December 9th, 2010
02:30 PM ET
[Editor's Note: If you're sensitive to spoilers, stop reading now.]
That meltdown on last night's "Top Chef: All-Stars" might have been one of the most epic I’ve ever seen.
But before we get to that performance at the Judges’ Table, let’s talk about what led to the fireworks.
The Quickfire Challenge was to make a midnight snack for 150 kids who were having a sleepover at the American Museum of Natural History. Joe Jonas was on hand for judging, and Dale T.’s lack of recognition of the pop star (“At first I thought he was a pastry chef”) was hilarious. Should I be worried that I recognized him immediately?
The top two snacks were Spike’s potato and carrot chips with mascarpone and marshmallow dip, and Tiffani’s rice crispy treat snowball with malted milk and graham crackers. The winner was decided by the kids, but with those two descriptions, do I even need to tell you who won this Quickfire? Yes, 150 kids preferred a sugar rush to carrot potato chips. Shocking, indeed.
In order to serve all of them, Spike and Tiffani picked teams to help. Spike ended up with all the guys (besides Tre and Dale L.) and Tiffani ended up with all the women (besides Carla). Those were also the teams for the Elimination Challenge, which consisted of serving breakfast to 150 kids and their parents on virtually no sleep.
Plus, one team could cook only meat and meat by-products, while the other could only use fruits, veggies and grains. As Quickfire winner, Tiffani chose the meat, but didn't pay close attention to the instructions that her team could ONLY USE MEAT. This became a problem.
Spike’s team won (which was blatantly foreshadowed), and Richard, Marcel and Angelo’s banana parfait got the top prize. (Chefs, I’m warning you now, I watched last season. Do NOT let Angelo get on a winning streak.)
With Tiffani’s team losing, we got interesting insight into some personalities. Tiffani had a reputation in her season of being, let’s say, caustic. Now, she’s rolling with the punches, having a good time and enjoying the challenges. Contrast that with Jamie. She doesn’t like kids. She isn’t interested in helping other chefs. I’m not sure what she does like (I seem to remember her liking scallops in her season), but when she cut her thumb and had to leave to get stitches, I was more than a bit relieved. Don’t get me wrong, I would never wish anyone physical harm. But it got her off my screen for a good 20 minutes, and that was fine by me. Plus, she ended up being fine.
Jamie’s injury left Jen with no partner. No worries, Jen said. Fast forward to Judges’ Table where, in case the judges couldn’t read her angry body language (which I’m pretty sure was visible from space), Jen was more than happy to say exactly how she felt about being on the losing team. Her dish was perfectly cooked, perfectly seasoned, miles beyond anything put out by the competitors, and she would hear no arguments to the contrary.
When the judges asked why the team chose to serve all its dishes on the same plate, her reply was, “You guys are smart enough. You’re the judges.” Tiffani’s muttered “oh wow” response probably said it best.
Jen was one of my favorite contestants on her season. She was endearing through self-deprecation about her growing nerves. But within 15 minutes, “All-Stars” Jen became someone I was physically uncomfortable watching. I never would have picked her to be off this early, but when she was eliminated, I’m pretty sure I breathed a sigh of relief.
What'd you think of last night's challenge?
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