“Top Chef All-Stars” Recap (8.05): Should have left your knives at home, ’cause this is a disastuh

When approaching this recap I had considered just writing in all-caps, 100-point, bolded letters “DIM SUCKS” and calling it a day. But, the epic, epic fail that was this week’s Elimination Challenge performance deserves a spanking in proportion to its total lack of success. In other words, gird your loins, we’re doing this thing.

The chefs walk into the kitchen to find Padma Lakshmi channeling Anne Shirley and wearing a puffed-sleeve shirt. She tells the chefs something about speed in the kitchen, but I’m wondering if she secretly angling to have Gilbert Blythe to ask her to the grand ball. She manages to subvert those longings long enough to tell the cheftestants that their Elimination Challenge will be to make a dish that beats the time of one of the nation’s top chefs. Which top chef? The Top Chef: head judge Tom Colicchio.

Now that’s a brilliant example of do unto others as you would have done unto you. Tom gets moving and he is really moving. He tears through his prep and even manages to throw a little fish carcass at Padma’s shoes when his trash bucket falls off the table. Now, that’s a Top Chef first.

The cheftestants are all suitably impressed and worried. The dude is fast. How fast? Eight minutes and 37 seconds fast. So now they will have the same amount of time to make a winning dish. Tom tells them degree of difficulty will factor in, so no cutting a piece of tuna and calling it tartare. But their race against the clock will be worth it because the winner gets immunity and a brand new Toyota Prius. Look at Top Chef going all Oprah — and you get a car, and you get a car, and you get a car!

The chefs attack the fridge like a pack of hungry jackals, except for Marcel who runs like a wily coyote the other way to retrieve Tom’s leftover fish. Gotta hand it to Wolverine, that was sneaky, smart move. Even Papa Bear Tom is impressed with his craftiness. Did I get enough animal metaphors in there? Good, just checking.

As everyone scrambles, chefbian Jamie says she thinks speed is important in certain contexts. She has dated people who are “fast” and says “I might be considered ‘fast.’” Forget the damn challenge, tell us more about your fastness, chef.

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