Top Chef: All-Stars Recap
By David Mumpower and Kim Hollis
December 2, 2010
The second grouping has its fair share of surprises, perhaps none more so than the fact that Jen’s meal is harshly criticized. Bourdain says “the only problem with Jen’s duck dish is the duck”. Ouch. One of the co-favorites to win this season makes an elimination challenge dish that is closer to the bottom than the top. Antonia’s dish is generally well received although Tiffany doesn’t care for it at all. When Spike presents his frozen scallops dish this time, Bourdain makes the seemingly random comment that “It’s a good tasting dish but I could have lived without the scallops”. At this point, Tiffani asserts that this was the tactic chosen in order to avert the previous disaster. Upon realizing what Spike has done, Bourdain calls him “the craftiest mother-bleeper” for his daring sidestep. Jamie, Casey, Dale T. and Mike are all described as delivering redemptive cuisine. Dale L. is less fortunate as his dumplings are roundly decried. Carla and Marcel fall somewhere in the middle with their dishes.
Overall, we think that the best dishes on the evening have been delivered by Richard, Angelo, Dale T. and Spike (!) with the worst dishes coming from Stephen, Elia, Fabio, and Dale L. When the judges announce who has finished at the top of this challenge, we are mostly right. Richard, Angelo and Spike are selected along with Jamie, who probably deserves special consideration for being required to cook a dish she doesn’t like twice now. When they reach the judges table, Richard is informed by Tom that since he went past the allotted time, he is ineligible for victory. While Richard is visibly disappointed, this is not just a fair ruling but a good sign that the producers of Top Chef have taken steps to avoid last season’s possibly stolen pea puree mystery. That’s right, Major League Baseball. Even Top Chef uses instant replay now. Please catch up with 21st century technology. Richard’s loss is Angelo’s gain as his refined pork belly wins the day. We idly wonder if this is a happy moment to Angelo or a bittersweet one. He cannot help but be wondering if he would have won Top Chef Season 7 if he had been healthy enough to cook this meal the way he wanted on that day.
There are only three All-Stars nominated for elimination. So, it was three of the four names mentioned above – Fabio, Elia and Stephen – but Dale L. is safe for tonight. In our opinion, Stephen is the obvious choice for elimination tonight in that he has seemed in over his head the entire episode. Not only did he finish on the bottom in both phases of competition, he was also a danger to others in the kitchen, hurting Angelo and Tiffany’s chances during the Quickfire. He is clearly rusty and against 17 top flight competitors, he simply has too much ground to make up in a short period of time. Even if he survives tonight’s elimination, we cannot see him lasting for more than a handful of episodes.