Top Chef All-Stars: now it’s a final four

Okay, so last week we were fired up that “Top Chef All-Stars” would have a final five instead of a final four, but that would change last night. When they got to the Bahamas for the finale, I wondered if this was it, if this was the episode they would name the Top Chef. But it didn’t feel like a finale. So what it wound up being is a competition that would bring them down to four.

It started last night at Fort Charlotte, where the chef-testants would compete against the chefs that won their season–Stephanie, Hosea, Michael, and Kevin. The quick fire challenge would be to compete against the chef that won their respective season, using a secret ingredient chosen for them ahead of time. Mike was up against Michael Voltaggio, maybe the best chef in the history of the show, and they had duck; Antonia and Richard would square off against Stephanie using veal; Carla was up against Hosea using lamb; and Tiffany squared off vs. Kevin using pork. The winners would each take home $10K.

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Top Chef All-Stars: finally

If you follow “Top Chef All-Stars” on Bravo carefully, you know that Jamie has been skating for weeks. Whether it was a finger cut that required stitches, hiding when her dish should have been presented to judges, or playing it safe as others were eliminated for taking bigger risks, she just clearly didn’t belong here. With that, here is our recap of last night’s episode….

The show began with Jamie feeling quite lucky and being surprised that she was not eliminated last week, and rather that Casey was sent packing after the chicken feet debacle. Then they showed Marcel acting like a total douchebag toward Dale because Dale did not follow the challenge rules properly, yet won.

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Top Chef All-Stars: tennis anyone?

Last night’s episode of “Top Chef All-Stars” was mostly shot at the site of the US Open tennis tournament in Flushing, New York, which took place back in August and September. Anyway, host Padma Lakshmi along with Top Chef Master Tony Mantuano announced the quickfire challenge, which was to make some sort of holiday stuffing. Of course, they couldn’t make it that easy. The chef-testants were asked to do this without using any utensils and having to be as resourceful as possible. The winner would receive both immunity this week AND $20K. Wow.

Tony’s least favorites were Carla’s quinoa, which she jokingly referred to as “undente,” meaning it was not cooked enough. She knew it and so did Tony. He also didn’t like Tiffani’s sweet maple stuffing because it was too sweet; and Casey’s mushroom dish, which didn’t really resemble stuffing at all. His faves were Tre’s cheddar/bacon/chili cornbread stuffing; and Marcel’s stuffing with raisin brioche, cherries and currants. Tre was the winner, so he had immunity this week as well as a cool 20 grand. Nice!

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Hell’s Kitchen: waah waah waah, go home

Thankfully, last night’s episode of “Hell’s Kitchen” on Fox was just one hour, or one episode instead of two lumped into one. They must have realized that if they kept doubling them up, the show would be over by Thanksgiving. Anyway, here is our recap of last night, and we’re now down to five chefs!

Initial challenge: Amuse-bouche (quick bite) challenge with guest judges Ludo Lefebvre, Quinn and Karen Hatfield, Suzanne Tracht, and Michael Cimarusti
Mistakes: One judge said Nona’s shrimp and grits smelled like “body odor.” Ouch! And Trev’s frog legs were also a mess
Winner: Russell, for his hamachi broth
Prize: Tour of LA Market, and lunch with Gordon Ramsay and executive chef Kerry Simon. Russell was allowed to bring one person with him and he chose Gail since she finished second in the challenge
Punishment: Cleaning the dorms and having to listen to Trev whine
Dinner service: Tableside Steak Diane
Mistakes: Gail undercooked scallops; Trev overcooked pasta; Gail’s fish stuck to the pan; Jillian over-salted mashed potatoes; Gail “poached” her grilled salmon; Russ’ beef was raw in the middle. Ramsay pulled them all aside and said, “No more mistakes!” They straightened up for a bit before screwing up more. Russ’ steak was raw again, and that set Ramsay off.
Quote: Ramsay, to all chefs: “Get out!”
Winner: No winner. The remaining six chefs had to come up with a consensus two nominees for elimination
On the block: Trev and Sabrina. Sabrina started whining, though, about how she thought Gail screwed up more than she did and waah, waah, waah! Man, she’s annoying.
Going home: Sabrina, because the producers have mercy on us.
So that’s it, we’re down to the final five—Trev, Nona, Russ, Gail and Jillian. Does that seem to you like the weakest final five ever? You have to believe it’s Russ’ job to lose. But we’ll see what happens in the coming weeks. Thanks for reading!

  

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Hell’s Kitchen: are we there yet?

I realized something last night. I realized that “Hell’s Kitchen” on Fox jumped the shark about three seasons ago. Not that I didn’t think this before, but as I sat there watching with my wife, I realized that we used to really look forward to this show, and now it’s just something I blog about, and at times it pains me to do that. I mean, it’s the same format, the same challenges in the same order, the same everything with this show. Anyway, with that, here is my recap of last night’s double episode…oh, but first…remember Ramsay left us hanging before the baseball playoffs started, and asked Trev to step forward? He just sent him back to the blue team….as if we didn’t all see that coming.

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