'Top Chef All-Stars' Recap: Trouble in Paradise
'Top Chef All-Stars' Recap: Trouble in Paradise
Laurel Brown
Laurel Brown
Senior Writer, BuddyTV

OK, we're in the finals now! Well, we're in the first part of the finals. It won't be the final finals for another episode or two. Besides, we still have five cheftestants, and four of them have to be gotten rid of. Who will it be? Hopefully, the Bahamas will give us an answer!

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All of the cheftestants arrive in the Bahamas, looking both tanned and disheveled. I'm guessing they didn't just get off the plane before the show started.

Instead of walking into the Top Chef kitchen, they go into a fort. They are met by all of the people who beat them in their original seasons. Ouch, that's just mean.

No time for meanness though, since it's time for the Quickfire Challenge. Each chef has to go up against the chef who beat them before. If they win, the cheftestants get $10,000. But if the current cheftestants lose, the former winners get the money.

They all have a mystery ingredient too. It turns out to be veal (for season 4's Antonia, Richard and Stephanie), duck (for Mike and Michael), lamb (for Carla and Hosea) and pork (for Tiffany and Kevin).

  • Kevin (the season 7 winner) has Barbeque Pork with Cilantro, Celery, Shaved Onions and Citrus.
  • Tiffany has Pork Stew with Potatoes, Peppers, Citrus and Allspice.

Of the two, Tiffany wins! She's happy about that.

  • Hosea (the season 6 winner) has Braised Leg of Lamb in Red Chili Broth with Olives and Mint, Goat Cheese and Rosemary Polenta.
  • Carla has Jollof Rice and Harissa Lamb with Peppers, Onions and Lime.

With Carla's rice being undercooked, Hosea is declared the winner!

  • Stephanie (the season 4 winner) has Veal Scallopini with Tapenade and Poached Egg.
  • Antonia has Roasted Veal, Leek and Almonds Puree with Sauteed Mushrooms, Arugula and Raisins.

Neither dish is great, but Stephanie wins over Antonia in a split judges' vote!

  • Richard has Seared Veal Loin and Braised Veal Cap with Raisins, Carrots, Potatoes and Mushrooms.

Richard wins over Stephanie easily!

  • Michael (the season 5 winner) has Duck Breast with Duck Leg in Bacon Vinaigrette, Burnt Leek and Coffee Pesto.
  • Mike has Cashew Dusted Spiced Duck Breast with Duck Leg and Mushroom Jus.

In another split judges' decision, Mike wins out over Michael!

Now it's time for the Elimination Challenge. There's a dinner party the next night for Bahamian royalty, and the cheftestants are going to cook for it. Really? Bahamian royalty? They have that?

In the meantime, they get to go hang out in tropical paradise. Always a nice thing. And it's a pretty cool suite. Not enough time to think about it though, since the cheftestants get only 2 1/2 hours to prep the next day. Carla manages to psych herself out into tears. Mike deals with stress by being the biggest jerk he can manage and thoroughly belittling all female chefs in the competition.

A police escort takes the cheftestants through the streets to... some sort of rollicking street festival. It's more than a little unsettling to everyone. Carla, however, seems to be in her element.

The "king" turns out to be the King of Junkanoo, kind of a carnival thing. Everyone suddenly reevaluates the appropriateness of their respective dishes. And the kitchen is... pretty darn basic. Midway through the cooking, the fryer bursts into flames, causing the rapid evacuation of the kitchen. Alas, the food must be left behind.

The food and the kitchen are pretty much a bust at this point. And the cheftestants have to totally start over again. Not so much fun.

Tiffany and Carla aren't happy to lose the advantage of well-chosen dishes. Antonia and Richard are thrilled to change dishes midway through. Then they go back to the fiery kitchen of doom, where there are brand new fryers waiting for use.

The judges take their seats in an impressively cozy booth. And here comes the food!

  • Carla has Fried Pork Medallion with Sweet Potato Puree, Apple Sauce and Apple Chip.
  • Antonia has Crispy Shrimp and Grits with Cilantro and Pickled Vegetables.
  • Mike has a Sous Vide Chicken, Mushrooms, Yams, Lobster Sauce and Lobster Hash.
  • Richard has Roasted Lamb Loin and Malted Braised Leg with Pickled Turnip and Mustard.
  • Tiffany has Roasted Spiced Pork Tenderloin, Dirty Rice, Curried Slaw and Tomato Jam.

Everybody gets ripped from the comfort of a living room, only to walk across the shiniest floor in the history of the universe. The judges' table isn't so happy tonight.

Carla gets called out for too-sweet apple chips, undercooked pork. Antonia has to explain her change in menu and her lack of pride. The judges don't like the shrimp and the pork, thinking the dish was odd. Tiffany's simplicity is a problem for the judges. The judges praise Mike for his dish, with only a little a little criticism for dry meat. Tom thinks Richard needed only one more ingredient, but otherwise they like it.

With no additional deliberation, the winner is... Mike!

Richard is also safe, and everyone goes back to the room to hang out and feel miserable. Carla and Antonia are both freaking out in their respective ways.

After criticizing everyone thoroughly, the judges decide that... Carla is packing her knives.

Awww... Not Carla! How can you not love someone whose reaction to elimination is "The judges made the right decision?" How sad. Now there's no one to go loopy over everything!

Do you think the right cheftestant went home? Who do you think is next? Who will win? Leave your comments below!

(Image courtesy of Bravo)



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