Top Chef All Stars Feb 2, 2011
Featuring a Guest Blog on Real Housewives of Beverly Hills Reunion from Housewife Fan
But first, Top Chef All Stars:
Mike Isabella is happy Marcel is gone, he’s not alone! Antonia thinks Mike is abrasive and annoying and she has a list, Mike is at the top. Antonia is at the top of my list, I think she’s abrasive and annoying. I happen to think that Mike has mellowed a whole lot since his last appearance on Top Chef, he’s not nearly as annoying as the last round, but I would be ok with him going home right behind Antonia.
I wasn’t a fan of the Quick Fire Challenge. Isaac Mizrahi joined Padma and told the remaining contestants that they were to create a beautiful plate that did not have to be edible, it just had to look good. Are these chefs or artists? I would have preferred if they insisted the plates were edible because many of those dishes looked like they would have gotten someone sick.
I thought for the most part that the plates were ugly and messy, I found Carla’s to be cute, it looked like a tropical scene and even Antonia’s was different, it looked like a forest complete with trees and nuts. I don’t know what prison Angelo had just escaped from, but his dish complete with graffiti on the table looked disgusting.
Anthony Bourdain described it in his blog, it is a must read!
Isaac chose Dale, Tre and Angelo as his bottom three. I don’t know why they continually insist on picking on my Tre, they need to knock it off! Tre’s maybe wasn’t the best but it wasn’t bottom three material either. The top three were Carla, Fabio and Richard. Fabio’s looked like a hot mess complete with a short novel written in the plate.
The winning dish, Richards, looked like a grey dismal mess but Isaac liked it, as with most things Mizrahi, I disagreed with him. Richard has immunity and my prediction is that Richard is going to win this whole thing.
On to the Elimination Challenge, this was really cool, Padma explained about Rao’s restaurant in New York City. An old world legendary Italian eatery, they don’t take reservations but you can rarely get a table as they are passed down from generation to generation. As the three gentlemen responsible for Rao’s success marched in, I had to agree with Fabio, it looked like a scene from the Godfather was taking over the Top Chef kitchens.
The chef’s draw knives to decide which of the three courses they will be responsible for preparing. The Anti-pasti course, or appetizer for us non-Italian’s would be created by the three ladies, Carla, Antonia and Tiffany.
The second course, traditionally a pasta course was the responsibility of Tre, Dale and Mike while the final meat course were chosen by Fabio, Richard and Angelo.
The chef’s had a brief meeting with the men of Rao’s for a question and answer session to learn more about the restaurant and to help them get inspiration for their dishes. Fabio dominated the conversation among his team forcing Angelo to have to ask if he and Richard could please ask a few questions before their short time with these men ran out.
It seemed as though the teams were chosen without the knives as the three Italian chefs in the competition were spread out, each one representing a different course. This would mean the diners should expect at least one fabulous dish in each course.
The chef’s were taken to Whole Foods, as usual and then were given two hours to prep in the Top Chef kitchens before being whisked over to Rao’s to prepare their final offerings.
Ladies first in the kitchen! Carla prepared a hearty minestrone soup and while they all seemed to enjoy it, the restaurant owner commented that he could get a similar quality soup in Wisconsin. I think he may have offended an entire state but I knew what he meant. The soup wasn’t of outstanding quality that you would expect of a high end Italian restaurant, it was simply a good minestrone soup.
Tiffany prepared a beautiful Fluenta that caught fire in the broiler but she was able to salvage enough to serve to the critical diners and judges.
Finally Antonia served , steamed mussels, I wasn’t impressed, this is a dish that I’ve made myself and it is not difficult or complicated at all, in fact, I would think it is difficult to screw up this dish. While Fabio remarked that this is traditionally a French dish, I do know that may Italians prepare steamed mussels as well, moving on…
The three gentlemen responsible for the pasta course all failed spectacularly including the resident Italian, Mike Isabella. Mike’s homemade pasta wasn’t cooked properly, he tried to pass it off as al dente but Chef Tom Colicchio told us with too much egg in the dough it may have never cooked properly. How disappointing for the resident Italian chef on the pasta team.
Dale’s dish looked absolutely disgusting, I don’t know what he was trying to prepare but he failed miserably. Finally Tre prepared the dreaded risotto, a dish that seems to get chef’s sent home more than any other. Antonia remarked that she thought Tre’s risotto wasn’t being cooked properly but I noticed she never gave Tre any advice or assistance.
