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Top Chef All-Stars - Ep. #16 (FINAL Finale Pt. 4) - 03/30/11 (Spoilers)

Can you believe it? It's here...the FINAL finale Top Chef-All Stars episode! It sure seems like a long time coming this season, huh? Anyway, duking it out for the top spot are Richard Blais and Mike Isabella. The guy that most loved to love and one of the guys that many loved to dislike. :-)

Bravo shows how they both made it to the finale - the wins they each had throughout the season.

And what do they get to do for their final challenge? They are to create the restaurant of their dreams! No twist or turns. They are to create a 4-course tasting menu.

The next morning, Padma meets ALL of the Top Chef All-Stars (except Richard and Mike) in the kitchen - they have 30 minutes to create an amuse-bouche for Richard and Mike to taste in a blind tasting - and the top 3 dishes they pick will be the sous chefs they choose.

Both Richard and Mike try and figure out who made what - and they can't.

Richard's choices - Spike (Ceviche of Squid), Angelo (Chicken Wing) and Antonia (Egg dish). (He had wanted Dale, Jen and Angelo, so he got one of them!)

Mike's choices are Tiffani F. (Coconut Curry), Jamie (Pork Tenderloin) and Carla (Tropical Salsa)

How funny is it that Mike said he didn't want Jamie, because - well, Jamie is Jamie (slow). Nor did he want Marcel, as they hadn't worked well together.

They have 1 hours to plan, 5 hours to cook the next day, and they'll have 70 customers as well as the judge's panel.

Back in their restaurant choices, Mike chooses to cook in the Seafire @ the Atlantis and names his restaurant Restaurant Iz. Richard is in the Cafe Martinique in the Atlantis, and his restaurant is called Tongue in Cheek.

Mike has Carla as FOH and on dessert; Tiffani is on the fish station, and Jamie is the cold station.
Richard has Angelo doing the mise for all cold dishes, Antonia is prepping all vegetables, and Spike will do meat and FOH.

Tom Colicchio checks in with both - thinks Richard knows what he's dealing with since he had the same pressure in his season; whereas he thinks Mike may not be able to handle the pressure.

Finale Judges: Lydia Bastiniach, Hubert Keller, Alfred Portale, Bill Terlato, Art Smith, and Curtis Stone. The first 4 are part of Padma's group, the last two are dining with Tom and Gail. (I miss Anthony Bourdain, dammitall!)

Lots of scrambling in both kitchens trying to figure everything out - Richard has 4 (FOUR!) proteins on his plate, as well as an amusette - he's thinking of tossing out the oyster amusette as he's not happy with how they look, but he chooses to go with it with frozen creme fraiche pearls - oysters and pearls - very clever (and Tongue In Cheek!). And they REALLY like it!

1st course - Richard - Raw Hamachi with Fried Veal Shortbread
1st course - Mike - Spiced Beet Salad with Chocolate Vinaigrette and Nuts

2nd course - Richard - Pork Belly, Black Cod, and Bone Marrow
2nd course - Mike - Halibut with Kumquat Marmalade

3rd course - Richard - Braised Short Rib with Red Cabbage Marmalade
3rd course - Mike - Braised Pork Shoulder with Pepperoni Sauce

Dessert - Richard - Fois Gras Ice Cream with Cornbread and Whipped Mango
Dessert - Mike - Rosemary Caramel Custard

(Phew! Wasn't sure if I was going to get all of those dishes! LOL)

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
The in-between has their sous chefs talking to the confessional camera about the chefs they were sous chefs for....and all of them show great respect for who they were cooking for. Mike's shown a lot of strength and worked really hard in the last few months to be where he is, per Tiffani, and Richard is one of the finest chefs that Angelo's ever worked for, and someone who collaborates well, per Antonia.
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

The 2nd group of judges show up at each restaurant, and they go through the same thing. A LOT of talking from Mike as to how confident he is; Richard and Spike tweaked his fois gras ice cream the 2nd time, and it seemed to go over much better.

And their back waiting for JT...both say their team did very well for each of them. And then they head into JT....here we go!

Mike gets very good reviews from Gail - finesse, effeminity (from the women in the kitchen?) and great flavors.

Richard is told he had intense, extraordinary flavors throughout his meal. And in their answer to "Why should you be Top Chef?" THAT is where Richard's big smile and happiness came from. Rut-roh!

And while their waiting for JT, family members show up in the "Stew Room".

Back at JT, each course is judged:

1st - goes to Richard
2nd - goes to Richard
3rd - goes to Mike
4th - several give it to Richard, and 1 gives it to Mike, but for some reason, they give it to Mike (perhaps because not everyone had the same good fois gras ice cream from Richard?)

Gail said she'd want to eat at Mike's restaurant during the week, and Richard's restaurant on the weekend.

I just can't figure out which way they're going to go! PLEASE let the amuse that Richard gave everyone put him over the edge into the Win column!

And we're back! Their family members and the other All-Stars are there for the final judging!

YES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Richard wins! WOO HOO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I *loved* seeing how happy and tearful Richard was - especially when he called his wife on the phone (who *was* still pregnant at home when they filmed the finale) to tell her he had won. I'm thrilled for him - he SO deserved this win!

And THAT, my friends, is Top Chef All-Stars. The best of the best won!

And we're out....... :::::::::::::::Fade to black::::::::::::

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  1. Thanks, Linda! I can't stay up to watch it (I'm on the west coast) i have to be on the road at 3am, so I am so looking forward to the rest of your post. You always make me feel like I've seen it. Thank you very much.

      1. ack!!! ok, despite our belief that Blais had this in the bag, i'm FREAKING out right now because the judges had such high praise for Mike...and what if they come back to JT standing in opposite positions???

        i hopehopehope that the amuse put Richard over the edge...

        2 Replies
        1. re: goodhealthgourmet

          I think they showed swaying back to Richard...... I want to taste that hamachi first course! Funny how dessert is always bad, though.

          1. re: goodhealthgourmet

            I'm SERIOUSLY hoping that amuse puts him over the edge as well! EVERYONE liked that!

            ::::::tummy is all jumpy!:::::::

          2. YESSSSSSSSSSSSSSSS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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