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Top Chef All-Stars - Ep. #13 (Finale Pt. 1) - 03/09/11 (Spoilers)

So....is it REALLY better in the Bahamas? :-)

Well, it's going to be for either Richard, Antonia, Carla, Tiffany or Mike! But probably not tonight - we'll have to wait just a wee bit to find out for whom the Bahamas is best!

And we get to see the chefs who won these finalists' seasons! Kevin Braga, Michael Voltaggio, Stephanie Izard, and Hosea Rosenberg (repeating my :::::gag!:::: from last week!)

They arrive at the island fort - RIchard's wife is due with their 2nd child any day now! ETA: He also has a scruffy beard which he says he's not going to shave off until he wins. Carla says to him "Sorry you'll have to go home with that scruff!" (Hmmm, is that a foretelling that it could be Carla going home instead of Richard?) Mike said he did a lot more training since they left NYC - pastries, cooking in lots of kitchens to try different things. Tiffany feels she's the underdog.

They walk into the fort and see their season's winners - Mike Isabella is psyched, as he thinks Michael Voltaggio is going to be his team member!

Eric Ripert is the guest judge. The cheftestants find out they are going head-to-head against their season's winners. When Mike Isabella realizes he's cooking against Michael V., he's nervous!

Padma says the winner gets $10,000 - either the All-Star or the Season Winner gets the money! And each dish must include a secret ingredient that Tom Colicchio picked out for each season.

TC4 - Rack of Veal
TC5 - Leg of Lamb
TC6 - Duck
TC7 - Pork

They have 40 minutes to cook. Hosea says he has to prove all the haters that he deserved to win his season. (No, you didn't, Hosea!) Michael V. went crazy using all the tools available. Richard's nervous yet again (no surprise!) And many of them are having problems with the induction cookers.

TC7 - Pork - Kevin does BQ; Tiffany does Pork Stew - Tiffany wins!
TC5 - Lamb - Hosea does Braised Lamb, Carla does Jollof Rice and Harissa Pork - undercooked rice does her in and Hosea wins.
TC4 - Veal - Stephanie does Veal Scallopine and Antonia does Roast Veal on the bone - Stephanie wins. Then when Stephanie's up against Richard, Richard wins hands down! So both Stephanie and Richard get $10K.
TC6 - Duck - Michael V. does Citrus Duck Breast and Mike I. does Cashew Dusted Duck - and Isabella wins!

For the Elimination Challenge, they are cooking for a dinner party being thrown by Bahamian Royalty. But in the meantime, they head over to The Cove at The Atlantis.

Next morning, shopping and prep cooking. And they get a police escort over to the party to finish cooking - Mike says every time he has a police escort, he's been headed to jail! LOL Carla is wondering if they're going to get a "Mack Daddy Kitchen" to cook in. Oh, think again, Carla!

They get out in front of Twin Bros. Seafood and Steakhouse to a big street party - King of Junkanoo greets them along with Tom Colicchio. They're cooking for the King and his Crewe.

They rush into the restaurant, and see a microwave, fryer, and flattop. Yeah, NOT the Mack Daddy Kitchen Carla was hoping for! Sure enough, one of the fryers catches fire! Yikes!

Richard covers the fryer with a sheet pan, and someone comes in saying they've all got to clear the kitchen. They cover their food and leave. The fire dept. comes and puts it out. Antonia's now wondering if she can even cook what she was going to cook based on the equipment failure - and she's getting nervous!

Tom Colicchio said since the chemicals got all over the food *and* the kitchen, they have to scrub the kitchen down - so it's a complete do-over. Tom Colicchio said they will try to have the same food available, but when Richard asks if they can recalculate their dishes, Tom said yes. Only Antonia and Richard are changing dishes.

Carla - pork tenderloin in the fryer - which she would normally never do, but thinks it'll cook more evenly. But her pork tenderloin's center is raw - so she's trying a McGyver move on the flattop.

