Top Chef All Stars Recap
By David Mumpower
March 16, 2011
1) Richard Blais – He still isn’t dominating the way I had expected, but it seems like every dish he cooks is worthy of victory.
2) Antonia Lofaso - With no eliminations last week, the temptation is to duplicate last week’s rankings. I don’t think that is fair in the case of Antonia, though. She has either won or been in the top group in five consecutive elimination challenges. She is in the zone right now.
3) Carla Hall – This is the spot in the competition where she sous vide’d her way out of victory. Hopefully, she has learned from this mistake. Her willingness to risk her season on liquid nitrogen last week has me concerned, though.
4) Mike Isabella – Proved last week that he can make a delicious dish that wasn’t Richard’s idea. Then again, it was his grandmother’s dish, so I’m not sure if that’s forward progress.
5) Tiffany Derry – I adore Tiffany and my recent criticisms of her prove that you sometime hurt the ones you love. Still, I must once more point out that you, the reader, have as many challenge wins as Tiffany.
This week’s episode begins in a different fashion from previous ones. The five contestants who earned a working vacation in the Bahamas do not have a fallen comrade to lament. To the contrary, their dazzling dishes in the previous challenges should have folk songs written about them. I am confident that there would be much rejoicing if we joined the remaining competitors in the hours after their triumphant presentation to the judges. Instead, Top Chef fast forwards four months and in the interim, all of the women seem to have questioned their worthiness.
Antonia presents herself as a strong contender who is more interested in the title of Top Chef than she is in winning the large sum of money that accompanies such a victory. Carla is still dwelling on her loss in the finale of her season, the competition during which she inexplicably moved away from her comfort zone and tried a new cooking technique. Tiffany is looking back on her struggles during the current season of Top Chef All-Stars; she is all too well aware of how fortunate she is to be in the finals. Between the three women, Antonia seems to be in the best place in terms of focus, but even she seems to be steeling her nerves. I have concerns about the marvelous female contestants who have earned a spot in the finals.
Richard has other concerns. First of all, his hair has grown exponentially goofier during the down time, something I would not have thought possible. He looks like a 10-year-old boy who has not washed his hair during the Obama administration. Professor Blais’ larger concern is that his daughter, Embry Lotus, will be born any day now. Blais is driven by twin fears, that he will once again choke in the finale (his words, not mine) and that he will miss the birth of his daughter while doing so. I’m starting to believe that in the throes of orgasm, Blais worries about the national deficit. That Muppet should have told him, “Be happy, Richard!” instead of “Be careful, Richard!”
Also, Mike Isabella is there.