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

Back at the house, the chefs exchange stories about past season. I have to admit, it’s hard to top Elia’s Britney Spears head shaving moment. Good thing she had a good head for it. But, like Britney, I still fear a little for Elia’s mental state, despite all her talk of maturing.

The next day in the Russian Tea Room, the chefs get split into two groups to finish their dishes in stages. The first group cooks while the second embarks on what Tiffani calls “the most uncomfortable Thanksgiving dinner ever.” The non-cooking group joins Padma, Tom, Gail and Bourdain at the table to taste the other cheftestants’ food. Making them cook failed dishes and making them judge each other’s food? This season is already awesome beyond belief.

In the kitchen, Blais says his strategy this season is to plate “all the way to the end of the challenge.” But, in reality, he meant all the way past the end of the challenge as he keeps working on his dishes after the buzzer goes off much to the disconcertion of his fellow chefs.

As the food goes out, a TV in the kitchen goes on and the chef get to watch as their competition dismantles their dishes with the judges. Like I was saying, awesome. Elias can’t bear to watch and Fabio looks like he wants to punch out the screen, or Bourdain, who says his pasta dish looks like “an inside out animal.” Oh, Tony, bless you for judging this season.

But now it’s the next group’s turn to cook and the other’s turn to judge. Revenge is a dish best served while sitting next to Tony Bourdain. Well, unless you are Fabio, who seems to want to get into an alpha male pissing contest with him instead. Bad idea, Fabio, bad idea. I have watched that man eat decade-old Twinkie juice from a corroded pipe. He has no fear and will happily eat your heart for breakfast.

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