I love Top Chef: All Stars, but I’m not happy with the direction it’s headed in. With just three finalists left, the show is thisclose to crowning a winner amongst losers, and I’m not sure I can deal with the stress anymore. The latest episode saw the final trio cook “last suppers” for three culinary giants: Iron Chef Morimoto, Michelle Bernstein, and Wolfgang Puck. No easy feat.What made this elimination challenge even harder was that each of these award-winning chefs basically wanted a meal stemming from their childhood. That meant our finalists had to fill the shoes of their mothers, which was not such a simple task, especially for Antonia who wound up cooking for Morimoto. He requested a simple bento box, but it’s never as easy it as it sounds. Simplicity means little room for error, and it when it comes to tapping into Morimoto’s fondest childhood meal, that would seem to attract a whole lotta error.
The whole reason Antonia got stuck with Morimoto is another issue. It all stemmed from the tricky Quick Fire, which had the cheftestants choosing past challenges for their opponents. Richard had the enviable task of sabotaging Mike with a super difficult Quick Fire, but he choked and gave him the one-pot challenge. Not the worst setback in the world. Compared to Richard having to work with hot dogs and Antonia with nothing but canned foods, one pot was like a breeze. No wonder that Mike won the challenge, thus adding his third or fourth consecutive victory since entering the finals round.
I really hate Mike in so many ways, but whereas normally I fault him for loafing, cheating, or piggybacking his way into the winner circle, I have to admit that the guy did seem to have put some time and energy into plotting out his success throughout the finals. I can’t fault him for that. I can, however, fault him for being an asshole at every turn. I just want to smack that grinning rictus off his face.
Well, since Mike won the Quick Fire, he got to choose which chef to cook for in the Elimination Challenge, and no surprise — he picked the perceived easiest choice: Michelle Bernstein. Richard wound up with Puck, and as mentioned prior, Antonia with Morimoto. Mike’s whole rationale was that he wanted to knock Antonia out of the competition because he felt Richard was the greater competition and wanted to beat him in the finals round. Tom, however, busted him by saying that if Mike truly wanted to win against the best, why didn’t he pick Morimoto? Bullshit = exposed.
Anyway, while Richard and Antonia were stuck cooking food way out of their comfort zone (Austrian and Japanese, respectively), Mike was busy with the insurmountable challenge of… fried chicken and biscuits? Rolling my eyes.
The good news was that Mike’s winning streak came to a happy end when Richard wowed everyone with his goulash and apfelstrudel. It looked like it would be curtains for Antonia, who seemed to have missed the mark with her bento box. Luckily, there was one final twist, which was teased out endlessly over one of those annoying 40 second segments in between commercials. Note to Bravo: I HATE THOSE. PLEASE STOP.
Anyway, Mike and Antonia learned they had one last shot at redemption. They had forty-five minutes to serve up a bite to save themselves. My heart was pounding. Please let this be Antonia’s moment. Let’s destroy Mike once and for all.
In the end, the bites were both well-received. Three people liked Mike’s; three liked Antonia’s. It was up to Wolfgang to break the tie. Ultimately he chose… Mike. THAT MOTHER-EFFIN SPAGO ASSHOLE. (deep breaths) Okay, sorry Wolfgang. You’re not an asshole. Mike is the asshole. And I hated that he managed to eek his way into the final round. Our dear Antonia was sent home in tears (even Padma had to cover her face), and now we’re left in a battle between good and evil. I’m really scared at the prospects. Mike has momentum and confidence. Richard has… facial hair.
This does not look good.
Wolfgang Puck: “This Padma is so hot my right breast began to lactate.”
Padma: “Chefs, for this final Quick Fire, you must cook a meal with Carla shouting ‘HOOTIE HOO’ in your ear the entire time.”
Wolfgang: “Theees smells rancid.”
Padma: “Don’t worry, we can just give it to my dear friend Gail Simmons. She’d eat a five-month old corn chowder if you put it in front of her, bless her heart.”
Padma: “Richard, why don’t you tell us what you made?”
“Okay, first off, it SUCKS.”
“WE’RE HUNGRY. NOM NOM NOM.”
Michelle: “I love a REALLY big cock.”
“Uh, I thought we’re discussing last meals.”
“Yeah, we are.”
“Richard, do you find me attractive?”
“Tonight I made a play on goulash with an herbed spaetzle and apfelstrudel. But don’t bother tasting it because IT’S THE WORST THING I’VE EVER MADE.”
“Good evening. I took the easy route; so don’t get excited.”
Antonia: “And the letter reads… ‘I want seconds. Love, Gail.'”
Antonia: “Bye Mikey. May you continue to fail upwards.”
What did you think about the episode? Will Richard choke again? How upset will you be if Mike wins the whole thing?