Top Chef: All-Stars Recap
By David Mumpower and Kim Hollis
December 2, 2010
Of course, we have to be honest that many of the same comments hold true of Elia as well. We had expected to see her blossom in this competition due to what a strong performance she offered at the age of 23. With more seasoning in her profession, we expected dramatic improvement. Instead, she seems to have regressed a bit. The fact that she didn’t even want to look at the television screen when the judges were critiquing her dish is indicative of a chef who doesn’t have the thick skin needed for this show. As for Fabio, we think he just had a bad night. Then again, we also think that Fabio believed the dish that got him eliminated was good in the first place and his stubborn pride could justifiably cost him if he does go home tonight. Elia and Fabio seemed to have spent the least amount of time considering how they would re-work the dish that first eliminated them from competition. That’s troubling.
At the judges table, all three participants take a lot of heat. Elia seems to have failed on a basic level as a chef. Stephen doesn’t even seem to realize that his dishes were incompetent. And Fabio is still pissed at Bourdain. This leads to another confrontation with Bourdain, who is trying to be his usual funny, over-the-top self, the Bourdain brand that has made him rich and famous. Fabio is not in the mood for it at all. He feels personally slightly to an inappropriate degree. “Sir, I’m telling you something. I agree to be criticized in a constructive way. I don’t like to be made fun of and that’s what you did through the meal. Some comment that you did about my food, if we weren’t in this situation, we would have a different problem.” That’s right. Fabio all but asks Bourdain to step outside and settle this like men. He tries to be polite about it, but there is steel in his voice.
Meanwhile, Elia takes this opportunity to say, “Don’t eliminate me. I have a lot more to do. I mean it.” Gayle seems to find this amusing while it seems to rankle Tom. When the chefs return, Elia is informed that she does not in fact have more to do, whether she meant it or not. So, Fabio narrowly avoids his fate of being the dummy who gets eliminated twice for cooking the same meal. Elia is less fortunate. In the end, she served raw fish with scales on it to judges. That’s almost always cause for elimination.
Overall, this was a tremendous episode and we cannot wait to see what happens the rest of the way. If ever a reality show competition was meant to have an All-Star competition, it’s Top Chef.