Top Chef All Stars – The Furious Five (SPOILERS!!!)

No point messing around here.  Another week, another stunning elimination.  The last two weeks, we did not just lose two possible winners.  We lost two guys who could say “I’m the best chef here” and not be wrong.  And now, the observations:

  1. This is one of the quickfires I would have given a limb to attend.  The best “deep fried” dish?  Come on.  Was amazing that Carla mucked it up – although she just gets off track so easily.  I felt for Antonia – just such a mistake.
  2. Mike Isabella winning the quickfire stealing Richard’s idea IS kind of bullshit.  On one hand, hey, it’s all fair – when originality is such a factor, not using your own concept is a big no-no to me.
  3. Paula Deen is of course an icon of Southern cliches.  So why is she the obvious lead for a Louisiana challenge?  I mean gulf coast is a different animal.  John Besh – I understand obviously.
  4. For the challenge itself, using a former contestant sous chef made was a fun contest.  It is amazing how many of the chefs and sous chefs did not fully click.  I mean after watching this show for 8 seasons, it’d be hard for me to let the sous chef do a lot without my input.  Granted I’d probably get a punch in the face – but still.
  5. Carla should have aced this – she knew it, but of course that means she put a lot of pressure on herself.  Her sous chef Tre was of little help, but ultimately it was on her.  In the same vein Tiffany gave Marcel, her sous chef, too much power (HE COOKED THE PROTEIN!!).  Honey shrimp sounds disgusting to me – that’s what she gets for following him in any way.
  6. Antonia and Richard were in the top once again.  Antonia’s crabcake in particular looked brilliant.  But Richard won – on skill and variety and “shock and awe”, he just has abilities nobody else has.  He can absolutely not win this – but he just has more outs than anybody else, in poker parlance.
  7. Really, what might help Richard the most was Dale’s shocking ouster.  It was a bad dish, but I felt bad for him.  This was a cuisine he was out of his depths in.  At this stage of the competition, you’d like to lose because you were good enough – not because the challenge was not in an area of strength.  His tears were hard not to empathize with – because he clearly could have won this thing.
  8. At this stage, your power rankings have to be Richard -> Antonia -> Carla -> Isadouche -> Tiffany, right?  The Carla choice is shaky given the last two weeks, but her best is better than Michael’s best – just a matter of whether she can coax it from herself.

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