I Hate Jill Zarin Top Chef All Stars
I really enjoy Bravo’s Top Chef and this season is even better than any other because they’ve removed the one part of watching the show that can get a bit tiresome, meeting a new cast of characters. This season we already know all the players, we know their personalities, we know who they get along with and who they don’t and we know their weakness when it comes to cooking.
It’s going to be fascinating watching how they’ve changed and
improved their cooking. None of them have that first time on
camera nervousness or the shock of seeing Chef Tom and Padma for the first
It’s just time to get down to the cooking and the drama.
There are a few that already stand out as the frontrunners but
really this entire group of chef’s are talented and have already proven
themselves in past seasons. A few that I thought went home too
early on their original appearance on Top Chef, Tre, Richard and Elia for
example showed great promise but made fatal errors that sent them
The Quick Fire Challenge brought the seasons contestants back
together as the groups they split into were seven teams consisting of the chefs
of each of the prior seasons. They were instructed to prepare a
dish that would represent the city where they originally competed.
Representing Season One and San Francisco, Stephen and Tiffany created a seafood gazpacho
that did not impress the judges and they fell into the bottom three of the Quick
Fire Challenge. These two are not very popular with the other
contestants, Stephen is not only arrogant but he can’t back it up with his
cooking. His specialty being wine parings doesn’t exactly make the
others envy his talent. Tiffany has her days, but she can be a bit
arrogant as well and she still feels that she should have beaten Harold to win
Season One so she has a lot to prove in this
Season Two’s chefs
Marcel and Elia filmed in Los Angeles and prepared shrimp tacos that fell into
the middle of the pack for the judges. Marcel had enemies in the
Top Chef Kitchens before he even arrived, Elia got along with everyone in Season
two and even shaved her head before the final episode filmed to
show support for Marcel, Cliff and Ilan. The boys decided that
they were going to shave Marcel’s head a as a joke and when you’re a bit drunk
it probably seemed like a good idea. Unfortunately Cliff was sent
home for his actions and the honest truth is that I was hoping we’d see him
during the All-Star season. He was a talented chef who made a
stupid mistake. We know that Bravo isn’t all that against physical
violence, they didn’t fire any of the housewives for getting physical so why not
give Cliff a second chance? As a side note, this all-star season
would have been perfect if Sam from Season Two had joined the chef’s because his
elimination was heartbreaking, I think many thought Sam would be Season Two’s
Casey, Dale and Tre represent Season Three and Miami
Florida. Their fresh tropical fruit and pork dish won them a place
in the top three during the Quick Fire Challenge. I think Tre’s
departure during Season Three was probably one of the most shocking, in that he
seemed like he would be one to go all the way to the finale. He’s
got that little bit of cockiness coupled with talent and so I think he will do
well in the All Star Season. Casey is probably one of the nicest
chefs ever to compete on Top Chef and we learned that she runs a kitchen in Fort
Worth Texas now. Dale looks like he’s been sampling a bit too much
of his own cooking as he’s a more puffed up than the last time we saw him, I
think many people were shocked that Dale went as far as he did in Season Three,
he was close to elimination a few times but this Chicagoan snuck right through
to the end but lost in the end to Hung who was clearly more
The team from Season Four, filmed in Chicago is Spike, Antonia,
Richard and Dale. This group prepared a high tech Chicago hot dog
complete with a mustard gel and a sausage made from scratch in 45
minutes. Taking the top spot in the Quick Fire, these four were
left with immunity from elimination in the final challenge of the
episode. I was glad that Lisa was not brought back to the All
Stars to represent Season Four, her attitude was extremely poor and was most
likely the reason she failed to make the cut.
Season Five was filmed in New York and the three representing the
big apple, Fabio, Carla and Jamie chose to make three different dishes all using
apples. This was a good idea but as even their fellow contestants
pointed out, the three dishes have to go together in their flavors and this team
failed to do that.