Carla's dish - Fried Pork Medallion with Sweet Potato Puree and Apple Chips - unfortunately, Gail's pork was still underdone.

Antonia made Fried Shrimp with Grits with Pork Shoulder Bits and Slaw - Tom Colicchio said "Howard Johnson called and they want their garnish back". OUCH.

Mike made Sous Vide Chicken with Lobster Hash.

Richard made Roasted Lamb Loin with Braised Turnip and Pickled Cannelloni. Richard's talking to himself in the kitchen that he didn't like his food. Richard - CHILL, man!

And finally, Tiffany made Roasted Pork with Dirty Rice, Curried Slaw, and Tomato Relish.

In the in-between, Richard compares nuts to music....

Almonds - like Opera or Ballet
Peanuts - are the Rock nuts
Walnuts - are like peanuts - British rock. :-) (thanks Nettie!)
Pistachios? That's Pop.
Hazelnuts are the "hippie nuts" (but what kind of music is that?)
And when Mike asks about Brazil nuts, Carla said "Does anyone eat them?" Mike says "well, they're always in mixed nuts!" Carla says "Because they take up space!" LOL I'd say Brazil nuts would be Samba! (thanks to edible complex for the suggested fix from Salsa!)

And they're back at The Atlantis. Mike said he second guessed all of his dishes all season, as did Richard. Carla realized she had to "do what I do", and Antonia said "Yeah, but today was *not* what I do!"

Padma calls them into JT. The meal as a whole missed the mark, she says. One person will go home.

Carla - too sweet apple chips and undercook pork for some.

Antonia's shrimp were overcooked and had very dry pork bits in her grits (which were also dry).

Tiffany's slaw was not curried, had dry meat, but her Tomato Ginger relish was well received.

Mike's dish got very good reviews overall.

Richard, when asked what he thought of his dish, said "I hate everything I do!" But his dish was well received. Gail liked his cannelloni; but Eric thought they were too soft.

Eric Ripert announces that Mike Isabella wins! Figured as much based on what everyone said at JT. But Richard is also safe. So it's among one of the women. I'm thinking it's Antonia or Tiffany. I *really* want Antonia to stay in and cook in the finale, so while I like Tiffany, I'd rather she go.

And we're back at JT...Tom Colicchio reviews the three women's dishes. Said they were all too basic, even though they all cooked from their heart.

And Padma tells Carla to PYKAG! Whoa! I wasn't expecting that - but Carla's saying she realizes that she didn't make a good enough dish and the judges made the right decision. Sorry to see you go, but your grace and fun has been wonderful to watch!

Next week - it's Padma in a bikini! They have to go catch their own conch - and Richard looks like a beached whale trying to dive for the conch - he can't get below the surface of the water! LOL

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  1. I have no tolerance for people who actually say "OMG."

    6 Replies
    1. re: Pylon

      I know - I *only* say the letters when I'm pretending to be a Valley Girl. (Which I'm *so* far from! LOL)

      Like...Oh. Em. GEE!

      1. re: Pylon

        I agree. I think Carla should been eliminated just for that alone.

        The pressure for the contestants to come up with a good dish and to then execute that plan must be tremendous. Right now Mike Isabella has a lot of confidence. Beating Mike Voltaggio in the QF must have really given him a boost.

        While I have no favorite to win the competition, I do hope Mike is not the winner. I realize that is a childish attitude, but to me, even after he showed vulnerability in the last episode, Mike is not a likable person. I just know that if I were one of the contestants, we would clash. I had a few teammates like Mike on my high school and college wrestling teams. (One of the !#%*!#* even wound up being one of my roomates, it didn't end well).

        1. re: John E.

          I'm with you on not wanting Mike to win!

          1. re: John E.

            Unlike viewers, in every contestant interview (including female chefs) I've read that mention Mike, he's very popular. He must be very fun in-person.

            1. re: dach

              I have read the same - it seems that the other contestants really like Mike. I keep waiting for someone to point out that he gets a bum deal on his edits, but no one has said that.

