Top Chef All-Stars: epic battle to conclude season

We all knew this was going to be a heavyweight fight between Richard Blais and Mike Isabella on “Top Chef All-Stars.” But I think these two guys exceeded their own expectations as well as those of the viewers and judges and also their fellow chef-testants. The episode began with Richard and Mike chilling in their hotel suite–and with host Padma Lakshmi telling the eliminated chef-testants that they would be making a small bite (they call it an amuse-bouche) which would determine who the two finalists would be having as sous chefs on their respective teams. Mike wound up with Jamie (ha!), Carla and Tiffani; while Richard had Spike, Angelo and Antonia. Nicely done for Richard.

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Top Chef All-Stars: here we go

Okay, now in a finale that seems to be lasting a month, because it is lasting a month, we are finally down to the final two chef-testants who will battle it out for the title of Top Chef next week. But first host Padma Lakshmi started out with celebrity chef Wolfgang Puck for the quickfire challenge, which would be to do a choice of a past quickfire challenge. However, the chefs would be assigned these by a competing chef. Yikes. Mike chose first and had Antonia do the “only canned food” challenge; Antonia gave richard the hot dog challenge, which wasn’t a huge stretch; and Richard gave Mike the one-pot-only challenge. Then Padma entered the kitchen halfway through, and added one more twist–they would have to use a crutch from a previous quickfire–Richard assigned Mike the “no utensils” challenge; Antonia gave Richard the one-hand-only challenge; and Antonia had the one remaining, which was to finish the task while having recently-eliminated Carla tied to her.

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Top Chef DC: Surprise?

Last night was the season finale of “Top Chef: DC,” and the outcome was a bit of a surprise, maybe shocking to many of you. The three finalists–Kevin, Ed and Angelo–had to create a four-course meal for a bunch of celebrity diners that included Dana Cowin from Food & Wine Magazine and David Chang. There had to be a vegetable dish, a fish dish, a meat dish and a dessert. Each chef would have a sous chef–a winner from a previous season. Ed was paired with Ilan Hall from Season 2, Hung Huynh from Season 3 with Angelo, and Kevin with Michael Voltaggio from last season (the two have worked together before).

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Top Chef: here comes the finale

It’s hard to believe we’re already at the season’s end of “Top Chef DC,” but we are. The final four squared off last night in Singapore and went from four down to three.

(Please note in photo above that “Top Chef” won a well-deserved Emmy a few weeks back for best reality show, beating out “The Amazing Race.”)

After the four chef-testants–Angelo, Kelly, Kevin and Ed–arrived in the “market” area of Singapore, they were enjoying the different foods and then of course came across host Padma Lakshmi, who introduced them to food authority Seetoh. They had to cook a street food dish that kept in mind the flavors of Singapore for Seethoh and Padma and this was a high stakes quick fire challenge–the winner would have immunity, therefore securing a spot in the finale automatically. Wow.

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Top Chef Las Vegas: huh?

Last night was the finale of the finale of “Top Chef Las Vegas” on Bravo, and the three remaining chefs–Kevin, Michael and Bryan–had a lot of creative leeway this time around. The final challenge of the season would be to make a 3-course meal at Cyrus Restaurant in Napa Valley. The first course would be using specific ingredients in a box–and all three chefs had the same items. The second course was anything they wanted to make based on what was on hand, and the third was a dessert, also using what was on hand in the kitchen.

But first the other 14 contestants from this season were brought back, and each finalist would draw two knives to find out who their sous chefs would be. Kevin drew Preeti and Ash; Bryan picked Jen and Ashley (Ben Folds); and Michael drew Jesse and Eli. Then as they were working on their ideas back in their suite, the chefs had a surprise visit–from their moms. After hanging with them and getting pep talks, the chefs made their way to Cyrus, where they were greeted by head judge Tom Colicchio. Tom informed them that they would be making one additional dish to start out–a dish inspired by their moms or something that brought to mind their childhood memories.

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