I Hate Jill Zarin Top Chef All Stars Dec 9, 2010
Week two opens with scenes from last week and Elia’s devastated face as she is the first one eliminated from this all important All Stars competition. It was tough to watch Elia being sent home last week because she is so talented but then we have to remember that the best of the best are in this competition and any one of them could go home at any time. Still I wish it could have been Stephen last week rather than Elia.
Tonight’s Quick Fire Challenge is a long one as Padma enters with Teen Beat Superstar Joe Jonas of The Jonas Brothers. The duo explain that the quick fire is all about kids, fitting for Mr. Jonas whose fans are all kids, but I think he’s ok with that. Padma explains that a group of kids are doing a Museum Lock In and the chefs are each to prepare a midnight snack for the kids. 45 minutes later, we have a boatload of goodies for Padma and Joe to sample.
This group of chefs already has the experience of being on film, they know about the quick pace and stress of the challenges so it seems as though they’re more comfortable and their true personalities are coming out on screen. They have some amazing one-liners that make you smile, some even make you laugh out loud. Dale suggesting adding Nyquil to the kids snacks was particularly funny.
As Padma and Joe taste each creation, there’s no telling who will be the winner and losers, until the announcement is made. Joe informs the group that he wasn’t fond of Tiffany D’s, Mike’s or Stephen’s dishes. The bottom three are clearly disappointed and Mike tells us that he’s never been in the bottom of a Quick Fire Challenge in the past.
Only two chefs win top marks and there’s a very good reason for that, Tiffany F and Spike are chosen as the winners and informed that they will be re-creating their dishes for 150 children who are spending the night at the museum, and the kids will decide the winner.
With a large task of creating so many snacks, Tiffany and Spike choose teams and one by one each of the other chef’s make a face as they land on one of the two teams. Left at the end without a home is Fabio, no one seems to like or respect Fabio, and I thought he did pretty well on his season but this group has no love for him. Padma allows leftover Fabio to choose which team he will play for and he picks Spike and then tells us that he did that to piss Spike off.
Tiffany and Spike school the other chef’s on how to prepare their midnight snack and everyone gets to work unhappy about having to help one of these two chef’s win the Quick Fire Challenge. I think it was clear to the viewers all along which team would win as Spike has carrots in his snack while Tiffany has chocolate, the winner was clear from the beginning. Kids are going to choose chocolate over carrots every single time.
And so Tiffany wins the Quick Fire and has immunity for the final elimination challenge that will surely take place the next day. The chefs are exhausted and all just want to crack open a beer and get to bed. But nothing doing, Chef Tom Colicchio stops them at the door and tells them that the elimination challenge starts right now.
Moaning and groaning is kept to a minimum because this group knows that Top Chef means little to no sleep and grueling schedules. Chef Tom explains that the contestants are going to be spending the night at the museum with the kids and will be preparing breakfast to be served at 7:30am. Since Tiffany won the Quick Fire, she is allowed to choose whether her team will cook with meat, eggs and dairy products or will they pick the fruits, vegetables and grains? I think most contestants would have done what Tiffany did and pick the typical breakfast items, meat, eggs and dairy. Chef Tom was clear that they would be allowed ONLY those items to be prepared using items in the Museum’s kitchen.
The chefs are escorted to a private area with cute little cots and fuzzy Top Chef pajamas for everyone! At 2am the chefs are discussing what they will prepare and with such an early breakfast time, most of the teams tried to get some sleep but they were in a museum in the middle of the night so a few of the guys thought it would be a great idea to go on a Flashlight Tour.
Spike, Marcel, Dale and Fabio went off on a hunt to find museum treasures but only served to make fools of themselves as they made fun of their fellow contestants while shining their flashlights on ugly cave men and women.
I just want to throw something out here, being that this is the All-Stars and this group already knows the routine, they’ve most likely watched all 7 prior seasons of this show and they know how they come off on television. I was really hoping that we would see more respect, tolerance and graciousness toward one another on this show. Season 6 has to be the best of the best of Top Chef in that people like Jen, Kevin, Michael and Bryan really showed a lot of respect for their fellow contestants and as professional chefs and that is what I liked to watch. I know that the snark and the foolishness may be funny and drama-filled but I think the majority of these chefs have earned respect due to their past performances on the show and should act accordingly.
