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Sep 24, 2010 11:01 AM

Top Chef All Stars Predictions

I’ve taken the liberty of writing out my predictions for season 8. If I knew more of you personally, I would try to set up a betting pool, but sadly that’s infeasible. Without further delay:

18. Stephen (season 1)

He’s the most likely to enter the competition rusty from too little time in the kitchen and whiff big-time on the first challenge. Also, while his plating was fantastic, I’m not convinced his cooking was ever up to the same high standards.

17. Elia (season 2)

Out of her league in this company

16. Spike (season 4)

Also out of his league. I wouldn’t be too surprised though if he made it further powered soley by spite.

15. Dale Levitski (season 3)

Yeah, he made some really great dishes in the final episodes of season 3. I’m sure he’s talented. But don’t forget he made few great dishes before then. And he made big mistakes often (including the finale). I’m predicting a poorly conceived dish sends him home early.

14. Fabio (season 5)

I wouldn’t be surprised if he’s pretty rusty coming into this season. He’ll go home for a poorly seasoned dish.

13. Carla (season 5)

Her classical training and likeable but safe flavors will keep her safe for a while. Then at some point, everyone else will just make a better dish. And she’ll go home.

12. Casey (season 3)

She’s talented. But her thinking on the fly is inconsistent. This will cost her.

11. Antonia (season 4)

She tended to play it safe, and that will get her about midway into this competition.

10. Dale Talde (season 4)

A minor upset. Dale is super competitive. His style (vaguely pan-Asian) tends to play well on Top Chef. And I bet he prepared his ass off for this season, now knowing how the whole thing works. Wouldn’t be surprised if he finishes even higher.

9. Jamie (season 5)

Getting tough to pick now. Jamie is quite talented. She’s also moody, occasionally failing miserably at some challenge. The pressure gets to her here. Could be earlier.

8. Tiffany Derry (season 7)

A very good cook. I predict her demise will be the same as on season 7 – one challenge, everyone else will cook something better, and she’ll go home for a good-but-not-great plate.

7. Mike Isabella (season 6)

He’ll look better without Kevin Gillespie and the Voltaggios kicking his butt.

6. Marcel (season 2)

A bit of an upset here too. Marcel didn’t really cook anything in season 2 up to the caliber of Top Chef’s more recent finalists. But I have a hunch Marcel may have developed more as a cook since his season than anyone else. If his technique caught up to his imagination, watch out.

5. Tiffany Faison (season 1)

Quite possible a better cook than the beloved Harold, Tiffany is very talented and competitive as hell.

4. Richard Blais (season 4)

Obviously talented. Why doesn’t he win? His cooking is too technique-forward. It doesn’t have the subtlety and appeal of the cooking of someone like Michael Voltaggio.

3. Angelo (season 7)

You guys notice that most cooks tend to get better as the season progresses? I think the back-to-back seasons work to his advantage. He can be inconsistent, but his recent loss should provide him with the motivation and focus he needs. At his best he holds his own with the best of these competitors. I think he'll be at his best.

2. Tre (season 3)

He has a lot of tricks up his sleeve. And season 3 surely taught him the lesson he needed – not to bite off more than he can chew.

1. Jennifer Carroll (season 6)

She’s inconsistent at times and can be a bit of a head case. She’s also the best cook this season. Hands down. As long as she doesn't play to the level of her competition, she’s got this.

That’s it. Discuss, argue, ridicule.

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  1. Worst of the best: Elia, Spike, Stephen

    Early Exits: Casey, Antonia, Jamie, Mike, Dale T

    Midcarders: Dale L, Fabio, Carla, Marcel, Angelo

    Favorites: Tiffany D, Tiffany F, Richard, Jennifer

    My pick for winner: Tre (Second choice: Tiffany F, Third: Richard)

    8 Replies
    1. re: Fukui San

      Surprised you picked Jennifer no higher than 4th.

      Seems we agree on the bottom three. They're sorta easy to segregate from the rest IMO.