Season Six of Top Chef had to have the most talented and
professional group of chef’s that we’ve seen to date, with the Voltaggio
Brothers and Kevin Gillespie representing the final three, the mutual admiration
society was born and set the standard for Top Chef behavior and raised the bar
for the audience. I’m not surprised that the losing brother, Bryan
or Kevin didn’t join this All Star Season, although I would bet they were both
invited to join as they were both very popular. I doubt Top Chef’s
casting people will ever bring together a better cast than they pulled together
for Season Six. The Season Six contestants who did join this
all-star group, Jennifer and Michael also shone in a season of very highly
talented chef’s. Representing Las Vegas this pair made a pasta
dish that landed them in the top three of the Quick Fire
Finally Season Seven brings back Angelo and Tiffany, a powerhouse
team who both impressed during their shot at the Top Chef crown.
The filming of the All Star season began immediately after this season’s
reunion giving Angelo and Tiffany very little time to rest and regroup after
filming. This could be a benefit as they were accustomed to the
fast paced schedule or it could be a detriment as they’re probably
exhausted. This couple prepared crab cakes that landed them in the
bottom three, so maybe that gives us a bit of a clue.
I loved the elimination challenge, the contestants were given
ingredients from their final dish that earned them a trip home during their time
on Top Chef the first time. They were instructed to prepare the
same dish that got them eliminated but do it right this time, make it
great. This caused a bit of stress for the chef’s as they were
faced with the ingredients once again that was probably in their nightmares for
weeks after their eliminations.
Fabio noted that “you’ve gotta be stupid to get eliminated for the
same dish twice!” But he may have spoken a bit too soon as he
landed in the bottom three of the Elimination Challenge. Judge
Anthony Bourdain was especially brutal in his assessment of Fabio’s dish calling
it disgusting, ugly and compared it to his recent colonoscopy.
Bourdain, in his blog, did a bit of apologizing yet clarified that he was
right in his assessment of Fabio’s dish so it was a bit of a backward apology,
but for Chef Tony, it was probably the closest thing you’ll see to an apology,
here’s what he said:
Did it taste that bad? Did it — and by extension
— Fabio, deserve the kind of scorn I heaped on him?
I don’t know. Clearly, I hurt his feelings. And
seeing that, I feel bad. Really. To the extent that you can like anyone you know
only from TV, I like Fabio. And I liked how he stood up for himself and gave
some back at Judges’ Table. If I were an employer looking to hire a chef from
the among the All Stars, I’d think very seriously about Fabio. He’s smart,
likable, steady, level-headed in a crisis, and hence not easily flustered — and
I’m guessing he’s a much better chef than evidenced on this first day, where he
was challenged to “fix” a dish he’s surely had plenty of time to think about.
But…look at that thing. Really! Look again.
The chefs were split into two groups, the first group cooked while
the second group was able to dine with the judges then they switched, the twist
was the big screen TV placed in the kitchen that allowed the chef’s to watch as
the diners commented on their dishes. It seemed a bit unfair that
the second group knew that their peers were watching while the first group had
no idea but in the end, hopefully they spoke their mind regardless of who was
The stakes were about as high as they could be, short of the finale
because no one wants to be the first to be sent home, particularly in an
all-star competition. The three who faced that
humiliating possibility was Fabio, Stephen and Elia. Fabio’s dish
did look a bit ugly and based on the judge’s comments, tasted ugly as
well. Elia’s fish dish was not cooked properly, wrapped in banana
leaves the fish inside just didn’t cook and was served rare.
Stephen should really stick to annoying the wait staff because his three
appetizers were not appetizing at all.
In front of the judges all three fought for their lives and Fabio
very reasonably explained that he’s open to constructive criticism but Anthony
Bourdain’s comments were just uncalled for. Stephen stood behind
his dish and Elia had one of the most surprising comments as the three were
excused so that the judges could deliberate. Elia said, “Do not
eliminate me, I have much more to do here”. Unfortunately her plea
fell on deaf ears and the judges sent her packing. A bit
disappointing for viewers as she’s a fan favorite and we certainly would not
have missed Stephen’s pompous ass next week but alas the judges know what
they’re doing, right?
They must know what they’re doing as they crowned Angelo the winner
for the evening, joined by Spike and Jamie in the top three, Angelo wins the
$10,000 prize for coming out on top. The evening’s controversy was
Richard’s mistake as he was clearly still plating his dish when the timer
announced that time was up and so while his dish was one of the best of the
night, he was not eligible for the win due to his timing error.
