“Top Chef All-Stars” Recap (8.01): Those who do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it


The teams get cooking, and it’s just like old times. They’re running around like crazy people, bragging about their skills and complaining about other contestants. It’s like they never left. But how did they do? First, the bad: Marcel & Elia’s (Season 2, Los Angeles) shrimp tacos, Tiffani & Stephen’s (Season 1, San Francisco) cioppino, Jamie, Carla & Fabio’s (Season 5, New York) apple trio and Angelo & Tiffany’s (Season 7, D.C.) fish in broth. But Jamie’s apple soup is praised. So the lesson here is an apple a day still keeps the doctor away, but three apples done three different ways a day will get you glared at by head judge Tom Colicchio.

And now, the good: Casey, Dale L. & Tre’s (Season 2, Miami) pork, Jen & Mike’s (Season Six, Las Vegas) pasta and Richard, Spike, Dale T. & Antonia’s (Season 4, Chicago) hot dog with mustard ice cream. And if you heard mustard ice cream and immediately thought, “The Blais is back!” you are correct. Tom agrees and grants Team Season 4 the win and coveted immunity.

Have I mentioned I love their new black Top Chef coats? It makes them look like kitchen ninjas. But I digress.

So now that the beginning jitters have been ironed out, it’s time for the some serious cooking to begin in the Elimination Challenge. So what diabolical plan do Tom, Padma, returning judge Gail Simmons and new guest judge Tony “No Reservations” Bourdain have in store for our cheftestants? It’s a good one. The chefs must recook the dishes that sent them packing their knives and going in the first place. Like I was saying, diabolical.

I think we can officially say the gauntlet has been thrown in Top Chef: Redemption. Before them are the ingredients for their failed dishes from past seasons. Dale L. has the makings of his disastrous butterscotch scallops, Carla has the steak she shouldn’t have sous vide, Jamie has Eric Ripert’s bass and celery concoction, and so on and so on. Their horror is palpable.

While the chefs wrestle with their past demons, they also size each other up. Blais seems impressed by Angelo. Antonia knows just how sneaky and devious Spike is.

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