Top Chef All-Stars: almost an all-star

Last night we got from Final Four down to Final Three, maybe sort of in the spirit of the NCAA basketball tournament. The “finale” series continued in the Bahamas with host Padma Lakshmi introducing this week’s guest judge, Lorena Garcia, and the quick fire challenge to the finalists–Tiffany, Mike, Richard and Antonia. They would have to break into two teams and create a dish that they had to serve on 100 plates, and make them as uniform as possible. That’s something you don’t think of so much, but as Richard said, it’s SO important for a chef in a restaurant–consistency. So Mike and Richard made a pork bolognese with homemade macaroni that looked amazing. Tiffany and Antonia made a beef tenderloin salad with lentils and chimichurri sauce. The girls won, in large part because of the uniformity of a dish that had a higher level of difficulty. Mike, of course, was bitter.

For the elimination challenge, the chefs had to go to a small island by boat and then go snorkeling and fishing for live conch in the ocean, with the conch being the focal point of the lunch they would serve for the 80th anniversary of the Nassau Yacht Club, complete with very rich people eating. They only had a wood fire grill, a table and some pots and pans to work with. Yikes.

Antonia made a tartare of conch with lobster; Tiffany made a conch/coconut chowder; Richard made sweet potato “pasta’ with conch and lobster; and Mike made a grouper cooked in banana leaves and a warm conch vinaigrette.

The judges liked all of the dishes but saw flaws in them all as well. The winner, though, was Mike. And of course, he rubbed it in Richard’s face a bit, again. Going home….Tiffany. Her soup was apparently a bit cold and too sweet, so she once again got close with no cigar.

So the final three–Mike, Richard, and Antonia–meet next week and I think they are going to eliminate one more chef before reaching the finale. I still think Richard is going to pass Mike and take the crown–and when he does, I hope he rubs it in Mike’s face a little. Okay, that’s my take. What do you think? Thanks for reading and see you next week….

  

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