Top Chef All Stars – Down to Four (SPOILER ALERT!!)

After the diabolical (but ultimately probably not that helpful food-wise) quickfire combined with the great elimination – this week we get sort of an exact reverse … a combination of one of the best quickfires in the season’s history with one of its least inspired eliminations.  The bullets …

  1. I am still not 100% sure about The Bahamas’ merit as a finale location.  Is it a sudden hot food locale, like Singapore or New Orleans was?  Was it just a blatant excuse to get Padma in a bikini – and let’s face it, is an excuse necessary for that?
  2. The quickfire was an all-timer.  A 40 minute iron-chef like challenge pitting each chef against his or her season’s winner.  Pretty clearly Carla had the easiest opponent with the lucky-to-win Hosea Rosenberg.  Her struggle in the basics (like the rice) was a harbinger.  Similarly Michael Isabella – who had boasted about the work he had done between NY and the islands – delivered a major shock by knocking of Michael Voltaggio.  You beat the best former winner that, and no worse than the second best Top Chef in general, that is a good sign.
  3. But alas, there was the elimination challenge.  First of all – the misdirection was odd.  Should one of the chefs have known that the Bahamas do not have a monarchy?  Probably – but stranger things are possible.  But where was the flair here?  It just seemed like a typical challenge – there was no real twist or “so-what” to the challenge.  The women all seemed tripped up – but the show did a poor job making me care.  Even the fire – obviously a serious wrinkle competitively – did not get projected with the requsitie oomph.
  4. Hard to have a problem with the elimination.  Tiffany skates by again – her dish was somewhat tasty albeit lacking in ambition.  I really was worried Antonia would go out – although she did a poor job.  Carla just made bad pork – and to whatever degree sensible, the judges held to their promise of judging on this week’s dish.  Carla did what Carla does – when it’s good, it can win it all, when it’s not, this happens.
  5. Blais’ self hatred – well LG and I discussed.  It’s not self hatred (well maybe a little) – but supreme self confidence.  Richard is convinced he should crush these people, and so he only sees negatives in his performance, because for him only negatives prevent him from winning this in a walk.  He could get paralyzed by this mental unhealthiness, but it drives him to be as good as he is.  That said, the big mover in my power rankings now is Mike Isadouche.  He has command over more technically than anybody besides Blais, and he has only had a couple of truly bad performances.  He looks very strong on the Island.
  6. Blais > Douche > Antonia > Tiffany … I still have the Antonia pom poms out, but this is an uphill climb.
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