Thursday, February 24, 2011

Reactions to Top Chef All Stars Episode 11

The episode opened with everyone reeling from Angelo's elimination. Tiffany definitely thought she was the one to be gone. The next day, everyone seemed in a better mood. Tiffany put makeup on and Richard showed Mike some of the recipes he planned in his notebook.

Later, at the Top Chef Kitchen, the cheftestants were greeted by Food Network's Paula Deen. The Quickfire Challenge was to create a deep fried dish, but make it creative. The winner would get $5,000. The chefs scrambled around for 30 minutes. Richard, of course, broke out the liquid nitrogen and made frozen mayonnaise balls for deep frying. Mike, having seen Richard's proposed recipe for cooking the oyster of the chicken and putting it on an oyster shell, decided to do just that, but deep fry the chicken meat.

After the 30 minutes, Paula and Padma tasted and judged. Carla's catfish was not properly fried and the hushpuppies were too leaden. Dale's steak-wrapped oyster dish was also a flop with the judges. The favorite was Antonia's fried avocado, shrimp and jalapeno, grilled corn tomato and fried herbs, but because she only made one plate instead of two, she was disqualified. That left Richard and Mike, and Mike ended up taking the prize, much to the chagrin of Richard.

To explain the Elimination Challenge, Padma brought out New Orleans chef extraordinaire John Besh. He talked about the Greater New Orleans Foundation, which is trying to provide financial support to the watermen and businesses that have been affected by the oil spill in the Gulf. A fundraiser was being held for 300 people and the chefs were going to cater the event using seafood that was indigenous to the gulf. The seafood was brought out by recently eliminated cheftestants who will act as sous chefs for the challenge. The teams worked out like this:

Mike and Tiffani with an "i" - Brown Shrimp
Richard and Fabio - Red Snapper
Carla and Tre - Grouper
Tiffany D and Marcel - White Shrimp
Antonia and Spike - Crab
Dale and Angelo - Amber Jack

They all run off to the market to gather ingredients, and then race back to the kitchen for 2 hours and 30 minutes of cooking. Most of the teams are getting along, but once again, Marcel is the sand in Tiffany D's oyster. Carla is also concerned because Tre, although from The South, doesn't know anything about southern cooking.

Time soon ended and it was off to the site for the Gulf Coast Oil Spill Fund event where the chefs had an additional 30 minutes to set up their tables. The guests soon flooded in along with the judges. After a frantic service, the judges retired to Judges' Table while the chefs stewed in the stew room.

The top three - Antonia, Richard, and Mike - are called out first. Antonia's crab cake was well liked along with Mike's grit-crusted shrimp, but the win went to Richard for his crispy gulf snapper with pulled pork and citrus grits. Richard won a six night trip to Barbados, which he planned to share with Fabio.

Next, the bottom three were brought out. Tiffany D's shrimp were considered overcooked and mealy, and the glaze was too sweet. Although Tiffany D felt that much of that was Marcel's fault, she remained silent and took the blame. Carla's hot sauce and mustard overwhelmed the grouper, and the collard greens and chow chow pico did not work. However, Dale was the big loser of the night with his Amber Jack stew. The potatoes were undercooked and the mustard on the crouton was too powerful for the fish. After winning just last week, Dale was asked to pack his knives and go.

Should Mike have been called out for swiping Richard's recipe? Should Antonia have been penalized for making only one plate? And was it really Dale's time to go? Share your thoughts below.


Anonymous said...

The judging needs to be changed! How can Tiffany be in the bottom 3 four times in a row and not go home? Dale did not deserve to go, neither did Angelo or Fabio. Top Chef, please change the way you vote the contestants off...

theminx said...

The judges have always maintained that the winners and losers are based solely on the current contest, and not on any prior performance. Winning is not cumulative, nor is losing. At this point in the game, 8 seasons in, changing the way chefs win or lose would be altering the integrity of the show. It would be admitting that the way they've done it for the past several years was a big mistake, and I don't see that coming.

Anonymous said...

I agree...all 3 dishes were below par, but raw potatoes in a soup? Not acceptable from a "top chef". Period. Plus Dale's dishes have been labeled as "bland" several times, which to me is about the worst thing you can say about a dish. It was his turn.


Anonymous said...

Thank god Carla is safe although I will miss Dale more than I thought I would.

Anonymous said...

How about Mike, who in an earlier show said Richard was making a mistake by helping people too much, helping himself to Richard's recipe, and then scoffing at him for being annoyed about it? I'm beginning to believe the earlier predictions that Mike was going to win, and it seems like it'll be by any means necessary.

Anonymous said...

Yeah, I have to say, what Mike did was pretty low. Plagiarism pure and simple. I mean, chicken oysters? That's a BRILLIANT idea. I seriously hope someone said something to the judges afterward so the would know it was Richard's idea stolen from his notebook. He has the proof if anyone cares to check. Bad Mike!

melissaf said...

It's what I love the most about Richard- that he shares his knowledge without hesitation- but in this competition he needs to keep those winning ideas to himself! Always enjoy reading Tom's blog on Bravo to get the deeper insight as to why the chef was eliminated.

Love this season!

Anonymous said...

I can't believe what Mike did. I wish Richard had called him out. He's the most obnoxious TC contestant ever. He's even overtaken Josea. I have a sinking feeling he's going to win and if he does I'll cry. Dale you left us too soon!

Tina said...

"The judges have always maintained that the winners and losers are based solely on the current contest, and not on any prior performance. Winning is not cumulative, nor is losing. At this point in the game, 8 seasons in, changing the way chefs win or lose would be altering the integrity of the show"

I might agree with this if we were speaking about a regular season of Top Chef. However, I do think that the producers could have tried to introduce a different system for All-Stars. Far from threatening the integrity of the show it could have introduced an interesting variation. Yes, this innovation would have had to have been implemented at the beginning of the season, so they can't do anything about it now. But as far as I'm concerned "integrity" for a show like this should mean ensuring that most of the best chefs make it to the end. What's the point of integrity if it means that annoyingly gimmicky challenges and evaluating chefs solely for the food in front of them means that Mike Isabella or Tiffany (who has not made a single interesting dish the ENTIRE season) makes it to the final?

theminx said...

Ah, but in an All-Stars season, most of the chefs ARE "best" chefs. Jennifer Carroll got knocked off in week two!

I do believe a chef is only as good as his or her last dish.

Kristine said...

The point of "best dish wins" being a flawed judging criteria always comes up with a vengence when a well-liked contestant, or one's favorite, goes home over a less-favored one. Dem's da breaks. I really liked Dale this season, and he won both challenges last week. Not this week. I've come to accept the format even when my favorites go home. I think it adds to the intensity of the outcome each week. If my favorite goes home (Antonia), I'll rant and rave a bit, but I won't stop watching.