Posted by: Lauren on Dec 7, 2010
Welcome to the first Top Chef: All Stars recap!
This season we have some “All Stars” to deal with, some of whom I know, but most that I am unfamiliar with. Apparently these people were all close runners up and/or fun personalities that they just want back on the air (ahem, Fabio). I have watched Top Chef intermittently throughout the years, and always enjoy it. Let’s hope our All-stars live up to their name.
It will become apparent early on that I don’t know everything about weird cheffy foods, so if I say something dumb about them, please do let me know. Knowledge!
I am trying out a format of writing about the challenges and then each contestant, we’ll see how it works!
Quickfire Challenge: Create a dish that represents your season’s city
Team Chicago: Hot dogs--Richard is making Mustard Ice Cream using liquid nitrogen, because that is how he rolls.
Team D.C.: Crab Cakes--Their fish falls on the floor and it looks like they are just using it. Their actual dish is nothing like crabcakes. It is soup. I was lied to!
Team New York: Trio of Apples—They did three different dishes, which is pretty h-core.
Team Miami: Pork and Mangoes…I think—No comment from me or judges.
Team Los Angeles: Fish Tacos—Their plates aren’t very pretty. A big goop of avocado.
Team San Fransisco: Chipeno (?) I have no idea what they are making. Something with shrimp.—Ok, I wasn’t too far off. Cioppino gazpacho. The internet tells me Cioppeno is a fish stew originating from San Fransisco. Now if it was me, I would have gone with Rice A Roni, because that is how I roll.
Team Vegas: Mobster food…Italian.—We barely see their dish and I hate this team (more on that later).
The bottom dishes are the Fish Tacos from Marcel and Elia (Los Angeles), the Cioppeno gazpacho from Red hair Tiffani and Stephen the Sommelier, Trio of Apples from the New York team (Fabio, Carla and Jaime), and Crab Cakes from Angelo and Tiffany.
In the top are Tre, Casey and Dale with their pork and mangoes, Team Chicago (Richard, Spike, Antonia, and someone else (maybe another Dale?) with their hot dog and mustard ice cream, and Team Vegas (or as I will call them, team D-bag. Both Mike and Jen are pissing me off already).
And the winner is…Chicago! All four of them receive immunity for the first knifing (or whatever they call it, I don’t remember).
We jump right into this after the Quickfire. They bring out mysterious silver trays which contain….ingredients. Oh..the ones that sent the chefs home the first time. This is very interesting. Notes about all of the chefs’ failures are below.
Spike: I think I saw Spike’s season, but I don’t remember him. My feeling off the bat is that he talks too much. Spike was kicked for using frozen scallops and he has to do it again now. Scallopgate, I call it. His redo is a scallop ceviche. People like it.
Antonia: Some sort of sausage with peas that she effed up last time. This time, people love it.
Jaime: Jaime is most famous for being hit on constantly by Fabio’s heteroboyfriend, Stefano. Her dish? Eric Ripert’s black bass with braised celery. Jaime’s redo is very well received as well.
Elia: She is recreating a red snapper steamed in a tea leaf. Someone finds a scale in their food. Fun! Someone else says it seems like she gave up on it.
Stephen: I don’t know what he is cooking, but apparently he was kicked off for just serving wine and not cooking any of his three dishes. Have fun with that. He does three appetizers that get described as “very swampy and muddled” by one of the Dales. That can’t be good
Tre: I don’t know Tre, but he endears me right away by swearing. For real. People are “whatever” about his dish, and I don't catch any more details about what it is. Sorry!
Dale T.: This guy tried to make Miso Butterscotch Scallops. And I just threw up. Or in Cheal parlance, made “the noise”. Apparently he made it better this time. I am still going to hurl.
Tiffany: This Tiffany is winning me over with her sassiness so far. She is re-doing halibut, to medium praise.
Richard: I watched his season and I quite like him. Credit to Richard for teaching me that “pork belly” is something desirable. He is redoing the pork belly. His was very highly praised, but some haters are saying he was plating after the clock went.
Marcel: Uni and Caviar with a million other things—one criticism is that it was too vanilla-y.
Fabio: Fabio looks a little more…middle aged than he did on his last season. He is recreating his crawfish and crab stew. This time it seems to be a pasta, which no one likes.
Angelo: His redo is some sort of raman. Who knew it was classy? Angelo’s dish very well recieved.
Red Hair Tiffani: Crispy Branzino (apparently a European Seabass)….there are a lot more words to the title, but I will not be looking them up. People are sort of “meh” about it.
Jennifer: I guess she is the one they are calling “Jen” in name cards in the show (though she was billed as Jennifer in the opening credits). How about pick a name, show! Some of us are documenting this. Jen seems super obnoxious during the quickfire challenge, ick. She re-does duck, and it isn’t great.
Casey: She is from Texas (I think) and she seems nice. She is redoing pork belly as well. Gail loves her redo.
Dale L.: People hate his dumplings.
Mike: This guy is a tool. He is on Team D-Bag for a reason. Braised Leeks is his re-do dish. He gets a lot of praise, which I am sad about because he is annoying.
Hootie (Carla): Hootie told us during her season that this was her nickname, and who am I to argue with that? Also, she looks alarmingly like Big Bird. She is such a giant (but an awesome one). Her grilled strip steak gets mixed reviews.
Top 3: Richard, Jaime, Angelo and Spike are called in for the Top 3, where Richard learns he is disqualified for plating after the time limit. For shame! The winner is: Angelo. He wins 10K. I could use some of that cash.
Bottom 3: Fabio, Stephen and Elia. Eeks, Stephen is a bit arrogant. He is arguing. Elia is criticized for having raw fish. She is a bit of a jerk to Gail. Fabio is also arguing and telling Bourdain he is wrong. Great start, Fab. These three are all coming off as a-holes and I hope they just kick all three off. Dang, only one is sent off. Elia. I am fine with it.
- Let’s just get this out of the way: Padma Lakshmi is a knockout. And she seems smart. I have a feeling this will come up again, fair warning!
- Judges are Tom Collicchio and Gail Simmons (as always). Anthony Bourdain is the third judge.
- What is with the two duplicate names? One Dale and one Tiffany(i) needs to go home soon.
- I am going to try to eat something classy (ish) while I recap these. Tonight: Black bean burgers…not too shabby (except that I 100% burned them- I will now pack my knives and go).
- Is it just me or does the Russian Tea Room look a little cheap? I have never seen it before, and I know the harsh TV lights can be tough, but that cherry red color is frightening.
- Bourdain Quote of the Week: “It looks like an inside out animal…it’s appalling!” (about Fabio’s pasta).
- Having competing chefs eat each other’s food and then having them watch their competitors critique those dishes is a great way to brew drama early on in the season.
- Holy crap this took me a long time to recap. I hope we have some sort of mass-knifing where we lose some dead weight. I can’t keep all of these people straight!
- For a nice overview of the cheftestants, visit: http://www.televisionwithoutpity.com/show/top_chef/top_chef_all-stars_whos_who.php
- These dishes have names that are just far, far too long. I think Marcel's was like 10 words. Here, I looked it up "Uni & Caviar, Meyer Lemon Gelee, Fennel Cream & Kalamata Olive Dust". 12 words if you count the ands. Brevity, people. Also, that dish sounds disgusting. And what the hell is Olive Dust?
- I have not yet decided on when I will get these recaps up. Stay tuned, as it will be sorted soon!