Top Chef

After falling short on his original season of Top Chef, all star Richard Blais finally tasted redemption when he was crowned the winner of Top Chef: All Stars.

Richard walked away with the $200,000 cash prize, beating out pal and fellow chef Mike Isabella for the title that has eluded them both in previous seasons.

However winning the big prize did not come easy as Richard and Mike had to create a four-course tasting menu for the restaurant of their dreams… in just five hours…. with the help of their previously eliminated contestants who might or might not have had their sights sets on more important things such as jet skiing in the Bahamas.

The judges had a difficult task ahead of them as both Richard and Mike gave them some superb dishes. In the end, Blais, who had won the most competitions during the season, came out on top with his “Tongue and Cheek” restaurant offerings.

“I didn’t think I could do it,” said an emotional Richard after being declared the winner. “You just don’t know. I don’t want to be cliché, but where there’s a will, there’s a way. I willed this.”

A teary eyed Richard then called his wife who couldn’t be there due to her late pregnancy. “Jazmin, I won Top Chef… I won Top Chef,” he said. Jazmin and Richard welcomed second daughter Embry Lotus Blais on Feb 5. A photo of Richard and his family is below via the Ourlaboroflove blog, plus another photo of Jazmin and baby Embry as tweeted by Richard two days ago.

As for runner-up Mike, he expressed his disappointment in losing to Blais. “It hurts, 32 challenges, to come in second. It’s tough,” said Mike. “I feel like I beat him. I just didn’t get the prize.”

Richard’s prize also comes with a showcase at the Aspen Food & Wine Classic and a spread in Food & Wine magazine, but most importantly, the title of ‘Top Chef.’ Airing next week will be the reunion show.

TELL US – THOUGHTS ON THE TOP CHEF FINALE? IS WINNING ALL STARS SWEETER THAN WINNING A REGULAR SEASON?

It’s Blais vs Mike on tonight’s finale of Top Chef All Stars!

Following a season of shocking eliminations and chicken oyster-gate, it all comes down to a final cooking battle between Mike Isabella and Richard Blais after beating out 16 other all star contestants.

Blais, season 4 runner-up, is arguably the favorite to win, even pointing out on the last episode that he had won 8 competitions in comparison to Mike’s 3 wins. However Mike, a season 6 competitor, has been on a hot streak in recent weeks, garnering some major wins with his confidence at an all-time high.

There is a lot on the line as the winner of this season will get a cool $200,000! The finale will air tonight on Bravo at 10/9c.

Watch What Happens Live – Right after the finale episode, a new episode of WWHL with Andy Cohen will air with the winner, runner-up and fan favorite.

Meanwhile, following a tough elimination last week, Antonia Lofaso, who was also eliminated right before the finale on her previous stint on season 4, expressed her disappointment. “Its just like having your stomach just drop,” Antonia said after her elimination. “It feels worse this time. So much work to get so close and just have it go away. It’s so hard.”

Antonia is however handling the loss much better today, revealing she is okay with losing to her cousin Mike. “He didn’t have it out for me in a mean way. I think he just wanted to stick it to me for whatever reason. It’s all playful. You have to remember in those moments, you’re not given a lot of time to decide,” said Antonia to TV Guide. “We’re asked to choose and he chooses. If I had to choose first, I probably would’ve given him canned foods [in the Quickfire]. We had a very playful rivalry through the show where we liked to nudge each other. By no means was it disrespectful or hurtful.”

TV Guide also reports they were on the set for the showdown between Antonia and Mike on the most recent episode, and that it almost went Antonia’s way. Apparently, the vote was 4 – 3 in Antonia’s favor but following an off camera convo with judge Tom Colicchio, guest judge Wolfgang Puck had a change of heart thus Antonia and her knives were sent packing.

And finally, Bravo is currently airing a marathon of the show for those who want to catch up.

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TELL US – WHO DESERVES TO WIN TONIGHT? WERE THE JUDGES RIGHT IN ELIMINATING ANTONIA? PLUS THOUGHTS ON TONIGHT’S FINALE?

Following a so-so season on Top Chef All Stars, Tiffany Derry was eliminated on the most recent episode of the show.

In a new interview with TV Guide, Tiffany talks getting booted, why she thought her dish was great, and touches on that whole Black Hammer curse. Excerpts are below –

Did you have any feeling that you were getting booted?
Tiffany Derry:
It was such a mixed thing. I didn’t know who it would be. I definitely knew the issue of cold and hot. When they straight-out asked me, “Was it supposed to be cold?” I was like, “No, not cold. Please don’t say it was cold.” At least say it was lukewarm. Sometimes there’s a little exaggeration between cold and warm, so you never really know, but I was like, “No!” And there are other issues [for Richard and Antonia]. When someone says something is raw or undercooked, then it’s like, [the elimination] could be based on a technical issue or a [temperature] issue. You never really know. … I didn’t know how to read the whole thing. I felt like my dish was good. I really enjoyed it and I think I said that. To go home on a dish that you like is better than going home on a dish that you know you could’ve done better on.

