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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Top Chef All-Stars–two more go home

The episode of Top Chef All-Stars began this week with shock that Jen was sent home last week. Really, it’s going to be a shocking elimination every week with this cast of heavyweights, isn’t it? But many of them felt Jamie deserved to go home since she got hurt and went to the hospital, thus skating by last week. Then the quick fire was announced with host Padma Lakshmi and chef David Chang. They would break into four random teams, based on how they were standing at the moment. They would each have the same ingredients to work with–to prep and create a meal as quickly as possible using lamb, garlic and artichokes.

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Top Chef All-Stars: yikes

We figured that this season of “Top Chef,” being “Top Chef All-Stars” and all, there would be some ego clashes and shocking eliminations. Last night was mostly the latter.

The show began with Joe Jonas of The Jonas Brothers joining host Padma Lakshmi to announce the quick fire challenge. Helping to cater “A night at the museum” for a group of kids visiting the National Natural History Museum, the chef-testants would have to created a midnight snack geared toward kids that were apparently around 10-12 years old. Each snack would have to be served in a brown paper bag.
The least favorite snacks were by Tiffany D (coconut rice pudding), Mike Isabella (chocolate coconut bar with coconut horchata) and Stephen (snickerdoodle cookies). The favorites were Spike (homemade potato and carrot chips with dip) and Tiffani (Rice Krispie treat snowball).

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Top Chef All-Stars: this is pure genius

Unlike other reality shows that either jump the shark or try to use the same formula over and over again, the fine folks at Magical Elves bring us “Top Chef’s” eighth season, but with an awesome twist–“Top Chef All-Stars” on Bravo. It’s not a match of winners, mind you, but of contestants who came close to winning but fell short. That means contestants who are both still hungry and partially or fully bitter. And that makes for genius TV.

Also, after having seasons in San Francisco, Los Angeles, Miami, Chicago, New Orleans, Las Vegas and Washington DC, this battle takes place in the heart of it all, New York City. The same host, Padma Lakshmi, returns along with head judge Tom Colicchio as well as Gail Simmons and newcomer Anthony Bourdain (who has been a frequent guest judge).

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Interview with Top Chef’s Tom Colicchio and Anthony Bourdain

If you’re a fan of Bravo’s “Top Chef,” you have something big to look forward to starting December 1. The new season is “Top Chef All Stars,” pitting contestants from previous seasons in what is sure to be the best season of the show yet. Along with host Padma Lakshmi, head judge Tom Colicchio, regular judge Gail Simmons and new judge Anthony Bourdain, some of the past competitors who return for this season are Carla Hall (season five finalist), Spike Mendelsohn (season four, top five), Fabio Viviani (voted fan fav, season five) and Marcel Vigneron (season two finalist).

We had the chance to participate in a conference call with Colicchio and Bourdain recently and naturally they had great things to say about this season and are looking forward to sharing it with the world. Below is the transcript, and the show begins airing Wednesday, December 1 at 10:00 pm ET/PT.

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