Thursday, March 3, 2011

Top Chef All-Stars: No Final Four--All Five Remaining in Finals in the Bahamas

This week's episode of Top Chef was my favorite Top Chef episode ever.

It started with the five remaining chefs, Antonia Lofaso, Mike Isabella, Carla Hall, Richard Blais and Tiffany Derry being surprised to have Padma show up in their loft.

Padma directed the chefs to the roof where she pointed out Ellis Island and told them she'd be meeting them there.

Onboard the ferry to Ellis Island the chefs discover a note telling them that when the boat whistle blows they have til it blows again to make a dish from the limited supplies in the boat's pantry.

The whistle blew and much mayhem ensued as the chefs tried to make something tasty out of items like tortilla chips, hot dogs, cheese, buns and oranges.

In the end, when the whistle blew after docking on Ellis Island, Padma and guest judge, Dan Barber, came onboard to taste the food. After tasting it, it was decided that Carla's orange concoction tasted best.

Then it was on to the Elimination Challenge.

The chefs were told that a famous genealogist had been researching their family histories. And that some special people were arriving to help the chefs sort it out.

At that Antonia's mom, Mike's mom, Carla's husband, Richard's wife and Tiffany's mom walked in.

With their family member the chef's went through the info trying to figure out their heritage and what food to cook to honor that heritage.

It was around this point that the impossible happened. Mike Isabella began to turn likable. He'd not seen his mom for 6 months. We heard the story of Mike's Italian grandma teaching him to cook. And how ever since she died he could never bring himself to cook Italian dishes that she had taught him. Which was the dish he decided to cook for the challenge.

And then Antonia, looking through her history, made the shocking discovery that her arch nemesis, and she, were cousins. With that nemesis being Mike Isabella. It was darn charming watching Antonia and Mike's relationship change after they learned they were cousins. With Mike now rooting for his new cousin to make it to the finals.

Then it was off to Whole Foods to shop. Then 3 hours to cook.

The family members joined Padma, Tom, Gail and Dan Barber for the feeding.

As the dishes rolled out, one by one, nary a negative word was spoken. Tom and Gail and Padma asked questions of the relatives about the chefs. From that we learned Carla met her husband on

After all the chefs had rolled out their food, and Tom remarked that it was all good, wondering how they could make the choice of a winner and who to send home, I think it was Antonia's mom who suggested sending all 5 to the finals.

Back in the Stew Room the chefs waited their fate. Padma summoned them all. Each talked about their inspiration. Again Mike Isabella was likable. None of that blowhard blustering he usually does. There may have been tears.

After some discussion Antonia got the win and the guaranteed spot in the Final 4. And a brand new 2011 Toyota Highlander Hybrid.

Then Mike was told he was in and he could head to the Stew Room. Arriving there the two new cousins celebrated.

Richard was getting nervous. And might I add, his wife is very good-looking and was 5 months along with their 2nd kid. Padma then said to the very nervous Richard, "Please pack your knives." Long pause. "And take them to the Bahamas. You're in. You can return to the Stew Room." Richard looked as if he was about to explode and then he turned very relieved.

Go to break. After the commercials, Padma says Carla's name. Long wait, waiting for the pack your knives and go home message. Then Padma says Tiffany's name. Another long wait. And then, "You're both going to the Bahamas!"

Tom said they could not come to a decision because everyone had done so well.

I love it when I watch a Reality TV Show and I find myself changing my mind about someone. Previously I thought it would be travesty if Mike Isabella went to the finals after chefs like Angelo and Dale were sent packing. And I thought if Isabella turned out to be the winner of Top Chef All-Stars that this would be a bigger joke than when the repugnant non-All-Star, Mike "Boogie" Malin, won Big Brother All-Stars.

Now, I'm okay if Mike Isabella wins. It won't be a travesty. But, I want Carla or Antonia to win. I like both a lot.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I think antonia was off to a slow start in the start of the season.
But she is proving what a great cook she is, and I am so happy to see her finally win something.
Does anyone know if carla won anything for the quickfire?