      You really see Casey and Mike Isabella going home so early? Why is that?

      1. re: cowboyardee

        I love Jennifer a lot. But she ran out of steam in her season, and if this is a typical Top Chef season, the grind will wear her down again. If it was just one dish she could well win, but it's a marathon.

        I never really thought much of Casey or Mike Isabella. Soulless Faux-Asian and full of himself Mediterranean without a twist. The judges spent all season accusing Hung of not cooking with soul while ignoring the fact that Casey's "Asian" food was very pedestrian and without "soul". Isabella was a stretch to include as an all star. Capable within his cuisine but little creativity.

        1. re: Fukui San

          'Soulless Faux-Asian and full of himself Mediterranean without a twist. The judges spent all season accusing Hung of not cooking with soul while ignoring the fact that Casey's "Asian" food was very pedestrian and without "soul".'

          I don't know if I 100% agree, but reading that still made me smile. I was all up in arms back during season 3 about those other hacks calling Hung's cooking soulless.

          1. re: cowboyardee

            Fukui San & cbyd, agree re Hung.

            Here's some recent posts about this odd disparagement of Hung whilst other chefs of European background did not get the same treatment - look at posts #772 through #777, then #780 through #784.

            1. re: huiray

              ...and the continuation of the posts up to the end (post #813) before the mod called a time-out are all equally good. I continue to agree with the posts that question why Hung was disparaged as "soulless".

              1. re: huiray

                Finally got around to reading all that stuff today. Very entertaining. It's sort of ridiculous that people are still defending Dale et al and calling Hung's cooking 'soulless.' That argument always smacked of a racial double standard and, frankly, laziness and sour grapes.

            2. re: Fukui San

              Jennifer didn't exactly run out of steam. She blew a competition and then psyched herself out of the running.

              I don't have the nerve to name a 1st 2nd and 3rd -- too many possible surprises, but I would go for Tiffany F., Richard and possibly Tre for top 3. And don't underestimate Dale L. He is getting very high marks for a restaurant he is cheffing in Chicago. I would also expect Mike I and Angelo to do pretty well, but not take the prize.

              1. re: chicgail

                Dale L is interesting because his narrative from season 3 was that Top Chef gave him his groove back. Putting aside how his restaurant is doing, it will be interesting to see if he just pulled off a few good dishes at the end of the competition or if he's really a major contender.

                Jen didn't psyche herself out of the running. She ALMOST psyched herself out of the running, pulled herself together, and barely got beat by 3 very strong competitors. IIRC, she actually went home for a couple dishes the judges liked very well but thought had a pinch too much salt. Michael V was very close to going home instead that episode.

        2. Be interesting to see how things play out between Carla and Cassey.

          Still early days but I think Jen will be the one to beat.

          1. As I posted in the related thread, my top 3 choices are Tre, Jen and Richard. My pick to win it all is Jen (just hope she practiced a few meat dishes in preparation for this competition).

            2 Replies
            1. re: Evilbanana11

              I personally would love to see Mike I and Jen go at it head to head in the finale and have Jen take it home.. Jen is my favorite for this season, I think she'll be joined with Marcel and Angelo in the top 3. I hope that Steve A has been cooking more, he was extremely talented in the first season and then had that awful run in the holiday special, I hope he makes up for it this time around.. I'm looking forward to seeing Tre and Blais cook but don't think they will make top 4..

              1. re: SDGourmand

                It would make for a very interesting season if Stephen were to make a big showing. I wonder if the simple fact that he is willing to compete again after that awful showing in the holiday special implies that he's been preparing. I wouldn't count on it, but definitely could be interesting.

            2. I'm really torn on this one (which will hopefully make it a good season). I think Elia may be one of the first gone, as last I had heard she wasn't even cooking any more. But then again, who knows? Like Dale L. she may be using this as the springboard to get back into it and may be very motivated.

