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Top Chef: All-Stars – Ep 12 – Ellis Island and Family Trees

The gushing at Judges Table was out of control.

Carla – Gail loved the broth and biscuits. Tom loved the roundness in the broth and the judges were stunned to learn that Carla used liquid nitrogen to chill the corn. Tom called it soulful and flavorful.

Blais – Dan thought the corn was so good it reminded him of mashed potatoes. Tom was impressed by the thought in the dish and the sea beans (glasswort) were an amazing salty touch.

Antonia – Padma admired her courage to tackle risotto. Gail felt the texture was amazing and the veal just fell apart. Tom told her that everything he hates about how risotto can be made, well, this dish was the exact opposite.

Tiffany – Tom admits the okra sold him. It wasn’t slimy for once. The dish was just that good. Dan could feel how much she loved that kind of food.

Mike – Dan thought it was flavorful and not heavy and a humble dish was just elevated. Gail continued to use the word soulful. Tom joked that Mike’s admitting that his mom convinced him to make this dish showed his courage. He listened to his mom. Mike was reduced to tears realizing he honored his grandmother well. The judges and other chefs were visibly touched.

The judges struggled to find fault. Antonia’s was a hair salty. Mike’s may have had too much meat. Blais’ lacked enough green. Carla’s garnish was lost in the broth. Tiffany may have had a Coco Chanel moment – just a bit too much going on.

Antonia earned the win for once and not only a Finale slot, but a brand new car. Mike was visibly disappointed in the loss, but he was happy enough to finish second. The two “cousins” laughed and hugged in the Stew Room to celebrate. Padma then TORTURES poor Blais with a “Richard, please pack your knives and…go to the Bahamas.” Blais almost imploded in rage and self-pity. Carla and Tiffany were left to sweat it out before the twist was revealed.

Great ep and a fabulous ending coming our way!

Quickfire Hits
• Hysterical moment as Antonia jokes that she thinks Padma is coming to the apartment and just a couple of beats later, the lovely Padma walks in. They genuine surprise and amusement on all of them was classic.
• Although I was pretty certain free falling egg making was not going to be the challenge, Antonia!
• Loved the small quiet moment of the chefs waiting for the horn to blow.
• What doesn’t Blais have in his bag? Army MRE bags?!?! Seriously?
• Mike as a boy in 70s spandex. Heh. “That’s my cousin. Go Mikey,” said Antonia.
• Nice moment in Blais’ confessional as he comments on Carla’s use of liquid nitrogen – “She’s pushing herself, that’s what you have to do.” Respect.
• Did Blais say that glasswort was sexy? I’d question his definition of sexy, but we met his wife this week.
• Tom wants to have his mother’s gravy as his final meal on earth. Most of us would probably simply take Tom’s gravy.
• How awesome was Mr. Carla’s depiction of her goofy “game face.” Even better, his description of how they met on Match.com.
• Carla and Tiffany pulled the old “Friends” Joey Tribbiani fake-out upon return to the Stew Room. Acting all sad, but erupting in glee with the Final Five reveal.
• Extra scene – Everyone tasting the other dishes and realizing how good they were. Antonia explains how she and Blais were a mess, the others employ a whatever happens, happens mentality. Not them.

Next week – PADMA IN A BIKINI. I’m already swooning. Good morning, indeed, Mike. Chefs go head to head with the chef that beat them originally – Kevin, Mike Voltaggio, Hosea and Steph. Not sure how they handle the fact that Steph beat both Blais and Antonia. Underwater. Fire. Gail can’t finish eating. Antonia in tears. Let’s get to Wednesday already!

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