The Bahamas, Eric Ripert, the promise of Padma in a bikini: What could bad about the finale of Top Chef: All-Stars? Well, everything. Last night’s show was the most boring episode to date.
Things began with a head-to-head Quickfire against the Top Chef who won that cheftestant’s particular season. Tom hand-selected a meat for each group, and everyone had something to prove. The competition was fierce, but not exciting. Each loser-turned-All-Star won the face-off, except Antonia and Carla, that is. The biggest upset was that Mike beat out Michael Voltaggio in Battle Duck.
Duck, duck, and we were on to the next challenge, cooking for Bahamian royalty. The chefs were escorted by the police, landing smack-dab in the middle of a festival with elaborate costumes and dancing. But it wasn’t a typical king they’d be cooking for, it was the king of the Junkanoo festival! And the kitchen they were shown wasn’t in a palace, but a collection of fryers, microwaves, and a flat top. Tiffany was confident her dish would work anyway, but the other cheftestants were scared.
The chefs pulled a Tim Gunn and attempted to make it work, but when a fryer caught fire everything changed. Rather than worrying about their own safety, they put towels over the food and didn’t leave until a fire truck arrived. The damage was done. All of their food ended up in containment and they were back to square one.
The chefs no longer had to make it work; now they could change up their dishes. Antonia moved to the more pedestrian dish of shrimp and grits, but when she went to plate it she knew she’d made a bad move.
Jersey Mike Isabella shocked everyone, again, with his winning surf-and-turf-like dish: sous-vide chicken, mushrooms, yams, lobster sauce, and lobster hash.
Carla’s last-minute change from pork medallions to a whole fried loin resulted in raw meat. Her unevenly cooked medallion with sweet potato puree, applesauce, and an apple chip – coupled with her uncooked rice in the Quickfire — sent her packing.
Finales are supposed to be entertaining: Last night’s was not. Everyone was dripping sweat and looked awful; getting through the episode proved torturous. No memorable quotes to report, no exciting food, and nothing particularly Top Chef-worthy, let alone of All-Star caliber fit for a king.
Even Richard, the favorite, said, “Honestly, I hate everything I do”. Um, those ain’t no fightin’ words. This show needs an injection of tiger blood stat, or we are out.
Original published on sfweekly.com – Original Post