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19wingz 09-23-2010 10:51 AM

Top Chef - All Stars
Looks like an All-Star season is coming December 1. Here's a list of who will compete below. It also looks like Anthony Bourdain will join the judges’ table, alongside Padma, Tom and Gail.


- Elia Aboumrad; Season 2, final four
- Stephen Asprinio; Season 1, top five
- Richard Blais; Season 4 finalist
- Jennifer Carroll; Season 6, final four
- Tiffany Derry; Season 7, top five
- Tiffani Faison; Season 1 finalist
- Carla Hall; Season 5 finalist
- Mike Isabella; Season 6, top seven
- Jamie Lauren; Season 5, top seven
- Dale Levitski; Season 3 finalist
- Antonia Lofaso; Season 4, final four
- Spike Mendelsohn; Season 4, top five
- Angelo Sosa; Season 7 finalist
- Dale Talde; Season 4, top six
- Casey Thompson; Season 3 finalist and fan favorite
- Marcel Vigneron; Season 2 finalist
- Fabio Viviani; Season 4 final four and fan favorite
- Tre Wilcox; Season 3, top eight
List from EW

Kristin 09-23-2010 11:35 AM

Oh, this is going to be fantastic!! I like most of them, but with the ones I hate, I love to hate them.

Except Marcel. I just can't stand him and I'm not looking forward to seeing him back at all.

grandmamichelf 09-23-2010 12:30 PM

Oh gross! Tiffani --- ugh! Couldn't stand her in season 1. She's the one that prompted that Dave guy to make a shirt that says I'm not your bitch, bitch! And Marcel? Shoot! And Angelo? Can we say EGOS for all 3 of those? Ugh.

Like Carla and Richard. Some of the others. I'd love to see those three I mentionned get snaked out early.

KaysarRocks 09-23-2010 03:41 PM

Marcel, yay! Spike, yay! Elia, yay! Fabio, yay! Can't wait!

19wingz 09-23-2010 03:49 PM

I've never actually seen an episode of this show, you know? But now that it won an Emmy, I might want to try and catch this, although they will all be new to me, not all-stars.

KaysarRocks 09-23-2010 04:00 PM

Oh you'd like it Wingz, it's a freaking great show!

Kristin 09-23-2010 04:15 PM

How many people do they usually start a season with? With 18 of them, they'll either have to send two chefs and their knives packing every week or it's going to be a super long season.

KaysarRocks 09-23-2010 04:26 PM


Originally Posted by Kristin (Post 215510)
How many people do they usually start a season with? With 18 of them, they'll either have to send two chefs and their knives packing every week or it's going to be a super long season.

I can't remember how many weeks they usually have, but could they squeeze in some double eviction weeks like you said, just not every week and still get it in a normal length show (by weeks)?

grandmamichelf 09-24-2010 05:41 AM

Well they could do like they did one season and start with a quickfire challenge right off. They sent someone home before even getting to the TC kitchen.

19wingz 11-30-2010 02:47 PM

Premieres TOMORROW at 10EST! Super-long premiere, so check the DVRs in case. Even those I've never seen this show, I'm gonna be watching (especially after I loved Just Desserts).

Preview here: http://www.eonline.com/videos/v92767...ars-peek-.html

Kristin 11-30-2010 02:57 PM

I'll be watching, too! In my dream world, Tiffani and Marcel pack their knives in the first episode. But, that'll never happen because people love to hate them.

KaysarRocks 11-30-2010 03:24 PM

No, don't get rid of my wolfman Marcel!

Tina 11-30-2010 08:08 PM

oooh tomorrow, I'm excited!!

KaysarRocks 11-30-2010 08:20 PM

Yay, me too!

Shiny Beige 11-30-2010 09:37 PM

I like Kristin's idea, but without Marcel to hate, it might not be as good. My favorite was the tall dude from Venice, but he's not an all-star, I guess. It's one of my favorite shows. I'll be watching. And cursing. And maybe throwing a few things.

