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Top Chef All-Stars - Ep. #3 - 12/15/10 (Spoilers)

It's the Relay Race episode - always a fun time (memories of Hung dismantling a whole chicken in a 1-2-3 flash!) As noted on another thread, TWO chefs are going home tonight - and previews are showing Marcel complaining about one of Wylie's sous chefs? Could he be a goner? (I wouldn't cry!)

This ep starts off with Antonia telling Jamie she just should have bandaged up her cut and continued instead of the stitches, and Mike I. saying everyone knows Jen should still be there over Jamie.

David Chang, Chef/owner of Momofuku Group, is the guest judge for the Quickfire Relay Race. Teams are:

1. Angelo, Fabio, Tiffany and Mike - Green Team
2. Tiffani, Carla, Marcel and Dale Talde - White Team
3. Casey, Antonia, Dale Levitski and Jamie - Red Team
4. Spike, Stephen, Tre, and Richard - Blue Team

It's a two-part relay - finish their mise en place, and once the first team finishes ALL mise, they hit a buzzer, and then EVERYONE has only 15 minutes to prepare a dish using ALL of the mise ingredients, regardless of whether they're done with the prep (if you're not done with the prep to Chang's satisfaction, you continue until he gives you the OK - THEN you can start preparing your dish). Angelo's team (Green) finishes mise first, so they end up with the full 15 minutes time to prepare their dish. Seems like they'll win, right? Not so fast!

Teams 1 and 3 (Green and Red) were the least favorites - even with the most time to prepare for the Green Team!! Teams 2 (White) and 4 (Blue) were favorites - and the Blue Team wins! They don't get immunity, but each team member gets $5,000.

For the Elimination Challenge, each team gets to dine at a different high-end NYC restaurant, and then each member on that team will have to prepare a dish they think would work on that restaurant's menu. The EC is an individual challenge - each team member will be battling against each other. So I guess there will be four in the winning group, and four in the bottom group...one from each group?

Knives are drawn to see where each team will go to eat:

Green Team - Ma Peche
Red Team - Townhouse
Blue Team - Marea
White Team - WD-50

Fabio has it tough with a French/Asian-themed food at Ma Peche; Blais could find it tough to edit his dish to pattern it after the coastal Italian food of Marea. Stephen was snooty, as expected. He eats at Marea all the time. So you'd *think* he'll be able to knock this out of the park, right?

And Marcel seems to be in the best spot in his group, going to WD-50, which is right up his alley. Whereas Carla could have problems here with the WD-50 style. And ALL of the chefs who go to David Burke's Townhouse could be in a bind - Burke's presentations are fantastical!

Wouldn't it just be wickedly delicious if both Stephen AND Marcel were told to PYKAG? ;-)

Each team ends up cooking IN the restaurant in which they dined the night before. Mike I. brings up that his competition is Angelo. Tre said that some people call him the Black Italian, so he thinks he'll do well. Carla noted the sous vide that Casey helped her with didn't work out so well in her season, so she won't be going that way. And Stephen seems to be having problems getting appliances to work.

The judges show up at Marea first. Blais really seemed to pull out a winner of a dish, as did Tre, whereas Stephen's dish was called like being in a head shop by Anthony Bourdain. :-D

Off they go to Ma Peche. Angelo gets high marks, as did Mike I. Fabio's dish was not well received, and Tiffany's was good, but not stellar.

Then they head to Townhouse. Jamie's dish didn't get good reviews, and Dale's dish was called too sweet by several judges. Casey's "scallibut" was enjoyed, and I didn't hear about Antonia's dish (ETA: guess it was good, as you'll see below!)

Marcel talks about one of Wylie's sous chefs accusing Marcel of culinary plagiarism in the mini-insert between commercials. Wonder whatever happened with that accusation. And now Marcel's going to be cooking at WD-50.

Finally, the judges are off to WD-50. Dale Talde is smart in saying he's not familiar with the cooking method, so it's not wise to play Wylie's game. Tiffani, however, is pushing the envelope. And she doesn't get good reviews, whereas Dale played the egg game (Wylie's favorite food) and does very well. Carla plays it safe, but it was good. But Wylie said while Marcel's embraced the equipment in the kitchen, he might not have applied the techniques as well as he could have.

