Real Time Web Analytics Foodie Gossip: Top Chef All Stars Episode 12 Recap: Give Me Your Huddled Masses!

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Top Chef All Stars Episode 12 Recap: Give Me Your Huddled Masses!

Top Chefs Richard, Carla, Mike Isabella, Tiffany & Antonia
Tonight’s Top Chef All Stars Episode 12 left me rather perplexed – were you? I hate endings that leave you hanging – especially ones that aren’t rewarding, but really just obvious tactics used to drag out a story line that could have been far more interesting had the story just gone direct. But I digress… Here’s the recap for Top Chef All Stars Episode 12: Give Me Your Huddled Masses!

Opening Scene: Richard Blais wasn’t prepared to see Dale Talde go home and he can’t celebrate his elimination win. And once again, Tiffany Derry is surprised she didn’t have to pack her knives (I’m rooting for you Tif!).

The chefs head to their “home bar” and everyone drowns their Dale-loss sorrows in drinks – except for Antonia Lafaso, who calls her daughter for a pick-me-up – then the top chefs drink to their next challenge (reluctantly). Mike Isabella: is that remorse I see on your cheating face?

The chefs are making breakfast and wondering what’s in store. Then…  Antonia says: “Is Padma coming in here?”

Suddenly Padma Lakshmi walks into the Top Chef’s apartment (welcome and get out) and  tells the remaining chefs that they should be proud to have beaten the 13 eliminated chefs (we know this is because of luck and "producer say" – less because of talent).

The chefs will be heading to Ellis Island for their Quickfire and Elimination challenges.

The Quickfire Challenge:
The chefs have to cook something with the ingredients in the boat snack bar before the boat docks on Ellis Island! There's no clock so they have no idea how much time they have and all they have to work with is “snack food”. 

This challenge is terrible. It has nothing to do with "real" cooking. But here are the top chef dishes:
  • Richard Blais whips up a Hot Dog & Beef Jerky Sandwich with Jalapeno, Pork Rind, Lettuce and Apple.
  • Tiffany Derry whips up a Nachos dish with Lettuce, Cheese, Tomato, Jalapeno, Banana Pepper and Sour Cream. Then she tops it off with a Candied Mangos and Pineapples Popcorn. Love you, girl!
  • Mike Isabella whips up Bread Soup with Cheddar Cheese, Sour Cream, Green Chili and Pork Rinds.
  • Carla Hall whips up Orange and Papaya Salad with Carrot and Rosemary Juice.
  • Antonia Lafaso whips up Grilled Cheese with Apples and Raisin Bread.

Mike Isabella says he wouldn’t serve his dish to his cat. Of course, Mikey. It was a crap-food competition. Whatever you made isn’t worth serving. You’re being judged on what sucks less.

At the bottom: All of them – it was a shitty challenge. Tiffany, Mike and Richard
Big fat Quickfire near-misses: Antonia
On the top (for five minutes): Carla Hall! Carla Hall wins the crap-shoot!

Richard complains. Richard, you can’t be bitter towards the winner of a snack challenge. In the end, all of the food tastes like crap (their crap tasted better than your crap). 

The Elimination Challenge:
The chefs are reunited with their families (this is sweet). But they have to cook up dishes that relate to their heritages. Really not crazy about this episode. It almost seems as if they picked the “TOP CHEF” winners based on nationalities, instead of their skills. What would have happened if the top 5 were Richard, Marcel, Fabio, Spike and Casey?

How many of our forefathers skipped the Ellis Island bandwagon? I’m kinda thinking this challenge is full of dog poop - but at least the chefs are cooking "real" food.
  • Mike makes Potato Gnocchi with Braised Pork Shank Ragu and Burrata Cheese.
  • Antonia makes Braised Veal, Rapini Leaf and Fava Bean Risotto.
  • Tiffany makes Braised Short Rib with Mustard Greens, Grilled Okra and Oxtail Marmalade.
  • Richard makes Short Ribs, Potatoes, Fried Bone Marrow, Corn Puree and Pickled Glasswort.
  • Carla makes Braised Pork Shoulder, Fried Grits, Corn and Sweet Potato Hash and Cheddar Biscuits. 
The Judges Table:
Kinda want to skip all of this. The judges say everyone wins - nobody is sent home.

So happy Tiffany survived and of course “top chefs” Carla Hall, Richard Blais and Antonia Lafaso. Given Mike cooked up a storm and (for this round) didn’t deserve to be sent home, but to not send anyone home was LAME (with capitalizations).

Hate me if you want to – I believe in quality over quanity (I'll make up for it in spades next week).

More on Top Chef


  1. Hey... excellent post as usual! I am with you on this. I hated that they didn't send anyone home this week. It was a total cop out. And I am disgusted that several chefs who are way more talented have been sent home (i.e. Angelo, Dale, Fabio). Not looking forward to the finale so much. Hopefully, top chef master would be better.

  2. Thanks so much! And totally agree! But I'm wondering if they chose not to eliminate anyone because it would have been Tiffany if they had.

    And it would never have been fair to eliminate her at the same point that she was eliminated last time.

    Instead, they kept everyone in this round so that they could eliminate 2 chefs next week (most likely Tiffany and Mike), and thereby saving poor Tiffany's pride. (For the record, nothing would make me happier than to see her in the finale.)

    That's my theory anyway...

    I think this the new season of TCM will be amazing. The cast is phenomenal and with a more traditional Top Chef competition... Well, it can't get much better than Curtis Stone...