Granted, I have fallen a little bit off the TOP CHEF ALL STARS recap wagon, but hey, it is FINALE time so what better opportunity to catch up on thoughts/feelings and all that other good stuff?
Over the last couple of episodes everyone you sort of hoped would make it into the top 4/5 was sent home:
They all went down like fruit flies, while in the grand tradition of Top Chef insanity Tiffany, bless her soul, was still left standing. What happened in this episode only confirmed my suspicions that you should NEVER EVER be just judged on the single challenge, some sort of cumulative effort has to come into play.
Last week-in an episode that was near perfect television (filled with emotions, great food, reunions and anticipation) no one was eliminated because, well, no one actually fucked up.
This week-the top 5: Carla, Antonia, Richard, Mike & Tiffany (who now starts every single episode thanking her lucky stars on camera) went to the Bahamas and right off the boat were faced with the single greatest quickfire challenge idea since the quickfire challenge idea that kicked off this season (if you remember: during the first episode, they had to recreate the dish that sent them home). This time around the concept was simple and genius:
COOK AGAINST THE CHEF THAT WON YOUR TOP CHEF SEASON. You win, you get 10k, you lose, they get 10k (and your soul).
I was almost giddy as I saw their faces. Michael Voltaggio (who dominated the Isabella season), Stephanie Izzard (who beat out Richard Blaise and Antonia), Kevin (who won that lackluster DC season) and Hosea (who beat out Carla) were all there, knives a blazing. The quickfire was really fun to watch, even if Carla, for whom you can’t help but root every single time messed up her rice and watching Mike Isabella sweating patterns is doing him no favors in terms of me wanting to eat food he cooks (even though I really do like the guy, I swear) but all the TOP CHEF ALL STARS Antonia and Carla aside won and went home with more money and pride than they had 45 minutes before they started cooking.
Then came the elimination challenge: cook for BAHAMIAN ROYALTY. Now, I don’t know what kind of Top Chefs these chefs have been watching, but everyone knows shit’s not gonna be THAT STRAIGHTFORWARD IN THE FINALE. COME ON.
Still, they went merrily along planning their royalty worthy dishes, and I kind of tuned out for a hot second because there was really not much point to it. I did tune back in when armed armed trucks arrived to take them to their cooking/serving location and Mike Isabella announced that “thankfully, cops showing up these days means that I’m cooking for royalty and not getting arrested”.
They land on a regular street with a bunch of Junkanoo dancers which prompted some impromptu dancing (Isabella: I have what they call the Jersey 2 step. 2 steps to the right, 2 steps to the left)
and a realization that the royalty they’ll be cooking for won’t be real royalty but The King of Junkanoo and that cooking is about to take place inside this fish fry joint they’re standing in front of.
So then, as they all started panicking (aside from Tiffany who was already, and expectedly cooking some “down home” style stuff) Antonia set a deep fryer on fire and they all had to evacuate. Saved by the bell or the fire alarm as the case may be.
Anyway, after they came back Carla, Mike and Tiffany stuck to their original dishes and Richard and Antonia switched things up and then it was tasting time. Eric Ripert is back but I secretly just want both him and Bourdain on this show so that we can see them silver fox it out once and for all.
I sort of remember the foods they cooked (Antonia’s shrimp was over fried, Carla’s beef was unevenly cooked to a point where Gail’s portion was almost raw while Ripert’s was perfect, everyone liked Mike’s and no one even remembered what Tiffany’s was, that’s how “unspecial” it was) but overall, I think it was sort of an uninspired sounding food, especially for the last-one-before-the-last-one episode.
Mike Isabella won. Richard Blaise was second (and not cool with it). There was a lot of discussion about nuts in the stew room. Which was pretty fun. And then- CARLA WAS SENT HOME. WTF. And Tiffany is still here. WTF. WTF. WTF. It is not like Tiffany killed it this episode (or any episode)-she was in the bottom alongside Carla and they then decided to send Carla (who has won more challenges this season than anyone else) home. JUST LIKE THAT. Seriously people?
Anyway, next week they eat naked sushi off of Padma’s post-baby bikini body or something. I’ll watch it from home, as so will Carla. Which is a bummer.
How was it all for you?