'Top Chef: All-Stars' reunite to dish on the season
April 7th, 2011
10:34 AM ET

'Top Chef: All-Stars' reunite to dish on the season

If 16 episodes wasn’t enough to satisfy your “Top Chef: All-Stars” cravings, you’re in luck! Last night’s reunion episode brought back all 18 contestants, along with Padma, Tom and Gail.

The Andy Cohen-hosted affair included some of the segments we’ve come to expect from these reunions: satirical send-ups of the Richard/Fabio and Mike/Angelo bromances, reminders of how charming Fabio is, how genuinely likable Carla is and how fashionably trendy Angelo is.

Rather than rehash what we already saw during the season, I’d rather dive into some of the new things we learned during the reunion - some of which were just interesting tidbits.

We saw Richard become hyper-critical of his work during the show, but what I didn’t know is that after he lost in his original season, he almost contemplated giving up cooking entirely! It comes off a little over-dramatic, but it also makes me happier that he won this time around. Richard shouldn’t need the validation of a reality show title to know how talented he is, but if that’s what it takes to keep him cooking, then so be it.

We also followed up on three of the bigger controversies from this season. First, Jen’s “guns blazing” elimination. Watching the scene just made me uncomfortable all over again. Jen said she let the emotions get the better of her, and Gail confessed was shocked that a similar scene hadn't happened earlier.

Controversy No. 2: Jamie's lack of enthusiasm for… pretty much anything, especially cooking. We got a recap of everyone bagging on her lack of cooking (I said my part during the season, so won’t pile on here), and she didn’t do the best job of defending herself. But you do have to give her credit for showing up, knowing she would take some more heat.

Finally, Chef Law. Just to remind you, in the words of Carla, "there is man law, and there is chef law." And apparently Mike broke the latter when he was “inspired” to make a dish very similar to something in one of Richard’s notebooks. At the time, this was a HUGE deal, but at the reunion, the chefs downplayed the whole thing. Everyone agreed it was water under the bridge.

A couple other interesting personality notes: Tiffani, who claims that her season 1 performance was the blueprint for how not to compete, said she came back, not necessarily to win, but to show that she’s a different person, which I think she did quite well.

And based on a viewer question, we find out that Gail would choose to go on a date with Spike over Angelo or Fabio. (I’ll assume her husband is chaperoning.) Padma, on the other hand, said she’d take that date with either Elia or Casey. She also showed off a new word she learned recently in relation to another contestant, but I can’t repeat that comment here for the sake of decorum.

We got some fun video clips of Marcel’s auto-tune rap video (“Put it on a plate”) and Antonia’s history as the Black Hammer. (Is it a curse or coincidence that everyone she’s on a team with gets eliminated? I’m going with coincidence.)

And then we got to the main event: Tom vs. Elia. Apparently, after she was eliminated, Elia gave some interviews in which she slammed Tom and the food on his restaurant’s menu,calling him a sellout. Elia tried to avoid the conversation, but Andy Cohen pressed the issue. She refused to admit regret over her statement.

Tom fired back about what he thinks is and isn’t appropriate to say to the press, as well as his conjectures that Elia was embarrassed to have been eliminated first. There seemed to be some confusion about whether this was over Elia’s elimination or just a personal attack. Honestly, the whole thing was awkward to watch, and it seemed like everyone at the reunion felt the same way.

Luckily, we ended on a high note (that previously mentioned montage of how awesome Carla is), and this season is FINALLY done. What did you think of the “All-Stars” format? Last night’s reunion? Sound off below!

soundoff (27 Responses)
  1. htc

    I don't particularly agree with elia but I'm glad she stood up to Tom. I think Tom C is the most overRated celebrity chef on tv. his smirkiness and 'im a better chef than you' look makes me think of replacing him of judging. He needs to prove himself by going on TC masters/iron chef.. my 2 cents

    April 11, 2011 at 12:02 am | Report abuse |
  2. Cheri

    I agree with Terry and support Elia 100%- Tom made a foolish and weak rebuttal in his defense that he has eaten in some of the contestants restaurants and would not make a bad comment about them to the press–but they were NOT household names before the show as is Tom- If Tom is "all about" farmers markets and wholesome foods as he stated, then his postion as a TOP Chef in the country should be a showcase for those areas as Elia was trying to say. Who really cares if say Padma drinks diet soda or even Tom in his private life- but to promote a product on television for profit that has known health risks is in my opinion a very bad decision at the least and a professional blunder – I have lost a bit of respect for Tom and feel the way he responded made me think even he knew what he did was not his best decision- If you want to represent a higher standard then you will be held to this standard plain and simple.

