Real Time Web Analytics Foodie Gossip: Top Chef All Stars Episode 8 Recap: An Offer They Can't Refuse

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Top Chef All Stars Episode 8 Recap: An Offer They Can't Refuse

Top Chef All Stars Episode 8 (An Offer They Can't Refuse) had all sorts of surprises. the one thing I really did love was that this Top Chef episode focused more on the food and less on the drama. It really made for great reality TV. And here's a recap of this week's Top Chef All Stars:

Some of the chefs feel bad about Marcel’s departure, but Mike Isabella ain’t one of them. He goes on a major Marcel-hating rant. Antonia is annoyed by Mike’s rant and says: “He’s abrasive. He’s annoying. I have a list of people I would like to see go home and he’s at the top of it.” Snottily said, Antonia.

The Quickfire Challenge:
In honor of NYC Fashion Week, Isaac Mizrahi judges the chef’s dishes based on aesthetics only. Angelo says that in addition to cooking, he is just passionate about fashion! That’s great Ange. Padma tells the chefs that she and Isaac Mizrahi will not taste the dishes and that the winner will have immunity in the elimination challenge.
- Carla feels that her past modeling experience gives her an advantage in this quickfire.
- Richard knows Isaac is loves the color black and decides to go with black ice cream.
- Angelo’s inspiration is crocodile skin. He always wanted to be a food designer.
- Fabio’s inspiration is a “beautiful woman walking in the rain trying to don’t get messed up by the water”. We love you Fabio.
- Tre creates a salmon dish because the color of the salmon contrasts well against the white plate.
- Antonia is not cooking anything and making a plate dedicated to Shell Silverstein’s “The Giving Tree”. I love him to, but this is a food competition.
- Dale’s dish is inspired by street art
- Tiffany’s dish is inspired by nature, “purity of the earth”.
- A lot of dishes look like Kindergarten art projects.

Isaac Mizrahi seems to have left his manners at the door when he enters the room. He doesn’t hesitate to be over critical of the chefs’ dishes. Isaac tells Dale that his dish looks like the scraps from another prepared dish (harsh words, but he’s right). Isaac teases Mike Isabella about the raw egg on his plate – it’s hard to tell if he’s insulting Mike or not. Richard scores big with Mr. Mizrahi. Isaac says that Antonia's nuts are too big for her "Giving Tree” – and Richard thinks there’s a Koala on her plate. Angelo's graffiti is misspelled and Isaac compares it to Charles Manson.

Dale, Tre & Angelo were the least favorites.

Fabio, Carla, Richard are the Quickfire Top Chefs and Richard wins immunity with his ice cream dish! Good for you Richie.

Elimination Challenge:
The chefs must prepare a traditional Italian feast at Rao's, a famed New York City Italian restaurant. The guest judges are Frankie Pellegrino (actor and co-owner of Roa’s New York), Frankie Jr. Pellegrino (co-owner of Roa’s Las Vegas) & Dino Gatto (executive chef of Roa’s New York)… And “Goodfellas” and “The Sopranos” actress, Lorraine Bracco! We looove Lorraine! And did I mention that Anthony Bourdain is in attendance? The Italian feast must consist of the three typical Italian courses that are inspired by the Pellegrino family: Antipasti, Primi and Secondi. The chefs are split into 3 teams.

Antipasti: Antonia, Carla, Tiffany
Primi: Tré, Mike, Dale
Secondi: Angelo, Fabio, Richard

Fabio and Mike are just giddy about the judges and the challenge. Tre and Antonia are pretty stoked as well. Tre decides to make risotto. Has risotto ever worked out well on Top Chef? Angelo mixes up his Spanish with his Italian. The chefs run like gray hounds through the grocery store. Mike feels like he’s under extra pressure, since he’s the favorite. I’m assuming what he means is that there is more expected from him because he specializes in Italian food.

At Rao’s, Tom Colicchio, Padma Lakshmi, Frankie No & Company, Lorraine Bracco, and Anthony Bourdain gather around the table. Lorraine Bracco talks about her first visit to Rao’s with Joe Pecci and Ray Liotta.

