TOP CHEF PHOTOCAP: This Show Is On FIRE!

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Our five finalists on Top Chef: All-Stars headed down to the Bahamas Wednesday night for the first of several final challenges. After last week’s strong showing, it was hard to imagine who might go home next. But alas, a new country brought on new challenges, and whereas once these chefs soared, they now seemed barely able to put anything edible on the plate. It didn’t help that they nearly burned down their kitchen in the process.The episode began with everyone arriving in the Bahamas and exchanging hugs. The cast looked pretty much the same except for Richard, whose hair was darker and faux-hawk deflated. I wasn’t sure if he had abandoned his awful, signature look or if humidity had gotten the best of him, but either way, his new trendy style looked equally as goofy. Plus he now had facial hair. Why, Richard? Just do a cute high-and-tight and be done with it.

Also struggling with his personal style was Michael Voltaggio, who returned along with other Top Chef winners (Stephanie, Josea, Kevin — he won? Oh yeah. Worst winner EVER) for a Quickfire. Poor Mikey V had abandoned his old look in favor of a strange Bieber-esque combover / bangsaster. It just looked bad. And anyone who can upstage Richard in the bad hair department needs some seriously haircare help.

Nevertheless, the challenge for the finalists was to square off against whoever won their respective seasons. This mean Carla went up against Josea; Tiffany against Kevin (really? He REALLY won?); Mike against Michael; and Richard and Antonia against Stephanie. Whichever chef offered up a better dish from a surprise ingredient would win $10,000. No surprises here: Richard beat Stephanie, who in turn beat Antonia. Josea beat Carla, who choked once again. And Tiffany beat Kevin (of course she did because Kevin is the worst winner EVER). The only shocker was that Mike Isabella triumphed over Michael Voltaggio. Hard to understand how that happened. Perhaps some cosmic blip. I refuse to believe that Mike can actually be proficient, even if he did win the Quickfire and later the Elimination Chalenge. Eh, he probably stole his recipes again.

Anyway, after the Quickfire, Tom informed the chefs that they’d be cooking for royalty. The cheftestants immediately got to work preparing fancy meals, but surprise surprise — Tom was being tricky. The “King” in question was merely the King of a Bahamian festival that’s akin to Mardi Gras and Carnival. Gotcha, chefs! This was a big problem for most of the finalists as they were all preparing haute cuisine (everyone but Tiffany that is, who now had a big leg up). Needless to say, they were all shocked when they discovered they’d be cooking in a little fry shack. Oops.

Ah, but the universe works in mysterious ways. One of the deep fryers malfunctioned and caught on fire big time, causing the chefs to evacuate while fire crews went in. The bad news: all their food was ruined. The good news: everyone could start over. And there went Tiffany’s advantage.

Well, most people changed their dishes up, and Carla decided to do something she’d never tried before: deep frying pork tenderloin. This was when I wanted to grab her through the TV and shake her. NO CARLA. WHAT THE HELL ARE YOU DOING??? Did she not remember how she got sent home in the finals for employing a technique she had never tried? WHY WOULD YOU DO THIS TO US AGAIN, CARLA? WHY???

Sure enough, Carla’s meat came out unevenly with some pieces being perfect and others raw (a.k.a. Gail’s piece). We all know where this is going, right? I won’t draw this out: Carla went home. It just wasn’t her night, I suppose. Heck, it wasn’t anyone’s night really. Everyone messed up their food big time. It seemed like the high point of the meal was watching Tom inexplicably introduce every plate that came out of the kitchen.

I was really hoping for a Carla / Richard / Antonia finale, but I guess that would have been too much to ask for. Let’s just hope the judges put an end to this Mike Isabella nonsense. If he wins the big title, I’m not sure I’ll be able to deal. He’d be the worst cook to win since… Kevin. Ah, who am I kidding? Kevin still is the worst.

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Padma: “Hello chefs. Welcome to the Bahamas. Unfortunately my dear friend Gail Simmons couldn’t be here for this Quickfire today. She’s spent the morning with her mouth attached to a frozen piña colada machine and has refused to budge. Needless to say, we’ve alerted Bahamian authorities, bless her heart.”

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Richard: “I’ll just plate this veal right here. Not that it matters considering everything I make tastes like SHIT. DIRTY, NASTY, SHIT!!! DAMN YOU, RICHARD! DAMN YOU!!!!”

