Top Chef: All Stars

2006, TV Show

Top Chef Season 2 episodes

Finale Season 2, Episode 13

Conclusion. One of the final two cooks is crowned Top Chef on the Big Island of Hawaii. Here, the two are under fire as they must whip up the meal of their lives before a formidable table of culinary judges. One of the prizes: $100,000 in seed money to start a cooking career. read more

January 24, 2007: Finale, Part One Season 2, Episode 12

Disappointed, much? I kinda am. Thankfully, the competition did become more about the cooking, but I was still disappointed the chefs just couldn't make it an entire episode without trying to sell Marcel out. And I was disappointed that Marcel's behavior all season long was validated with a spot in the Final 2. I know, this is a show about cooking and not about personality, but I still feel that you can have a winner that's talented and somewhat pleasant to be around; I guess I just shouldn't expect that from anybody in Season 2. And as much as I liked Ilan at first, his unrelenting focus on Marcel totally turned me off. But, the two stepped things up in the first part of the Hawaii challenge, so they're the guys who'll be going for the gold in next week's finale. It's been two months since the contestants last saw each other and not much seems to have changed — except for the fact that Elia's hair is growing in, while Sam got a haircut. Plus, Elia's now being more vocal about ... read more

January 17, 2007: Can We Talk About the Food? Season 2, Episode 11

"We do have a competition here, and we want it to be about food."— Tom ColicchioReally? Here's the thing: I signed on for a show that was about cooking, with a healthy side dish of drama. Instead, all we're getting is some needless drama with a little sprinkling of actual cooking. In order to include the ridiculous "shaving Marcel's head" prank, we had to lose much of the quickfire chocolate challenge, plus much of the shopping and the prepping of the food and plates for the romantic elimination challenge. I know that this is reality TV, and its main staple is drama with a capital "D." Am I an idiot for loving the process by which the wannabe Top Chefs are required to create these fancy-shmancy dishes on very little notice — without a whole hell of a lot of time — and expected to make them sing with flavor and taste? I don't want to see hours and hours of time devoted to one subject: Marcel. I just don't! And I'm not only blaming him: The behavior of all the finalists... read more

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 th... read more

January 3, 2007: The World vs. Marcel Season 2, Episode 9

This show had a two-week break, but it felt like more of a six-week break. Am I wrong? It really felt like the last new episode was ages ago. So, needless to say, I'm beyond happy we can get back to the business of finding out who's going to be the next Top Chef, and I am very grateful that this was a supersize edition. Everyone seems to despise Marcel, and Betty got the boot. There's so much to talk about:Elia: At the beginning of the episode she brings up the fact that she was almost eliminated and had no idea why Mia did what she did. Did they actually let her know that it was her name that was going to be called? Tom Colicchio's recent blog let us all know it definitely would have been Elia that got the boot. But at the time of the actual elimination, did Padma reveal everything to the chef wannabes after Mia exited stage left? And, I guess once you "pack your knives and go," you really hightail it out of there. Because, apparently, there was no time for Elia to talk to Mia abou... read more

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 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

December 6, 2006: The Most Challenging Challenge Season 2, Episode 7

Was it Opposite Day on Top Chef or what? Sam, Cliff and Frank ending up in the Bottom 3? What gives? I did enjoy seeing the women in the Top 3, even though Elia continues to bug; but she's turning into quite the contender. Mia, Betty and Frank ended up in both the Bottom and the Top 3 during the episode. Luckily for Betty and Mia, their success happened in the elimination challenge. However, in my opinion, Frank was toast the minute he said that he was "on a roll," and I believe he uttered those words a minute into the show. It's like when Carlos said that he was A-OK with being in the middle, the middle was safe. I'm sorry, but when you're in the Bottom 3 with Cliff and Sam, just call it a day. There was no way those two were going home. At least one or both of those guys has a good chance of being in the finals. I had no problem with Frank going; I can't believe he's gone before Michael, but I had no problem with him getting eliminated.I also enjoyed that in the middle of these hi... read more

November 22, 2006: Give Thanks for Chocolate Meltdowns & Delusional Beliefs Season 2, Episode 6

