I Hate Jill Zarin Top Chef All Star Finale – Bravo’s Nationwide Upfront Parties!
Top Chef All Stars – Finale
Just two chef’s left, Mike Izabella and Richard Blaise. Two very different styles of cooking and two very different personalities. The other major difference is how different they both are as opposed to their original appearance on Top Chef but not always in a good way.
Richard was the contestant who was innovative, very talented but one of the nicest guys that you’d ever want to meet. He returned for All Stars a bit more cocky, a bit arrogant and a bit more annoying to be honest.
Richard got a lot of recognition for giving a helping hand to his fellow chef’s, he did a lot of that on his original appearance on Top Chef. This time around he did help out his peers as well but not nearly as frequently and mostly when it was a team situation and in the end helping his teammates helped his team to win.
Mike Isabella didn’t stand a fighting chance on his original attempt at Top Chef. He had the unfortunate luck to be cooking against the Voltaggio brothers, Michael and Bryan, Kevin Gillespie and Jennifer Carroll. Four of the most talented chef’s ever to appear on the show. Mike was doomed before he walked in the door. Nevertheless Mike was cocky, arrogant and overly confident. He came across as writing checks that his talent couldn’t come close to cashing.
When Mike returned for this All Star Season, I admit I was expecting the same arrogant Mikey from Season Seven but he had changed! A bigger man in more ways than one, he had more humility a bigger heart and a bigger waistline. He was upbeat and more positive without being so over confident or cocky.
Polar opposites, Mike and Richard were simply given instructions to open a restaurant and prepare a four course meal of their choice. As always in the finals they are given help in the form of former contestants. This could really make or break a chef and so the two sat discussing who they will pick when the time comes.
The time came and they didn’t get to pick a chef, they got to pick a dish. All of the eliminated chef’s were told to prepare a dish for Mike and Richard to taste then the finalists would choose three dishes each, whoever prepared those dishes would be their extra hands in the kitchen. I thought that was brilliant!
I was a little surprised that they didn’t seem to know at all who cooked which dish, they both wanted Jen Carroll on their team yet neither were able to find her dish. Neither chef wanted Marcel and they were both able to avoid that dish.
In the end, Mike had three ladies that he called his “Angels”. Tiffany, Carla and Jamie. All three ladies tried to help Mike initially by suggesting dishes but in the end Mike had a game plan already in mind and ignored all advice. He wasn’t happy having chosen Jamie as she really had a bad season but she seemed to work out in the end.
Richard wanted and got Angelo on his team along with Spike and Antonia. Richard was worried about Antonia as she had only just been eliminated and could still be bitter or emotional and he was worried about Spike as he seemed to just want to go jet skiing with the group. Again, they worked well together as a team in the end.
Both chefs prepared the menu that they wanted to serve without any drama or issues with their crew. No one was ill, no one had a weak link on their team that threw them off their game, no last-minute twists were thrown at them, it was a fair fight to the end.
The judges seemed to really enjoy both meals, they went to each finalists restaurant in shifts. They made all the right “yummy” noises and both chef’s received some of the highest compliments we’ve ever heard on Top Chef. Words like, “outstanding” and “excellent” described the meals but we also heard Chef Tom say “the best he’s ever had” Gail used phrases like “Stroke of genius” and “food you crave”.
A few small glitches as Mike took a bit too much time between courses at one point and Richard’s Foie Gras Ice Cream (yuck btw) had a strange texture during the first seating.
The one little controversy, if there is one, would be Richard’s instruction to Spike during service. Spike was told to listen to the judges feedback and bring the information back to Richard in the kitchen. This allowed Richard to change the texture of his ice cream and improve upon the dish for the second set of judges.
Apparently that is not against the rules but it seems like it should be. Maybe Mike should have done the same with his front of the house person, Carla. I’m not sure that this stunt changed the outcome of the finals but no one seemed to have a problem with Spike’s covert operation. I admit it was pretty funny watching him in his fedora hat trying to look inconspicuous.
I was disappointed a bit that Anthony Bourdain wasn’t part of the finale, he is listed as a judge this season but we didn’t see him on every episode, not even close to every episode. It think he was absent more often than not. Hubert Keller was a good substitute but still, I miss Bourdain.
