Top Chef: All Stars

2006, TV Show

Top Chef Episode: "Eastern Promise"

Season 2, Episode 2
Episode Synopsis: The contestants endure a rude early-morning wake-up call to buy fresh produce at a fish market. They then have 30 minutes to prepare a sushi plate. Later, the group must create Korean and Vietnamese cuisine. Sushi expert Hiroshi Shima and celebrity chef Ming Tsai are guest judges.
Original Air Date: Oct 25, 2006

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Season 2, Episode 2
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Aired: 10/25/2006
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October 25, 2006: Lychee-gate Season 2, Episode 2

To keep the lychees or to return them? That is the question. Part of me (the evil part of me) was thinkin' Otto's mistake was telling Marisa they may have accidentally pocketed the crate of lychees for free in the first place. Before we get into the nitty-gritty of this scandal, I have to say I've never heard the word "lychee" uttered so many times in a one-hour period; it was positively dizzying. And is it "lee-chay" or "lye-chee"? Since Otto was the only one committing to "lye-chee," I'm gonna go with everyone else. Anyway, yes, it was a problem that Otto's conscience didn't let him return the goods immediately. But am I the only one who really, really hoped it'd be Marisa who'd get the boot? By the end of the episode, I was almost willing to overlook Otto's lapse in judgment in order for her to "pack her knives and go." Her crimes: 1) her not taking complete responsibility for her gelatinous disaster of a dessert (when Chef Ming Tsai called it "a hockey puck," I laughed so hard); 2) her twisting Otto's words to make them seem even more damning; and 3) that smuggy-smuggerson look on her face when Otto was confronted with his mishandling of the situation. Sure, the producers may have used a little creative editing and snuck that smugshot (new word) in there, but at one point she had that look on her face. And for that, I wanted her gone. Harsh? Maybe. It took him longer than it should have, but at least Otto finally came around and took responsibility for what he did; I was a bit shocked he took himself out of the competition. I may have been misreading this, but it seemed like Tom had it out for Marisa and her dessert. Bet he was ready to eliminate her. Quickfire Challenge: Make Sushi in 30 Minutes Winner: Cliff This was such a difficult challenge. Beyond difficult. I take my hat off to Michael for creating a dish even though he had never prepared sushi before. I was totally impressed with all the wannabe top chefs for making their dishes look good and, for many of them, taste good, too. All this activity came after an obscenely early 4:30 am wake-up call and a trip to the fish market. Josie was two for two in this episode. She said sushi was "her thing" and she was well versed in the ways of Vietnamese food (see Elimination Challenge). Frank knew the proper way to greet guest judge Chef Hiroshi Shima, who's the Corporate Executive Chef for Katana and Sushi Roku - a restaurant I love, by the way. I am so happy Cliff won the challenge. Elimination Challenge: Teams Must Make One Hot Dish and One Cold Dish in a Korean or Vietnamese Style Winner: Team Vietnam and ultimately Betty Why is it that in reality-TV competitions, it always seems there's one team that has its act together and one that's totally, utterly a mess. Team Korea came up with the genius idea to drink sangria while coming up with their menu. I appreciate a nice glass of sangria as much as the next person, but while you're coming up with the all-important menu for the challenge? Don't think so. The chaotic group did manage to wow the judges with their spicy braised pork as opposed to Team Vietnam's pork pho. Loved how Gail made sure she asked who was responsible for Team Korea's dessert, or should I say, who was to blame for the dessert. From the beginning to the end of the challenge, it was clear Team Vietnam was going to win, even though the judges made it seem like the competition had been more balanced. Betty's contagious smile put her team over the top, plus they came up with the cool cucumber-and-aloe refresher the judges (especially Padma) seemed to like. Josie's "rah rah" perkiness was a bit grating at times, however. Frank scored some points with me when he not-so-eloquently scolded Team Korea for its lack of cohesiveness: "It's a team. And if you don't back your teammates, you might as well shove your head up your ass." Well said, Frank, well said. And, finally, kudos to my sister as well as SmilingFan35 for calling out Marcel's Wolverine 'do. You two are so right. show less
To keep the lychees or to return them? That is the question. Part of me (the evil part of me) was thinkin' Otto's mistake was telling Marisa they may have accidentally pocketed the crate of lychees for free in the first place. Before we get into the nitty-gritty of this scandal, I have to say I've never heard the word "lychee" uttered so many times in a one-hour period; it was positively dizzying. And is it "lee-chay" or "lye-chee"? Since Otto was the only one committing to "lye-chee," I'm gonna go with everyone else. Anyway, yes, it was a problem that Otto's conscience didn't let him return the goods immediately. But am I the only one who really, really hoped it'd be Marisa who'd get the boot? By the end of the episode, I was almost willing to overlook Otto's lapse in judgment in order for her to "pack her knives and go." Her crimes: 1) her not taking complete responsibility for her gelatinous disaster of a dessert (when Chef Ming Tsai called it "a hockey puck," I laughed so hard);... read more

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Premiered: March 08, 2006, on Bravo
Rating: TV-14
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Premise: A reality competition in which aspiring chefs compete for culinary stardom. Each episode features two challenges---a short test of basic cooking skills and an elimination challenge, in which one failing contestant is sent packing.

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