In honor of Thanksgiving, I'm going to give thanks to this latest crop of Top Chef hopefuls for being so freakin' dysfunctional. Thank you for Marcel's arrogance (seems to be the word of the day with a few of these chefs); Betty's temper; Carlos' mantra that middle is good; Tom Colicchio's sheer frustration with this bunch; Elia's chocolate meltdown after losing the Quickfire challenge; Anthony Bourdain's colorful critcism; and, well, thank you Mike, for just being Mike.Quickfire challenge: Make a tasty dish using canned goodsWinner: Sam, Cliff, Ilan, Frank & MiaGuest Judge: Tom ColicchioLoved Tom judging this challenge — I'm a big proponent of using Tom as much as possible. It was clear that those who chose to make some sort of salad with the canned food ingredients were going to have the most success. After all, they only had 15 minutes to complete this task. The show mixed things up by granting five of the chefs immunity: Sam, Cliff, Ilan, Frank and Mia. Last week, I wro... read more

November 15, 2006: Today's Special - A Double Elimination Season 2, Episode 5

We all knew there was going to be a double elimination; I just didn't think it was going to be this week, until three teams did so horribly in the elimination challenge. Josie and Marisa were both forced to pack their knives and leave the competition. I was simply happy that Marisa got her walking papers. But after Josie's "talented" comments about herself, I was actually glad she was given the boot, too. And speaking of Josie and Marisa, when in the world did they become BFFs? I didn't have one clue that they were tight until this episode. And, of course, saying that in the first five minutes of the show all but guaranteed their elimination. Unlike the guest judges that sometimes pop in on American Idol, the ones on Top Chef are real contributors to the process, and I've loved pretty much every one. Tom, Gail and guest chef Michelle Bernstein were very vocal and, might I add, kinda cranky. I think they had every right to be. But first, let's start things off with the Quickfire chal... read more

November 8, 2006: Consider Yourselves on Probation Season 2, Episode 4

What's with all the cheating on Top Chef, huh? First Otto, now this. Here's a question: When is it the appropriate time for someone to speak up about fellow contestants possibly cheating? Right when you see the alleged infraction? Or when it's time to get your proverbial butt out of the frying pan of elimination? That latter tactic has worked on Top Chef twice now. Marisa didn't have to go home even though she deserved to, and now, no one's going home this week. You know what? I hope that means we're about to get a double elimination soon. And if I were Carlos, I'd lobby to get immunity for one more challenge. After all, he won the Quickfire challenge, but since no one went home, having immunity really meant nothing.Quickfire Challenge: Create an amuse-bouche in 30 minutesWinner: CarlosRunners-up: Frank and IlanGuest Judge: Former Food & Wine Best New Chef Suzanne Goin (owner and executive chef of Lucques and A.O.C.)Here's the kicker with this challenge: The chefs had to get ing... read more

November 1, 2006: Spicy Ketcherella and Cravable Comfort Food Season 2, Episode 3

How 'bout that judges table, huh? That's what I'd call a rough session, brutal even. Plus, a line between the comfort-food experts and the fine-dining experts seems to be materializing. Last week, the comfort- fooders had a tough time with the sushi challenge; this week, the fine-diners are nervous because it's time to make some ice cream and a dish fit for TGI Friday's customers. But, a Top Chef must be diverse and, basically, be the entire package. So, whether it's food for the masses or food for the so-called "elite," these chefs need to know how to bring it every time. Advantage: repeat challenge-winners Cliff and Betty.Quickfire challenge: Create an original flavor of ice cream for the man (or, in this case, kids) on the streetWinner: CliffRunners-up: Sam and CarlosBottom 3: Marcel, Emily and MarisaMy man Cliff won his second quickfire challenge in a row by knowing what the masses really want: cookies and marshmallow. It's not surprising that even though he claimed to have neve... read more

Eastern Promise Season 2, Episode 2

The contestants endure a rude early-morning wake-up call to buy fresh produce at a fish market. They then have 30 minutes to prepare a sushi plate. Later, the group must create Korean and Vietnamese cuisine. Sushi expert Hiroshi Shima and celebrity chef Ming Tsai are guest judges. read more

Into the Fire Season 2, Episode 1

Fifteen diverse cooks take to the kitchen to vie for culinary honors. In the first challenge, they must create a flambé dish. Then, they must whip up original cuisine using five designated ingredients found in a mystery box. 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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