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Top Chef: All-Stars – Ep 7 – Perfect Storm of Awfulness


Apologies in advance for the likely choppiness of this column, and lateness, as this was written in six sittings over three days thanks to my sched-u-Hell.

It’s Restaurant Wars Baby! The part of the show that the contestants love the most, which makes sense since these are professional restaurateurs. This is what they do. Plus, Restaurant Wars marks a milestone in the season, like the Survivor Merge, where you can see the end goal within your grasp. It also gives us some great drama, bolstered by the fact that two of the ten All-Stars were eliminated in their original season on RW Week. This year was no different with drama, and another RW casualty earned their battle scars.

The best part of Reality Show Villainy is the comeuppance that almost always comes their way. Russell losing the Samoa Finale, Jonathan and Victoria’s slow march to defeat, heck, even Sanjaya’s long-overdue elimination can count! And Top Chef, a show that usually tries too hard to create villainy, had one of their true villains get theirs this week. The show has often had a hard time with bad guys – Voltaggio was just a bit arrogant, but a decent guy; Angelo is just a big ol’ freak; Tiffani ain’t your bitch, bitch, etc. But Marcel was always tops on the list for the show.

I admit that I have a soft spot for the guy. Or at least I used to. It was my dislike of Ilan and the attempted scalping of Marcel that led me to root for the little nut. Plus, mad respect for his skills. But, boy, he makes it REALLY hard to root for him. And this year, while he had some fun moments, he was just the same old Marcel. And judging by his exit remarks this week, he ain’t changing anytime soon.

You can mark the very moment that Marcel was defeated this week, and it is not from anything he did; it is from the decision made by someone else. Dale. Thanks to his Quickfire win, Dale would not repeat his RW elimination from S4. With immunity, he also earned the right to pick the Team Captain opposing him in Restaurant Wars. Brilliantly, Dale picked Marcel. Hysterically, he did it for the second best reason instead of the first. Dale chose him because it was the only way to guarantee that Marcel would not be on his team. The best reason to pick him is that of the other nine chefs, Marcel is the WORST choice to be a team leader. That puts your team much closer to winning, and sticks Marcel’s neck further out for the elimination.

Brilliant choice, Dale, I just wish I could give you full credit. Marcel compounded this situation by making the worst pick since the Portland Trailblazers took Sam Bowie #2 overall in the 1984 NBA Draft, with a guy named Michael Jordan still on the draft board. (Dig the NBA knowledge in the cooking show column!) When picking a team in Top Chef, your first reflexive response should be to say, “Richard Blais.” Even if Blais isn’t on the season. Just ask Hosea who is a Top Chef winner thanks to Blais. Instead, Marcel picked Angelo – a great chef, no doubt – but never a great team player.

Then, he went another step further; he passed on Fabio, twice. Dale chose him and dubbed him the steal of the draft – like getting Tom Brady in the sixth round (NFL too!). While I don’t think Fabio is as skilled a chef as most of the others in the F10, he is second to none when it comes to Front of the House. Especially for a RW where the diners choose the team that wins. Service is HUUUUUUUUGE in this competition. Fabio is unequaled in that role.

This was a blowout of Reagan-Mondalian proportions waiting to happen.


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