Thursday, February 24, 2011

Top Chef All Stars Episode Elebenty Recap

This week, the recheftestants (at least Tiffany and Carla) seem unusually excited to meet the self-proclaimed "Queen of Southern Cooking," (I thought that was Art Smith?) and Food Network star, Paula Deen, resplendent in her perfectly gray wig and perfectly white teeth. Seems, y'ow, she wants the chefs to impress her with a dish made in the deep fryer.

Duh. No surprise there.

The chefs get 30 minutes to cook, and the winner of this Quickfire wins $5000. They're just made of money this season, it seems.

At the top of the hour, we saw the chefs hanging out at home. Blais talks about keeping notebooks and stupidly naively shows them to his competition. DoucheyMike, after being somewhat less of an asshole for the early part of this season, shows his true colors and uses this opportunity to steal an idea he spotted in a notebook - chicken "oysters" (the tender bit of meat on the back of the thigh) served in real oyster shells. Deep fry them and Paula Deen will be in love, no? As soon as Mike says he's doing this, Blais realize what's happening and gets a tad upset.

Time's up! Turns out that Paula Deen doesn't love *everything* that's seen the inside of a deep fryer. She was not impressed with Dale's real oysters wrapped in beef, and she was disappointed with Carla's fried fish.

Paula said Antonia's fried shrimp salad with "avacada" was the best dish; however because Antonia only made up one plate instead of the required two, she had to be disqualified. Blais' fried mayonnaise and bacon was also a favorite, as were "Mike's" chicken oysters. And wouldn't you know it - Mike wins.

Padma then introduces James Beard Award winner for Best Chef of the Southeast, and former Top Chef Masters competitor, John Besh, to help with the Elimination Challenge. He tells the cheftestants about a charity that he and Paula support called the Greater New Orleans Foundation that offers assistance to fishermen affected by the Gulf oil spill. The cheftestants must cater a GNOF event for 300 people, using Gulf seafood.

Because there are so many people to feed, six previously-PPYKAG'd cheftestants are brought out to help. Each carries a platter of seafood - the chefs must choose a chef and use the protein he or she bears.

As the winner of this challenge, DoucheyMike goes first and chooses Tiffani and her brown shrimp. He allows Blais to go next, and he of course chooses his BFF Fabio and his snapper. Carla takes Tre and grouper. Tiffany doesn't want to work with Marcel, but he has shrimp, so she calls out that she wants the white shrimp. Oh, and Marcel, too. Antonia takes Spike and his crabs, and Dale by default gets Angelo and a giant amberjack.

I wonder how they chose these six chefs. They weren't the last six eliminated (Casey and Jamie went after Spike) so maybe they had to draw knives?

The chefs and their helpers have $500 to spend at Whole Foods and $200 at Restaurant Depot. After 2.5 hours of prep at the TC Kitchen, they'll have to pack up and head to the venue at New York's Puck Building where they'll have an additional half hour to set up.

Meanwhile, Blais is still fretting over the results of the Quickfire. He says he only makes new dishes on Top Chef, and he definitely wouldn't steal something from another chef. Fabio tells him he reminds him of his ex-wife, which Blais is not sure is a compliment.

Carla, who fucked up a fried fish dish in the Quickfire, considers this challenge to be a chance for redemption, so she sets about making more fried fish, this time, sans hush puppies. She is a bit disappointed to find that Tre, although from the South, is not familiar with Southern cooking. Of course that won't possibly be a liability.

After shopping, the recheftestants go back to Casa Chef where Antonia fills Tiffany and Carla in on Mike's treachery in the Quickfire.

The next day, there are too many people in the kitchen for Dale's taste. Funny that there used to be 18 people in there cooking, and now twelve is too many. He says he thought he got rid of some of his competition, but now they're back - like bedbugs.


Marcel and Tiffany are predictably not getting along. He keeps making the same suggestion over and over again, that Tiff should use some of the shrimp and shells to enrich a stock, but she doesn't want to hear it and shuts him up by saying she's more concerned with making 320 portions of food. Dunno, Tiff - shouldn't you be concerned with the taste of those 320 portions?

The other Tiffani is getting along fine with the big Douchebag, perhaps because she was one herself in season 1.

Two and one-half hours seems like a really short amount of time to cook for 300 people, and if it seems short to me, it must have been a real quickie for the competitors. Soon they are packing their stuff and hauling it out to the venue. Once there, they have barely enough time to get set up before the guests descend upon the food en masse. The judges are among them, and they visit DoucheyMike first. Unfortunately, they like his shrimp coated with grits and served with mashed potatoes.

They also like Blais' dish of snapper and pulled pork with polenta, praising its lightness. Dale has issues with his soup and serves the judges potatoes that are very undercooked and a crouton overloaded with mustard. Tiffany runs out of her honey glaze and rather than do it herself, she allows Marcel to make a new batch - which gets served to the judges, undiluted. Carla's fish is too salty, and she's buried it with too much hot sauce and mustard. Finally, Antonia's crab cake is very well-received.

They convene to the Stew Room and Padma comes in for Blais, DoucheyMike, and Antonia, who created the favorite dishes of the day. Overall, Blais made the best dish and wins the challenge, along with six Hilton-sponsored nights in Barbados and $5K for airfare. Blais says he plans to take his boyfriend buddy Fabio on the trip with his family. sweet!

On the bottom are Dale, Tiffany, and Carla. Anyone can go, because all made pretty serious errors with their food. Tiffany's sauce was too sweet, and her shrimp was mushy. (No telling if her other shrimp, Marcel, was mushy, but we probably don't want to think about that.) She could have blamed her helper, but took full responsibility. Carla covered up her fish with too much hot sauce, and the elements of her dish didn't work well together. Ultimately, the fact that Dale's amberjack was lost in his stew got him sent home.

After the departure of Tre some weeks ago, Dale took his place as the person I most wanted to win other than Blais, so color me disappointed. :(

Next week: Cooking on a ferry?


Neal P said...

Did you notice how much more subdued Paula Deen was here than when she's on Food Network. The "y'ow" quotient was much lower. Just goes to show what caricatures the Food Network people make of their stars.

Kristine said...

I did notice that. I almost cried for Antonia. Girl can't catch a break. She is her own black hammer when it comes to prizes. Was disappointed Dale went. Thought it would be Tiffany, esp. with the "help" she got from her "white shrimp."

bernal_vernal said...

Douchey Mike was a super douche last night. I'm glad Blais won, he's so awesome. I'm very surprised that Dale was cut since he was doing so well this season.

On a side note, I saw an episode of Star Trek Enterprise and Padma was on it, she played an alien princess being held for ransom by bad guys. Its a good think she can cook.

Miss Ginger Grant said...

If DoucheMike had said the phrase "whateverwhatever" one more time in this episode I woulda crawled through the TV and down the cable wire to the Bravo studios so I could mangle him. Words alone cannot describe how much Miss Ginger despises him!

Los Gatos Girl said...

I don't remember Besh on TC Masters, just The Next Iron Chef.

Was so mad that Dale went home instead of Douchebag.

Nanc Twop said...

Not sorry to see Dale go.
He never left his douche-ness behind; I cringed at his treatment of those servers earlier this season. Not to mention his season's (edited) crotch-grab coarseness.

Now its time for MikeDouche to go!

David Dust said...

I too wanted Dale to win and was so pissed to see him go.


MoHub said...

Too bad Dale L. couldn't come back instead of Marcel. Might have gone better for Tiffany, although she hasn't seemed to be completely on her game any time this season.

Mikey was very lucky to get Tiffani.