IHJZ Top Chef All-Stars Week Three – 16 Chefs Left
I really love this show, have I mentioned that? The fact that we already know these chef’s from their previous appearances on Top Chef makes it a lot easier to love it from day one, but the interactions between the different chef’s and the interviews where we learn how they really feel about one another are fascinating.
Tonight the Quick Fire was a prep race, one of the things that chef’s typically need to learn to do well and quickly, is the prep work for the dishes, cutting, slicing, dicing and marinating are all part of the prep that needs to be done in every kitchen every day. In many cases by the time the chef’s reach the level that these contestants have, they no longer have to do all of the prep work so this was fun to watch. Most embraced the challenge and seemed to even enjoy it, Tre mentioned that he has a butcher where he is currently working and isn’t used to trimming lamb. Probably Casey’s most embarrassing moment of her season was revisited as she took ages to dice onions during a relay race her first time around, needless to say her team picked up the onion dicing portion of the challenge tonight and left Casey to butcher the lamb.
The teams were broken randomly into four groups of four chefs and they had to work together to get all of the required elements completed in the allotted time. This included dicing onions, butchering lamb, cleaning artichokes and mincing garlic.
After the prep, they were required to use whatever time was remaining to prepare a dish using all of the ingredients that they just chopped and diced. No immunity will be given out in this challenge but the winning team will be awarded $5,000 each.
Tiffany, Marcel, Dale and Carla made up the White Team and were last to complete the prep work leaving them so little time that they were unable to cook the lamb but served Lamb Carpaccio that guest Judge David Cheng approved of but did not choose as the winner.
Dale, Antonia, Casey and Jamie made up the Red Team, but I’ll call them the “Nice Team”, a nicer team of chef’s you won’t find anywhere! They were a bit slow in the prep work and unfortunately it was reflected in their final dish as it fell into the bottom two.
Angelo, Tiffany, Fabio and Mike made up the Green Team and worked the fastest of all of the teams, but apparently overcooked their lamb and so they also fell into the bottom two.
Spike, Tre, Richard and Stephen made up the Blue Team and while their personalities certainly don’t work well together, they won the challenge so they must have done something right. Spike wasn’t thrilled with his team but seemed ok with Stephen being around to open a bottle of wine for the real chef’s.
This portion of Top Chef All Stars is another good example of the inconsistencies in judging that the show will sometimes feature. Back during season two, Sam Talbot was criticized for serving a cold, uncooked dish. Chef Tom said, “He didn’t cook anything” to which Padma, in her infinite wisdom replied, “so?” Tom followed up with, “It’s a cooking competition”. It is still a cooking competition, there have been plenty of uncooked dishes presented for judging since that day and those were judged on taste and texture without any problem. Chef Sam is the one chef that I’d have liked to see return for this All Star season, I would bet he was invited but turned it down. In fact I would love to see the original wish list of past chefs that the producers wanted for the show. I would bet that Sam was on that list along with Kevin and Bryan from Season Six.
And so $5,000 richer, the Blue Team then chooses a knife from the block which will assign them one of four famous New York Restaurants, the elimination challenge is to eat in the restaurant and then prepare a dish that would be cohesive with the restaurant’s menu.
Each of the four restaurants has a different cuisine, style and the food represents different regions of the world. The teams need to first dine at their assigned restaurant then take to the kitchen to create a unique dish that fits into the cuisine of the restaurant.
As the chef’s break bread together, they realize that they’re eating with the enemy, they’re competing against each other as when it comes time for judges table, one from each team will be brought in as the winner of their team and another member of the team will be brought in as the loser. At that point, not one but two chef’s will be sent home of the four losers.
Tre, Stephen, Spike and Richard drew the knife for Marea Restaurant, serving an eclectic Italian Costal menu it almost seemed unfair as Stephen announced that he is a regular diner at Marea, but Tre wasn’t concerned calling himself a “Black Italian” and loved the kitchen saying he felt as though he was in a Lamborghini.
The judges were impressed with Tre’s Swordfish, Anthony Bourdain called it “tasty”, coming from Bordain that is the ultimate compliment. Richard’s dish was described as “elegant and flavorful” while Spikes merely “good” but Stephen’s was called out as “too aggressive”.