              1. re: dach

                Maybe he is getting a bad edit. I just get the feeling that Mike and I would clash. I'm basing this on his behavior in TC6 as well. Then again, maybe a lot of what bugs me about him are things he says in the confessionals, in which case I would not be aware of most of it until the programs are on TV.

          2. I just have to say, this is the best Gail has looked in quite some time. I think she's outpaced Padma by more than a little bit tonight.

            3 Replies
            1. re: Pylon

              I really hope he is not as fragile as he appears. He looks ematiated and a man on the verge. Last week when he said, "why would they know that, they know how crazy i am" or something of that nature I laughed at his self acknowledgment . Tonight at judges table he looked like he was ready to crack. Hope it was the editing and he is ok. Carla left with class and from Jimmy Fallon show, we know she will remain a force.

              1. re: Bellachefa

                I assume the "he" you are referring to is Richard. His internal dialogue is what lost the finals for him in the last season. It is entirely possible that it will be his undoing again this time.

              2. re: Pylon

                I was thinking the same thing during the show.

              3. I'm glad they gave Richard a quick answer on being safe. After last week, he DESERVED to be let off the hook.

                12 Replies
                1. re: Pylon

                  VERY much agree on that one, Pylon!

                  1. re: Pylon

                    I think they worry about him!

                    Dude! Where's your Prozac?

                    1. re: Shrinkrap

                      Gail's blog this week expresses concern about Richard, as ghg observes below. I was hoping to see him come back a little rested and refreshed, not having pulled a 4-month all-nighter cramming for the Big Test.

                      1. re: momjamin

                        You may have hoped that, but are you surprised he didn't take that path?

                        1. re: Pylon

                          Actually, I thought Richard did look rested and a bit more relaxed.
                          I also thought the spark was back in his eyes, and he didnt seem as crabby to me.However, I was shocked by hm saying he wanted to get into Antonia's head etc.
                          Didnt seem like him at all.

                          1. re: NellyNel

                            That clip was clearly chopped and up reformed. The audio was all over the place. Who knows what he actually said?

                            But he is a competitive guy, and for him to win, she has to lose, right?

                        2. re: momjamin

                          I was hoping to see him come back a little rested and refreshed, not having pulled a 4-month all-nighter cramming for the Big Test.
                          ~~~~~~~~~~
                          well as Pylon said, it's hardly surprising that he was consumed with preparing during their time off - he's clearly never forgiven himself for throwing letting the win slip through his fingers his first time around. plus he's got a new baby coming any day, and he said he was concerned he'd miss the birth....so add that to the mountain of of worry he's piled onto his plate :)

                          1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                            Of course, at the time of filming Richard's baby was on the way, but if I remember from Richard's twitter feed, the baby was born a little while ago and I think he was there for the birth.

                            1. re: Nettie

                              According to Blais' Facebook page, daughter Embry was born Feb. 2, so that was probably after filming.

                              If you have Facebook access, he has a very cute picture of him pretending to be putting Embry into an immersion circulator...

                            2. re: goodhealthgourmet

                              Not at all surprised he prepared. Just wished he could have seemed a little more balanced. The S7 finalists in Singapore (who also prepared, at least some of them) didn't look that haggard after a trip halfway around the world.

                      2. Linda, you have your 6s and 7s mixed up. TC 6 got duck and 7 got pork.

                        (Mods, delete this after the fix).

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: John E.

                          Thanks, John! (And Mods, no need to delete - I sometimes screw up!) It's been fixed.

                            1. re: Phaedrus

                              i've made no secret of my annoyance with Carla this season, but even i felt bad for her tonight, if only because she said she would have felt better going home after cooking a *good* dish. however, she totally did it to herself, and she KNEW it.

                                1. re: roxlet

                                  That's just Carla. She is grace personified. She's like a little kid when she wins but she knows who to blame when she doesn't. I just wish then would have sent Tiffany home instead of Carla.

                                  1. re: Dee S

                                    "She is grace personified. She's like a little kid when she wins ..."

