Top Chef

Cheftestants can't feel the heat in 'Top Chef's' makeshift kitchen

March 10, 2011 at 11:06 AM ET

By Liane Bonin of

It’s down to the final five, and the chefs are coming together in the Bahamas to duke it out, Caribbean style. Of course, it’s been a little while since the last challenge, as Richard has had time to slick down his hair and Mike appears to be shaped a little more like a Weeble.

Richard announces to the girls, who are the only ones who care, that his daughter is going to be named Embry Lotus. Lotus? Really? What kind of damn hippie are you, Richard? Anyway, Richard is going to be pissed if he loses AND misses the birth of his kid. If he wins, though, no big deal. Well, at least he can save some of his winnings for Embry Lotus’ therapy sessions.

All of our chefs are suitably fired up for the big cook-off. Richard wants the title. Antonia wants the title. Carla wants redemption. Mike swears a lot. And Tiffany is grateful just to be there. I think Tiffany should be grateful, because she is the last weak link still in the competition. Amazingly, someone else always seems to screw up more than she does, but that kind of luck can’t last forever.

The chefs are taken to Fort Charlotte, where they’re going to enjoy a Quickfire Challenge amidst the rusty old weaponry. Of course, it’s never just about the scenery, and the chefs find their old nemeses -- Michael Voltaggio (season 6 winner), Kevin Sbraga (season 7 winner), Stephanie Izard (season 4 winner) and Hosea Rosenberg (season 5 winner). Mike is hoping he gets to pair up with Michael Voltaggio, who won his season, as he’s a great chef. Oh, come on, Mikey! That would be fun! You don’t get to have no stinkin’ fun on “Top Chef: All Stars.”   

After Padma introduces guest judge Eric Ripert, chef/owner of Le Bernardin, she unleashes the bad news – each chef will be facing off against the winner of their previous season. If they win, they get ten grand. If they lose, their rival gets the money. Oh, and Tom has picked their primary protein, which will probably be something disgusting, like horned toads and pickled walrus. See, Mikey? No fun for you!

Anyway, the chefs peek at their proteins. Richard and Antonia (who must both battle Stephanie) get veal. Mike gets a duck. Carla gets lamb. Tiffany gets pork. The chefs run around and cook in a surprisingly friendly way. Carla is sure she can beat Hosea. Unless she screws up. Note: unless she screws up. She said it, people. So, Carla promptly screws up her rice by tossing it into a pan which has no hope of reaching the right temperature. Oh, Carla! Antonia is also having temperature issues. Maybe the producers shouldn’t be so cutesy with locations, as it’s not really fair to lose a competition because your equipment blows.

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