The last team to serve was the team preparing the final meat course. Fabio, Richard and Angelo.
Richard had immunity but prepared a passable Pancetta that the diners seemed to enjoy. Not a winning dish but no matter, Richard wasn’t going anywhere.
Angelo made a pork dish that got mixed reviews, while some diners/judges really enjoyed it others thought it was just ok.
Fabio prepared Chicken Cacciatore that was a favorite among all the diners, particularly Chef Tom raved about the excellent consistency and flavors. Chef Anthony Bourdain noted that Fabio’s dish brought him back from the dark side into the light.
At the end of the meal the owner of Rao’s toasted to his guests, Chef Tom, Chef Anthony Bourdain and guest judge and actress, Lorrainne Bracco who noted that nobody forgets their first time at Rio’s – Joe Pesshi took her to Rio’s while filming the movie Goodfellas. I noted that Padma wasn’t among those toasted by the guest of honor.
During a scene back at the house the contestants all share, Mike was teaching the others the proper way to prepare a good gnocchi but wasn’t really impressing the other chef’s. Angelo walks into the kitchen and asks, “Is something burning?” to the fits of laughter from the others.
The first group called in to judges table is typically the winners and tonight was no exception, Antonia, Carla, Fabio and Tiffany were all able to breathe a sigh of relief as Padma announced they had the favorite dishes.
Antonia wins this challenge annoying Fabio and Mike as it was not only a simple dish to prepare but they insist it wasn’t an Italian dish. Fabio had put a lot more time and effort into his chicken dish and it was most definitely a traditional Italian favorite. I agree that Fabio took the theme of the challenge much more to heart than some of the other chef’s, including Antonia.
The bottom three, Tre, Mike and Dale also happened to be on the same team and had prepared the “Pasta course”. I think under normal circumstances had this one dish been judged standing on it’s own, Dale or Mike would have gone home. I feel that the judges took into consideration that both Dale and Mike had been winners of previous challenges and may have been stronger chef’s than Tre and therefore chose to send Tre home.
Tre’s risotto was apparently a failure from the way the rice was cooked to the heavy vegetables that topped the dish.
Dale noted that his was a dish that he had prepared in the past for his girlfriend, Guest Judge Lorrainne Bracco noted that if her boyfriend had prepared that for her, he wouldn’t get laid that night. Reason enough to send Dale home?
Mike’s uncooked pasta was a crime against Italian’s and I think he was fully prepared to be sent packing. He had been told that it was completely acceptable to use dry pasta which would have allowed him to focus on the sauce and it may have put him in the top three. This guy is stubborn and should have gone home.
OK yes, I’m biased, I didn’t want Tre to go home so soon. I didn’t expect him to win this whole competition but he’s so hot….comeon!!!
In order to really understand why people are sent home and win these things it is really helpful to read Chef Tom Colicchio’s blogs. Without having tasted any of the dishes, Chef Tom has a great way of explaining the judges decisions to viewers.
Chef Tom explains how Rao’s Restaurant works:
“Rao’s has been in the same location since it first opened in 1896, it has only 10 tables in the entire place, the restaurant does one seating per table per night, and for many decades now, the tables have been spoken for every night of the week.”
Chef Tom added this little gem at the end of his blog:
“From here on in there is nobody left who doesn’t have a huge fan base. Every time we send someone home, I know we’ll be getting a lot of flack.”
From here on in??? I think you might have said that last week because Tre has a huge fan right here Chef Tom and don’t you forget it!!!
Chef Tom doesn’t really disagree with Fabio’s notion that mussels are a French dish, he only explains why it is also used in Italian cooking, having to alter ingredients from one continent to another, these things happen.
As always I highly recommend Chef Anthony Boardain’s blog, this man is hysterical and his blogs are so well written that he could make a book just out of all of his blogs.
And now a blog submitted by a friend on Twitter, she wrote her thoughts on The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills Reunion episodes, thank you to @HousewifeFan for her insight on the ladies of Beverly Hills:
Hi viewers! I first just want to say this is my first ever blog, and I am very nervous to write this! I want to cover both parts of the reunion, because I have strong feelings for both parts. Okay, here I go!
