Top Chef All-Stars: fried food y’all!

Last night “Top Chef All-Stars” on Bravo merged its own brand with Food Network, as Paula Deen was introduced by host Padma Lakshmi as the guest judge for the quick fire challenge. But first they showed the remaining six chefs hanging around with Richard showing Mike his “secret black book” of ideas. Hmmm. So what do you think the challenge was? Yep, making a dish using a deep fryer.

Paula said that her true favorite was Antonia’s fried shrimp and avocado, but she was disqualified for only plating one dish in time and not two. The least favorites were Dale (oyster and beef) and Carla (catfish). The two favorites not named Antonia were Richard (fried mayo balls!) and Mike (fried chicken in oyster shells–an idea he stole from Richard’s book!). Mike won and he took home $5K as well as angry glares from Richard. Wow. Carla, Tiffany and Antonia talked about this being a violation of “chef law.”

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Top Chef All-Stars: cooking for Cookie Monster

Last night was a really interesting episode of “Top Chef All-Stars,” as the judges for the quick fire would be……Cookie Monster, Elmo and Telly from “Sesame Street.” How awesome and cool and what must have been really weird for the chef-testants. Richard pointed out that he has a 2 year old girl and in his house Elmo is like Elvis. The challenge? What else…to make cookies from scratch in 45 minutes. The winner would take home $5K. The least favorites were Richard (who made ice cream balls that weren’t really cookies) and Angelo, who made chocolate hazelnut cookies with a banana chocolate milkshake. The favorites were Dale (no bake potato chip/pretzel cookies) and Antonia (chocolate cookies) and the overall winner was Dale. Elmo joked that while Antonia’s cookies were delicious, they looked like “cow chips”….classic!

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Top Chef All-Stars: fondue and Fallon

Last night was an interesting episode of “Top Chef All-Stars.” Not that they aren’t all interesting, but this one was a bit more so. They began with Fabio ribbing Antonia a bit more about her winning last week with mussels that were a “French” dish, as Fabio claimed, not Italian. Then host Padma Lakshmi introduced the Quick Fire, which was to create an interesting form of fondue. But Padma threw them a curve, which was that they would be their own judges, with comment cards to pick the least favorites and the favorites. The least favorites were Fabio (Bellini with caviar and white wine); Mike (spiced lamb with feta fondue); and Tiffany (apple fritter with hazelnut/chocolate fondue). The favorites were Antonia (smoked salmon on toast with crème fraiche—ed. Note—ewwwwwww!); Dale (Pho-ndue); and Angelo (deconstructed walnut/goat cheese fondue with endive dippers and beet juice shots). Dale won and he got a trip to Napa Valley.

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Top Chef All-Stars: restaurant wars return

Last night was the part of the “Top Chef” season that everyone looks forward to–contestants, judges and viewers. But it was especially cool for “Top Chef All-Stars,” and the show began last night with Antonia mentioning how she seems to be bad luck to fellow teammates, who kept getting eliminated around her. Anthony Bourdain hosted the quick fire challenge at Eric Ripert’s Le Bernardin restaurant, and this dude, Justo Thomas, was butchering fish like a madman. This guy is amazing…he can cut perfect portions of fish while leaving a carcass and skin, and do it in like 8 minutes. The challenge was to do this in 10 minutes, butchering portions of cod and fluke. The top four would compete for immunity by making a dish or dishes using all parts of the discarded fish–head, bones, skin, etc. (BLECH!!!!!) in the elimination challenge. In the bottom were Fabio, Tiffany, Carla and Antonia, and the best were Dale, Richard, Mike and Marcel. Dale won with his Fluke backfin sashimi with fluke liver sauce, and he had immunity for the main challenge.

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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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