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'Top Chef All Stars' Season 8, Episode 10 Recap

by Allison Waldman, posted Feb 17th 2011 2:15AM
top_chef_all_stars_2011_padma_lakshmi_elmo_bravo['Top Chef All Stars' - 'Lock Down']

Where has the time -- and the chefs -- all gone? 'Top Chef All Stars' is down to just seven all-star chefs. Three women, four men ... who made the cut after tonight's show? Read on.

For starters, the Quick Fire Challenge was kids' stuff. Literally. The chefs discovered that they were working for 'Sesame Street.'

The judges would be the Muppets -- Telly, Elmo and Cookie Monster. No surprise, therefore, that the challenge was to make a great cookie in just 45 minutes. The winner would get $5,000.



Asking the chefs to bake a cookie sounds like a simple enough task, but as longtime 'TC' viewers know, desserts of any kind can trip up even the most proficient chefs.

In this cookie quick challenge, it was Richard and Angelo, two of the best of the best, who fell short. Richard's molecular ice cream cookie was not really a cookie at all. And Angelo's chocolate chip, hazelnut thing was dry.

It was interesting that only Dale and Mike, who both claimed to have no clue about baking cookies, made decent cookies. All the women seemed in their element, but it was only Antonia who made the finals ... along with Dale.

This was one of the funniest judgings ever. As the Muppets 'tasted' the cookies, the chefs seemed to be feeding straight lines to the characters and the Muppets hit every one out of the park. It was hilarious.

Richard and Angelo's cookies crumbled; this was not their finest hour. On the other hand, Dale and Antonia made the grade. Antonia's chocolate cookie was gooey and had a real homemade look. That might have been why it wasn't the winner. It was compared to a cow chip!

That meant Dale's sweet and salty pretzel cookie -- which he presented as perfect little disks with a shiny, chocolate icing -- was the winner.

The show really upped the ante for the Elimination Challenge. The winner would receive the biggest single challenge prize ever on the program, $25,000. But the chefs were going to have to earn it, with a capital E.

Imagine stocking a kitchen as well as preparing a meal from scratch. That was the task they faced. They were dumped in an empty Target -- which looked like a Super Target on steroids, it was that big -- where they had to raid the store and cook for 100 employees in just three hours.

This was similar to the museum challenge in that the chefs had to fight physical exhaustion in addition to the mental task of creating a meal. They were also running around a humongous store to get supplies. It was a lucky thing nobody fell and broke an arm or a leg.

Carla was in the weeds from the start. She was just overwhelmed by the need to cater and cook simultaneously. Instead of concentrating on the cooking, she wasted time with linens and things. It was not like Carla at all, but maybe she was off her game.

At 3AM, the Target employees arrived and if they were looking for a hearty meal, they were probably disappointed. Only three chefs had substantial dishes; the rest were serving soup. What made them think it was a soup challenge?

Really -- soup is the best they could come up with? Have you been to Target and seen how much food is available for making a dinner? I was stunned by their lack of creativity.

Dale at least added a hearty, grilled cheese sandwich to his soup, and he creatively used irons to make the sandwiches crispy. But Carla's curried apple soup had no protein, which was a critical mistake. She should have grabbed some chicken or shrimp or fish.

Mike did a coconut soup, which Padma hated, but guest judge Ming Tsai appreciated the spiciness. Still, for Mike, this was another case of him lingering in the middle. He's yet to distinguished himself in any challenge.

Of the three "meals," Richard made pork tenderloin; not pretty but delicious and it displayed two types of cooking, grilling and braising. Antonia served up Parmesan eggs on crostini. It was a breakfast dish, which was a welcomed surprise for 3AM and a good change from all the soup.

Tiffany, however, made a jambalaya, which nobody cared for. It didn't matter that it wasn't a soup.

Antonia, Richard and Dale were the first to face the judges, and not surprisingly, they were the top three. Richard was admired for taking a chance by doing a real protein -- pork tenderloin -- while Antonia showed her risk-taking abilities by making individual eggs for 100. She could have easily undercooked or overcooked the eggs, but she didn't. Good for Antonia!

