Top Chef: All-Stars Recap

By David Mumpower

March 2, 2011

We'd eat at your restaurant anytime, Dale.

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This week's power rankings...

1) Dale Talde – This marks the first time this season that I have placed someone other than Richard Blais at the top of the group. Jason Lee had also done so once during his recaps, but I’ve held firm to the notion that Blais is the best of the best. With Dale’s going two for two last episode and winning three out of the last four challenges, there is simply no disputing the fact that he is the cream of the crop right now, a couple of near-eliminations notwithstanding.

2) Richard Blais – Before this season is over, I still expect Richard to compete for the title and if I could only bet on one player to win, it would still be him. He’s just not been as impressive as Dale. I would maintain that there are higher expectations for Richard than any other chef in the show’s history, though.

3) Antonia Lofaso – When do we stop calling Antonia a dark horse and begin to describe her as a strong contender? She’s been in the top half for three straight challenges and would have won another if her team hadn’t sucked. To a larger point, how great a chef does Stephanie Izard appear to be now that we have seen how strong the competition was in season 4? I said a couple of recaps ago that I think she could hang with the Voltaggio Brothers. The deeper the rest of season four’s contenders go in the All-Stars season, the more I wonder if the Voltaggio Brothers could hang with her.


4) Carla Hall – Carla may never go back in a Target again after last week’s meltdown. She’s been one of hottest competitors over the past several episodes, but I have to drop her due to the near-elimination last week.

5) Mike Isabella – He wins as often as the Detroit Lions.

6) Tiffany Derry – She wins as often as the Pittsburgh Pirates. Seriously, Tiffany’s goose egg at this point in the competition makes us wonder what someone has to do to get eliminated. The more people get eliminated, the more she has a chance to win a competition in which she has had no discernible standout dishes.

This week’s episode begins with a lament for the fate of fallen comrade Angelo. As we had stated early this season, each elimination during the All-Stars competition will be brutal since all of the people involved are respected, popular chefs. Angelo’s a bit on the weird side (and that’s saying it politely) yet he clearly commands veneration from his peers for his techniques. Richard is particularly surprised by the result, querying Tiffany about whether she thought it was her. Since we saw her “so long and thanks for all the fish” speech during the last episode, we know this to be true. She confirms it in a monologue, indicating utter shock that someone else was sent home in her stead. We love Tiffany dearly and note that she out-performed Angelo during season seven of the competition, but he was much better during Top Chef All-Stars. It’s unfortunate that his dish was so much worse than hers, requiring his removal, because all other things being equal, we are certain Tiffany would have gone home. Tiffany has been treading water for the better part of the season.

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