I have a great feeling about this season, as I think we all know just how good these All-Stars are, and each week someone very likable and/or talented will be leaving. And this week truly proves that. It also showed one dynamic which past seasons of Top Chef really did not have – these chefs have no fear of that judges panel. They’ve been here before, and Jen may have just been the first of many to bring serious attitude to Judges Table.
It was a little disconcerting to see Jen, someone I really liked in her season, look like a completely different person. It is true that she always had an edge, bordering on bossiness, but this was like an Evil Mirror Universe Jen had taken her place. She was just missing the evil beard. I get defending her dish, but that was over the top. Tom was classy in saying right away that the outburst should not play into any decision. Casey was also correct in saying to Tre that no matter what is said to them, the judges don’t care. It is not about them – unlike a certain singing show now featuring 100% more J-Lo.
That said, no matter how bad Jen’s dish was, or how badly Tre over-reduced his sauce, there is no doubt in my mind that Jamie should have been the one to go. She DIDN’T DO ANYTHING! Let’s all say it together – It’s a cooking competition and she didn’t cook anything. She left the challenge to get two stitches in her finger. Two. Fabio broke his finger in S5 and kept going. She’s not going to die in the kitchen from a tiny cut. I think a great argument can be made that Jen having to cook solo on no sleep caused her to mess up. And what’s worse, actually messing up while handicapped in the challenge, or totally bailing on the challenge?
I love Jamie, but to me, that’s an easy answer.
Meanwhile, two past finalists have hit the ground running so far this season. Angelo and Blais – arguably the best their seasons before mishaps in the Finale doomed them – have essentially won the first two Elimination Challenges. Blais would have won last week if not for the time penalty, and his DQ elevated Angelo. And in this episode, they got to team up (along with Marcel) and won another challenge. Even more impressively, they did it simply by showing exceptional knife skills and presentation.
Along the same lines, my favorite lunch location owner, Spike, has already exceeded his successes from Chicago. If I recall, Spike often just managed to avoid elimination on his way into the Top 5. So far in All-Stars, he’s made the top group in the first Episode, and came within a hair of winning the Quickfire in this episode. And that’s pretty satisfying to watch. In a season full of really talented chefs who mostly made it further than him, it would be cool to see him make his way to the end. Maybe Mike, Tre and a few others may manage to do a similar thing.
And speaking as someone who did not watch the first season, I am impressed with SF Tiff so far, and less so with Stephen. And speaking of the first season, the first host, Katie, showed up to judge this Elimination. And while that is a cool callback to the show past, and she’s somewhat easy on the eyes, boy, I can see why she got fired. I didn’t see one iota of interesting personality. Anyway, let’s take a look at the challenges.