During last night’s episode Top Chef All-Stars we learned a lot about the five remaining chefs, their genealogy and how to whip up a junk food treat whilst on a moving vessel.
The Quickfire Challenge was to make a dish using snack food found in the Ellis Island Ferry’s snack bar. And who better to judge this challenge than the Exec Chef of Blue Hill Farm in New York, Dan Barber? You know, the guy who is all about utilizing fresh, local food? Yeah, doesn’t make sense. Which is why Carla’s “rosemary-infused” orange salad thing won. Yes, it looked a heckuva lot more appetizing than Mike’s vomit soup, but c’mon, it was just a peeled orange with carrot juice and canned papaya. Blais’ hot dog bahn mi was so much more innovative! If anyone else had judged this challenge, I bet Richie would’ve won.
When they got to Ellis Island, they were greeted by either their spouse or their mother. The chefs were then given a rundown on their family tree and genealogy, and asked to create a dish based on their heritage. Apparently, Mike and Antonia are distant cousins, their family trees both branching from the same area in Italy. That explains so much, like their unspoken passion for one another. (Okay, I’m just making stuff up now for my own amusement.)
Now, while this was a cool idea for a challenge, they barely focused on the food and mainly showed the chefs talking about their families. While this let us more into their personal lives, it made it hard for us as the viewers to judge the dishes, as we didn’t get to see as much going on backstage in the kitchen as we usually do. There was definitely more drama and tears at the dinner table than in the back of house this week — heartfelt drama and bittersweet tears, that is.
And I take back what I said last week about no one being safe because apparently everyone was safe this week. Antonia took the win with her Italian braised veal and fava bean risotto (with a nice Chianti?), which also surprised many of us watching last night after hearing the judges gush over Mike’s gnocchi. Whether that surprise ending was fixed or not, Padma was downright cruel to trick Blais into thinking he was going home (for a hot second).
Podcast forewarning: During the first half of the show, we gab about Jeff’s adventures at the South Beach Food & Wine Festival last week. He gives us all the hot gossip!
Whether you watch the show or not, our review of it is top notch snark and an all-around good time. Listen to us (attempt to) recap this episode and the hilarity that ensues.
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Check out our fellow Top Chef fanatics’ blogs: All Top Chef gives us their uninhibited reactions and Please Pack Your Knives and Go is just plain hilarious. And check out TalkingTV’s rules for the Top Chef drinking game here.