                                    These seem like contradictory statements to me. Just saying.

                                    1. re: Pylon

                                      I think Dee S. meant that Carla knows to blame herself rather than others or malevolent forces when she loses. IF that's the case, then there's no contradiction.
                                      EDIT - lower down there's a link to an interview with Carla in which she says, and here I'm paraphrasing, that you have to take responsibiliity for your own mistakes etc.

                                      1. re: KailuaGirl

                                        The quoted statement :""She is grace personified. She's like a little kid when she wins ..."
                                        IS a contradiction - I laughed when I read Pylons correct obsevation..

                                        However, in reference to Carla - both sentences happen to be true!

                                        1. re: NellyNel

                                          That wasn't a full sentence you're quoting. I believe that the "grace personified" refers to the rest of the sentence that you and Pylon left out, "but she knows who to blame when she doesn't." - THAT is where Carla shows her grace.

                                          and you're right, both things are true!

                                          1. re: mariacarmen

                                            1) She is grace personified
                                            2) she is like a little kid when she wins
                                            3) she knows who to blame when she doesn't [self...or Casey]

                                            1 and 2 are contradictory. Acting like a child is not being "grace." We've seen it in action. Showing grace, even to the nth degree, in situation 3 doesn't make her graceful in #2.

                                            1. re: Pylon

                                              You don't think folks can act with grace and also with childlike enthusiasm at different times?

                                              Very few people are just one way.

                                              1. re: mcf

                                                It really depends on how it is phrased. "acting like a child" to some implies a bad thing. Acting with "childlike enthusiasm" sounds better, and I thins is what was meant. I agree that she doesn't give up being graceful because she gets giddy over something good that happens to her.

                                                1. re: LurkerDan

                                                  Whatever. I'm tired of talking about her. I'm just glad she's gone.

                                                        1. re: roxlet

                                                          Well then I think we can all agree it would have been better all around had she gone home weeks ago, right? ;)

                                                            1. re: mcf

                                                              : )

                                                              I'm enjoying it as much as most people enjoyed seeing Marcel go.

                                                            2. re: Pylon

                                                              you mean you and roxlet and gmk1322 can all agree on that! ( :

                                                              1. re: mariacarmen

                                                                Huh? No, no. I'm in the Carla camp. I'm so sad she's gone.

                                                                1. re: roxlet

                                                                  If you're happy I'm not grousing about her, then I thought it would make you happy for me to have a reason to stop a couple of weeks ago instead of waiting this long.

                                                                  Man, you can't please some people. ; )

                                                                  1. re: roxlet

                                                                    oops, sorry, i thought you said +1 to happy to see her gone. so sorry roxlet!

                                                                2. re: Pylon

                                                                  I don't agree. I do think Tiffany should have gone home weeks ago.

                                                                  1. re: chicgail

                                                                    I think you missed the point of my post...No worries though.

                                            2. re: Dee S

                                              Tiffany's food was edible, Carla's was not, which is why Carla knew it would be her. I thought the next lowest in line was Antonia, not Tiffany. Both Antonia and Carla are faves of mine...

                                          2. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                            That's one reason I liked her so much. None of this delusional "it was fantastic but they just didn't get it" nonsense we've seen from others. So sad to see her go!

                                          3. re: Phaedrus

                                            I was sad too... I really enjoyed watching Carla!

                                              1. re: Pylon

                                                yeah, you've made your opinion quite clear in this thread.

                                                1. re: jujuthomas

                                                  Are you sure you've got it? Let me try again.

                                                  WOOOOOOOOOHOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!

                                                  There. : )

                                                    1. re: rabaja

                                                      Oh, man I was starting to get concerned about "the tone of this thread, blah blah blah." That being said, I'm not glad Carla had to go, but Pylon's last post made me laugh out loud, and for that, thank you.

                                                      1. re: mamachef

                                                        rabaja's post made ME laugh out loud!

                                              2. re: jujuthomas

                                                Same here! I really liked Carla and am sad to see her go.....