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 DC: oh my G-d, they……

I’ll fill in the rest of the subject line in a bit. But first, let’s recap last night’s episode of “Top Chef DC” on Bravo. The quick fire challenge was one of the Top Chef favorites, the tag team challenge. They would break up into two teams of four, a red team and a blue team, and would each have 10 minutes while the rest of the team was blindfolded…ultimately creating a single dish. The winning team would receive $10K to split. Kevin and Ed drew knives and were the team captains, and Kevin was allowed to choose first. He picked Kenny, and Ed chose Tiffany. Kevin also wound up with Kelly and Amanda, while Ed chose Angelo and Alex. Well, he didn’t choose Alex.

Everything went smooth for both teams except for one thing–Alex went second in the relay and seasoned some fish, which should have been the last thing done. The blue team’s dish was prawns with pasta in a mustard sauce. The red team’s was a pan seared snapper dish. Judging the challenge would be Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi. She liked both dishes but thought that the blue team had a slight edge because the red team’s fish was…..wait for it…..too salty. Alex really blew it for his team and cost them a lot of money!

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Top Chef Las Vegas: restaurant wars return

I confess I’ve only been watching Bravo’s “Top Chef” for one-plus seasons now, but I’ve become hooked in a hurry. So this was just my second time experiencing “restaurant wars,” when they break up the final eight contestants into two teams and have them run an actual restaurant for the night.

But first, the episode began with a Quick Fire challenge, and the guest judge this week was Rick Moonen, who owns a sustainable seafood restaurant in Vegas. They would have a tag team cookoff, in which each chef had 10 minutes out of 40 to complete a dish, but while one chef was working the others were blindfolded. Man, that looked HARD. They drew knives and Jennifer and Michael V. had to choose teams…Jen chose Kris Kringle (Kevin), Mike Isabella and Laurine, deciding to let the brothers be on the same team and duke it out, literally. So Michael had Brian, Eli and Robin.

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