The Green Team, Angelo, Tiffany, Fabio and Mike drew the knife for Ma Pesch Restaurant, a French Vietnamese cuisine establishment that was right up Angelo’s alley. He was thrilled to be given a familiar cuisine that is a specialty and Tiffany was sure to tell viewers that she was not a fan of Angelo’s interviewing that she wished he would just “Shut Up!”.
Just a side note, when some of these chefs turn from regular contestants to” All Stars” they turn into meanies (Jen, Tiffany) and others soften and become kinder, gentler chefs. (Mike, Stephen)
Back to the show, Fabio’s lamb dish was, according to Tony Bourdain, lost in a forest apparently having too many components and nothing really hitting the mark. Mike’s salmon was flavorful and seemed to pass the test, while Tiffany’s was missing something. The final member of the Green Team, Angelo prepared salmon that was described as creative, inventive and flavorful.
The Red Team drew the knife with a restaurant called Townhouse marked on it and I think of the four, this is the one restaurant that I’d love to visit. Described as whimsical, playful and over the top, Dale’s description has to be the best one, he called their menu “Food with jazz hands”. Dale was joined by his teammates, Casey, Jamie and Antonia to prepare their versions of food on acid.
Jamie dodged another bullet here in my opinion, at a restaurant described as over the top, she prepared a soup and salad dish that was described as having “no wow factor” and the restaurant owner / chef said “it could have been better”. If a chef is going to prepare a dish as simple as soup and salad, shouldn’t it be outstanding? Casey prepared Halibut shaped like a scallop and the judges called it beautifully cooked and Antonia’s real scallop won praise from Bordain who said, ”I liked it a lot”. The final chef at Townhouse was Dale who prepared a veal dish that was apparently too sweet and was based on a breakfast dish that included French toast and caramel.
Finally the White Team including Carla, Marcel, Tiffany and Dale were sent to WD50, very modern restaurant with high tech equipment for futuristic cooking that was the staple of Marcel’s cooking during his first appearance on Top Chef. Dale was concerned as he wasn’t comfortable using molecular gastronomy to prepare his dishes but Carla was beside herself as her style is definitely much more down to earth and admittedly specializes in comfort foods rather than foams and chemicals in her cooking. Tiffany embraced the challenge and seemingly used every piece of equipment in the kitchen to her detriment.
The judges were less than impressed with Tiffany’s overly aggressive attempts at using dry ice and freezing fresh fruit. They felt that Carla played it safe, failing to utilize the high tech equipment but it was well prepared and they enjoyed the flavors. Surprisingly Marcel seemed to restrain himself, in a kitchen that should have been his Disneyland, he didn’t utilize the tools to their fullest extend and turned out some bland food. The judges were impressed with Dale’s egg and pork belly dish that seemed like breakfast but was flavorful and cooked expertly.
Marcel may have been thrown a bit in this challenge as he landed himself in a restaurant that apparently employs a nemesis of his. Marcel explained that the suet chef at WD50 had accused him of plagiarism of a dish some years back proving once again that the culinary world is a small one.
The top dish from each team was prepared by Dale, Angelo, Antonia and Tre. This is Angelo’s third week in the top three, having won the first two challenges he is clearly one of the strongest chefs in the competition and the one to beat. But tonight Dale’s egg and pork belly dish is chosen as the winner and Dale is awarded a trip to New Zealand.
The bottom four chefs are brought into Judges Table, one from each team is chosen as having the worst dishes. In my opinion this was a bit unfair as the judges being forced to choose one from each team could have allowed someone with a worse dish to remain safe. If four chefs from one team all prepared excellent dishes and four from another team failed miserably, one of those excellent chefs would have been called in front of the judges.
Luckily there did seem to be one obvious failure from each team but someone like Jamie who prepared a less than “All Star” quality dish was left in the stew room. As the bottom four head into judges table, the remaining chefs wish them luck and tell them to stand up for their dishes but Carla added some great advice, “Don’t pull a Jen, be nice”. Carla was referring to last week’s outburst by a formerly well respected chef, Jen who was sent packing seemingly for her dish and not for her rude comments to the judges.
Stephen, Tiffany, Fabio and Dale have to answer the judges questions as to why they failed, none of them are surprised to be there. Dale’s dish, he explained, was based on a breakfast dish that he’d prepared in the past and was simply too sweet with too many components. French toast and veal did seem a bit odd. Fabio’s dish was complicated and with too much fat left on the meat it just wasn’t cohesive.
