like so:
- Season 1 was in San Francisco: so they made scioppino gazpacho
- Season 2 was in LA: fish tacos in apple tortillas (apples too thin, shrimp not quite how it should be)
- Season 3 was in Miami: pork tenderloin, avocado purree, habanero sauce (in top 3 alongside Chicago and Vegas)
- Season 4 was in Chicago: fresh Chicago style dogs with mustard ice-cream (courtesy of Richard)-and they won!
- Season 5 was in NYC: they made a trio of apple dishes (Jamie’s curried apple soup was good, the other two-not so much)
- Season 6 was in Vegas: fresh buccatini with bacon lobster carbonara (really delicious apparently with a special treat of Mike announcing that Vegas doesn’t have much culture so they’re just gonna go old-school mobster style)
- Season 7 was in DC: so they made essence of crab cake soup with lemongrass, old bay and rockfish (too salty)
So, that was pretty fun but then the real cincher came: they brought out some plates and ON THE PLATES WERE THE INGREDIENTS TO THE CHALLENGE EACH OF THESE CHEFS LOST IN THEIR SEASON!
Welcome to your elimination challenge suckas!
So-I personally think making them relive their failures in the first episode was pure genius:
- It makes them seem more human
- It definitely checks their egos which were starting to get too large for your TV within the first half hour
- it definitely puts the pressure on
- and it helps the audience reconnect to the feelings they had for these people the first time around
AND they brought Tony Bourdain, who basically cut them all at the judges’ table back for this episode as the judge. Bravo BRAVO!
So off they went: Spike revisiting the frozen scallop-gate, Asian Dale attempting to unbutterscotch his scallops, Jamie dealing with celery again, Mike Isabella hating the fact that he is again stuck with a vegetarian dish, Carla making that suvi’d beef right in front of Casey AGAIN-memories kept flying by. It was pretty great, imo.
The dining took place at the old Russian Tea Room and once they got there they were told they’ll cook in 2 shifts of 9 and one shift will eat with Tony (swoon) while the other one cooks. AND THERE WILL BE A TV IN THE KITCHEN SO YOU WILL SEE WHAT EVERYONE IS TALKING ABOUT. Which was mean! And awkward! And really good TV!
OK-so I am super behind on schedule to finish this post which IS TAKING FOREVER so lets recap:
ANGELO WON! Richard would have won but Richard exceeded the time limit without even noticing. Jen fucked up the duck. Marcel put out a soup of monkey eyes (or so it seemed), Spike managed to be in the top 3 despite the frozen scallops (“Is he the craftiest bastard that’s ever been on this show or what” – direct Tony quote)
AND I THOUGHT STEPHEN WAS GOING HOME BUT HE DIDN’T.
Instead they sent ELIA HOME WHICH WAS STUPID.