Top Chef: All Stars

2006, TV Show

Top Chef Episode: "Family Favorites"

Season 3, Episode 3
Episode Synopsis: The remaining culinary contingent works with Miami's fresh seafood and attempts to serve savory fare to Elks Club members. Chef Alfred Portale is the guest judge.
Original Air Date: Jun 27, 2007

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Season 3, Episode 3
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Aired: 6/27/2007
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June 27, 2007: Yuck! Season 3, Episode 3

Hello, everyone. Unfortunately, right off the bat, I'm telling you that this blog will be short. Why, you ask? Because it's stormin' like Norman out here in Pennsylvania and I'd like to keep my hard drive in one piece. So today, we're skipping all the attempts at humor (at the start at least) and getting right to the chatting about what went on in this week's contest. Chef Alfred Portale from Gotham, in New York, was the guest judge this week for the quick-fire challenge. He's billed as having the most breathtaking platings in the world, so much so that you almost don't want to eat the food. (Um, look at the menu at Gotham: A four-course meal with a glass of water is going to run about a hundred bucks. I don't know if you print money in your basement, but I don't. So he could take a piece of salmon and make it sing "New York, New York" in front of me and I'm still licking the plate until it looks like it's clean enough to serve the next meal on it.) Clearly, though, a good-looking dish is going to make a big difference in this challenge. I loved two things about this challenge. The first is that Hung sprinted up to the tank of shellfish, pulled out his snorkel and went deep-sea diving for these things. I mean, he was in up to his shoulder. And does he have to always run? He wasn't being timed on how quick he could get the fish out, so what was the need to hustle as if the tank were going to explode in five seconds? The second was Micah trying to get her conch open by shoving scissors into it and then pounding the scissors with a pan. I understand they are hard to open, but could there be a worse way to do it? If I tried that, my new nickname would be Davey Four Fingers. Micah, Camille and Tre were voted the worst three. Tre is baffling to me. He seems to be so good, but he's been great a few times and crappy at other points. I would hope to not to go into his restaurant and get something awesome once and then the next time have it taste like crap. He's got to be more consistent to win this thing. C.J., Brian and Howie got rave reviews, but Brian takes the immunity because he kept his dish simple. It's funny how Hung bashed him for this but then wasn't good himself. And then Hung had the nerve to say that Chef Portale doesn't understand the concept of the croutons on his dish, after being told they were too big. This really was the start of the many sides of Hung. For the elimination challenge, the chefs were told to pick a traditional family favorite and update it into a low-cholesterol dish to serve the local Elks Lodge. Here we encountered the first really big group problem. Seems to me that the contestants are so far removed from what average people really eat that having to come down to the level of fried chicken is baffling to them. Micah annoyed me the most because she repeatedly turned her nose up at the "American food." She claims that she would never ever, ever eat meat loaf and mashed potatoes, yet she chooses it and thinks it shouldn't be hard to improve on such slop. Then as she serving her crunchy meat loaf, she made an unfortunate error in judgment by saying that "you Americans" like to use ketchup. She probably meant nothing by it, but it definitely sounded negative to me and to the judges. At the judges' table, Tom commented that the "meat loaf kept on giving and not in a good way." My man Hung pulls a definite Marcel here by cooking his food and then turning down the oven. Then he completely lies about it afterward. Not cool, man, not cool. His update to fried chicken looked interesting but even the judges looked kind of baffled at the transparent chip of skin on the top. Um, OK. C.J.'s take on a tuna casserole was described by Chef Portale simply as "yuck." I don't like tuna myself, but even if I did, his dish still looked like the neighbors' pug just threw up on my front lawn. He was deservedly at the bottom this week. Brian had immunity so he decided to take a chance. I don't care if you have immunity or not, screwing up is still going to be something that's remembered down the line. He updated stuffed cabbage with lobster, which is high in cholesterol. Then when he served it, he had the cojones to say that it's OK to have a little bit of cholesterol. What? I'm sure he wouldn't have done something this stupid if he had a chance of going home, but that was seriously the move of an idiot. Sara M. makes some couscous as an update to chicken à la king. Honestly, I don't know where my life has led that I have no idea what chicken à la king is, but my wife doesn't know either, so maybe that makes us both freaks of nature. Thankfully, the judges knew and noticed that her dish was more like "chicken Don King." I agreed with the judges and hated Lia's dish. I mean these are supposedly top chefs, right? She gets the same sausage I heat up on my George Foreman Grill and decides to serve that. And the one thing she did cook wasn't done correctly. I like her humor when she said that she "didn't really understand how complex frank and beans are" though. Dale and Howie are the only two that seemed to be any good this week. Dale made a Lithuanian pierogi called vertini* as an update to chicken and dumplings. And while I also didn't like his precooked chicken or his instant mashed potatoes, none of the judges noticed, so he did well to cover it up. Howie updated pork chops and applesauce. In the end Howie takes it, which has to be nice for him since he was so close to going home in the previous weeks. It's a good thing that missing the frog legs in Week 1 didn't get him sent home. And just as this whole season has been so far, one of the worst performers in the quick-fire challenge also makes a poor dish in elimination and goes home. Micah gets the boot and then starts saying how she's not cutthroat enough and that she's happy to go home and see her daughter. Frankly, I think that's BS. You know who else probably thinks that's BS? The person who finished 16th and didn't make the cut. If you weren't cut out for it and didn't want to be away from your daughter, you shouldn't have tried out. Simple as that. OK, so much for this being short, huh? And I just went back and reread this and there are really a lot of things that bugged me this week. Maybe not as much as the judges were baffled at the crap they ate, but still, enough for me to feel that we need something exciting again next week. And maybe even more than two chefs creating an edible dish. Until next week, friends. *Note: Because of the storm, my power went out in the room in which I tape the show. Therefore, the lack of proper dish names is because I have no reference to go back to. If Dale did not make "vertini," please let me know what it's called. I looked up vertini and found nothing, so something tells me I'm wrong. Don't forget to check out the Online Video Guide for clips of Top Chef. show less
Hello, everyone. Unfortunately, right off the bat, I'm telling you that this blog will be short. Why, you ask? Because it's stormin' like Norman out here in Pennsylvania and I'd like to keep my hard drive in one piece. So today, we're skipping all the attempts at humor (at the start at least) and getting right to the chatting about what went on in this week's contest. Chef Alfred Portale from Gotham, in New York, was the guest judge this week for the quick-fire challenge. He's billed as having the most breathtaking platings in the world, so much so that you almost don't want to eat the food. (Um, look at the menu at Gotham: A four-course meal with a glass of water is going to run about a hundred bucks. I don't know if you print money in your basement, but I don't. So he could take a piece of salmon and make it sing "New York, New York" in front of me and I'm still licking the plate until it looks like it's clean enough to serve the next meal on it.) Clearly, though, a good-looking d... read more

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Alfred Portale, Padma, Tom Colicchio, Top Chef

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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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