First up, it’s team Antipasti (Starters):
-     Carla makes Minestrone.
-     Tiffany makes Warm Polenta Terrine and it catches fire
-     Antonia makes Mussels in white wine. I guess she’s decided to play it safe?
-     Frankie No says Carla’s soup is good like Wisconsin soup is good. At least Anthony Bourdain and Lorraine Bracco liked it.
-     Everyone just loves Tiffany’s Polenta.
-     They also like Antonia’s dish. But she doesn’t get as much love as Tiffany.

Next up is team Primi (Pasta):
-     Dale makes Brussels Sprouts & Pancetta. He says “The Dudes are gonna kill it on this next one”.
-     Mike makes a Spicy Calamari & Fresh Rigatoni, but his rigatoni doesn’t cook fast enough and he hopes it’ll cook a bit more in the sauce.
-     Tre makes a Grilled Vegetable Risotto and wants to make sure that each vegetable has its own defined flavor.
-     None of the judges look happy eating Dale’s dish that was best described by Anthony Bourdain: “Some poor bastard in the witness protection program is eating this right now”. Tony made a funny. And Tom says to Lorraine, if your boyfriend cooked this for you, you’d probably leave him. Lorraine responds with: “He’s not getting’ laid tonight!” Now that was funny.
-     Lorraine Bracco says that Tre’s risotto was not what it was supposed to be. Anthony Bourdain thinks the garnish was overkill.
-     Mike’s pasta was not even al denté – it was just plain hard.
-     None of these dishes were done well. Anthony Bourdain wonders how “three culinary professionals fuck up a pasta course”. Yes, Anthony Bourdain said “fuck”.

Secondi (Main Course):
-     Angelo makes a Sautéed Pork Chop
-     Richard makes a Fresh Pancetta Cutlet
-     Fabio makes Chicken Cacciatora with Polenta. Richard compares Fabio’s cooking to magic. Their bromance gives me warm fuzzies.
-     Angelo’s pork chop had too much garnish and was swimming in sauce. But it was still tasty (just not fabulous).
-     They loved Richard’s cutlet. The panko crust was perfect and he showcased the meat, as one should when preparing an Italian dish.
-     Frankie No describes Fabio’s dish as “Old World”, which is a good thing. Anthony Bourdain says “Fabio’s polenta wiped away the stain from the previous course. I feel better about the world now.”

The Elimination
Antonia, Fabio, Carla & Tiffany are called to the judges table first. I’m happy to see Tiffany make it in the top group for a change. And apparently she was too – she sheds a few tears of happiness. Lorraine Bracco boasts of Tiffany’s dish. And apparently, playing it simple worked very well for Antonia – Tom thought her dish was perfect. Anthony tells Fabio that he was in a dark place from the previous course and that Fabio’s dish pulled him back into the light.
Antonia wins the challenge and $XX with her Mussels in white wine. Fabio can’t believe she won with a bowl of steamed mussels with fennel. I’m kind of surprised as well, but maybe this win was to make up for her non-win in Top Chef All Stars episode six?

Top Chef Tre Wilcox
Which chefs were on the bottom?
Mike Isabella, Dale, and Tre are called in next. Mike openly admits his pasta was undercooked and he knew well that his dish sucked. Tom and Anthony grill the losing dish into Mike a bit more. Tom says Dale’s pasta crumbled in his mouth – it didn’t have a tooth to it. Lorraine says Dale’s dish was really bland. Tre thought his risotto was cooked correctly and Tom quickly tells him it wasn’t. Padma and Tom both tell him that his risotto was too firm (it should be creamy and spread out on the plate when it’s served) and Anthony tells Tre that there was too much garnish. Tre looks bummed.

Sadly, Padma tells Tre to pack his knives and go.

Tre looks sad and Mike Isabella looks blown away. Tre leaves with class and promised that all his future risotto dishes will spread from now on. We love you Tre.

On next week’s Top Chef All Stars Episode 9: Jimmy Fallon is a guest judge.

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