Top Chef: All Stars

2006, TV Show

Top Chef Episode: "Holiday Spirit"

Season 2, Episode 8
Episode Synopsis: In a holiday-themed episode, the budding chefs must whip up a party appetizer and complement it with a cocktail. Mixologist Kristin Woodward is the guest judge.
Original Air Date: Dec 13, 2006

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Season 2, Episode 8
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Aired: 12/13/2006
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December 13, 2006: Mia's Meltdown Season 2, Episode 8

First of all, they showed Mia a lot in this episode, so it pretty much seemed like she was the one who would go; I just didn't think she'd go the way she did. I really, really don't like it when reality-TV contestants quit (unless it's for something that happens in their personal lives). I just don't. So, Mia's departure was very unsatisfactory. I just like it when things play out like they're supposed to play out. And I don't think Elia should have gone home, either, but if that's what was supposed to happen, then it should have happened. Mia's the second Top Chef contestant this season to take the decision out of the judges' hands, and that's just crazy to me. It makes me think of all those chefs who wanted to be on the show and would never have quit. The Quickfire challenge: create an original Bailey's cocktail along with a small snack Winner: Cliff Guest judge: Kristin Howard, award-winning mixologist Am I the only one that thought that this mixologist was way too blunt? She made me feel sorry for Betty, and that's not easy to do these days. The first thing I thought of when I heard about this challenge was that this has got to be right up Mike's alley. And sure enough, Mike said he had tons and tons of bartending experience, so there you go. And he did come through: His "Tasty Lacy" drink, plus the cherry ice-cream sandwich, looked delicious. It did seem like the chefs were trying to come up with fancy-shmancy dishes and drinks when all Ms. Howard would have been happy with would have been Bailey's on the rocks and a mini-cheeseburger. So it's not surprising that she chose Cliff's concoction (Bailey's, rum, vodka and vanilla bean) and his dish that consisted of grilled beef, crème fraîche fondue, nutmeg and chocolate. She told Mia that her presentation for her drink (Chocolate Mama - does she have to add "Mama" to everything she makes?) was "pretty basic." But she was way harsh with Betty, whose drink was admittedly curdling at the top. The way she said she was afraid of the drink, however: "Maybe it tastes good.... But it doesn't." Ouch. She wasn't impressed with Mia and Betty; on the flip side, she felt Cliff, Sam and Michael definitely impressed, with Cliff getting immunity. The Elimination challenge: cater a Christmas party for $1,500 Winner: Sam Substitute judge: Queer Eye's Ted Allen (yay!) Guest judge: Lee Hefter, executive chef for Spago Beverly Hills The group of eight are immediately broken up into teams; the Black team is Elia, Cliff, Mike and Mia, and the Orange team is Sam, Marcel, Betty and Ilan. Of course, one team runs like a well-oiled machine while the other team bumbles and stumbles all over themselves. Color me crazy when I realized that it was the team with both Betty and Marcel that wasn't the troubled group. The Orange team seemingly did everything right. They immediately elected a leader (Sam), then came up with a very ambitious menu. They thought up something like 13 dishes to serve the partygoers - I was very impressed. I agreed with the guest judge: They seemed like they were working with a $5,000 budget. Watching the Black team was an exercise in frustration. They did everything wrong, from beginning to end. Correct me if I'm wrong, but it seems like they decided their menu first, then, after they shopped for all their ingredients, they elected Elia as their leader. Elia and Cliff seemingly decided that they would go with quality over quantity - why, I have no idea. They wouldn't even listen to Mia. In Mia's defense, she did try to get through to them, but they weren't having it. Eventually she did the wise thing and sucked it up and worked with her team. Four dishes. I still can't get over the fact that they only cooked four dishes. In what world is that acceptable? It doesn't matter that the judges thought that two of their dishes were the best ones out there.... They still didn't have enough to feed the party. Obviously, there was a lot of demand, and they didn't have the supply or the manpower to cover said demand. My favorite part was when Tom Collichio played a "mixologist" of sorts - he decided to mix things up and stir up a little trouble. After he found out that they were only making four dishes, he then unloaded the fact that the Orange group had come up with 13 dishes: "Do you think that was a mistake?" I don't care what Cliff said, they had to be worried. Their "quality over quantity" shtick was just not the way to go. It was definitely clear that the Orange team was going to win this challenge, although one firework exploded at the judges' table after they announced the winning team. I know Marcel was just trying to secure the win for him, but when you have a team that blew the other team away, it's the winning leader that's going to get the bulk of the credit. But Marcel just couldn't let it go. What did he think he was going to accomplish by saying that he didn't need leadership? That was just wrong and made him look desperate. As for the Black team, Cliff had immunity and Mike coasted by once again. It was going to come down to Elia or Mia. As manager, Elia was probably going to be told to pack her knives and go. But Mia threw herself under the bus in order to allow Elia to stay. Boo. Plus, things got really heated between Mia and Cliff. I know Cliff needed to actually listen to other people's opinions, but the yelling was just unnecessary. I see that Mia's passionate, but there's a point where it's just too much. One more minor thing: the Bravo poll of the week asked people to vote on the sexiest Top Chef wannabe: Sam, Ilan, Elia and Betty. I'm a little upset that Cliff wasn't one of the choices. I'm just saying.... Although I still like Cliff, I'm going to keep an eye on him for the next couple of weeks. He's been letting more and more of his cocky side out every week. Only thing is, he seems to be able to back it up with his culinary talents. Topics to Discuss: - What did you think about Mia quitting? - What did you think of Cliff in this episode? Is he getting too cocky? - Mia vs Cliff: who was in the right? - Who do you think the sexiest Top Chef wannabe is? show less
First of all, they showed Mia a lot in this episode, so it pretty much seemed like she was the one who would go; I just didn't think she'd go the way she did. I really, really don't like it when reality-TV contestants quit (unless it's for something that happens in their personal lives). I just don't. So, Mia's departure was very unsatisfactory. I just like it when things play out like they're supposed to play out. And I don't think Elia should have gone home, either, but if that's what was supposed to happen, then it should have happened. Mia's the second Top Chef contestant this season to take the decision out of the judges' hands, and that's just crazy to me. It makes me think of all those chefs who wanted to be on the show and would never have quit. The Quickfire challenge: create an original Bailey's cocktail along with a small snackWinner: CliffGuest judge: Kristin Howard, award-winning mixologistAm I the only one that thought that this mixologist was way too blunt? She made m... 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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