Thursday, March 3, 2011

Reactions to Top Chef All-Stars Episode 12

This week was National Heritage Week for the All Stars, who first took the ferry to Ellis Island and then found out about their genealogical heritage before preparing a dish to reflect it.

On the ferry, the recheftestants had to take whatever junk food that was available to them and with it create a dish good enough to impress guest judge Dan Barber of Blue Hill. Carla won that task with a forward-thinking orange and papaya salad.

On the island, Padma tells the chefs that Bravo took the liberty of hiring a genealogist who dug extensively into their pasts to find out exactly where the chefs come from. And who better to share this kind of family history with than family members? Out come Mike's, Antonia's, and Tiffany's moms, and Blais' and Carla's spouses to look over the info and get weepy. While digging through the past, Mike and Antonia come to find they share a common Sicilian ancestor, which of course immediately makes them cousins, and with that, friends who are rooting for each other to make it to the finale.

The Elimination Challenge is to create a dish that reflects their genealogy, which will be served to the judges and the family members. Even without the lesson, we all knew that there were two Italian Chefs, two chefs from the South, and one Irish/English mutt. So we get gnocchi (Mike), risotto (Antonia), mustard greens and okra (Tiffany), grits and biscuits (Carla), and pickled glasswort (Blais). 

All of the chefs' dishes were outstanding, but Antonia's was the best of the lot. As for the loser...well, there was none. All five chefs are headed to the Bahamas to compete in the finale.

So what did you think about the episode? Did you think someone should have been eliminated? Please leave a comment?


ellen said...

I thought this was one of the best episodes yet. I did wonder how much lead time the genealogist had to produce a report for each contestant... it seemed like a lot of work to just 'pop' up with.
Both challenges were interesting, and I loved how actual family members were incorporated. It really gave me a deeper view of each contestant.=ellen

grumpygranny said...

For me, this was the best episode I've seen on this show. It was warm and wonderful and while everyone was competing at their top game, there wasn't any meanness or pettiness. The family/genealogy information was great! And how cool that Mike and Antonia are related? As a grandmother, Mike's emotional response at cooking his gramma's food just won my heart. Now I don't know who I want to win, but I'll be happy with any of them. This is one great group of Top Chefs!! I'm so glad the judges realized that and let them all go to the finals.


grumpygranny said...

For me, this was the best Top Chef episode I've ever seen. All the chefs were bringing their best game, but they were focused on making their best food, based on their family roots and heritage and it wasn't about "beating" the others, just being their own best. And it totally worked for all of them. I loved the genealogy information and how totally crazy that Mike and Antonia are related! As a grandmother, I really "got" Mike's emotion at cooking his gramma's food for the first time and now I don't know who I want to win. I was rooting for Carla, but honestly, any of them could win and I'd be happy. They are some of the best Top Chefs ever. Go, team!


MoHub said...

Loud cheering and tears of joy in front of my teevee. Definitely the best episode ever, and I'm so glad no one was eliminated.

clamco said...

Great episode. I think the fact that the chefs were cooking for members of their own family seemed to make them want to be even better than if they were cooking just to please some fancy judges. I'm worried about Richard though. He's so anxious and worried that he may be his own worst enemy. His pouting and head hanging is making him look like a bit like a sore loser. Antonia, on the other hand, is showing more confidence. I'm rooting for her to win it all.

Tom Saaristo said...

Best episode EVAH!