But what really made the judges gleeful was Dale's use of the irons to make the grilled cheese. Ming even alluded to him wanting to be an 'Iron Chef,' a shout out to Food Network's competition show. Everybody laughed. And in the end, the iron won it for Dale.

In fact, Dale was the huge winner of the night -- $30,000 between the Quick Fire and the Elimination Challenge prizes. Even if he doesn't win the whole enchilada, he's banked a pretty penny.

Carla, Tiffany and Angelo were the bottom of the bunch. Carla admitted that her soup had not developed its flavors, and if the others hadn't done worse, she might have been sent home.

Angelo's soup was both too rich and too salty. It left a bad taste in Bourdain's mouth, which sounded like the kiss of death for Sosa.

Tiffany apologized for her jambalaya, but it was the packaged Creole seasoning that she defended that had repulsed Bourdain and Colicchio. I though that might have sealed her fate.

But emotions seemed to play a part. You could tell the exhaustion had gotten to Tiffany. She was moved to tears when she was given the chance to speak.

To their credit, the judges recognized that they were all spent, but I think Tiffany's tears bought her another week at least.

Angelo was the loser. When Colicchio said that he couldn't get past a spoonful of Angelo's soup, that was it. Bourdain didn't buy the line about "fatigued" taste buds.

Angelo said he was honored to have competed, but he knew that he'd blown it. Too much salt killed his soup.

Tom explained that it only takes one bad dish to send a chef packing. That described Angelo's demise. After all the good dishes, the exceptional stuff he'd done, he stubbed his toe in Target with one really bad bowl of soup.

Watch 'Top Chef All Stars' every Wednesday at 10PM ET on Bravo.

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zuers

one bad dish and he was sent packing....its getting to be very unfair. Dale had many bad dishes
and he is still there. Fabio should have won twice (restaurant wars and the Italian night) and was
sent packing. The seems to be an implied agreemnet who will win or at least the last four.
Its not so much fun to watch anymore...think i will tune out.

February 18 2011 at 8:08 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Dukewife

One bad dish to send a chef packing...then Dale should have been sent packing several time. I just can't stand him. He wins because he used irons to cook a grilled cheese. Please. He continues to be a prick and insulting to his competitors in his comments. Yuck. Carla & Tiffany got sooo lucky last night. Mike is boring. Antonia deserved the win for creativity and delish food based on the judges own comments. Angelo, what goes around comes around and you hitched your horse to the wrong wagon in this elimination challenge. Your buddy didn't help you at all. You'll be missed.

February 17 2011 at 11:59 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Janice

Mike sabotaged angelo. Mike told him it was bland knowing it wasn't. You cannot convince me he didnt. Think back to the Jimmy Fallon challenge when mike thought richard was stupid for helping antonia and that he wouldnt help anyone to make a better dish than him. Yall remember that? I'm just saying.

February 17 2011 at 11:48 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
SuciaLove

I wouldn’t mind if Antonia or Dale left. They are not worthy of Top Chef and frankly annoying. I’d say Angelo had more skill, but wasn’t much better. I’m sad to see his Bromance broken up though. http://foodiegossip.blogspot.com/2011/02/top-chef-all-stars-angelo-sosa-mike.html

February 17 2011 at 11:39 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
rangerleroy

Despite his claim that he wanted to go to the final with Angelo, I suspect Mike Isabella of sabotage. He was the one who told Angelo his soup was bland and encouraged him to add more salt and bacon to it. Still, Angelo has to take responsibility for not tasting it carefully enough.

February 17 2011 at 11:05 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Josie

Well, after Tiffany was allowed to skate once again (she has been on the bottom three consistently) I am packing my knives and going. She was unimpressive in her original season and she is unimpressive now, but for some reason the judges let her stay and let better chefs go. You can't tell me she is better than Angleo! I'll catch up at the finale.

February 17 2011 at 8:56 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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