Top Chef: All Stars

2006, TV Show

Top Chef Episode: "Social Service"

Season 2, Episode 5
Episode Synopsis: Talents are truly tested when the chefs must create delectable fare from disgusting leftover animal parts, including chicken feet, pigs' blood and lamb hearts. Chef Michelle Bernstein serves as guest judge.
Original Air Date: Nov 15, 2006

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Season 2, Episode 5
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Aired: 11/15/2006
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November 15, 2006: Today's Special - A Double Elimination Season 2, Episode 5

We all knew there was going to be a double elimination; I just didn't think it was going to be this week, until three teams did so horribly in the elimination challenge. Josie and Marisa were both forced to pack their knives and leave the competition. I was simply happy that Marisa got her walking papers. But after Josie's "talented" comments about herself, I was actually glad she was given the boot, too. And speaking of Josie and Marisa, when in the world did they become BFFs? I didn't have one clue that they were tight until this episode. And, of course, saying that in the first five minutes of the show all but guaranteed their elimination. Unlike the guest judges that sometimes pop in on American Idol, the ones on Top Chef are real contributors to the process, and I've loved pretty much every one. Tom, Gail and guest chef Michelle Bernstein were very vocal and, might I add, kinda cranky. I think they had every right to be. But first, let's start things off with the Quickfire challenge. Quickfire Challenge: Create a dish using leftover parts Winner: Sam Guest Judge: Michelle Bernstein - owner and chef of Michy's in Miami and consulting chef for Social in L.A. and Miami On other reality shows, if there are pigs' feet, beef cheeks and veal tongues lying around, it's a good bet contestants are going to have to eat them raw. At least on this show, all the finalists have to do is cook the suckers. For the first time in about three weeks, no one was upset about this particular task. Even Mike confidently said he knew what flavors go together; but based on his history, I had my doubts. Marcel used pigs' blood as an ingredient in his - how funny was it when Betty mentioned something about how he looked like a vampire? (Does that mean we can consider her Betty the Vampire Slayer?) You can tell when the judge doesn't like a dish. They'll question one of the chef's choices, say something like, "OK, thanks," and then quickly move on. It was easy to come to the conclusion that Josie and Elia's leftover dishes were not going to be contenders for anything other than the Bottom 2. Sam's sweetbread and scallion beignets, complete with a Chinese five-spice and sweet soy broth, impressed Michelle the most for being delicious, beautifully executed and innovative. Even though I didn't dig Sam's behavior in last week's show, I was happy that the guy won. I guess sometimes I just can't hold a grudge. Elimination Challenge: Cook for actress Jennifer Coolidge and her 60 friends at Social Hollywood using the remains in the fridge and some other products Winning Team: Mike and Ilan Winner: Ilan The chefs had to divide into pairs and cook a six-course meal for Stifler's Mom and 60 of her friends. I thought the show was going to figure out a way to get Betty and Marcel together. But they actually left the task of choosing a partner up to the chefs, so there was no renewal of their rivalry. Betty did team up with Mia, however. This is an interesting choice, since Mia sold her out in last week's challenge. I guess Betty is still none the wiser. Still, I can't believe Marisa had the nerve to talk about Mia's character. I loved Tom announcing that, after last week, he was staying in the kitchen to keep an eye on things. Is it me, or does he seem to be getting frustrated with many members of this group? Cliff and Sam seem to be the dream team, while the oddest pairing may be Mike and Ilan. But guess what? They both did good with their dishes (Courses No. 2 and No. 3, respectively) and were shoo-ins for the Top 2. Guess what else? Mike and Ilan's seafood paella won, with Michelle selecting Ilan as the winner who gets to help her at the South Beach Wine Festival. But talk about going from zero to hero, Mike finally learned what it's like to be at the top. Good for him. For the first time, he was acting coherent and competent. He finally made the effort to be part of this competition. The Bottom 3 consisted of Betty/Mia, Elia/Carlos and best buds Josie and Marisa. The judges were pretty brutal with their assessments of their dishes. They also seemed beyond frustrated with the lack of communication and weren't afraid to question what all the chefs were thinking. The judges had no time for Betty and Mia's under-cooked puff pastry. They couldn't figure out why Elia and Carlos couldn't concentrate on just one delectable dessert instead of three. They particularly had a problem with that pomegranate-juice shot - apparently the juice tasted like it had been sitting out all day. But they all seemed to have the biggest problem with Josie and Marisa's "Awakening Trio." It's another case of trying to do too much but ultimately doing too little. I couldn't help laughing when Gail pointed out that they had three hours to prepare their course, and they didn't actually cook anything. It was obvious the judges were going to take their frustrations out with a double-elimination shocker. Although, come on, it really wasn't much of a shocker. Topics to discuss: - Do you think Tom's right? Are the finalists just trying not to lose? After all, Josie did say that she never realized how comfortable the middle was. - What did you think of this double elimination? - This week's shining stars: Cliff, Sam and Ilan - Down, but not out by a long shot: Betty - Needs a good showing next week: Mia and Elia show less
We all knew there was going to be a double elimination; I just didn't think it was going to be this week, until three teams did so horribly in the elimination challenge. Josie and Marisa were both forced to pack their knives and leave the competition. I was simply happy that Marisa got her walking papers. But after Josie's "talented" comments about herself, I was actually glad she was given the boot, too. And speaking of Josie and Marisa, when in the world did they become BFFs? I didn't have one clue that they were tight until this episode. And, of course, saying that in the first five minutes of the show all but guaranteed their elimination. Unlike the guest judges that sometimes pop in on American Idol, the ones on Top Chef are real contributors to the process, and I've loved pretty much every one. Tom, Gail and guest chef Michelle Bernstein were very vocal and, might I add, kinda cranky. I think they had every right to be. But first, let's start things off with the Quickfire chal... 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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