Top Chef: All-Stars Recap

By Kim Hollis and David Mumpower

December 19, 2010

Stephen, maybe you should consider cooking some before your next appearance.

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Stephen’s dish has a nice aroma, but the flavor is aggressive, and Tony Bourdain says it “tastes like a head shop.” We had to look up “head shop” and the phrase means “a retail outlet specializing in drug paraphernalia used for consumption of cannabis and other recreational drugs.” Basically, Stephen’s fennel is so overpowering that it tastes like smoking pot. The simplicity of Tre’s dish is complimented as being right in line as a hallmark of Italian food, and it is called delicious and tasty. From this group, the comments would indicate that Richard and Tre killed it, with Spike being in the middle. Stephen at least mastered a blender. Kind of. Well, enough to make his food taste like drug use.

Ma Peche is the next stop for the judges, where Fabio is bemoaning the fact that he’s having to cook French/Asian fusion when his specialty is obviously home-cooked Italian. Angelo has added white chocolate to his fish because he thinks it’s really ballsy. We think it sounds gross.

Fabio has created roasted lamb, hoisin plum barbecue sauce, corn tomato salad, and lemongrass chevre ricotta. Tiffany prepares crudo of summer flounder, pickled radish and peach puree. Mike Isabella’s dish is warm sockeye salmon, eggplant, marinated tomatoes and pickled peach. Finally, Angelo has made turmeric marinated fish, dill, cilantro, salmon roe, chorizo and white chocolate.


Bourdain calls Angelo’s gross white chocolate dish really creative and flavorful, even exciting. Mike’s dish is also great, tasty and solid. Tom says that he’s having a hard time tying to figure out Fabio’s dish. It’s too heavy and combines ingredients that most of the judges would never put together. Tiffany’s dish is good but is missing that extra something. It’s something you could easily find at any restaurant. We can conclude that this group has Angelo in the lead with Mike Isabella close behind, with Tiffany in the middle and Fabio once again looking at the bottom grouping at Judges Table.

Judges are now headed to Townhouse, where Dale Levitski is asking Casey to taste his dish. We know how Casey is about tasting other people’s dishes. Even if she doesn’t like it, she won’t tell him, which is seriously uncool when you consider that he’s one of her best friends.’’

The aforementioned Dale dish is roasted veal loin, peanuts and popcorn, French toast, corn & thyme caramel. Sounds pretty revolting, really. Antonia has made a pea and carrot puree, seared scallop and pickled carrot. Casey has roasted halibut to look like a scallop, added some coconut, along with tapioca “caviar” and ginger carrot emulsion. Jamie prepared smoked tomato and bacon soup with heirloom tomato salad. The judges think Jamie’s dish could have been better, and that it needed more “wow” factor. Dale just seems to have just made a sweet dish with veal on it, and the French toast is too overpowering. They love Casey’s “scalibut” and think it would fit right in with Townhouse’s menu. Tom thinks Antonia has too much salt, but David Burke likes aggressive seasoning and finds the dish to be playful. Burke also acknowledges that it’s very tough to make a dish that matches up well with the style of his restaurant.

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