Top Chef: All Stars

2006, TV Show

Top Chef Episode: "Film Food"

Season 4, Episode 4
Episode Synopsis: The chefs are ripe for action when they transform vegetables into art. Then, the real world meets the reel world during a film-themed dinner party hosted by cinema pundit Richard Roeper.
Original Air Date: Apr 2, 2008
Guest Cast Richard Roeper
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Season 4, Episode 4
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Aired: 4/2/2008
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Film Food Season 4, Episode 4

This week's episode required the chefs to think with both sides of their brain, demonstrating their technical skills as well as their imagination. The Quickfire Challenge was almost more demanding than the Elimination Challenge, and it came with a higher reward giving the winner immunity rather than sending someone home. Padma, joined by Chef Daniel Boulud, who makes a return visit as guest judge this season, announced that for the QFC the chefs were to create a beautiful vegetable plate demonstrating at least three techniques. As Richard said, technique is more than knife proficiency. And while I can appreciate the fact that not all chefs attend culinary school, should they not be well versed in creating food art? Perhaps the word art isn't accurate but there is a lot to be said for presentation. It was interesting that both Richard and Ryan spent time training with Chef Daniel, but Ryan vocalized that preparing foods like this was not his style. Lisa also mentioned this and was told her poached egg, blanched asparagus and batonettes of bell pepper showed no train of thought and went back to basics. Manuel may have used the "sentimental jinx" this evening by saying he missed his sons. Chef Daniel told him that he showed level one techniques with his blanched asparagus and brunoise of yellow pepper. At least he knew that brunoise is a method of fine dicing. Looking almost as frazzled as her accompanying chiffonade of frisée but landing a cut above the rest was Zoi serving a shaved asparagus salad and a "perfect" poached egg with batons of green beans. Richard presented varied textures with his blanched mushrooms, pickled beets and sliced radishes but Dale won immunity showing "amazing knife skills" with daikon marinated in tobanjan. (As I've previously mentioned I prefer milder flavors, which is probably why I've never encountered the term for spicy miso sauce known as tobanjan.) Entering the reel world of the Elimination Challenge, the chefs were to satisfy the palates not only of the judges but also of film critic Richard Roeper, actress Aisha Tyler and other guests with foods inspired by favorite movies. The chefs broke into teams to prepare a six-course meal that you wouldn't find at a concession stand. Even if you rarely go to the movies it shouldn't be a set back. Ryan seems like a really nice guy and I can't imagine what he would have made with his first film choice Dumb and Dumber. Mark's little known choice of the Australian dark comedy Bad Boy Bubby, about a mother who has kept her son in seclusion for 35 years and, well, let's just say I don't think this would be tasty too. Luckily Ryan recalls (with help) A Christmas Story, and just like in the movie, the store is out of the duck that they had hoped to buy. Coming up with Plan 9 (from Outer Space) Ted Allen and several guests liked the flavors of their quail breast with carrot purée, cranberry chutney and quail spring rolls. Serving the sixth course, Lisa and Stephanie, who won last week with a dessert, were wise not to present a rerun. I would never have considered the film Top Secret! a culinary inspiration but their NY strip steak and braised short ribs with caramel sauce was called "harmonious". Aisha thought the dish felt organized but Ted wanted to know "does it say Val Kilmer in a cow suit?" Richard's favorite film was Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory and it proved to be an inspiring first course. He won the challenge delivering a smoked salmon accompanied with Andrew's faux caviar made of tapioca pearls (which he used before) and a wasabi white chocolate sauce. What connected the food to the movie was telling the judges that if you floated to the ceiling after drinking the fizzy pear and celery soda burping would be the way to get down. Zoi did not comprehend Richard's risk-taking flavor combo. She and partner Antonia also could not translate what they considered to be the vibrancy of the two women in Pedro Almodóvar's Talk to Her when presenting a rack of lamb with saffron cauliflower purée. Maybe they were subtly influenced by the fact that the two women actually spend most of the film in a coma. It was thumbs down for Manuel this week even though Spike was the Vietnamese cuisine expert. Though Chilean sea bass was faulted as a limp choice for their summer rolls, the tilapia Spike wanted to use wouldn't have been any better. It was correctly suggested that a firmer shellfish like lobster would have been the better choice. And adding the Swiss chard garnish did nothing to make the plate cohesive. Manuel had a sense that he was going to leave and I'll bet he won't be watching Good Morning, Vietnam with his sons for quite a while. Second Bites " If Manuel had insisted on creating something inspired by Like Water for Chocolate, would Spike have been the one leave? Or would it have been Zoi or Antonia? " How are your knife skills? Can you create more than a tomato rose? " The text poll wanted to know what you thought of Andrew's idea to present the food as Oompa Loompas. 85% thought it "fell short". Was it wrong of me to burst out laughing at his playful impersonation? " When thinking of film food, I would have picked Amélie because she worked in a café and I love French pastries and espresso anytime of day. What film would you choose to satisfy your cinematic taste buds? For more tasty treats about Top Chef, check out our Online Video Guide. show less
This weeks episode required the chefs to think with both sides of their brain demonstrating their technical skills as well as their imagination The Quickfire Challenge was almost more demanding than the Elimination Challenge and it came with a higher reward giving the winner immunity rather than sending someone home Padma joined by Chef Daniel Boulud who makes a return visit as guest judge this season announced that for the QFC the chefs were to create a beautiful vegetable plate demonstrating at least three techniques As Richard said technique is more than knife proficiency And while I can appreciate the fact that not all chefs attend culinary school should they not be well versed in creating food art Perhaps the word art isnt accurate but there is a lot to be said for presentationIt was interesting that both Richard and Ryan spent time training with Chef Daniel but Ryan vocalized that preparing foods like this was not his style Lisa also mentioned this and was tol read more

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Premiered: March 08, 2006, on Bravo
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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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