Season 6 of Top Chef really showed audiences the way professional chefs can have extreme talent yet still recognize talent in their fellow chefs and give respect all around. I really thought we would see more of that on this All Stars season.
But alas, the chefs are just as childish and snarky as any old regular season. I suppose a group of professional people was just too much to ask.
Early the next morning with less than an hour or so of sleep the chefs get to work in the museum kitchens, ingredients are marked for each team and Tiffany quickly learns that she isn’t allowed to use anything in the kitchen that isn’t meat, dairy or eggs. She claims that she expected to be able to utilize anything in the kitchen in addition to her three mainstays. Chef Tom was pretty clear but Tiffany continues to complain that she didn’t understand, and it won’t be the last time she complains.
Most of the two teams have broken into smaller teams and are creating one dish between two of them as they’re cooking for the 150 children who spent the night at the museum as well as their parents and the judges.
As the cooking begins, Jamie cuts her finger and because the medic on site told her she would needs stiches, she high tails it out of there to the hospital. I’m no chef but I think that was probably the wrong move for Jamie. She immediately loses all respect from the other contestants, as most agree they would have put a bit of duct tape on the cut and moved on, when Jamie returns with just two stitches, no one is impressed with her actions. To make matters worse, Jamie lost the viewer’s respect by announcing that she refuses to put her name on the dish that she created with Jen, knowing she will go in to judges table without taking ownership of any dish, she is basically safe from elimination.
I never liked Jamie much as she used to guest blog for Top Chef seasons after her appearance and she was wishy washy about some chef’s horrible dishes and overly critical of others, she was clearly biased, Jamie the Johnny Weir of Top Chef blogs but without a vote. Her announcement that she would never have children…ever, didn’t win her any popularity contests, it is absolutely fine for a women to choose not to have children but her complete disdain for them is a bit over the top.
A few of the match up’s were, Casey and Tre preparing a Salmon dish, Fabio and Stephen with their breakfast version of a noike and Tiffany D with Antonia prepared three different versions of their egg and meat dishes that they called Frittatas, the ovens were blamed for the uneven cooking as some were overcooked while others were runny and watery.
Top Chef has brought back Season One host, Katie Lee Joel to guest judge the Elimination Challenge and as she and Padma drop the gloves and duke it out for the Top Host spot the kids and parents are critiquing the dishes along with the judges. Here is where I really miss Anthony Bourdain! Looking forward to next week, Bourdain returns to give his words of wisdom to the chefs. Can’t wait!
Spike’s team is brought into Judges Table first and is announced as the winneing team. Three strong chefs creating what looked like cereal with fruit, Richard, Marcel and Angelo have the winning dish of the night. Earlier we watched as Angelo improved the dish while Marcel complained that Angelo was sabotaging him. If Marcel had a brain in his head he would realize what we all could see, this dish had Angelo’s name on it as well as Marcel’s so why would he sabotage it? This theory of Angelo being a saboteur is getting old, it was joked about at the Season Seven reunion but it seems Marcel was just trying to be prepared with an excuse should his dish be found unacceptable. I’m sure the fact that this trio won the challenge won’t get Angelo off the hook as a Russian Spy, but he reminds us that he has now won two in a row, albeit it as part of a team this week.
Finally the losers are marched in to face the judges, Tiffany once again complains that she didn’t understand that her team would be limited to the three ingredients of eggs, meat and dairy but thought she would also be able to utilize fruits and grains as well. She may be the only one who didn’t understand because Chef Tom was pretty clear but Tiffany has immunity and she is safe and sent back to the kitchens along with her cooking partner, Dale for their acceptable steak and eggs dish.
Left behind and in danger of going home are Casey and Tre who prepared the Salmon, while the fish was cooked properly, Tre was called out for the sauce being too salty but both are allowed to move forward in the competition.
