Thursday, February 10, 2011

Top Chef: All-Stars - Sizing Up the Remaining Cheftestants

Top Chef has long been one of the best reality shows on television—just ask the Emmy voters who finally awarded the show Best Reality Series after years and years of domination in that category by The Amazing Race. And this season, Top Chef: All-Stars, is no exception. In fact, it may be the best season in the series' history.

How fun has it been to watch our favorite cheftestants battle it out every week in an attempt to redeem themselves after failing in their own seasons? We know their personalities and their styles already—we just have to kick back and watch them go. And while a normal season usually takes 7-8 episodes to get to a "surprise elimination," we only had to wait until episode 2 for Season 6 favorite Jennifer Carroll to be shockingly asked to pack her knives.

I am enjoying this season so much, in fact, that I got together with my friends Elizabeth and Lilla last night for our own Quickfire Challenge! The task was to create a "signature appetizer," and you can see the delicious results on Elizabeth's blog. I obviously channeled the divine spirit of Carla with delicious comfort food and the ever-important ingredient: love. We declared a tie at the end, but I really won (just don't tell the girls).

Back in actual Top Chef-land, we are down to the Top 7 cheftestants—an elite, cutthroat group in which it's getting harder and harder to predict who will be the next eliminated. Take a look at who's left and what their chances are for making it all the way...

Angelo - I don't really believe that Angelo is a conniving saboteur in the kitchen like some of his competitors claim. He's lacking the consistency he had during Season 7, but seems to be hitting his stride as the finale gets closer (except for that horrid alligator-inspired food art).

Antonia - She was 4th place in Season 4 (a.k.a. The Season of Richard), but Antonia was never a memorable contestant. This season, however, she has been churning out great dish after great dish. A definite surprise amongst a sea of Richards, Jennifers and Caseys, I think Antonia will be in the finale for sure.

Carla - Anyone who follows my Twitter ramblings knows I am wholly obsessed with Ms. Carla Hall, and have been since her impressive run in Season 5. Her positivity and energy are infectious, and she has been a fierce competitor this season, racking up the most Elimination Challenge wins of any chef. People still doubt her abilities, but I believe Carla is on the short list of chefs to beat this season. Hootie hoo!

Dale - He was always just "Angry Dale" to me due to his temper tantrums in Season 4, but "Slightly Calmer Dale" has quickly become the front-runner of the All-Stars. Yes, he often stays within his Asian-food wheelhouse, but you cannot deny his incredible talent.

Mike - Okay - let's all say it together now. UGH! Mike has somehow managed to soar under the radar in order to remain in the competition. He's been "safe" more than any other remaining chef, and I think we can safely assume he will be one of the next 2 chefs to go.

Richard - Did anyone doubt the power of Richard Blais going into this season? I didn't do a scientific study, but I'm pretty sure 99.999% of Top Chef viewers predicted Richard to go far this season. And he hasn't disappointed. For the most part. I'm getting a bad feeling that Richard's starting to falter a bit. Here's hoping he and his liquid nitrogen can get back on track.

Tiffany - I love me some Tiffany, but I honestly did not expect her to outlast the likes of Jenn, Tiffani, Dale and Casey. And yet here she is. Her biggest issue is consistency, and if she ends up in the bottom one more time I would not be surprised to see her sashay away (hmmm... wrong show?).

What do you think? Can my beloved Carla go all the way? Is Richard going to be our next surprise elimination? And how much longer are we going to have to deal with Mikey Meatball??
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