Top Chef All Stars Recap

By Jason Lee

January 10, 2011

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Driver’s Seat: So, I stand by last week’s statement that Richard and Angelo are at the head of the class, but with Richard having solidly won his head-to-head match-up against Spike last week, while Angelo got knocked for his meddling in Spike’s losing dish, I’ve switched their rankings.

1) Richard
2) Angelo

Shotgun: Dale got whomped by Tiffani in their head-to-head, but he still boasts an Elimination challenge win and a QF team win. Meanwhile, I’m still wary about Tiffani given how badly she botched up Wylie’s dish in the WD-40 challenge. Antonia’s been looking good so far, and Carla moves up a few categories with her first Elimination win.

3) Dale
4) Carla
5) Antonia
6) Tiffani

Backseat: Fabio got some greatly needed momentum with his gnocchi last week, though we’ll have to see if this is going to catapult him forward or if he loses steam. Marcel, Casey and Mike have avoided elimination . . . . but that’s pretty much it.

7) Fabio
8) Marcel
9) Casey
10) Mike

Trunk: And then we come to the three chefs that could have easily replaced Spike in the “loser” seat last week. Tiffany’s dish was a mess, Tre’s was the worst of the night and Jamie didn’t serve anything. Will one of these chefs go home this week?


11) Tiffany
12) Tre
13) Jamie

The chefs enter the kitchen and are greeted by Padma. She makes a few obvious statements about how a kitchen will fail, no matter how good it is, if it can’t get the food out on time (to which I respond, “duh”). Thus, this week’s challenge will be all about speed. They’ll have a speed test against one of the nation’s best chefs. He’ll make a dish and set a time that they have to beat.

Mike Isabella knows that it’s gonna be some great chef, but even he’s surprised when Tom Colicchio walks through the door. Yep, the chefs will get to watch the head judge in action.

At this point, the cynical side of my personality kicks in. OF COURSE, he’ll have already planned the dish. OF COURSE, he’ll have practiced it many times. OF COURSE, he’ll know exactly what he’ll need to do and in what order he’ll need to do it. This is clearly supposed to be set up as a “let’s see how Tom would fare on Top Chef!” but it’s totally contrived. Give any of these chefs the same circumstances and they’d be able to turn out a great dish, too.

And yes, Tom is fast and well-prepared, but why wouldn’t he be? He’s practiced this dish. The chefs “ooh” and “aah.” Antonia is impressed by how fast he opens clams. Marcel thinks he’s rad. Padma stoops to pick up a bucket of kitchen utensils that Tom has knocked over.

Carla predicts that this will be a 15 minute QF but the cheftestants don’t even get that; Tom is done in eight minutes and 37 seconds. He’s even nice enough to let the chefs taste the dish afterwards (and of course it tastes good - why wouldn’t it?).

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