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Thursday, January 6, 2011

Top Chef: All-Stars, Week 5: Hong Kong Like Donkey Kong!

Posted By on Thu, Jan 6, 2011 at 11:38 AM

click to enlarge Nice tats, Jamie. Now go home! - JOSEPH SCHELL/SF WEEKLY
  • Joseph Schell/SF Weekly
  • Nice tats, Jamie. Now go home!

Last night's Top Chef: All-Stars marked the 100th episode for the Bravo franchise, so we had some high hopes (especially since the show skipped last week). The special night's Quickfire Challenge featured Tom Colicchio in the kitchen, cooking for the first time in Top Chef history.

He made a dish as fast as he could, then set the time limit of 8 minutes and 37 seconds that all of the other cheftestants had to obey for their dishes. His bald head was sweating as he got in the game, which is funny, because as a food baller who knows nothing about sports, I once saw the book Get in the Game and was convinced the author was Colicchio, though ― alas ― it was

Cal Ripken Jr. Colicchio cooked black sea bass with clams, tomato, and zucchini. It was hailed as the quickest Quickfire ever (scary), but fortunately the winner would get immunity and a Prius. To quote Chris Daly, "It's on like Donkey Kong!"

The challenge pushed the cheftestants and revealed their weaknesses. Dale T. said, "I have nothing and it tastes like doo-doo" when his pad thai-inspired dish went to shit. Marcel showed off his doucheyness when he saw how much the judges liked Mike's dish. "Mike Isabella is actually after me and the judges seem to really like his dish," he said. "I'm kind of wondering if they are still maybe getting some lingering flavors from my dish and it's kind of carrying his." Oh snap! Mike was in fact the winner with his pan-roasted branzino with black olive and caper stew.

Like our maybe new mayor Ed Lee, it's not quite on like Donkey Kong because our cheftestant had to go to Hong Kong. Okay, well Chinatown. The Elimination Challenge was to take over the lunch rush at a dim sum place in Chinatown. Richard spoke the truest words: The whole concept of working together as one team in a Chinese kitchen has disaster written all over it. After all, the title of episode was "Dim Sum Lose Sum."

This challenge took them to a Chinese market instead of the usual Whole Foods; hilarity ensued. Fabio saw a turtle tank and was very upset because he has a turtle at home that he calls his princess. *Cue video of Fabio taking his pet turtle on a walk with a chihuahua leash.* Oh man, these people will never survive Chinatown. Hey Tiffani, you aren't in Santa Rosa anymore! There were no pedicures; Casey had to personally take off all of the toenails on the chicken feet she bought.

The judges' table was the only table in the restaurant served, and people were pissed. To quote Mike, "Everyone sucked and everything sucked." The winner was Dale T., the only one with dim sum experience, with his sweet sticky rice with Chinese bacon wrapped in a banana leaf.

The person sent home was the night's most shocking moment of the night. Jamie, who got out of cooking for the last two episodes, finally cooked but delivered two weak dishes. Even she was expecting her name to be called and her knives packed, but the person sent home was Casey. She had a very creative dish ― a play on chicken and waffles (chicken feet and a scallion pancake). Guest judge Susur Lee remarked that he would have been able to eat only one while watching TV for hours, it was so tough, tough as this week's elimination. We'll spend the upcoming week chewing on that and scratching our heads a bit.

Read more from Carina Ost at Follow SFoodie at @sfoodie.

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Carina Ost


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