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Eric: “This veal tastes like, how you say? Ah yes: AWFUL.”

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Padma: “It’s a shame our dear friend Gail Simmons isn’t here. If there’s anyone who likes rubbery veal, it’s her. Then again, you could give her an old basketball to chew on, and she’d be happy, bless her heart.”

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Tom: “Chefs, if you take one step closer to me, you’re all eliminated.”

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“So what’s your plan, Carla?”
“Wellllll, since this is the finals, I’ve decided to do something I’ve never tried before. Because, you know, that ALWAYS works so well.”

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“Ugh. I might as well scrape this COW FECES out of this bowl. Why must I suck at cooking? WHY???”

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“This is fun! Now let’s BURN THIS MOTHER EFFER DOWN!!!”

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Eric: “The sauce is very delicate, which I like. And the flavors strong. Très bien.”
Tom: “Yeah, whatever. Just shut up, Ripert, and move down. I’m on half a cheek here.”

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The King: “You are very beautiful woman, Padma.”
“Oh you are sweet. Have you met my dear friend Gail yet? She’s perhaps more your style. A real salt-of-the-Earth woman. And so friendly. She’ll never say no to anything you put in her mouth. And I mean anything, bless her heart.”

What did you think of the decision? Sad to see Carla go? Was it her own damn fault?

12 replies on “TOP CHEF PHOTOCAP: This Show Is On FIRE!”

  1. Love the recap!

    Yes, Richard’s facial hair is GROSS. Why, dude? Just…why? And I know they’re under a lot of pressure, but don’t tell the judges you hate everything you cook. It’s fine to say it to your fellow cheftestants when you’re sitting around drinking, but at Judges’ Table it just makes you sound whiny.

    Still can’t believe Kevin won, but I have a theory: Top Chef Masters started filming right after season 7. I bet the producers wanted Angelo for Masters, therefore he couldn’t win season 7.

    I kinda liked Michael Voltaggio’s new ‘do, but yeah, I was SHOCKED Isabella beat him. I hate Mike Isabella with a passion–even more than I hated him in Las Vegas, which was a lot–and I’m really afraid he’s going to win (notice how Richard’s getting more of the “asshole edit” lately).

    When Carla mentioned doing a technique she’s never done before, I was yelling “Sous vide! Sous vide! Remember SOUS VIDE?” at the TV. Sad to see her go. She was really sweet.

  2. Very funny! I was sad to see Carla go, but I couldn’t BELIEVE that Mike won the challenge. YUCK! He cannot win. He just cannot.

    At this point, if Tiffany or Mike win, I won’t know what the judges are thinking. And, really, Richard should win. He may choke again, and at that point, Antonia should take it.

    Blech. I don’t like this final 4, especially since there was so much potential at the beginning.

  3. I have to call you out on worst TC winner. Elan/Ilan whatever his name is was the WORST. WORST choice for winner. He had me rooting for Marcel for heavens sake.

    I also think that the Bravo production staff should be in BIG trouble. All of that shabby, malfunctioning equipment. Shame on them!

  4. I was wanting the same final three as you were B. And Mike better not win!!!! I realize that Carla produced uneven results with her pork, and poor Gail, bless her heart, got an uncooked piece, but Tiffany should have gone home for cooking “blah” food. I think that an underachiever is worse than someone trying to do something grand. I am not sure how she or Mike made it to the finals.

  5. No way, I love how you think! Especially about the Angelo theory. Except for the fact that he was very sick he would’ve won. I guess i am skewed way from the masses, as i like, no love, Mike Izabella?

    I also love antonia and RB (the one who should win)

  6. UGHGHGHGHGH *Cries*

    damnit…
    Wish Carla didn’t have to go, she is possibly one of the best reality show contestants (eprsonality not drama) ever….

    I can’t watch the finale now, I mean… I like Antonia, but I doubt she’ll win because the judges always show a male bias when they can. And seeing the douchey self entitled Richard or the homophobic and sexist mike win this season would just ruin the whole thing for me

  7. I’m hoping Antonia will win this competition, but by some fluke I believe obnoxious Mike Isabella will take Top Chef. Arrogant Richard will probablly come in second. Too bad the best chefs were eliminated early on because I would have loved the two Dales, Casey and Jen as the final 4, with either of the Dales being crowned.

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