You know life is crazy when it takes this long to write about TEH GREATEST TOP CHEF SEASON EVAR!!! Seriously, I was really looking forward to last week’s Top Chef All-Stars (which I will now refer to as TCAS, because I am supremely lazy) premiere – I was definitely ready for Bravo to redeem itself for the horrible, very bad, no-good Season 7. For the most part, I was pleased with the cast and the episode, and I am very glad we have a sweet, brand new, 50-inch plasma TV all set up, so I can watch the events unfold in beautiful HD. Then, last night, I finished watching the anger management lesson otherwise known as the second episode, so I figure I’ll just throw some thoughts together and then resume regular recapping next week. This is optimistic, as I do not yet have internet access at the new house, but I’m a glass half full kind of girl.
First, the cast…
Season 1 – Stephen and Gay Tiffani
Season 2 –
Elia and Marcel
Season 3 – Tre, Gay Dale, and Casey
Season 4 – Richard, Spike, Antonia, and Straight Dale
Season 5 – Jamie, Fabio, and Carla
Season 6 –
Jen and Mike
Season 7 – Angelo and Straight Tiffany
Generally speaking, I was most excited to see Tre (because he is HOT), Richard (because he represents Team ATL), Carla (Hootie Hoo!!!), and Fabio (duh). I was least excited to see the Season 7 kids – after all, we just spent many miserable weeks with them, and even though they are probably the two most talented chefs from that season, I just don’t think I”m ready to hang out with them again. Oh, well – just like any TC season, there are too many cooks in the kitchen to start with, and it will take a few more episodes before I can truly commit to my favorites.
I loved the challenges in the first episode. The quickfire challenge of teaming up by season and making a dish that represented that season’s TC city was pretty fun – though I do think that some of the teams (Chicago and Miami specifically) had a distinct advantage in that there are obvious foods that represent the area. I was simultaneously laughing and banging my head against the wall when Blais busted out the liquid nitrogen from the get-go. I also dug the elimination challenge, where the chefs had to recreate the dish that got them booted from their respective seasons. Genius! It was pretty clear from the start that Elia’s heart wasn’t in it, so I wasn’t surprised that she got the first heave-ho. It was fun to watch Fabio square off against Bourdain – I imagine that, with the enormous egos involved in an all-star cast, we’ll see a lot of defensiveness and temper tantrums at judges’ table (FORESHADOWING!!!).
Episode 2 was less awesome, if only because watching a bunch of screaming kids get hopped up on sugar isn’t really my idea of good TV. And WTF was up with Joe Jonas? Bravo couldn’t find anyone with a background in, ya know, FOOD??? Sheesh. In any case, Gay Tiffani got immunity and then screwed the rest of her team over while trying to screw the other team over (given the choice between T. Rex and Brontosaurus, she chose the former because she didn’t want the other team to have any meat to cook with – but little did she realize that HER team wouldn’t have any veg). Katie Lee (Joel) was the guest judge, and she was as monotone and dull as I remember her from season one (though Tiffani and Stephen do their best to suck up anyway). The Brontosaurus team pulled out the win, and Marcel/Richard/Angelo won the challenge with their banana parfait.
Then the fireworks began…Jen was PISSED that her team lost, and she proceeded to go all bitchtastic on the judges’ asses, basically giving a big “Nuh-uh!” anytime Tom or Gail gave her any criticism. Tiffani whined about how a T. Rex is an omnivore, and she thought they’d be able to cook with everything. Antonia threw Jamie under the bus and basically called her a pussy for going to get stitches instead of duct taping her knife wound. At the end of the day, though, Jen’s “wet bacon” and bland eggs sent her packing, and she left in an expetive-laced huff.
I think TCAS has gotten off to an exciting start. What say you?