Top Chef: All Stars

2006, TV Show

Top Chef Episode: "Unhappy Customers"

Season 2, Episode 10
Episode Synopsis: The chefs work on a late-night snack. San Francisco restaurateur Mike Yakura is the guest judge.
Original Air Date: Jan 10, 2007

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Season 2, Episode 10
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Aired: 1/10/2007
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January 10, 2007: It's Cool to Stay Cool Season 2, Episode 10

I have to give a shout-out to Mike: He got much farther than I ever thought he would. Plus, last week, he made Top Chef history by sweeping both challenges. But, it's fitting that in a week where the elimination challenge resulted in such underwhelming results, the guy with the "lazy" attitude was forced to pack his bags and go. Mike's definitely not your average reality-TV finalist. So, even though his laid-back style seemed unnatural in such a heated competition and this style often annoyed me to no end, ultimately, he was refreshing, because we're used to seeing all these type-A personalities clashing with each other to rise to the top. He wasn't like that. Just look at what he said before he walked off into the sunset: "It's cool to stay cool, you know?" It's nowhere near Season 1's best quote ever: "I'm not your bitch, bitch." But I'll take it. The episode starts off with Marcel in exile on the roof. I just want everyone to stop thinking about Marcel and instead focus on what they need to do to win the challenges. That's what Marcel's doing; at least, that's what he's doing when he's not writing his awesomely bad rap. Or is that awfully bad rap - you be the judge. My favorite line: "I don't even get stressed because at the end of the day, my food is f---ing soignée!" Wouldn't you know it, Marcel actually taught me something, because I had to look up the word "soignée." Should I have admitted that? Quickfire: Create a snack using Kraft mayonnaise and other Kraft products. Guest Judge: Mike Yakura I immediately thought that Mike was going to rule the roost with this challenge and make it three in a row, but no dice. There were two winners announced: mucho mayo-lover Sam and not-so-macho Marcel. And since there is no longer immunity, their reward played into the elimination challenge. Random thoughts: - I think I would have wanted to try Sam's dish the most out of the six remaining finalists. - I really wanted Michael's crab and brie quesadilla to work, but I'm with the guest judge: There's no way, no how that was going to taste good. (I paraphrased a little bit.) - It served Ilan right that his ridiculous "homage to Marcel" (in the form of foam) backfired. Let it go, Ilan. Elimination: Create a restaurant concept and menu, and then execute it with your team. First of all, this was a really difficult challenge! Since Sam and Marcel were the quickfire winners, they were the "captains" of the two teams required to go out and create an instant restaurant in 24 hours. I thought it was pretty interesting that Sam chose Ilan over Cliff. It turned out to definitely be the wiser choice, but I still thought it was interesting. And no surprise that Marcel chose Elia. Sam, Ilan and Mike: Again, Sam's team seems to make decisions smoothly. They name their rustic Italian restaurant "lalalina" after their significant others: very sweet. It seems that none of the guys have any front-of-the-house experience, so it's up to Ilan to make sure things go smoothly with the designer, who has to turn their concept into a pleasing environment for diners overnight. Is it me, or did it seem like the designers for both teams weren't able to finish the job before time ran out? I guess it was all in the editing, but when we saw that there were five minutes left, the rooms were nowhere near completion. Ilan was also the one to make sure all the diners were happy and taken care of - big mistake. Another mammoth mistake: not serving wine. What were they thinking? Running out of money for wine was unacceptable. Mike had a hundred dollars left over from his money. He did nothing with it and headed back to headquarters. He ultimately paid for that. There was one dish that I was not surprised didn't work, and that was the watermelon gnocchi. I just couldn't picture this concoction, and it totally backfired on Sam. The diners automatically connected with lalalina's menu; it just seemed like the main reason M.E.C. got any customers was because lalalina had to turn people away. Marcel, Elia and Cliff: First this trio decided to go with a Mediterranean restaurant called "Medi." But for some reason, they take Elia's new concept of an upscale diner called M.E.C., and they run with it. Methinks they should have stuck with their first idea, but, oh well. Cliff anoints himself master of the front of the house. As much as I like Cliff, I do hate it when he gets all demanding, especially when it turns out that he's a flop at making sure all the diners are happy and well taken care of. And as usual, Cliff doesn't crack a smile when it was much needed. Marcel and Elia seem to have an unspoken alliance and end up complaining about Cliff and his attitude. If Elia's going to call something the "Best Burger Ever," it better be the best burger ever. With a name like that on the menu, it's no wonder the judges were out to prove that the dish was nowhere near perfection. I don't think this team was given credit for their beer or root beer float concoctions, however. They at least offered their diners an alcoholic beverage. The judges' table was very vocal and extra critical, with good reason. None of the diners seemed to have had a great experience. Cliff left the judges waiting! The food was heavily criticized, even though there were favorites like Ilan's meatball appetizer and Marcel's vegetable tempura. Both desserts were disasters - especially the watermelon gnocchi. Gail was back and so were her extra tart, extra bitter opinions. Tom Colicchio again stated that it just seems like the chefs are not playing to win, they're playing to stick around. The guest judge was as vocal about his disappointment in the results as Tom, Gail and Padma. Overall, it was a very underwhelming performance for both teams, so no winner was declared and anyone could leave. Padma et al. made it seem like Cliff might be the one to go, but in the end, they rightly gave Mike the boot. Tom felt like he shortchanged the team and was also being carried by the team. And even though I'm glad Tom finally realized it, it seems like a conclusion that should have been reached well before now. show less
I have to give a shout-out to Mike: He got much farther than I ever thought he would. Plus, last week, he made Top Chef history by sweeping both challenges. But, it's fitting that in a week where the elimination challenge resulted in such underwhelming results, the guy with the "lazy" attitude was forced to pack his bags and go. Mike's definitely not your average reality-TV finalist. So, even though his laid-back style seemed unnatural in such a heated competition and this style often annoyed me to no end, ultimately, he was refreshing, because we're used to seeing all these type-A personalities clashing with each other to rise to the top. He wasn't like that. Just look at what he said before he walked off into the sunset: "It's cool to stay cool, you know?" It's nowhere near Season 1's best quote ever: "I'm not your bitch, bitch." But I'll take it.The episode starts off with Marcel in exile on the roof. I just want everyone to stop thinking about Marcel and instead focus on what th... 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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