Liane Bonin of HitFix.com writes: Before we begin, if any of you are wondering why your DVR suddenly stopped recording “Top Chef,” it’s because the title of the show was suddenly changed from “Top Chef: All Stars” to plain, old “Top Chef.” But hey, this show is in constant reruns, so you’ll probably catch it in real time anyway. In other “Top Chef” news, if you live in Southern California and are a Fabio fan, you can watch the show on Wednesday nights at his Toluca Lake restaurant, Firenze Osteria. He’ll even be there, I’m told. And if you’re not a Fabio fan, hey, free hors d’oeuvres. I can’t attest to it being a big hootenanny, as I’m busy blogging for you guys, but if you’ve gone, do tell. If you know of the other chefs on the show doing anything similar, by the way, please post about it. And by all means, tell us about the food!
Anyway, let’s get back to the actual show, shall we? We open with a quick fire that is really, really quick. Tom Colicchio takes on his own quick fire challenge, whipping up a delightful fish dish in eight minutes and thirty-seven seconds – which is exactly how much time the chefs will have to make their own dish. I can barely put together a bowl of cereal in eight minutes, so this seems like one hell of a rough quick fire. But the winner gets a Prius! And immunity. But a Prius!
Apparently all the chefs are eco-conscious or just want any new car they can get, because the melee in the pantry looks like something out of an earthquake video. Marcel, sneaky devil, avoids the whole mess by taking Tom’s leftover fish. Even Tom has to admit that’s a pretty smart move. I’m not sure I would like Marcel as a person, but I kinda admire him.
The eight minute aspect causes a few chefs to completely freak out, which isn’t surprising. Even though the chefs are specifically instructed not to make a raw dish, Angelo does a crudo because he thinks it’s going to be so good, the judges will toss out the rules just for him. Angelo, Angelo, Angelo. This is not how this show works, but nice try. Still, Dale T. is the one who really blows it by trying to make noodles in eight minutes. I don’t think that’s even physically possible, although he claims he just needs a wok. Um, okay. His pad thai is so pathetic that the cameraman can’t even turn make it look appetizing with slow-mo camera work and a forgiving lens. Jamie makes clams that don’t pop, so she serves one clam. One. Why is Jamie still on the show at this point?
Tom declares that Dale T. is on the bottom with Jamie and Angelo. On top are Mike’s pan roasted branzino with black olive and caper stew; Richard’s foie gras roasted with aromatics, corn, fresh coriander and port and Marcel’s sea bass with dashi broth, bok choy and chili oil. The winner is… Mike Isabella! His sea bass looks pretty tasty, and I think he made the choice to go for simple and delicious over clever. If anything is going to bring down Richard, that would be it.
There isn’t much time for Mike to revel in victory or for his castmates to silently loathe him, because it’s already time for the elimination challenge. This week, the chefs must serve dim sum to customers in the Chinatown Grand Harmony restaurant.