Our friends at Bravo sent me a screener of the premiere episode of Top Chef All-Stars, which Neal P and I eagerly watched the other evening. After the disappointment of season 7, we were really hoping that season 8 would be an improvement, that there would be some life and excitement. That we would care who won and who lost.
I'm happy to report that, from what we saw, Top Chef All Stars is going to deliver the goods!
I loved seeing all of my favorite Top Cheftestants - Richard Blais, Tre Wilcox, Fabio Viviani, Dale Levitski, Jennifer Carroll - in one place, competing against each other. They are all in it to win it this time, so I expect lots of drama and maybe even some sabotage and tears. ::::rubbing hands together:::: it should make for some great recaps!
The Elimination Challenge in this particular episode was an "adding insult to injury" type of situation for the cheftestants, which new permanent judge Anthony Bourdain seemed to relish. Yes, folks, after his nicey-nice counterpoint to Eric Ripert's pouting petulance last season, making us all wonder if aliens had abducted the real Bourdain and left a wan simulacrum in his place, the snark is back! Long live Bourdain!
(I know you were all hoping for the return of Toby Young.)
It was a little stunning to see who ended up on the chopping block in this first episode, after all, with few exceptions, most cheftestants had finished in the top 4 of their season. But, this is a competition, not a popularity contest, and somebody had to go.
You'll find out who when you tune in on December 1st!