In the end Richard took the win as most people predicted, the photos that leaked out several weeks ago of the reunion filming gave us a pretty good hint at the winner.
Chef Tom Colicchio details why Richard took the win over Mikey in his blog:
After the final rose…er after the final dish Bravo aired an episode of Watch What Happens Live with both Mike and Richard as Andy’s guests. At the same time and in the same location, Bravo was hosting it’s Upfront party with Housewives, Chefs and Designers. These Bravolebrities became a part of Andy’s audience for WWHL.
There were some interesting questions for the chef’s. A question directed toward Bravo’s newest Top Chef, Richard was answered by runner-up Michael since Richard seemed hesitant to respond. “Which contestant should have gone home sooner on Top Chef All Stars?”
This is a question that we’ve been discussing for several weeks now and Mikey verbalized what we’ve all been saying for quite some time. Angelo, Dale and Jen should have stuck around longer and Tiffany should have gone home sooner. Ooo’s and Ahh’s around the Bravo Clubhouse but it was honest and if Richard had the balls, he would have said the same thing.
Andy checked in with Padma in Los Angeles and Gail in Chicago for a few fan questions but also to award the Top Chef All Star Fan Favorite. I was quite disappointed that Tre wasn’t even in the top two but it was expected. Fabio in Los Angeles and Carla in Chicago were the top two fan favorites but this time Carla took the win and the $10,000. prize money. (Carla and Fabio battled it out as fan favorites in their season and Fabio won the last time)
Next up for the Top Chef franchise is Top Chef Masters, hosted this time by hunky chef Curtis Stone to begin airing next week after Top Chef All Stars reunion.
Andy showed a quick clip of the Reunion show that will air next Wednesday night, eliminated contestant from Season Two, Elia Aboumrad had been very vocal in her criticism of Chef Tom Colicchio regarding the meats that he purchases for his restaurants. Andy shows us a scene confronting Elia about her comments and she stands firm against Tom while Jennifer Carroll nods her head in agreement. We rarely see Tom Colicchio upset or angry but he certainly is defensive and calls Elia out for making this personal.
We know that Elia was very upset over being eliminated first in this competition and Jennifer was none to pleased about her order of elimination, was this personal against Tom? I can’t wait to see more of this debate next week.
Three simultaneous parties took place last night to celebrate the new Season of Bravo shows. In Los Angeles Top Chef’s Padma Lakshmi hosted Bravo cast members on the West Coast. Real Housewives of Orange County rubbed elbows with Real Housewives of Beverly Hills. Let’s hope no one from the OC asked to borrow money from the BH ladies. The horrible Patti Stanger was there, Top Chef Masters host and Celebrity Apprentice star Curtis Stone joined Padma in Los Angeles.
In Chicago the Real Housewives of Atlanta were joined by Bethenny Frankel, Top Chef’s Dale and Tiffany. Top Chef All Star Fan Favorite Carla Hall and Gail Simmons all gathered at Top Chef Season Four Winner, Stephanie Izard’s new restaurant “Girl and the Goat”.
Some photos from Stephanie: http://ow.ly/i/9KKA
Congratulations to Stephanie on her new restaurant opening in Chicago and for hosting the Chicago Bravo Upfront’s.
At the center of it all, The New York Bravo Upfront Party included all of the New York Housewives, The New Jersey Housewives, Top Chef winner and runner-up Richard and Mike along with Rocco DiSpirito, Jennifer Carroll and of course Andy Cohen.
A You-Tube Video of the Orange County Housewives arriving at the Los Angeles Party:
A You-Tube Video of the Beverly Hills Housewives arriving at the Los Angeles Party:
Some photos that the Bravo Celebrities tweeted:
Bravo announced it’s upcoming season renewal of Bethenny Ever After (season three) and Real Housewives of Beverly Hills (season two) as well as some new shows that include old favorites like Jeff Lewis and Brad Goreski.
Kelly Bensimon always sums things up well:
Tks @bravotv for the amaze event. @bravoandy was so fun and handsome. Cant wait @roccodispirito new show.