Jen is visibly agitated standing in front of the judges and Padma asks her why she is so pissed off. Jen explains that she doesn’t believe that she should be there, nor that her team should be on the bottom. When asked if she tasted all of her competitors dishes she rudely says, “Yes, of course I tasted every last one of them”. This is not the Jen we watched on Season 6 of Top Chef. She was respectful and professional standing alongside Michael , Bryan and Kevin in the final four but she lost all respect last night as she seemed to be a different person. When Chef Tom asked why this team didn’t put each of their dishes on different plates, Jen responded, “you’re judges, you’re smart, why didn’t you ASK for different plates”. Wow, that was uncalled for, is she saying that she and her fellow chef’s weren’t smart enough to think to serve using separate plates? Or that the children didn’t deserve separate plates because they wouldn’t be smart enough to ask?
Just prior to being called out in front of the judges, Jen was also a bit brash in the stew room discussing the competition with Dale, she admits that she cooks only for the judges and not for the target diners of each challenge. She didn’t care that this meal was meant for kids and their parents, her only goal was to impress the judges, Dale was less than impressed with that sentiment.
I don’t know what was done to Jen over the past two years or so but she appeared to be on something as she explained to her team that this was “All Star Jen” who clearly is nasty and rude unlike “Season Six Jen”. While preparing her dish Casey tasted it and admitted that the meat tasted like watery bacon but since Jen was pleased with it, Casey kept that to herself. In front of the judges, Jen defended her dish telling them that the meat was seasoned perfectly and came out exactly as she planned. When Chef Tom informed her that the broken up hard-boiled egg that topped the meat was unseasoned, Jen became visibly angry and told him that he was wrong.
It was uncomfortable to watch as Jen completely lost her composure in front of the judges and even worse was her evil grin as she dubbed herself, “All Star Jen” who was clearly not the same person anymore. Chef Tom, back at judges table admits that Jen’s outburst and arguing would not be held against her during the judging, it was all about the food but apparently Jen’s food was just that bad and since Jamie left the competition to get stiches and Jen admitted that nothing was lost due to Jamie’s absence, that dish was all Jen’s and it got her sent home.
Jen’s reaction of shock and awe was expected as she hugged the other contestant’s goodbye and explained to the audience once again that her father taught her that second place is just another loser, or something just as brilliant. What kind of father teaches his child that type of wisdom? A good loser is important, particularly when you’re being filmed for television and Jen’s reaction after she left the Top Chef Stew room was clearly heard as she swore like a truck driver screaming and crying all the way down the hallway. Her father’s lessons may have been better to teach his daughter some class and respectfulness.
Jen, while expected to be disappointed to be the second person sent home, came off looking very foolish and I had to again wonder if the producer’s drug test these contestants prior to allowing them on the show. At one point during tonight’s show Tiffany interviewed that Jen should take a “chill pill”, maybe that’s not the type of pill that Jen took?
The Jennifer Carroll who competed against Kevin Gillespie and the Voltaggio brothers was subdued, respectful and showed class and courage during her time on the show, I really don’t understand what happened to her but it is disappointing.
The bit of controversy in tonight’s episode was Jamie’s decision to leave the competition to go and have two stiches at the hospital rather than finishing the dish and going later on to have her finger tended to.
Since I didn’t get a vote on the show, I’ll provide my opinion here and knowing that Chef Tom rarely has sympathy for this type of behavior, I’m a bit surprised that he didn’t send Jamie home. The dish that did in fact have her name on it was the one that got Jen sent home and there is no way of knowing if Jamie could have improved upon the dish but to be let off the hook for providing nothing for the judges to critique didn’t seem fair at all. This could have had a completely different outcome had Jen admitted that the dish was substandard and explained that she was spread too thin being without a partner to help her. In the end, Jen chose to defend her dish to the end and while the judges found that admirable, they clearly disagreed with the flavors and texture of her dish.
Next week marks the return of the comical and always entertaining judge, Anthony Bourdain and I look forward to his appearance.
I did write my blog on Monday night’s Tabatha’s Salon Takeover, it has been sumbitted to Yahoo’s Associated Content but two days later, they’ve still not approved it for publishing. With five articles now published, I don’t know why the delay, but I will post the link as soon as it is available.
Please take a moment to read my blog on Monday’s Tabatha’s Salon Takeover here:
Blog: Tabatha’s Salon Takeover Air Date Dec 6, 2010 @ http://look.ac/gxx1Dm
My interview with Tabatha Coffey: