Real Time Web Analytics Foodie Gossip: Top Chef All Stars Episode 14 Recap: Island Fever (Finale part 2)

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Top Chef All Stars Episode 14 Recap: Island Fever (Finale part 2)

Padma Lakshmi & Chef Lorena Garcia
On this week’s Top Chef All Stars, episode 14 (Island Fever): Only four chefs are left as we said a bitter farewell to fan-favorite Carla Hall last week. Now the final four chefs, Richard Blais, Antonia Lafaso, Tiffany Derry and Mike Isabella will battle it out in part two of the Top Chef All Stars Season 8 Finale. Let’s just hope it’s a fair fight this time…

And now here is the Top Chef All Stars Episode 14 recap:
In the Bahamas the chefs mourn Carla Hall’s departure. Antonia Lafaso is still trying to grasp her near miss. Mike Isabella, on the other hand, is convinced he's ‘King of the Kitchen’. Richard Blais is apathetic. And the only one who seems to truly miss Carla Hall is Tiffany Derry.

The chefs arrive at the Atlantis Kitchen to find Padma Lakshmi and Chef Lorena Garcia, one of the country’s leading Latina chefs, a judge on America’s Next Great Restaurant and creator of Big Chef Little Chef, standing by a stack of plates and aprons.

The Quickfire
Mike Isabella & Richard Pair Up for the Quickfire
The chefs divide into pairs, in a challenge focused on "consistency and precision," to cook 100 identical dishes in one hour. Padma Lakshmi and Lorena Garcia will pick random plates to taste, just to be sure the chefs don’t spruce up specific servings to impress the judges.  The prize: $5000 furnished by Trilato Wines.

Mike Isabella and Richard Blais immediately decide to pair up – Mike says Antonia Lafaso is a “black hammer” and will take down anyone she pairs up with. Antonia would have chosen Tiffany Derry as her partner anyway, since Tiffany is always calm, cool and collected.

  • Richard and Mike make a Pork Bolognese with Fresh Macaroni and Pecorino Cheese. Richard goes on about how he’s never on the bottom and wants to spread intimidation among the other chef. I want to backhand him after he says this, but hitting a TV would hurt.
  • Antonia and Tiffany make a Beef Tenderloin Salad with Cilantro, Mint Basil and Chimichurri Sauce. The girls are making everything in one batch to ensure consistency.
Once again, Richard makes snotty comment about his competitors, calling their plates a “slice and serve” dish.

Antonia & Tiffany hug out their Quickfire Win
The winners of the Quickfire is: Tiffany Derry and Antonia Lafaso!!

The boys can make all the snotty comments they want, but plating four perfectly created components on 100 dishes that match seamlessly tops scooping the same amount of pasta onto 100 plates. They clearly missed the point of this challenge and per Mikey’s sentiment: Run to the store, buy a case of beer and drink your snotty loser selves into a stupor and remember your place for the upcoming challenge – oh, and talk less shit about your competitors.

The girls embrace with excitement and Antonia proves that she’s not a ‘black hammer’ in this challenge. They enjoy watching the boys simmer in their bitter loserishness. (Yes, “loserishness” is a word… A word that I invented!)

The Elimination Round
The chefs must create a high-class lunch for the Nassau Yacht Club’s 80th anniversary. The chefs must incorporate the most signature ingredient of the Bahamas: Conch

Richard thinks that he should win because he grew a beard. Mike Isabella thinks he’s dominating the competition – has anyone informed him that he LOST the Quickfire challenge? Tiffany seems unusually confident, without being arrogant (of course). 
Padma Lakshmi Sports a Bikini

Padma Lakshmi greets the chefs in a bikini, with a crocheted wrap. She’s clearly dressed like this for publicity reasons and it worked. Mike Isabella drools over her shamelessly (shocker). A half-naked Padma tells the chefs that their challenge starts the moment their feet hit the sands of the private island they’re being taken to.

The chefs arrive at the beach and find the boxes of food – but there’s a catch: in the box labeled  conch, the chefs find snorkeling gear. Tiffany is freaking about sharks and the rest of us are freaking about having to see Mike Isabella topless – swim with your shirt on Mikey!! Richard needs to fish in a waiting pool.

Tiffany (a 1st-time snorkeler) kicks butt. Antonia does as well. The chefs begin cooking on the beach, with MAJOR limitations: they have no electricity, gadgets or equipment.  They have to break the conch out of the shell – which none have experience… All the chefs are struggling…

All four chefs seem confident of their dishes. Is it terrible that Mike Isabella is (kind of) winning me over again? If only he’d stop slammin’ the competition… Richard’s incessant rambling always sounds the same. Win or lose, I don’t care.  The judges and diners arrive wearing all-white outfits. Pretentious, but hopefully their bravado won’t be…
  • Richard Blais serves a Sweet Potato Linguine with Conch & Spiny Lobster.
  • Antonia Lafaso serves a Seared Red Snapper with Conch Tartare and Lobster Nage.
  • Tiffany Derry serves a Conch and Coconut Chowder with Sweet Potatoes and Conch Ceviche.
  • Mike Isabella serves a Banana Leaf Wrapped Grouper, Braised Pineapple and Conch Vinaigrette. Are you surprised that he stole his dish concept from Elia Aboumrad (season 2)
Top Chef serve a five-star meal to the Nassau Yacht Club
Mike scores points (with me) by mentioning my favorite cocktail of all time: a Dark & Stormy! It would have been nice if the chefs didn’t crowd Tiffany while she finished her dish.  The only chef that doesn’t mouth off about their “winning dish” if Tiffany.

We see the chefs waiting to be called up by the judges and the only chef that feels good about their dish is Tiffany.

At the judge’s table:
The judges are overall impressed that not a single grain of sand made it into the food. And the winner is…
Mike Isabella wins the Top Chef Finale part 2?? I kind of believe it – what he did with the pineapple was spot-on. While I know he’s not the fan favorite – and he’s done a MASSIVE amount of shady things – his skills in this round were unique and he deserved to win. The judges called out his pineapple as well – rock star technique. Sad that this win will push him over the edge of obnoxious…

And with a top there is always a bottom… Three chefs are left… Richard’s conch was undercooked. Tiffany’s soup arrived cold and was too sweet.  Antonia’s dish was on the spicy side and there were inconsistencies in the cooking. And Padma says…

“Tiffany, please pack your knives and go.”

Wow… Really??? With tears streaming down her sweet lil’ cheeks, Tiffany Derry says “I was out-cooked and that is the bottom line”.

Tiffany Derry Packs Her Knives
Tiffany, you’re probably right, but at least rest assured that it was a close-call and you lost by a hair. I, for one, would be absolutely grateful to dine at your restaurant any day. Cook on, girlfriend! And while you didn’t finish as “Top Chef” you still finished on top!

Next week…
Top Chef All Stars Episode 15: The Last Supper…
The chefs are whipping up dishes for the big leagues!  Can Mikey Isabella, Richard Blais and Antonia Lafaso handle it? Am I a “big bitch” for re-labeling next week’s epi as “War of the Egos”? You tell me…

1 comment:

  1. Your blog is really great!I love the way you highlight the winners and loser of every challenge clearly.
    I'm sorry, but you did get just a few words/facts wrong... It's called a "wading" pool, not waiting pool, and Richard made "Spiny lobster," not Spicy Lobster. And it actually was Richard's lobster that was undercooked; the Conch - all the judges agreed - was cooked perfectly. Just be careful about these little details. Love this blog though!