Tina 11-30-2010 10:23 PM

The really cocky people make it more interesting. lol

SimplySherri 12-01-2010 06:17 AM

ugh@ Marcel. Yum @ Spike.

KaysarRocks 12-01-2010 07:17 AM

Wait, I must've missed that name, Spike's on it? Sweet, this is the best lineup ever!

19wingz 12-01-2010 08:57 AM

I wish I knew who these people are!! Regardless, I'll be watching tonight. Time to see why this show won an Emmy!

19wingz 12-01-2010 10:08 AM

I just realized they are replaying the season finales from each of the following 7 seasons. It's on now in the back while I do some reading. I guess I'll vaguely familiarize myself with some of these people before tonight.

KaraokeDiva 12-01-2010 06:00 PM

I got the dvr set. I always record this one and watch it while working out. Love the show though...

There ain't a lot of prime time shows that I actually watch live. I record most and watch them while working out.

19wingz 12-01-2010 06:16 PM


Originally Posted by KaraokeDiva (Post 223888)
I got the dvr set. I always record this one and watch it while working out. Love the show though...

There ain't a lot of prime time shows that I actually watch live. I record most and watch them while working out.

Set the DVR extra. It's about 15 minutes longer tonight, apparently.

KaysarRocks 12-01-2010 08:21 PM

Love the first Quickfire Challenge, will comment more tomorrow after it's aired so as not to spoil it for anyone.

KaysarRocks 12-01-2010 08:28 PM

Except to say, mustard ice cream? Doesn't sound good to me.

KaysarRocks 12-01-2010 08:31 PM

I will also say about the Elimination Challenge too:

They had to cook the dish that got them kicked off or lost them the original Top Chef title.

KaysarRocks 12-01-2010 09:06 PM

Wow, Fabio REALLY doesn't like the one judge. This is a way interesting season, I like it alot.

KaysarRocks 12-01-2010 09:12 PM

And with who left, I'm BUMMED.

Kristin 12-01-2010 09:16 PM

I think the way Fabio talked to Anthony Bourdain will come back to bite him in the ass in the next few episodes. That guy doesn't know when to shut the hell up.

19wingz 12-01-2010 09:23 PM

Bourdain is a bad ass, but Fabio stood his ground. Damn. I mean it might have been a bit much because he took it too personally, but at least he stood up for himself. I'm bummed at who left tonight. Wanted the over-dressed dude to leave instead.

KaysarRocks 12-01-2010 10:21 PM

That was Stephen and yeah, I thought he should've gone too.

19wingz 12-02-2010 07:28 AM

Here's Gail Simmons' blog on Episode 1 from EW. It gives better insight as to why Elia was eliminated last night.


Hi, guys! Welcome to my very first Top Chef All-Stars blog!*

All too often, a fan favorite or a person who we know is really excellent doesn’t win. So I think Bravo thought, “Let’s bring back all those people—who we’re constantly being asked about, who are on our radar, who we know our audience loves—to compete against each other.” This season, there’s nothing separating the best from the weakest.

I have nothing to do with the casting process, but when All-Stars was announced, people were writing and tweeting me about Kevin Gillespie and Brian Voltaggio [from season 6], two of the most compelling characters and the most talented chefs we’ve ever had. It would’ve been pretty amazing to see them compete. And I’m sure Sam Talbot would’ve been a great competitor. There are so many people I would’ve loved to have seen who either weren’t available or perhaps weren’t even asked.

As for those who made it, I was curious to see how the familiarity factor played out. I became friendly with many of the contestants after they left the show, and the culinary world is a small place, so once you’re on Top Chef, you become a part of this family. When we first walked on the set in The Russian Tea Room and I saw them all, I had this instinct to run up to them — “Hey! How are you? How’s your wife? How’s your son?” — but of course I had to stop myself. But it’s almost easier to be impartial because there’s no one who can claim any sort of edge when they’re all that good.