Judges Table is going to be INTERESTING! Padma comes in and asks to see Dale T., Antonia, Angelo and Tre first! They have the favorite dishes! Winner gets a 6-night trip to New Zealand. Anthony asks Dale if he was aware Wylie's a complete "egg slut", and yes, he was aware of it, but kept it simple. Smart move, as he's the winner! WTG!

Stephen, Tiffani, Fabio and Dale Levitski. Hmm, Marcel's not in the bottom group! Yikes - in this group, based on what we saw, I think it's probably Stephen and Fabio going home. PLEASE, it cannot be Tiffani!

Stephen knows he put too much on the plate; Fabio seems restrained in his replies back to the judges. Tiffani knows she went overboard in using the equipment, when maybe she shouldn't have. Dale L. said Townhouse is like "food with jazz hands" - good description!

Yikes - Tiffani's dish was called a parody instead of an homage by AB! Could she actually be going home? I definitely think it's Fabio, but not sure between Stephen, Tiffani, or Dale!

"I have great knowledge of Led Zeppelin; doesn' t make me Jimmy Page" - Tom Colicchio to Stephen re: his knowledge of Italian food. Great line. :-)

STEPHEN and DALE are told to PYKAG! I'm bummed that Dale's gone, but glad Stephen is gone! However, Stephen is pretty gracious in his confessional about the other chefs - he knows he's not the same as the other fiercely competitive chefs who are on All Stars. Good for him!

Previews show them cooking at the U.S. Open, and someone cuts themselves yet again - and Tiffany accusing Angelo of "helping? Or hindering?" And JT preview even shows Tom C. saying something about Angelo sabotaging? Whoa.

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  1. Always fun when David Chang is in the house ... !

    1. I didn't enjoy the mise en place quickfire as much as usual. Somehow I felt a bit cheated by not getting to watch ingredients happen individually. Still fun though. Looking forward to the elimination challenge. Loving having David Chang on.

      5 Replies
      1. re: debbiel

        Agreed! Though, I thought the timing element for creating a dish was a neat twist. So far, I am enjoying the types of challenges this season.

        1. re: debbiel

          I think that, give the 60 minute limit of this episode, it would have been impossible to do that and still make it to all the restaurants with enough time to see the dishes being made and then to comment on them. This was a jam-packed episode, which could have easily been expanded to 90 minutes. Everything felt rushed to me.

          1. re: roxlet

            Agreed. This was definitely an episode that should have been 75 minutes, at a minimum.

            1. re: LindaWhit

              All that said, I thought it was one of the first times in a long time where we heard them talk about EVERYONE's food.

            2. re: roxlet

              Agreed roxlet, though I think that's what I would have liked--a 90 minute episode. More time on the quickfire, more time with judges' deliberations. Mind you I didn't dislike the quickfire; I just felt it was missing a little of the drama from past seasons. And I did like the create a dish twist.

          2. When Stephen was going on and on at Marea, I was wondering if he was getting the PYKAG edit, so I was thrilled with the "tastes like a head shop" comment.

            7 Replies
            1. re: debbiel

              Yeah, that's EXACTLY what I thought when I wrote above how delicious it would be to have both Stephen AND Marcel out, since both seemed to be getting early camera time - have the Elves revealed their hand early?

              1. re: LindaWhit

                Hoping you are right ... I really want TIffany and Dale L to survive this one! They are both much better chefs than the S&M pair.

                1. re: Siun

                  Well, we know Marcel lives to be a snot another day!

                  1. re: LindaWhit

                    Damn! Dale L is such a good chef ... and neat guy ... it's awful he goes when Marcel stays.

                2. re: LindaWhit

                  Tiffani should have went home. Im happy to see Dale and Stephen leave though.

                3. re: debbiel

                  You'd think he's know by now that this group of fellow chefs are not impressed by his dining habits? and his fashion comments were ... amusing. He always seems like a maitre d' from an overpriced resto in the 70s.

                  1. re: Siun

                    I think your last line is spot on.

                4. Not Angelo. Not Angelo. Not Angelo. Please.

                  <phew> And congrats Dale. I so wanted to try that dish, and I'm mostly a vegetarian.

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: debbiel

                    Not Angelo. They heard you. :-)

                    NOW I'm saying "Not Tiffani. Not Tiffani. Not Tiffani. Please!"

                  2. Line I do not ever want to hear on Top Chef again: I think Stephen got a little over excited.