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.

The teams were:
Red–Antonia, Jamie, Dale and Casey
Green–Angelo, Fabio, Tiffany and Mike
White–Dale, Tiffani, Carla, Marcel
Blue–Spike, Richard, Stephen, Tre

David’s least favorites were red and green; and his favorites were white and blue, with the blue team winning with their crispy lamb and artichokes three ways. Each player won $5K, and there would be no immunity this week.

For the elimination challenge, each team as they were constructed would go to a hot NYC restaurant, dine there, and then work against each other to create a meal that would represent the kitchen of that restaurant. The green team got Ma Peche, which was Chang’s restaurant; Red got Townhouse; the blue team Marea; and white team WD-50. They would compete against each other and there would be one winner per team, and one overall winner. There would be four losers, one from each team, with TWO of them going home. Yikes.

This was an interesting and apparently very difficult challenge. The judges would be the chefs from each of the restaurants and also included Kate Krader from Food & Wine Magazine.

The winners were Dale T (sunnyside up egg dumpling with pork belly), Antonia (pea and carrot purees with seared scallop), Angelo (turmeric marinated fish with salmon roe and white chocolate) and Tre (grilled swordfish with braised artichoke). The favorite dish was Dale, based on Wylie Dufresne’s WD-50.

The losers were Stephen (salmon with figs, broccoli and fennel pollen), Tiffani (broken summer heirloom melon with powdered ham and cheese), Fabio (roasted lamb with hoisin bbq sauce and homemade ricotta) and Dale L (roasted veal loin with peanuts and popcorn). The two going home…..Stephen and Dale L. Fabio dodged a bullet, and I was kind of surprised Dale went home before he did.

So we’re now down to 14, and these eliminations will not get easier on the judges as they go. It sure is going to be interesting. Thanks for reading and see you next week…