The contestants also arrived in a different head space. They certainly weren’t as intimidated as they had been first time around. They were more open to our criticism, talked back a little more, and asked more questions. They all knew what it was like to pack their knives or make it really far in the competition. We all knew what we were in for, and that allowed us to just concentrate on the food—making it, eating it and being challenged by it.

Now getting to the episode at hand!

Most of the contestants did a good job in the Quickfire, but some fell back on clichés. The real challenge, though, didn’t lie in the ingredients; it was about working as a team in a short time. The fact that they had to make a dish to represent their city was just an excuse to get them working together. But I wouldn’t have done a hot dog for Chicago. Of all the places we’ve filmed, Chicago was definitely one of my favorites. Chicago has an amazing underground cocktail scene and a really avant-garde chef movement, and maybe I would’ve done something as an ode to that.

As for the New York team, their biggest flaw was that they didn’t work together — and that’s always going to show on the plate. Plus, there’s so much more about New York than apples—the immigrant experience, New York as the gateway to America. They could’ve gone a little deeper, but ultimately, the themes were secondary to working together.

As judges, we tried to keep our mouths shut and let the contestants talk during the Elimination challenge because we didn’t want to give too much away about what we thought until we could discuss at judges’ table. When the second group came in, it was tense because they had just heard us say things they didn’t like about their dishes. That was clear between Fabio and Anthony Bourdain. But as much as we let them talk and critique, that was just a way to create tension and hear their voices. It didn’t necessarily influence us.

When I eat the dishes, I just need one or two bites. I try each component on the plate individually then a bite of everything together, and I definitely drink a lot of water along the way. We were at The Russian Tea Room for three hours, but you saw five minutes, so it was a trip down memory lane. I had eaten most of the 18 dishes before, and some I had eaten five years before, and I was amazed by how well I remembered them, like Dale T.’s butterscotch scallops and of course Spike’s scallops. You could never forget those. I think [Spike] did such a brilliant job of making it better. I loved that he had a sense of humor with it. I knew exactly what he was doing. And Richard’s pork belly and Casey’s pork belly—both were redeemed for sure. Both had been a problem of execution, not conception like other dishes, and they both knew exactly how to fix them.

Unfortunately, Richard did go over the time. We went back to the tapes many times before we decided that we couldn’t allow him to win, but it certainly wasn’t something he’d be eliminated for. Other contestants saw that he went over and we needed to be fair to all of them. His was just an honest mistake.

I don’t remember how long we were at judges’ table, but on average it takes 5 to 6 hours when it’s not a finale or really heated discussion. Especially with the first episode, we have so much to get through. Last night’s took 6 to 7 hours, and that included everything, like lighting.

We all loved Angelo’s dish when we ate it in Singapore a few months ago, but there were glaring mistakes to it then. It was a conception problem. We knew that he saw there was a connection between the pork, noodles and watermelon, and that there was something interesting going on there. He just didn’t nail it in Singapore, and we had talked to him about it at length at judges’ table in the finale. Angelo had probably worked that dish over in his head 50,000 times since Singapore. When he lost, he was probably devastated that he got sick and couldn’t perform to his potential, and it was a huge blow when he didn’t win season 7. That feeling was still raw for him. He didn’t have the luxury of time to forget about it.

There had been this weak infusion of tea, and Angelo knew to take it out and instead put that watermelon back in in a much stronger way and bump up the flavors of the whole dish. The handmade noodles were absolutely perfect. He constructed the dish in a much easier way to eat, so each bite had all of the flavors instead of taking a bite and getting just one thing. It really felt organic.

The bottom three were all bad. I think that with Fabio and Stephen there were execution problems, but more so conception problems. I don’t think their dishes were ever going to be perfect. They needed to be tweaked, especially Stephen’s, which had 2,000 components. That said, there was so much to his dish that we were all impressed with how much he was able to get done and how many techniques he was able to show, which is why we didn’t eliminate him.

