Top Chef All-Stars Recap: Ding Dong, Two Witches are Dead

Fidel Gastro entertains us with another recap of Top Chef All-Stars.

There was a brief moment when I thought Padma wasn’t going to call Jamie’s name, but now all is right with the world, and we can resume watching without thinking the whole thing’s fixed. Now that I’ve spoiled the ending, let’s go back to the beginning. Obviously Casey’s departure is a shocker, but the really upsetting news, at least for Marcel, is that Dale won last week’s challenge, so he gets wasted and gives him a piece of his mind on the roof deck during what appears to be “white teeee-shiiiiiiiiirt tiiiime!” for him, Dale, and Tre. It’s another opportunity for the camera crew to get Marcel at his worst, as he gets in Dale’s face because he knows that Talde’s fists of fury are powerless against the threat of disqualification. There’s always the reunion show, Dale. At that point, you’ve got nothing to lose.

The quick social interlude is followed by a 4 A.M. wake-up call and a road trip to Montauk in Toyota’s non-recalled swagger wagons. They are met by Tom and Padma, who announce that there will be no Quickfire this week. Instead, the cheftestants team up and are sent out on boats to catch the proteins for the Elimination Challenge, an outdoor dinner at Water Taxi Beach. This is great for Dale and Fabio, whose fathers are both anglers. Ironically enough, they had the toughest time catching fish at the outset, but they both managed to reel some in, including a monster bass that Dale wrestled into the boat. The jury’s out on whether these fish were stunt fish. The only bummer was that nobody got seasick, at least not on camera.

On to Water Taxi Beach, where the chefs are sweating into the diners’ food and generally going nuts due to the fact that this is another double elimination. Jamie is filmed complaining the whole time, cementing her reputation as no longer one of the cool kids (as if she ever was). Colicchio saunters around and makes everyone second-guess their dishes, especially Marcel, Blais, and Fabio, who all agreed to make only one dish. I wonder if I would be scared of Colicchio if I ever met him in person. I go back and forth on whether he’s a really nice guy or a huge dickhead.

Back at Judges’ Table, we first celebrate the successes of Angelo, Fat Mike, and Texas Tiffany; as well as Carla, Dale, and Tre. Since this was a “beach” challenge, the winner was chosen based on this unstated theme and announced by guest judge whose name I can’t recall. I thought Dale’s fish tacos would easily take the win, but I wasn’t exactly surprised when Carla’s name was called. She’s a total weirdo, but she has that Kevin Gillespie thing going on where her food is just simple and delicious, and at the end of a long day of having a camera in your face and getting wasted, the judges probably appreciate that simplicity. On the bottom once again is Jamie, along with teammates Tiffani and Antonia. Poor Antonia has another week of getting stuck with weaker links, and the judges even say that had she not been with J&T, she would have won the challenge with her open-faced porgie po’ boy. This prompts her to start crying, further evidence that the cheftestants are beginning to lose it. The other losers—Marcel, Fabio, and Blais—made an excellent choice by splitting one dish. With two people being sent home, one dish made by three people provided enough smoke and mirrors to keep them safe, leaving two clear cut choices in Jamie and Tiffani. It’s about freakin’ time.