Super staffer Loren Means has been keeping us posted on the Top Chef All-Stars drama. This week’s report doesn’t disappoint. Take it away, Loren:
Episode 5 was all about speed and, true to form, the remaining 13 All-Star chefs hustled from beginning to end. They battled the clock, the heat in the kitchen, and each other. By the time of the judging even I was exhausted. I almost broke a sweat, except that I was sitting on my sofa doing nothing. So, really not at all.
jump to read the full report…
The Quickfire started off with all three of our local Chefs—Tre, Casey, and Tiffany—as well as the other remaining contenders—Jamie, Carla, Tiffani, Fabio, Angelo, Dale T., Mike, Marcel, Richard, and Antonia. The challenge: To watch an amazing guest chef cook a great dish in as little time as possible, then create your own superb dish in that exact same amount of time or less. The Chefs tittered, wondering who would set the bar for this challenge. The doors opened and out came Tom Colicchio himself. You could see the excitement and fear in all the Cheftestants’ eyes. Showcasing his signature skill and precision, Chef Colicchio turned out a sea bass with zucchini, clams, and tomatoes in 8 minutes and 37 seconds. When the clocked stopped, you could almost hear the group sentiment in the kitchen: *%$#!.
Off the chefs went, grabbing ingredients as quickly as they could, fighting for immunity (and a Toyota Prius). Marcel was smart and grabbed Tom’s unused fish off the counter while the other All-Stars crammed into the pantry. Marcel’s head start and skill landed him (along with Mike and Richard) in the top three. Mike’s pan-seared branzino with black olives and capers bested Richard’s foie gras with corn, coriander, and port as well as Marcel’s sea bass with bok choy, dashi broth, and chili oil. At the end of the night, Mike drove away in a brand new eco-friendly ride.
The Elimination Challenge took us to Grand Harmony Restaurant in Chinatown where the Cheftestants were to create a menu and serve an assortment of Dim Sum to gobs of hungry locals. This was not great news for many of the chefs and resulted in another great Fabio-ism: “This could be a movie. Nightmare on Elm Street—Chinese Food for Fabio.” In the Hong Kong Supermarket, where everything was in Chinese and no one spoke English, Casey selected chicken feet while Tre jokingly asked the butcher for whatever was dead. Back in the kitchen, the All-Stars hit the weeds right away. Food wasn’t turning out well or coming out quickly enough. Patrons started just grabbing food off the carts. The judges, Tom, Padma, Gayle and guest judge, Susur Lee, Chef/Owner at Shang, were not impressed.
Jamie, who decided to try and wow us for the millionth time with scallops, fell into the bottom five with Carla, Tre, Casey, and Antonia. Carla’s spring roll was deemed bland, Tre’s orange dessert was compared to hospital food, Casey’s chicken feet were “inedible,” and Antonia’s shrimp toasts were good, but she was dragged down by the greasy, overcooked bean dish she collaborated on with Jamie. When the judges made their decision, Casey was sent packing. Shocker! Jamie actually gasped. It should have been her and she knew it. Maybe Casey was sent home for contributing to the continued downfall of reality TV? I mean, she did force us to watch her cut the toenails off chicken feet.
Tiffany D., Dale, Angelo and surprise, surprise, Fabio produced an array of pork buns, sticky rice, and spring rolls, but Dale’s heritage and skill paid off and his sticky rice took home the win. High five to you, Dale.
And Casey, not to worry, I still plan on coming to visit you at Brownstone. It’s not Chinese food, right?