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Thursday, March 17, 2011

Last Night's Top Chef: All-Stars Was All Conch, No Balls

Posted By on Thu, Mar 17, 2011 at 11:51 AM

Padma's flotation devices can't even keep this series above water. - USMAGAZINE.COM
  • Padma's flotation devices can't even keep this series above water.

We thought we were out, but we got reeled back with a determination to finish what we started ― i.e., this awfully boring season of Top Chef: All-Stars. Last night's episode was titled "Island Fever," and it was fitting. There are four remaining cheftestants, meaning this shitshow still ain't over. We're stuck, sweating it out like we've got dengue. Last week we asked the question, "Is Top Chef: All-Stars the worst series ever?" The Washington Post responded with one repeated letter that got the point across loud and clear: ZZZZZZZZzzzzzzzz.

Last night's Quickfire was all about consistency ― consistent suckage. The chefs had to pair up and make 100 plates that were all the same in taste and appearance. With two boys and two girls left, they paired off like they were at an elementary school dance or gay club.

Tiffany and Antonia: Beef tenderloin salad with cilantro, mint, basil, and chimichurri sauce

Richard and Mike: Pork Bolognese with fresh macaroni and Pecorino cheese

Like the saying goes, girls rule, boys drool. Those trash-talking boys ate their words.

The Elimination was called Deserted Island and ironically, for once, we weren't totally alone. Top Chef finally delivered via two flotation devices: Padma's lakashmis in a bikini and a Sammy Hagar lookalike. (Note: The fact that we are mentioning this is a sign of our desperation.)

The cheftestants were put on island with boxes of shellfish and produce, but the all-important conch box just had snorkels inside. It was time to dive, since each dish had to contain the large sea snail. It was all so Survivor-like, which was a great idea seeing how that brand is going so strong. Not!

There was beach cooking, conch cracking, and sandy worries. Richard said he felt like a 7-year-old and, believe us, he was bitching like one. He continued his self-deprecating mantra. This time he was worried he was doing a Hamptons dish instead of a Caribbean one. He may have been in the Bahamas, but this was a white party in more ways than one ― they were celebrating a yacht club!

The ever-creative Richard knocked out a variation on linguine and clams featuring blanched sweet-potato strips standing in for the pasta, with lobster and conch. But Antonia's red snapper (giggle) with conch tartare (double giggle) had overcooked fish and conch cut too small. Mike had the winning dish: banana leaf-wrapped grouper with braised pineapple and conch vinaigrette. Gail couldn't get over the fact that the curry seasoning he used for the braised pineapple took the fruit from sweet to savory.

This was the second win in a row for Mike, causing him to say that maybe it wasn't a fluke that he beat Voltaggio last week. We doubt it; we just think Richard chokes under finale pressure.

Tiffany was the one packing her knives ― her ceviche-over-chowder was all kinds of wrong, temperature-wise, and Tom didn't like the sweetness. She left in tears. Relax, Tiffany, you're the lucky one. We're the ones still stuck in this Top Chef: All-Suckiness.

Read more from Carina Ost at Follow SFoodie at @sfoodie, and like us on Facebook.

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Carina Ost


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