              And I can't decide if just coming off a long season, as Angelo and Tiffany D have, is an advantage or disadvantage. I know Tiffany D has had months off, but since the Finales is shot while the actual season is airing and All Stars was just recently shot, it doesn't seem Angelo will have much of a break. Does that mean he'll have momentum going in? Or will he be worn down by the grind.

              So I think my bottom 4 are: Angelo, Elia, Spike and Fabio.

              Top 4: Marcel (hopefully he has grown; I know he has continued to train in top restaurants), Jennifer (having eaten at 10 Arts I can attest that she knows how to prepare an outstanding beef dish as well as fish), Tiffany F (at an event in AC, Tom intimated she was one of his faves), and Dale L.

              If it was a pool, I'd go this way in order of elimination:
              18. Elia
              17. Spike
              16. Angelo
              15. Fabio
              14. Dale T
              13. Casey
              12. Antonia
              11. Mike I
              10. Jamie
              9. Stephen
              8. Tre
              7. Tiffany D
              6. Richard
              5. Carla
              4. Dale L
              3. Marcel
              2. Jennifer
              1. Tiffany F

              8 Replies
              1. re: gaffk

                Interesting list. Putting Carla above Richard and Tre is definitely going against the common perception. Are they worse than people are giving them credit for or is she better? Also, do you think Angelo isn't much of a chef, or just that he'll be burnt out?

                Of course, if my list is even close to the actual order this season plays out, I would be shocked. Surprises are almost guaranteed.

                1. re: cowboyardee

                  Angelo, I just think will be burnt out. As I said, I don't think there was a lot of time between the filming of the finale and the filming of All Stars.

                  I think Tre is a bit overrated and I think since his appearance on the show he has focused less on cooking and more on promoting a line of cookware.

                  I have Richard going pretty far given the competition. And he may very well go out earlier or later (which is why I am so looking forward to this season--it's a crapshoot :) I just believe at some point before the finals he is going to overthink a dish and go home as a result.

                  I think if anyone's picks are even close to the actual order of the season it would be shocking. We all say this season was better than that season; so-and-so would have gone out earlier if he had competed in season 6; that one would have won season 7, etc. But we can't actually taste the food presented, so who knows?

                  I would love to see Bravo do a prediction pool--everyone pick 1 thru 18 on a point system like March Madness (no reshuffling, no picking new chefs every week).

                  1. re: cowboyardee

                    Oh, and regarding Carla. I think she is a really talented chef, capable of creating both savory and sweet dishes. She will be more likely to stay true to herself and her style and has confidence I don't think she had on her own season. That's why I have her going so far.

                    1. re: gaffk

                      Exactly re: Carla. I think she learned a LOT from being influenced by Casey and will stick to her guns and be herself, Hootey-Who! and all. :-) And like Withnail42, I'll be interested to see how that "relationship" between Carla and Casey plays out, especially after Casey was stupid enough to trash-talk Carla in the articles/blogs.

                      1. re: LindaWhit

                        Carla's a class act, and I suspect Casey will put on a good front. I anticipate there being hints of tension (from the producers) that don't amount to anything real.

                  2. re: gaffk

                    Congrats on calling the first to go.

                    On the other hand, Angelo has a long way to fall to be the third one out.

                    Spike is starting stronger than anyone predicted. Being competitive and game counts for a lot in a competition like this. But might he also be more talented than we're giving him credit for?

                    1. re: cowboyardee

                      You know TC . . .On top one week, out the next ;)

                      1. re: cowboyardee

                        "Spike is starting stronger than anyone predicted. Being competitive and game counts for a lot in a competition like this. But might he also be more talented than we're giving him credit for?"
                        i wouldn't get too attached - my money's on Spike to go home in one of the next 2 episodes.

                    2. I'd definitely put Blais in the top 4 -- he's not just a creative and skilled chef, he's a good game player -- always anticipating, always thinking how to approach each situation/challenge.

                      Other than that perception, I can't come up with any picks that aren't fundamentally based on who I like to watch (which puts Fabio and Carla and Tiffany D way way higher than Marcel and Spike).