None of us were fans of the paper on Fabio’s plate. I certainly wasn’t as bothered by it as Tony was, but I did understand his issue with it. Because he put it out on a platter with that paper (as opposed to in a bowl), it looked sloppy. You didn’t understand what the paper was adding, and it hindered instead of enhancing. It was always going to be muddy unless he changed the way he cooked certain ingredients. I would’ve kept some of the crab pieces whole. The kind of pasta, which is so integral to that type of dish, was probably not the best choice. It was this fresh pasta that’s so delicate, and it fell apart and added to the mushiness. But he did show us that he had a mastery of the technique he was trying to achieve. For that sake, he did do it correctly. Whether or not we liked it was a whole different story. There are two parts to judging: Do we like how it tastes? And was it done properly? We understood that Fabio had a grasp of what he was doing.

Unfortunately we felt Elia made no attempt to improve on her dish. She really made the dish exactly as she had made it previously — with very slight changes that weren’t enough to make it interesting. There was little personality in the dish and that was the case the first time around. Stephen and Fabio’s dishes showed us a boldness, something of them that we didn’t see in Elia. Because of the inconsistency in the tealeaf and perhaps the way her fish was cut, a lot of her pieces were completely undercooked.
When she made that last-minute plea not to be eliminated, it was heart-wrenching. The contestants certainly had a lot more gumption this time around! But there’s not much you can do once you’re already in front of us, unless you have a really good piece of information we never knew before and can really justify why you did something. Ultimately, the proof is in the pudding.

We know Elia is talented. We know all the contestants are talented. There was no one to eliminate who would’ve made it easy. That’s how it’s going to be all season. They’re all that much further along in their careers. They have a lot more to gain in terms of their reputation and also a lot more to lose.

What did you think of the first episode of Top Chef All-Stars? Sound off below — I’d love to hear your thoughts!

KaysarRocks 12-02-2010 08:19 AM

Thanks for posting that! I was just really curious to see what Elia could do this time around, but that's how it goes, right?

grandmamichelf 12-03-2010 07:37 AM

I was sad to see Elia eliminated. I was thinking Stephen would go. I think Richard would have won the challenge over Angelo if he hadn't gone over the time limit.

I'm all for Marcel being eliminated. He's just yucky to me. I didn't like Stephen the first time around but he's okay now.

At least they brought back Tre. I love Tre. And Carla....she puts LOVE in her food. This is going to be so much fun to watch.

19wingz 12-08-2010 08:15 PM

I get Joe Jonas is a child "icon" but I don't think he's experienced enough to judge these competitions, no? Although he did pick out my three least favorites

KaysarRocks 12-08-2010 08:53 PM

I hate that a Tiger Beat knockoff is on this great show. Am writing up my article as it airs, I decided to take the route of writing up what happened, but inserting my own commentary, sans anything outlandish of course. Hope y'all like it. :)

19wingz 12-09-2010 07:17 PM

Well, liked last night's episode. It was fun to watch, although I kinda figured the meat team would lose. It sounded more like the appealing food groups, but I knew it would tough. I really wanted to eat breakfast last night too. LOL

And I don't know Jen from before, but she seemed feisty

19wingz 01-12-2011 08:58 PM

SO happy with the eliminations tonight. It is about damn time Jamie gets her ass off this show. She blows.

KaysarRocks 01-12-2011 09:38 PM

ITA Wingz. :)

Kristin 01-12-2011 10:05 PM

That was an excellent double elimination! Tiffani and her cranky ass attitude needed to hit the road and I'm still not sure how Jamie ever made it to All Stars, but at least she's gone now. Now the real competition can begin!

KaysarRocks 01-19-2011 09:14 PM

My Wolverine Marcel is gone!!!!!!1 Some of you I know are loving it, but I'm gonna miss my rebellious little turd. :(

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