Last night, the very first season of Top Chef All Stars came to an end as Richard and Mike went head to head in an all out battle at the dinner table, ..er a dinner table at the Atlantis Resort in the Bahamas that is. This Top Chef All Stars finale was not in a rustic ‘cooking mecca’ part of the world, but rather a place where tall frosty coconut daiquiris and a tropical resort buffet can easily seal the deal for fabulous dining. Too laid-back for hardcore competition? Nah. After an extra-long, extra-intense season I say good for them! Vacation finale well-deserved. And clearly there was no beach time daydreaming going on in the kitchen. But it’s true, Mike and Richard had to work extra hard to motivate their sous chefs: the kicked off Top Chef All Stars contestants. For example, just before the sous chef selection via blind taste test Spike confirmed to the group that he had jet ski reservations in an hour – making his Atlantis, Bahamas priorities quite clear. Was a rocky road ahead for Mike and Richard? Apparently no! The finale meal was, according to Tom, the best ever! So lets recap who won – spoiler ahead – and the good, bad and tasty of the Top Chef All Stars Finale..
* Congrats to Richard Blais! He cooked his heart out and in my mind deserved to win. And I love it when strong, tough boys get all soft and start weeping on us on reality TV. I know I’d be sobbing like a baby if I had just won over $200,000! Richard has proven his skills to be more consistent than Mike – who seemingly swooped into the top two just in the past 4-5 episodes. Mike’s “on a roll” sweep ended at the finale.
* Also good was that Mike seemed in very high spirits during the Andy Cohen after-party show. So yay to him for being a happy loser. 82% of those polled during the after-party show said that the right person (Richard) won TCA.
* Andy Cohen’s after-party show was awesome. Love Andy! Plus their were tons of drunk contestants and reality stars screaming and cheering (and booing) off camera. Jen Carroll? Was she really screaming that loudly as Andy kept saying? Ha. Those crazy Bravo stars. And I love that Carla Hall won fan favorite. She deserved it!
* Side note for all the Top Chef watchers – did you notice how slimmed down Chef and judge Art Smith looked?? He must have lost at least 30+ pounds since his appearance on Top Chef Masters! Good going Art – you look fab. Hmm, I did see him earlier in the day on the DrOz show making vegan cupcakes and discussing healthy eating. Good for him. I like my chefs lean and fierce.
* Foie gras ice cream Richard? Really? I expected that creation to send you packing. But apparently Spike’s eavesdropping set you free since only half the judges were served the cat-food looking freeze dried version of your dessert. Yuck indeed.
* Also annoying was how Richard had to say on-camera like a ba-zillion times how he “choked” in his original Top Chef finale. We get it Richard, you screwed up. But really, you’re only as good as your last dish so stop the excuses. There’s no whining in the kitchen. And luckily you redeemed yourself this season, right?
* I was a bit put off when Tom started bashing Mike, Izzie’s, first course salad dish. I was drooling! I mean it was probably the only dish I’d come close to being able to order at a restaurant (since I’m vegan) but I also thought it sounded amazing! Spiced beets, chocolate, beautiful greens, Truffle Vinaigrette. Yum! Tom said that the salad didn’t wow him. But to me, a salad is quite worthy of wowing! Beets, truffles and chocolate?? Yum.
* I give my tasty award to both Mike and Richard. They cooked their chefs hats off and produced a truly creative meal that left everyone swooning. I enjoyed this season. Now if only they would have a veg version of my favorite cooking show! Hmmm. Bravo or Food Network, can you help a veg foodie reality TV lover out?
Can’t wait for the next season of Top Chef!
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