It’s getting down to the wire on Top Chef: All Stars, and I’m most dismayed to report that Mike Isabella has been coming on strong so far. How did this happen? Coming in to this week’s episode, he had already beaten out a Voltaggio in one challenge and taken home the big prize for another. He’s suddenly unstoppable. That’s hard for me to say though. I can’t even say “coming on strong” in association with Mike. It’s more like the others are just coming on weak. Whatever it is, somebody’s gotta stop Mike before he somehow takes home the big prize.
Not cool.I thought maybe this might be Mike’s week to get chopped, but I forgot the basic rule that anyone who teams up with Antonia will go home, and sure enough the curse continued this episode. Yes, beloved Tiffany was sent packing after having joined forces with Antonia during the Quickfire, thus leaving Chef Lofaso’s reputation intact. To be fair, as much as we all love Tiffany, she did seem out of her league. She had narrowly escaped elimination entirely way too often to have a realistic shot at the big title. The good news is that Tiffany had made it farther than her original run in D.C.. The bad news was that once she told us that this second run had proven that she could do anything, I knew she was a goner.
Nevertheless, this week’s elimination challenge was pretty fun. The chefs were dropped off at an island with all sorts of fun ingredients; however, the one mandatory element — conch — was nowhere to be seen. Instead, the chefs had to don snorkeling gear and hunt down the conch themselves. This was a fun twist, even if it did afford us many not so glamorous shots of Mike Isabella shirtless (a visual that Richard Blais warned us would be difficult to take in).
Anyway, the gang had to cook a gourmet lunch for the members of a Bahamian yacht club, all of whom were wearing white, which was rather appropriate given the general lack of color in this Caribbean group. Padma and Gail looked better than ever in their borderline Grecian frocks, and from what we could tell, all the chefs did an impressive job with the challenge. Not a single complaint about sand in the food despite everything having been prepared just a few feet down on the beach.
Alas, in the end, TIffany’s chowder was just a tad too cool for the judges’ liking. Plus Tom made a salient point about her strange idea to top the hot soup with ceviche. Wouldn’t that have cooked the fish? I guess it didn’t matter with the tepid temperatures. Tiffany went home, and now we’re left with just three.
I don’t know about you guys, but I’m awfully nervous about Mike’s proximity to the winner’s circle…
Padma: “Chefs, for this Quick Fire challenge, you will be graded on consistency and flavor. You will pair up and make 100 plates of food, all of which will be eaten by my dear friend Gail Simmons, bless her heart.”
Antonia: “Give me a second. I can get the whole fist in there. Here we go…”
Antonia: “Don’t worry, Tiffany. Just because everyone who teams up with me always goes home doesn’t mean that YOU’LL be in any danger…”
Mike: “Hey Blais, you think that if we head-butted each other, our faux-hawks would lock together?”
“Only one way to find out…”
[insert sound of two hollow coconuts thudding]
Padma: “It’s a shame my dear friend Gail Simmons couldn’t be here for this. She absolutely loves a beef salad, especially when it’s served on a bed of candy corns and Ring Dings. Bless her heart.”
Mike: “Hey Blais, five dollars the girls scissor tonight.”
“Hello, cheftestants. My dear friend Gail Simmons was supposed to join me today, but she leapt overboard after she mistook a sting ray for a giant pancake, bless her heart.”
“Chefs, please remember that if you take one step closer to me, you’ll be fed to a hammerhead shark. Or Gail. Bless her heart.”
“Bold flavors, rich body, creamy texture, delicate nuances… I HATE IT.”
Tom: “I didn’t want to wear white today. I wanted to wear gray, but OHHHH NO, I had to wear white. Well, I’m not taking it anymore. DAMMIT, I’m NOT TAKING IT ANYMORE!!!”
Padma: “Hello, chefs. Welcome to Mount Olympus.”
“Seriously? Mike won again? Is this some sort of prank? Like an Andy Cohen version of Punk’d? It’s called Mazel’d, isn’t it?”
Tiffany: “Fuck you. Fuck you. Fuck you. And fuck you.”
What did you think about the episode? Agree with the judges’ choice?