Top Chef All-Stars Recap: Joe Jonas? Kid’s Food? Whatever.

D Magazine‘s Administrative Coordinator, Loren Means, is nutso about Top Chef. I asked her to give us her take on episode 2 of Top Chef All-Stars.

As a lover of all things food and wine, I have been watching Top Chef since the  beginning. I was especially excited for Tre and Casey’s season because I’d dined at both of their restaurants many times. I still have dreams about Tre’s Duck Three Ways when he was cooking at Abacus.

All of the faces in the All- Star cast are familiar.  While I am thrilled to see some, I wish others would have stayed in the past. Obviously, I am thrilled to see our Dallas crew as well as a few other characters. Fabio makes me smile. He won’t win but I hope he hangs around for a while.  I’m really interested to see what Angelo pulls out. He always impressed me during his season.  Jamie, though she won’t be winning any congeniality contests, is also a great chef and I’m excited to see what she brings this round. Marcel is the worst. Not the worst chef, but the worst nonetheless. I would be pleased to see Marcel and Stephen pack their knives and leave in the near future. Fingers crossed. On to last night’s show.

Jump with her.

There was plenty of Dallas area talent on the show. Besides Ft. Worth Chef Casey (Brownstone’s) Thompson and Loft 610’s Tre Wilcox, and former Go Fish Chef Tiffany Derry, the cheftestants had to please the palate of sometime area resident Joe Jonas and a bunch of kids in a museum. Huh?

The talented “All-Stars” as were forced to totally dumb it down for kids. I’m not interested in watching chefs make Snickerdoodles. I want to be wowed and impressed.

For the Quickfire challenge, the contestants were instructed to create a snack that children would love as well as Quickfire host, Joe Jonas. Wait. What?  Joe Jonas? Does the target audience of this show give a damn about the Jonas Bros? I don’t. I barely know who they are or why they are famous exactly. Musicians of sorts?  (Dale T. thought maybe he was a pastry chef.) The snacks prepared by the chefs were just as irrelevant as Joe. Dale L. created a snack consisting of pretzels, graham crackers, whoppers, and marshmallow mix. Is this even food?

Spike, with his potato chips and marshmallow dip, and Tiffany, with her (kinky) candy “threesome baby,” as she described it, tied for the win. I’m sure these creations are not on their top five list of culinary accomplishments. As team leaders, they were able to choose their teammates, middle school PE style. Tre, one of my personal favs, was chosen second to last. Grrr. But anyhow, after an evening at the museum with 150 screaming kids, Tiffany’s team came out with the win. The screeching kids were awful.  It made Dale T’s idea of corn cakes “laced with Nyquil” seem like a brilliant concept. Something I may consider if I ever have children.

After a forced slumber party at the museum, the real challenge was to make breakfast for the little devils and their parents. The twist, Team T. Rex is limited to just meat and eggs while Team Brontosaurus can only utilize fruits, veggies, and grains. Tiffany, as the Quickfire winner, chose T. Rex. She chose poorly. T. Rex found their options to be very limited while Brontosaurus had a bounty of ingredients to choose from. Team Brontosaurus was ultimately victorious but there was no glory in the win for them or the audience. The judge’s decision for best dish of the morning …was a parfait.  My dog could make a great parfait.

T. Rex is brought to judge’s panel as the losing team. As their carnivorous dishes were evaluated, some took the criticism well, others (Jen), went a different direction. Was she on something? She seemed sort of spastic the whole show and what about the attitude she copped with the judges? Was she sent home for bad bacon and eggs or bad attitude? Or was it because her teammate, Jamie, ditched out for two stitches worth of lost thumb? We may never know.  But I do know she definitely wasn’t the weakest chef in that room.  I was sad to see her go while some of the other, less talented, chefs continue to fly under the radar.

This episode was a snooze and definitely disappointing. I’m hoping next week’s episode with all of our local talent is better than a “Ritz Cracker hand job.”

8 comments on “Top Chef All-Stars Recap: Joe Jonas? Kid’s Food? Whatever.

  1. I believe one is required to put up the viking on the beach picture when discussing the Ritz Cracker hand job comment.

  2. adults are ever so ignorant… “is this even food” of course to little kids it is. Durrrhhh. And this challenge is to see if they could tend to ALL ages not just wishy washy adults with their noses on the air. Add some colour to your lives and stop being so black and white…”is this even food”….pshhhhhhh (mumbles) stupid adults and their 1:99 food to plate ratio..(1 being the food) hahaha and yet im 23….

  3. I found Joe Jonas sweet…

    Why is it cool to be a kidhater these days? Kids, unrefined palates and all, are still generally more interesting than the type of adults who find little to discuss outside of sex/alcohol/drug references. That’s lame.

    “Is this even food” – it’s like the reaction to having to make clothing for the non-rail-thin.*gasp* Life is meant to be lived, not preened to a gloss and snarked through. Maybe the point to be had from these shows is how out of touch some of these ‘experts’ can be…some of them aren’t very nimble with those skills…

  4. Actually she’s right – its not food at all. A bunch of processed sugary food is pretty easy to whip up and win over a bunch of kids. Tiffany said it best when the kids went crazy – “we did that” she admits. I personally wish there had been some sort of health component to the snack – as it was – it wasn’t food -the winner was rice crispy and chocolate – not a culinary feat in the LEAST! And note this show is not for or about kids- its about tuning in to see interesting chefs make interesting food that we at home couldn’t possibly conceive of. I was equally disappointed in this episode – NOT because I don’t think that food can’t be simple to be yummy – but becuase it should be interesting. I loved episode one becuase it made the chefs face their old fears and really showcase their talents – when they are given this kind of task it just does not give them the opportunity to wow us. Marshmellow, graham crackers and whoppers is something a 10 year old could have made himself if you let him have a go in the kitchen! And by the way – just because I agree that the snack is gross and “not even food” does NOT mean I have my nose in the air – it just means I wasted an hour of my life watching a contest that as a mom I could have competed in BETTER. And as to Lars – Jo Jonas was actually a bit annoying when he said “You can’t just show up with peanut butter and celery” — I mean really? How insulting! He was clearly as cluessless about these talented chefs as they were about him. The difference? He was in their world and should have showed a bit more respect.

  5. I’m a huge fan of Top Chef and a huge fan of D. Thank you for the great update!

    I must say, I totally agree with the blogger. These chefs are world class. I thought it was a little boring and uninteresting to see them forced to whip up kiddy creations that are not even appreciated by the consumers. At our dinner table, feeding my son usually goes something like this: do you want x? no? how bout y? no? how bout z? I can put ketchup on it…and we are done. I guess I could be the next top chef, but who are we kidding. Tyson’s nuggets are a far cry from foie gras and truffle oil infused deliciousness. To the other parent who posted…calm down. I don’t think anyone is a kid hater around here. I read it as a good assesment of an adult-audience show for those who love food. Somebody like Rachel Ray, or a network like Nick Jr would be a better forum for kid- cooking.

  6. I have to say I agree with Proud Pappa and the blogger. No one is hating kids around here…cooking for the kids has been done so many times and it always turns out the same…Let’s put these chefs skills to the test…

  7. I too created a marshmallow, whopper, graham cracker concoction but it was very late at night in college! Not impressed by the chef’s. Great blog! Hillarious!