The judges did not reveal whether or not the win would have been
Richard’s anyway, but Dale made his feelings known, apparently he thinks the
rules should not apply to his buddy Richard.
A few of the blogs are up and if you read nothing else, you have to
read Anthony Bourdain’s complete blog, this guy is hysterical! You
can view it here:
I’m looking forward to this show every Wednesday night, great
contestants that we’re already familiar with and a fantastic group of judges, I
can even overlook Padma because no show is absolutely perfect, but Top Chef All
Stars comes very close!
Thank you to Quincy IL for this great guest blog on the Atlanta Housewives appearance on Ghost Hunters:
Real Housewives of Atlanta Meet Ghost Hunters
The first mystery of the evening is who called who to have Nene Leakes, Sherrie Whitfield, and Kim Zolciak look for Ghosts in Atlanta’s Rhodes Mansion located on Peach Tree St. The two prime investigators, Jason and Grant, claim the Housewives of Atlanta called them asking to be on the show. Nene and Kim thought Sherree had called them to go out to lunch. Sheree didn’t seem to know anything about asking to be on the show either. The investigators are nervous about having the housewives on and the housewives seem nervous about being on the show.
The Rhodes Mansion was a stone structure similar to castles in Europe, built in 1890 by Amos Rhodes, a furniture store owner, and his wife. They lived in the house for 20 years and died in the home. Their children donated the house to the Georgia Historical Society and member of the Historical Society have requested this investigation from the Ghost Hunters of the Syfy Channel. Tracie Clark a director of the Mansion tells the team that people visiting and working in the home have heard footsteps and seen the apparition of a little girl dressed in a white dress and a woman dressed in a white dress. People have also reported that they were touched as they walked down the stairway.
The team sets up cameras in hallways and rooms to monitor paranormal activity. They use thermal recorders to measure heat/cold, electromagnetic sensors and sound recorders. The team has information from a former tenant of the basement apartment which was not renovated when the house was renovated. He states that during a severe thunderstorm, his lights flickered and his walls shook.
There are reports of a door that closed on its own and locked. The team look at the door and it closed itself and locked right in front of them. If the door slammed hard enough the switch in the lock reacted and slide shut.
The male investigators meet Sheree, Kim and Nene outside. Everyone seems uncomfortable. They go into the house to investigate and the crack team of Ghost Hunters starts to call out to the ghosts to visit. The Atlanta girls follow suit. The lights are turned off in the mansion. Kim now is wearing white. She had black on when she arrived. Kim is holding a camera and seems to be into the process. Everyone hears a sound. They look at each other. Nene says the sound is motorcycles outside. The investigators said that he heard motorcycles and more. Behind them there is a mysterious cough. (Do ghosts cough?)
Again, the investigators and girls ask the ghosts to come forward.
Two female investigators are in the basement near the heating system. They hear sounds from a pile of wood. They kick the pile of wood. They sit on chairs in the dark and talk to the ghosts. In time, they feel like something is touching their face and arms. This is Atlanta in a basement in warm weather (thus Kim’s jump suit with low front.) No chance that spiders or insects are involved. It has to be evidence of ghost like children touching them. More sounds in the ducts of the heating system are noticed. (Ghosts are probably running inside the ducts of the heating system on their four tiny feet.)
Everyone is still asking the ghosts to come forward. The men go upstairs to the billiards room and they hear music( I didn’t hear it, but I am not a trained ghost hunter.) There are old mirrors that when light hits them from the windows as cars pass by give a glow reminiscent of ghost trails. After 12 hours, the housewives leave. We are told that they were 100% profession in their ghost hunting procedures. Nene loved the experience and the Ghost Hunting team hope to hunt ghosts with the Housewives of Atlanta again. It may happen as the Syfy Channel and Bravo are both owned by NBC Universal and crossovers seem to happen every day. The men report shadows on the staircase. The lights go back on and the men load up the trucks. The investigation is completed for the night.
Analysis: the team heard things that they could not explain therefore there is paranormal activity happening.
Reveal: the investigative team tells Tracy Clark, the Rhode Mansion Director, that she was correct and there are odd things happening. They confirm that her suspicions are correct. They would like to come back to Atlanta and investigate the mansion again.