Top Chef: All Stars

2006, TV Show

Top Chef Episode: "Manhattan Project"

Season 3, Episode 12
Episode Synopsis: The remaining cooks attempt to re-create a signature dish by guest judge Sirio Maccioni. Afterward, they try to please the precise palates of various noted chefs. André Soltner is also a guest judge.
Original Air Date: Sep 19, 2007

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Season 3, Episode 12
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Length: 44:04
Aired: 9/19/2007
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"Manhattan Project" Season 3, Episode 12

Tonight was weird for me. There was no drama. There was very little comedy. The only person still left on the show that makes it edgy is Hung. And I even hate to call him "edgy" since it's really just pure arrogance. And then, of course, there's my favorite: men with heavy French accents. For some reason, I have many moments where my brain just doesn't process words right away. I mean, I'll get them sooner or later, but it might take me a moment or two to figure out what you just said. So add a heavy French accent in and you can imagine how lost I was at points. Probably as lost as those Frenchmen trying to say "Hung." Le Cirque owner, Sirio Maccioni, didn't even bother trying to say it. (I mean, c'mon - it's really not that difficult.) My lone comedic moment was at the very beginning when Dale commented that he's "a big gay chef and I'm going to outcook your ass." Other than that, it wasn't exactly ginormous excitement. The Quickfire challenge featured the chefs trying to re-create the paupiette of black sea bass that's on the Le Cirque menu. As usual, Hung begins by saying how easy it is and everyone should know how to do it. You know, maybe it's more than just arrogance on his part. Maybe it's a strategy. Maybe he says things like that in front of the other chefs because if they don't think it's easy, it can psyche them out. I say that because Sirio Maccioni comes in at the end and says that it's a very difficult dish to prepare and really, for the $47 price tag on the menu, it better not be as easy as Hung claims. I think it's best for me to trust the guy I can't understand. The crazy thing about it, though, is that Hung really pulls it off and wins. So often he's been all talk and no show, but he worked it this time. And then like any good competitor, he won't share his technique when asked by Dale what he did. Again, Dale and the others seem to think sharing is the nice thing to do, but why? There's a hundred grand on the line here. Here's what I would have said: "You want to know how I cooked it, Dale? I soaked it in cherry Kool-Aid and then held it above my lighter for an hour. Perfectly done!" And then I'd listen to them laugh and wonder if I was crazy enough to do just that. Maybe Hung could have just shown Dale how to work a slicer. And I feel the need to mention it without having a full debate about it, but Maccioni goes and basically confirms the "females have to work harder because they are stereotyped" premise by stating before he picked a winner that "as a man I'd like to say Casey because she is attractive." D'oh. The elimination challenge gives everyone the chance to impress the professors and deans from the French Culinary Institute. However, instead of using fine ingredients, the professors feel the true test is being able to use simple things like chicken, russet potatoes, and yellow onions and create something fabulous. So they must use those ingredients to create a dish. Hung gets an extra half hour since he won the Quickfire. He says he wants to show everyone what style is all about and he does just that. The rest of the chefs seem impressed with his techniques but certainly didn't think he could pull off big flavors. He creates a sous-vide chicken, which the judges are impressed with. Dale claims he is going "balls out" this week to do something no one has seen from him before. Throughout this whole episode, Dale makes a very good point, which didn't really occur to me before. Dale would work on a dish three or four times to get the proper technique down and then he'd serve it on his menu. But all these dishes are the very first shot from these chefs to cook something they might have never done before. And, of course, this makes complete sense. Dale goes for a duo of chicken but doesn't pull it off well and during plating forgets to put his honey sauce over the top. Sara is going for couscous again! Can you believe it? This isn't really the time to have a do-over. I know she's confident in her couscous, but this is way too important to hope the judges forgot about the last debacle. She claims she's making a Jamaican fricassee chicken dish but all the judges agree it didn't have Jamaican flavors at all. Plus Gail gets some red chicken and Sara can't figure out how it arrived on the plate. Casey's only fault is that she named her dish incorrectly. It wasn't technically a coq au vin as she claimed, and Tom really seemed to want to hammer this home for some reason. But the dish was so good that the guest judges just seemed to be halfheartedly listening to what Tom said. Then there's Brian. I'm 100 percent shocked that none of the judges talked about how his shepherd's pie looked like a Frisbee made out of baby vomit. And it wasn't a mistake either. He knew right from the beginning that it would be green. I just find it hard to believe that these professors didn't once question why they were potentially eating phlegm in a bowl. But it's the taste that matters more than anything, and while his sausage overpowered the chicken, most seem to like his dish. It certainly was no shock that Dale and Sara were the worst, nor was it a shock that Sara went home. At this point, raw chicken is worse than a bad concept. So my boy Dale stays alive for at least one more show, though I'm shocked Brian made it to the finals. There still doesn't appear to be anything special about this guy and I will be totally floored if he wins this. I'm still sticking with Dale to win, but Casey and Hung are really looking great right now. Just a few more to go before we crown a new Top Chef! Until next week, friends. Join me over in the Online Video Guide for clips from Top Chef. show less
Tonight was weird for me. There was no drama. There was very little comedy. The only person still left on the show that makes it edgy is Hung. And I even hate to call him "edgy" since it’s really just pure arrogance. And then, of course, there’s my favorite: men with heavy French accents. For some reason, I have many moments where my brain just doesn’t process words right away. I mean, I’ll get them sooner or later, but it might take me a moment or two to figure out what you just said. So add a heavy French accent in and you can imagine how lost I was at points. Probably as lost as those Frenchmen trying to say "Hung." Le Cirque owner, Sirio Maccioni, didn’t even bother trying to say it. (I mean, c’mon — it’s really not that difficult.) My lone comedic moment was at the very beginning when Dale commented that he’s "a big gay chef and I’m going to outcook your ass." Other than that, it wasn’t exactly ginormous excitement.The Quic... read more

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Premiered: March 08, 2006, on Bravo
Rating: TV-14
User Rating: (309 ratings)
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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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