    April 10, 2011 at 1:09 pm | Report abuse |
    • Krissy

      i agree cheri. the way tom responded was annoying & i don't agree w/ him doing a diet coke commercial. diet coke is just as bad as regular coke w/ all of the fake crap they put in it, so it seems like a huge sell out that he did that commercial. why diet coke?? why not something organic?? makes absolutely no sense. diet coke isn't supporting local farmers.

      April 11, 2011 at 4:07 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Pat

    I wasn't impresseed with the reunion show. I think a part of that rests with the fact that I just think that Andy Cohen isn't a particularly interesting host. He gets way too much face-time on his network. That said, I think any Top Chef season deserves 2 reunion episodes, but he seems to prefer to save 2 reunions for mindless Real Housewives of {name random city here}. I wished that the All-Stars season either had 2 episodes, so that they could speak with or about every chef on the show or at least dedicate a 2 hour show to them.

    That whole montage of Antonia is stale. They did that her season and they showed a clip on one of the shows this season. Old. The bromances are also tired. I'm glad the Elia/Tom thing was brought to light, however, I think if Elia were professional and not being vindictive, she would have addressed her concerns directly to Tom and not the press. She was just embarrassed and bitter and used that opportunity to deflect.

    As boring as this reunion show was, the best part for me was Marcel's "Put it on a Plate" video. It was the funniest, cutest, most creative part of the reunion for me.

    I hope to see some of these chefs again. They are some of my faves across the seasons.

    April 10, 2011 at 2:16 am | Report abuse |
  4. Henry

    Wow 2011 is great its good to be alive to witness this future thats full of so many new things like cooking shows!! wow an actual show were one cooks amazing! original! sophisticated! ive been under a rock!

    April 9, 2011 at 1:07 am | Report abuse |
  5. EmSeeDubayou

    I can't watch these Andy Cohen things – he needs to step up and act like a man.

    April 8, 2011 at 4:13 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Blake

    Aww so sad the season is over, but it was a treat to relive the bromance of the season. http://foodiegossip.blogspot.com/2011/04/top-chef-all-stars-season-8-hammered.html

    April 8, 2011 at 2:55 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Terry

    We love this show. We agree strongly with Elia. Tom should use his position to only promote good and healthy foods.
    He stated he drinks diet coke so he feels "it is acceptable to sell it and be in an ad about it." If he smoked would he feel he should sell it and be in a an ad for cigarettes? Tom you have strong opinions about the quality of your show Top Chef and he have a great show. We believe you should look at your restaurant and rethink what food you serve in order to use your power to help make a change in this country with our serious food problems. I was pleased that Elia did not back down and that Dale defended her. Her behavior comes from deep passion in knowing what is right but not being smooth enough to say it with out showing her anger.

    April 8, 2011 at 6:24 am | Report abuse |
    • Ron G

      @Terry, Maybe you need to do some more research before making statements like that. Tom is the man! He has been in DC in campaigning for every kid at school to be able to eat in this country, and all you can do is pick on his menu. Obviously his menu is successful enough to bring him the level of success that he and his patrons enjoy. Elia is a tempermental crybaby rookie, and you agree with her lame opinion about a pro? Shame on you.

      April 8, 2011 at 9:16 am | Report abuse |
    • Bruce

      @Terry While I personally don't care for Tom (to me he comes off very pompous and self-righteous) and wish they would replacer him on the show, a restaurant is first and foremost a business. So the menu has to reflect what people want and enough of them to support the business. It's not like Tom will have a Field of Dreams experience and hear a voice repeating, "if you cook it, they will come".

