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December 21, 2014

'Top Chef All Stars' Season 8, Episode 7 Recap

by Allison Waldman, posted Jan 20th 2011 6:20AM
top_chef_all_stars_gail_simmons_tom_colicchio_bravo['Top Chef All Stars' - 'Restaurant Wars: One Night Only']

Well, tonight was the big one for 'Top Chef All Stars': Restaurant Wars, a favorite of every season.

No challenge is ever as intense or cutthroat on the show and when the two teams were chosen with Marcel and Dale taking the lead, you knew you could count on plenty of drama. Marcel and Dale are hardly the shy and quiet types.

Before the war commenced, however, there was an Anthony Bourdain-hosted Quickfire Challenge at Eric Ripert's Le Bernandin restaurant. The world-renowned fish restaurant was the backdrop for a lesson in how to cut and fillet fish in record time and with professional precision. After last week's time on the ocean, you could almost say that this season of 'Top Chef All Stars' has been a whale of a tail. What's on for next week - sushi skills in focus? How to shuck oysters and steam clams?

The best fish fillet-ers in the Quickfire were Marcel, Mike, Angelo and Dale, and in order to win immunity in the Elimination Challenge, they were tasked with making a great dish from the leftover carcasses of the fish. That was a great challenge and forced the chefs to really be creative. After all, what remained was a lot of bones, skulls and scales.

Bourdain awarded immunity to Dale in part because he made two dishes, he made the most of the discarded parts. and he even used the liver. That was typical of Bourdain -- he loves the exotic, and cooked organs are more exotic than broth and skin and bones.

Dale is nothing if not resourceful, so it wasn't a surprise that he won. He's making a habit of winning, too, and as the competition goes on, he's looking like a finalist.

Chef Ludo from 'Top Chef Masters' was the guest judge and explained that the concept for the restaurant wars was pop-up restaurants, sort of instant eating establishments that open with tasting menus and come and go in a flash. It's a kitschy idea, but actually pretty clever for the 'Top Chef' wars. And for the first time in 'Top Chef,' the diners would pick the winning restaurant.

Dale was put in charge of one team and strategically selected Marcel to run the other. Marcel has been an irritant to everyone this season and Dale must have known that the chefs under Marcel would balk at his leadership.

Dale was right. Angelo found himself playing referee between Marcel and Mike when they fought in the kitchen, Tiffany reluctantly took on the chore of handling the front of the house, and Antonia was muttering under her breath throughout. It was a war in Etch's kitchen.

Yes, the name of the place was Etch because the chefs didn't like Marcel's idea of Medi. Neither name was particularly evocative, but a better name wouldn't have mattered. Etch was a mess.

Etch was also the least liked by the diners, even though they presented what was supposedly fine dining. The problems in the kitchen affected the finished product, and Marcel's lack of leadership was the main stumbling block.

When the chefs faced the judges, the tensions from the kitchen erupted all over the place with Mike spilling the beans about Marcel's mismanagement, and the others finally letting out their true feelings. It was cathartic for viewers, but Tom looked embarrassed by the scene. Angelo tried to play duck and cover, hoping to disappear and hoping to save himself from being sent home.

Bodega was the name of Dale's place. The food was all-American with a fine-dining twist. When diners sat at the table, they received homemade potato chips and dip. I would love a restaurant with that kind of welcome. It's sort of a fun amuse-bouche, but more than one bite.

The comfort food element worked -- including blueberry pie, bacon and eggs and Tre's pork. Richard was named individual winner -- collecting $10,000 in the process -- because he contributed to everyone's dish in a positive way.

All his teammates agreed that he was deserving. I would have given the ten grand to Fabio, however, because he was brilliant in the front of house and leading the servers. All the judges marveled at how well he organized the restaurant, and he also made a killer dessert.

When all was said and done, Marcel was the big loser from Etch's team and was sent packing. Despite his saying that he was a good guy, the proof was in the pudding. Under the pressure of performing, he was simply awful.

If they had sent Tiffany home for her lame asparagus salad and poor front of house performance, it would have been unfair. Marcel deserved to be cut. Besides, if the judges had to endure one more foam from Marcel, I think they would have puked.

'Top Chef All Stars' airs Wednesdays, 10PM ET on Bravo.

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david

in the quick fire, Angelo was not part of the best. It was rather Richard.

January 20 2011 at 8:03 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
The Foodie Gossip

While I personally like Marcel, he did fail as a leader and cooked 2 really bad dishes. He deserved to go home, but I don't think he's as bad as everyone makes him out to be... http://foodiegossip.blogspot.com/2011/01/top-chef-all-stars-dale-vs-marcel.html

January 20 2011 at 6:42 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
chandrasingp

Check

January 20 2011 at 6:33 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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