Thursday, March 24, 2011

Reactions to Top Chef All Stars Finale Part 3

When the three remaining cheftestants entered the kitchen for their next Quickfire Challenge, they were greeted by Wolfgang Puck. The challenge was to pick from seven classic Quickfire Challenges which occurred on previous seasons. Each chef would assign a challenge to another chef, and the results were:

Mike gave Antonia the canned food challenge.
Antonia gave Richard the hot dogs challenge.
Richard gave Mike the one pot challenge.

With 45 minutes to cook, the three chefs scrambled to get cooking. Antonia started on a curry coconut soup. Mike chose a pressure cooker for his one pot and made his version of pork and beans. Richard set about concocting a hot dog medley in a ketchup sauce on homemade bread.

Part way through the cooking, Padma entered and announced that there was another twist. Each chef had to assign to another chef one of three challenges: no utensils, one hand, and the three-armed apron trick with Carla as the other chef in the apron. Being a nice guy, Richard gave Mike the no utensils challenge rather than leaving Antonia dead in the water. Antonia gave Richard the one hand  challenge, leaving Antonia with Carla and the factory reject apron. Of course, since Mike is cooking in a pressure cooker, he doesn't need any utensils anyway. In the end, that may have given Mike the edge because he won and received $5,000.

For the Elimination Challenge, the group reconvened at The Cloisters where they met Masaharu Morimoto, Michelle Bernstein, and Wolfgang Puck. The challenge was to cook the "last supper" for each of the celebrity chefs. Since Mike won the Quickfire, he paired everyone up. Mike took Michelle Bernstein, then he gave Morimoto to Antonia and Richard got Wolfgang Puck. The last meals were like this:

Wofgang Puck - goulash, spaetzle, and apple strudel
Michelle Bernstein - fried chicken, biscuits & gravy
Masaharu Morimoto - miso soup, pickles, and sashimi

The chefs spent the night planning their meals, and then returned to the kitchen the next morning to cook for three hours. Antonia had chosen hamachi for the sashimi part of the meal, but the hamachi provided was bad, so she managed to find some less flavorful tuna in the walk-in. Richard, meanwhile, struggled with his pressure cooker. Mike, on a roll, didn't appear to have any trouble putting together his fine dining take on fried chicken and biscuits, opting for sous vide chicken and an egg yolk in an empanada replacing the biscuit.

Along with the three celebrity chefs, Tom, and Padma, the judging panel included Gail Simmons and Melanie Dunea, author of My Last Supper: 50 Great Chefs and Their Final Meals. For Antonia's meal, the judges thought the miso was too salty and the chile on the tuna was too hot. Mike's chicken was deemed too dry, and Richard's spaetzel was served cold. Still, Richard was judged to be the best of the three.

For Antonia and Mike, a new twist was thrown in. Each chef had 45 minutes to make one bite for the judges which would determine who moved on and who went home. Mike went surf-and-turf with lobster tempura over beef tartare, while Antonia served seared grouper in coconut lobster sauce. The judges were split three to three between Mike and Antonia, leaving Wofgang Puck as the tie breaker. He went with Mike's dish, so Antonia was sent packing.

Should Mike have been allowed to move on, or was Antonia robbed? Who is going to win it all? Share your thoughts below.


theminx said...


Marsha said...

You got it, theminx. It _literally_ hurt to see Antonio auf'd. Dang, the Morimoto challenge was beyond hard - it was like postdoctoral work as compared with Mike's high school level chicken and biscuits.

That said, it was wonderful to hear Puck rave about Blais' work - glad to see Blais get such a rave review.

Rick said...

Both themix and marsha are so right...They had richard picked for the finals the first week, probably when they brought on board

Rachel said...

Mike Isabella may have made it to the finale, but are they really going to award him the Top Chef title?
He cheats in half the challenges.

MoHub said...

Someone has to tell Richard that he finished third in his season, not second. In addition to winner Stephanie, the every-popular Lisa outcooked him. The man also shorted Mike a Quickfire when counting up his wins.

Richard is seriously delusional and seems to be writing his own version of reality.

Sharon Rudd said...

I was especially disappointed in all the gimicky recycled challenges on last night's episode. Couple that with having the contestants choose which lowest-common denominator challenges to saddle their opponents with, and and the emphasis turned into game-playing strategy rather than food - not what we want to see at this stage of the season. The producers haven't done themselves any favors with what they've chosen to do in this drawn-out four-part finale.

tbplayer said...

I didn't like that the three chefs were cooking at three different difficulty levels. That tie breaker at the end did help even things out again, but perhaps it was Antonia, with her take on the most difficult challenge of cooking Japanese, who was better than Mike's fried chicken. We'll never know. I do know that if Mike couldn't win outright cooking American comfort food, against goulash and bento, he doesn't deserve a spot in the finals.

melissaf said...

I was very dissapointed in teh challange. I"m tired of the gimmecky set ups. Let the chefs COOK.

Having said that, I wil watch but do not have a fav to win.

Phyllis said...

I absolutely agree that Antonia was robbed. I'd much prefer a Richard / Antonia finale. There is something about how much heart a chef brings to the kitchen... I am still sad over Carla's departure.

MoHub said...

The best thing about the episode was seeing Carla again, if only briefly. It almost made up for the disappointments.

Anonymous said...

I've read a lot of comments about the unfair judging of women chefs. Personally, I think a good chef is just that, a good chef. That being written, I really believe Cousin Mikey was afraid of facing a woman in the finals. His inflated ego could not face the possibility of that loss. He could save face however, in a loss to Richard. GO RICHARD (my fave!)