      April 8, 2011 at 10:34 am | Report abuse |
    • EmSeeDubayou

      Tom Collichio is under no moral or contractual obligation to promote good and healthy foods.

      April 8, 2011 at 4:19 pm | Report abuse |
  8. honestfan

    Loved Elia! Compair to the rest of brown noses, she is a true chef and stayed honest despite being put on the spot. BRAVO ELIA!

    April 8, 2011 at 1:56 am | Report abuse |
  9. Lina

    I hope Elia is permanently blacklisted from future top chef shows. But the clip of Paula Deen was fantastic! Did she really say that?? http://foodiegossip.blogspot.com/2011/04/top-chef-all-stars-season-8-hammered.html

    April 8, 2011 at 1:36 am | Report abuse |
  10. dd

    Elia, didn't anyone ever tell you not to bite the hand that feeds you? So much for a successful career now...

    April 7, 2011 at 10:21 pm | Report abuse |
  11. MarG

    I loved this season. I thought it was the funniest and most creative so far, and certainly the level of cooking was higher and more aggressive than any of the Masters episodes I've seen.

    Thanks to this episode I had to explain to my mom what "motorboating" was. Thanks Bravo!

    April 7, 2011 at 1:51 pm | Report abuse |
  12. cindy

    elia is such a loser! this was all to get attention, since she got eliminated first, and she was bitter, she had to get attention. It was funny how she was pressed for FACTS she couldn't provide any. She wanted to turn the tables , but it backfired

    April 7, 2011 at 1:16 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Denise

    I liked this season better than the others b/c they highlighted and worked on the cooking and less on personality fights, etc. I also liked how there seemed to be a tad more cooperation and less back-stabbing this time around. A very good season all round. It was especially appealing since my 14-yr old son often watches these episodes as well – he likes cooking and seeing the techniques and ideas fly are great inspirations for him. Well done.

    April 7, 2011 at 1:03 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Marylandls

    Despite all the snarky comments above from people that apparently don't understand the term "Entertainment", I thought the reunion episode was hilarious. I agree the exchange between Tom and Elia was not fun. But how come they didn't talk to Stephen at all last night? That was akward...

    April 7, 2011 at 12:11 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Julia's Child

    Rats! I forgot about it. PBS is running The Civil War again and I got caught up. Carla is awesome, Antonia really cooked her pants off and Richard, relax dude, you're a great chef. I'd watch a Fabio show.

    April 7, 2011 at 11:56 am | Report abuse |
  16. Jamie

    Whats up with Padma? I did not know she was gay.

    April 7, 2011 at 11:54 am | Report abuse |
  17. NANCY

    THIS SHOW IS ALMOST TOO CUTTING EDGE FOR ME ! They take things a person might eat, mix it togetherr, then COOK it ! Yes, that is what i said ! They COOK It ! They are actually cooking food on television ! The first time i saw it i was awestruck ! How could anyone actually think of something this amazing ! We need more important shows like this !

    April 7, 2011 at 11:42 am | Report abuse |
  18. Chrissy

    Padma is gay? Where have I been?

    April 7, 2011 at 11:40 am | Report abuse |
  19. joel


    April 7, 2011 at 11:30 am | Report abuse |
  20. Ron

    The finale just aired here in Canada, so we haven't seen the reunion episode yet. I'm really looking forward to it; this was probably the best group of contestants I've ever seen on Top Chef. Good cooks and interesting characters. Can't wait for the debut of Top Chef Canada next week!

    April 7, 2011 at 11:20 am | Report abuse |
  21. joel

    WOW ! THIS IS BIG ! I sure am glad we have the DVR all set to record it ! I bet this episode will win an Emmy !

    April 7, 2011 at 11:03 am | Report abuse |
  22. Head Diva In Charge - EL

    Nothing beats a Housewives reunion. Nothing.

    April 7, 2011 at 10:43 am | Report abuse |
    • LoveTopChef!

      I LOVED this season and am sorry to see it end. The reunion was somewhat of a letdown, but it could be because the cast is so big. Love, love, love this show, but this season was the best!

      April 7, 2011 at 2:43 pm | Report abuse |

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