Last night Top Chef kicked off its new season with an All Star battle that pitted season one chefs against season two. On the season one team we had Harold, Stephen (oh how I missed his condescending smug attitude), Tiffani and Dave - surprisingly absent was Leanne, but she couldn't participate because she is now Bravo TV's food producer). The season two team consisted of fan favorite Sam, Elia, Marcel and Ilan. The two teams were going head to head and the team with the most wins contributed $20,000 to their favorite charity.
Overall it was a bit lackluster - there was no drama unfolding, as no one was getting kicked off, and all the food looked delicious - however it was fun to see my favorite contestants back in the kitchen. It was definitely a great tease (or should I say amuse-bouche) to lead into season three. There were a few good quotes and I'm sure you guys want to know about the food, and see some pictures. So let's get started, just
First of all, I can't get on with any of the recapping without pointing out three things. (1) Marcel rapped, again... (2) was that the Brooklyn bridge carved into Ilan's hair? I'm pretty sure it was and (3) the immersion blender in Ilan's mouth looked a bit... wrong? Oh my, now on to the recap!
The challenge started off with Padma and Chef Tom telling the former contestants that each team needed a team captain. Initially I thought it would be the two winners, but I should have known better! Instead of having the teams pick captains, the captains were chosen by a quickfire challenge! They were presented with two eggs and a large oven mitt. The oven mitt was for them to wear, because Padma tells them that they will be cooking eggs with one hand behind their back. They then cut to Stephen who says, "If you can't cook eggs, you're probably better off not being in the kitchen." I guess no one told those folks in Hell's Kitchen that.
In the end, Stephen wins with a "perfect omelette" and is chosen captain of season one - competing for the Susan G. Komen foundation. And even though his dish was topped with a dollop of saffron foam, Marcel is the runner-up and is chosen as captain for season two - competing for Share Our Strength.
The teams are then told that they're making a four course meal consisting of scallops, lobster, duck and kobe beef. Each team member chooses an ingredient and they will go head-to-head against the other season's chef. The team with the most winning dishes will be the victors.
Up first: Dave vs Elia with scallops - Elia produces two versions both paired with a marmalade, Dave produces a smoked scallop with a tapenade. In the end Elia's wins, although I must admit, I was rooting for Dave.
Next up: Stephen vs Marcel with lobster - Marcel's dish includes both a gelee and a foam (served tableside even!), both of which begin to deflate in the hot Miami heat. Stephen's is immaculately plated and consisted of beautiful saffron tones. Winner? Stephen.
Third course: Harold vs. Ilan with duck - The showdown is on! Season one winner vs season two winner, should be impressive, no? Actually turned out that the judges didn't really love either of them. Harold's was "incomplete" and Ilan's was a mess. In the end incomplete wins over a mess, and I say hurray, because well it's no secret, I heart Harold.
Last up: Tiffani vs Sam with kobe beef: Both dishes looked great, but Tiffani's was the winner. Chef Tom even mentions how nice it is to have her food again.
With a vote of 3-1, season 1 is declared the victor!
If you missed the show, you can check it out later this week (check the Bravo schedule) or stream it over the internet. Also, for a few hysterical comments on last night's show, visit our pals at We Cook, They Dish.
Now for a few of my favorite quotes:
"If the bitch can cook, let him cook!" - Dave about Marcel
"I have way too many people at home watching, I can't go home against this guy." - Harold about Marcel
"I'm so weeded right now." - Marcel
"I don't want to prove myself to these guys anymore." - Dave
"He's KIND OF cute?!?" - Ted Allen about Sam
"Don't read the blogs because you'll find shit on there that you don't want to know about yourself. Stuff that you probably didn't even know about yourself." - Sam
Oh Sam, was it something we said?