Tiffany realized back in the kitchen that she shouldn’t have utilized all the fancy newfangled equipment and probably freezing fresh fruit was not the best move she’s ever made. Her dish was described as having poor texture and watery. Then there is Stephen, admittedly he is no longer a practicing chef, his flavors were off and were described by Bourdain as having an unpleasant aroma of sandalwood.
Chef Tom Colicchio told Stephen that having knowledge of the food and dining frequently in a particular restaurant does not make you and expert in that style of cooking. Chef Tom compared it to his knowledge of Led Zeppelin not making him Jimmy Page. Chef Tom made a funny but I assure you that no one in that room laughed.
So tonight’s knife packing chefs were Dale and Stephen, both were eloquent, gracious and Stephen maybe even a little bit relieved. Stephen was never really Top Chef Material, he was sent home during Season One for abandoning the kitchen to advise and supervise the wait staff and detail the wine parings for a wedding the chefs were catering. Stephen was really a pompous ass who thought more of himself than his peers and it seems as though he returned for this All Star season knowing full well he had no shot of winning.
Dale was clearly disappointed as he got a whole lot further during his season of Top Chef, in fact he came in second place so was never sent off to pack his knives.
Do not miss reading Anthony Bourdain’s blog, in fact, if you haven’t read his past blogs go do it now! His blogs are almost better than the show. Almost!
Chef Eric Ripert also submitted a video blog on tonight’s episode and a second one that includes a message to Elia, the first chef eliminated from Top Chef All Stars. Since being eliminated and being free to talk about it, surprisingly Elia criticized producers and even Chef Tom Colicchio. I say surprisingly because she was clearly upset about being the first to be eliminated but the show was filmed months ago and while she was contractually unable to speak about her elimination when it happened, the time that has gone by should have given her pause to consider her next move. Choosing to criticize and burn bridges with the Top Chef people was probably not her best decision.
Elia’s anger lingering months after her appearance on the show was disappointing because I think she continued to be a well-respected chef even after being sent home, she handled the situation on the show with dignity and grace but really lost a lot of fans by lashing out at Colicchio’s restaurant, which was completely unnecessary.
Here is Ripert’s video blogs:
You can find Elia’s comments about Chef Tom here:
As mentioned in this article, the reunion is going to be mighty interesting.
News broke yesterday about everyone’s favorite New Jersey criminals the Giudice’s. Teresa and Joe’s bankruptcy continues to be a hot topic of news on the Housewives circuit and apparently in the courtroom, RadarOnLine had the stories:
RadarOnLine doesn’t go into detail but our very own Had Enough! explains the Giudice’s situation much better and in detail, here’s what she had to say:
I want to make sure everyone understands the effect of the dismissal of Teresa from this case. A creditor who gets a judgment against only one of two spouses can not attach property owned by both of them. So if Mastropole gets a judgment only against Joisey Juicy, he can’t go after any property owned by both of them. At this point, it looks like the only property of value is the house, and the bank is owed more than it is worth, but in any case, he would not be able to go after any jointly-owned property if he has a judgment only against one of them.
What is worrying me is this claim that he also forged her signature on the bankruptcy petition. She may skate as a result; it could end up that the two cases to deny the bankruptcy relief end up going forward only against Joe. Except that even if it is true that he forged her signature, the trustees could argue that she acceded to it and affirmed her intent to seek bankruptcy relief because after she learned about it, she actively participated in the case and never went to the trustee or the court to ask to be removed from the case. I don’t remember her claiming in her response to the trustees’ cases that her signature was forged on the bankruptcy petition.
But there is always the IRS…but even then, there is “innocent spouse” relief…
But I think that’s limited to people who filed but omitted things. I don’t know if you can get innocent spouse relief if you never filed at all.
This is the totally normal timeline for a bankruptcy case in which there are lots of complexities. For instance, there have been a dozen or so motions by creditors to lift stays. There have been three “depositions” by the creditors. There is usually always one and in this case, it was complex enough that they held two more (one for Joe, one for Teresa). It takes the trustee a while to verify the schedules of property and debts, and then in this case, you of course had the Mastropole trial (going on now) and the fairly extraordinary filing of two objections to discharge – one by the bankruptcy trustee and one by the U.S. trustee. So there is no delay here and no one is being protected. The system is working the way it is supposed to work.
Thank you to Had Enough! for providing much more insight into what is really happening in New Jersey!
Until Next Time….