Top Chef: DC wrapped up its season this week with its Andy Cohen-hosted reunion show and gathered up all the cheftestants from this season and brought equal helpings of addressing some show themes and show silliness. Since there really is no plot of a reunion show, I’ll do my best to divide things up into sections.
However, the main portion of the show that holds interest to fans was at the end – perhaps fitting that a DC edition that was not beloved by fans had its reunion show hijacked with news of an All-Star edition. Reality show all-star shows are a tough nut to crack. The contestants are usually too self-aware and too ego-centric. However, it is great fun for fans to see their favorites return for another go-around. If up to me, I would divide things up a bit – all-star shows are for contestants who came close but failed, and reserve a special future all-star edition for contestants who won.
Top Chef has done, in my opinion, a great job in casting their All-Star edition in New York. Most of them made the Finals, or came awfully close. A couple of them suffered a surprising elimination – a la Kenny this season. All in all – that is a good mix. Here is the cast for All-Stars, starting December 1, consisting almost completely of chefs that I either liked or loved to dislike, and all of whom I completely respected as chefs. Full disclosure – I never saw Season 1, so this will be my first exposure to them.
1 – Tiffani Faison – S1 San Francisco – Finalist
2 – Stephen Asprinio – S1 San Francisco – I’m not your bitch, bitch.
3 – Elia Aboumrad – S2 Los Angeles – Finalist
4 – Marcel Vigneron – S2 Los Angeles – Perhaps the show’s top villain ever. And Ilan’s nemesis.
5 – Casey Thompson – S3 Miami – Hottest cheftestant ever. And Finalist.
6 – Tre Wilcox – S3 Miami – Of all the All-Stars, he had the worst finish in his season. However, his was perhaps the most shocking exit ever, as he was considered Hung’s top competition.
7 – Dale Levitsky – S3 Miami – Finalist
8 – Richard Blais – S4 Chicago – Finalist, and in my opinion, the best chef not to win. Clearly the favorite to win going in – but as we know, the favorite doesn’t always win.
9 – Antonia Lofaso – S4 Chicago – Finalist, and my wife’s favorite contestant (outside of S2 Sam, who I am glad is not there because I really don’t need the competition for her attention). Stand behind your dish!
10 – Dale Talde – S4 Chicago – That link works again… Another non-finalist, and the biggest temper to be returning.
11 – Spike Mendelsohn – S4 Chicago – A non-finalist, a true character, and creator of some of the best burgers I have ever eaten.
12 – Carla Hall – S5 New York – A surprise finalist, and another DC-based chef, and a huge fan favorite. Hootie-Hoo!
13 – Fabio Viviani – S5 New York – Finalist and another fan favorite. I get the pleasure of trying to translate him again.
14 – Jamie Lauren – S5 New York – Non-finalist. And Top Scallop queen.
15 – Michael Isabella – S6 Las Vegas – Non-finalist, DC guy, and MM from my recaps (for misogynist Mike, due to some unfortunate comments about women in early episodes). Another character, interesting to see him interact with Spike and Dale T.
16 – Jennifer Carroll – S6 Las Vegas Finalist, and one of my favorites.
17 – Angelo Sosa – S7 Washington – Angelo is of course a finalist, and for his sake, hopefully he won’t need any injections this time.
18 – Tiffany Derry – S7 Washington – Fans rejoice. Tiffany takes her infectious laugh in again for another try after being eliminated for a sloppier presentation than Kevin.
An added treat – Anthony Bourdain will be replacing Eric Ripert on the judges panel. Score!!