The reunion starts off with a question about plastic surgery. Lisa answers and says it’s rude to judge somebody the way they look. I agree with her, but let’s face it, only one of the wives has bad plastic surgery, and its Taylor. I honestly want to skip to the Taylor and Kim situation. I personally have very strong feelings on this. In my opinion, at the time Taylor made the Oklahoma comment, it seemed real to me. I honestly think she was threatening Kim, a lot of viewers thought that, so did Kim, and I think Andy too, because if you remember he said ‘’ It seemed real at the time, but it was Kim that you were talking to. ‘’ Kyle is accusing Kim for not having her back in New York, but Kyle didn’t have Kim’s back with Taylor. Family is always first. Am I the only one that got bothered when Taylor turned to Kyle and said ‘’ Should we talk about her state of mind? ‘’ I mean it was obvious that Kyle felt uncomfortable, and I felt bad. I’m just very happy that Kim was standing up for herself. Taylor just irritates me, I can’t stand her, I hate her. She’s the most hated housewife in my book. I really hope Kim comes back for Season 2, because I love her, and I think that in the next season, she can now stand up for herself. I also hope that in next season Kyle starts seeing the real Taylor, because [ in Kim’s words ] Kyle is faked by Taylor. This is really all I wanted to cover on part 1 of the reunion. The Kyle vs. Camille thing is getting old, and would just be a waste of my time to even write about.
Okay, now onto part 2. I was really emotional during part 2 of the reunion. When the question of Kyle being a bully came up, Lisa quickly came to her defense, but Camille turned to Kim and told her she thinks Kyle bullies her. Andy asked Kim, and it seems like Kim needed a moment to think about it, but then she said no. Kyle then said that she gives tough love to Kim. Um.. I wish I had a sister! I would never give her tough love, and I would always be on her side no matter what. Just saying. Anyway, then Kim and Kyle both began to tear up, and Kim admitted that she thinks Kyle can be a little tough on her sometimes. I agree with Kim. I was very happy to see Kyle ask Camille to switch seats, so she could be closer to her sister. Andy was so right to turn to Taylor and say she started the fight, because she clearly did. Taylor laughed and said ‘’ What fight did I start this time? ‘’ Hon, it’s not a laughing matter. You broke two sisters apart. Then, Kim’s drinking problem comes up. When Andy turned to Kyle and asked, Kyle said it’s not up for discussion and that it’s private. When Andy asked Kim, she also didn’t want to answer. I think Kim was right not to answer, it’s her personal life, and problems, and if she wants to come out and talk about it, then she will when she feels the time is right. I personally think you shouldn’t judge a person if they’re an alcoholic, because first of all we don’t even know if Kim is one, and second of all, they can be very sweet. Kim is so nice, sweet, beautiful, etc. Okay, the whole Cedric crap is so disturbing to me. Lisa is so sweet, caring, and she wears her heart on her sleeve. Cedric totally played her, when her and Ken treated him like he was their own son! Cedric is a total con. I don’t believe his whole family story. Lisa was getting emotional, because she cared for him. She even tried to defend him by saying he did work at Villa Blanca, but Adrienne said ‘’ there you go, see, you’re defending him. ‘’ Lisa agreed with her. I think it was obvious from the first episode that Cedric is a liar. Atleast, it was to me. I honestly don’t even want to write about him, because it’s a waste. Nobody cares for him. Enough. I think it was sweet of Camille to apologize to Kyle. I was kind of hoping they would hug…haha. I think all the housewives have regrets about this season, well not Adrienne, because she wasn’t involved in the drama. In all, this was a great season. I loved it, and can’t wait until season 2!
Well there’s my blog! I hope you guys enjoyed it, please give me feedback! If you enjoyed my blog, you can follow me on Twitter- @Housewivefan18 . Below I’m going to post some tweets from the housewives that I think you guys will find interesting….
TO: @TheRealCamilleG If you don’t mind my asking, was it Taylor who told you the girls were looking at those photos of you in the limo?
@TheRealCamilleG No,somebody who works in production.
Taylor wrote this tweet—
Regrets…we need an entire hour for this topic. Sorry Kim.
And this one—–
Thank you. It makes me feel horrible reliving my troubles with Kim
That’s what I wanted to share with you guys. I’d really love feedback from you guys @Housewivefan18 is my twitter : – ).
Thank you Housewivefan18 for sharing your thoughts with us, great job on the blog!
Until Next Time…