Top Chef: All-Stars Recap
By Kim Hollis and David Mumpower
January 25, 2011
Let’s review. Marcel willingly selects chemistry killer Angelo, Mike “Marcel is a dick” Isabella, Antonia “The Black Hammer” Lofaso, and Tiffany “don’t talk to me, much less pick me” Derry. There was a less combustible combination of cooking talent at Gusteau’s before Remy the Rat arrived.
There have been Restaurant Wars in the past where the results surprised us, but this would be a Buster Douglas over Mike Tyson type of upset.
Hey, did you know that winning Restaurant Wars is about "assembling a mother *BLEEP* team"? Marcel informs us of this as Bravo edits his potty mouth. Marcel proceeds to brag about how he has tried to assemble a team with the most talent. So did Matt Millen, Marcel. A hilarious edit ensues wherein Marcel tries to impose his will on his teammates and they have none of it. The lack of respect they have for him as a potential leader is readily apparent. In point of fact, every single person on his team acts as if they would rather have been stuck with anyone else in the competition than him, maybe even wishing they had been previously eliminated to avoid this fate. As Marcel throws a tantrum by refusing to write menu items down before he's ready, futile glances are exchanged among the other four players.
Another great moment occurs when Tiffany is asked to handle front of the house. Everything about her body language exhibits her reluctance to do so. Marcel reads this as "Yes, sir." Marcel has the people skills of Michael Scott. Then again, as we look over the rest of their roster, we quickly realize that all of the other options are even worse. Antonia has no patience for anyone, Isabella is a self-professed jerk, Marcel is Marcel and we strongly suspect that Angelo has to introduce himself to his neighbors every time he moves. Tiffany is at least a genuinely nice human being. She is not, however, Fabio, and this is important because for the first time ever on Restaurant Wars, the customers rather than the judges will be selecting the winner. This is a huge difference as Jen pointed out earlier this season in the elimination challenge that she lost. The judges have a much more advanced palate, meaning that the chefs will need to dial down their menus quite a bit to make their more appealing to the average eater.
Why? This contest requires the creation of a pop-up restaurant. As such, the goal is to create food that fits the guerrilla style of such enterprises. Total jerk Ludo Lefebvre, a villain from Top Chef Masters, has a lot of credibility in this regard thanks to Ludobites, a constantly temporary endeavor that our New York City and Los Angeles readers may have experienced. He will be the judge for the evening, and we can only hope that he won't be given a lot of air time because if we had to choose between Marcel and him, we'd be trying to remember which tooth has the cyanide tablet.