After the weather this week and the fire last week, do you think you guys should have the best equipment at your disposal in the finals?
Tiffany:
I don’t know. I think this made it much more interesting. We cook with great tools in our restaurants every day; that’s the norm. To put us outside of our comfort zone with different machines and all of that is kind of cool.

You and Antonia won the Quickfire and then you got eliminated. Do you believe in the Black Hammer curse?
Tiffany:
[Laughs] I know! But see, the Black Hammer is supposed to [strike] when you’re cooking with her, when you’re on the same team. So I don’t know what happened. [It took effect] on the next challenge. You know what’s weird about this challenge too? I was going to make the dish Antonia ended up making. We’re on the same wavelength sometimes. It’s kind of crazy. I was going to do a pan-seared fish and the conch ceviche on the top. My other idea was to wrap the fish in banana leaves and still do the conch ceviche. I found out Mike was doing banana leaves, so I’m like, “Freak!” I was freaking out! Then I heard Antonia describe her dish and I was like, “Oh my God! I’m doing the same dish everyone’s doing!” So [my soup] was the third option.

What are you up to now?
Tiffany:
I am building a restaurant in Dallas. It’s called Private Social. Traveling a little bit, doing a lot of cooking demonstrations.

In other Top Chef news, judge Tom Colicchio and wife Lori Silverbush welcomed baby boy Mateo Lev Colicchio on Tuesday at 12:11PM in New York City.

According to a rep for the couple, both mother and baby are doing well. Mateo is Tom’s third son, as he also has a 19-month old son, Luka Bodhi, with Lori and 17-year-old Dante from a previous relationship.

And finally, it’s one week before the finale and on tonight’s new episode, the three remaining chefs fashion a challenge for their fellow contestants in Season 8’s final Quickfire. Then, they dish up a “last supper” for celebrity chefs Masaharu Morimoto, Wolfgang Puck and Michelle Bernstein. It airs tonight on Bravo at 10/9c.

TELL US – THOUGHTS ON TIFFANY’S INTERVIEW AND TONIGHT’S NEW EPISODE?

Top Chef All Star favorite Carla Hall was sent packing on the last episode of the show after coming up short in the elimination and quick fire challenges.

In a new interview with TV Guide, Carla talks being eliminated and admits she would have sent herself packing too. Carla also discusses why she lost focus, what she’s up to today and why she didn’t give us any “hootie-hoo”s this season. Excerpts from her interview below –

Could you have left the rice off since it was “undone-te”?
Carla:
[Laughs] Exactly, it was “undone-te”! I could’ve left it off. As soon as I poured that rice into that pot, I turned to Hosea and said, “I just gave you $10,000.” Tom said, “I can’t get past rice that’s not cooked properly.” Me either. No argument there. … My frame of mind wasn’t there. It’s also hard stopping the competition [in September], coming back to your regular life and then going back in [for the finals in January]. I didn’t have the same focus.

You agreed with the judges’ decision. Did you think you were going home?
Carla:
Yeah, in the stew room, Antonia thought she was going. I said, “No, I’m going.” It wasn’t until Judges’ Table that I realized how underdone the pork was. As soon as I heard that, I knew. I would’ve sent myself home too. I won’t fight for a bad dish. … I said this on the show: I would’ve rather gone home knowing I did a really great dish, even in New York at Ellis Island. I loved that dish. I would’ve preferred to go home then because I would’ve been out-cooked. I didn’t want to go home with a dish that had technical flaws and one where I didn’t push the envelope.

I was disappointed we didn’t hear any “hootie-hoo”s this season. What happened?
Carla: We did them. They just didn’t show them. I know, with Matthew, people were saying, “Why didn’t you ‘hootie-hoo’ each other?” Well, I knew where he was. He was right at the table!

As for what she’s up to today, Carla reveals she’s transitioning from catering into doing a line of cookies. “I changed the name from Alchemy Caterers to Alchemy by Carla Hall. It’ll be a line of seasonal products until I eventually hopefully open up a café,” she said.

In other Carla news, she has talked on the show about being a former model in the early 90s, and now we have a number of her photos from her modelings days courtesy of ivillage. Carla was a high fashion model for a few years strutting her stuff on the runways of London, Paris and Milan. Those photos are below!

Moving on to tonight’s new episode as the four remaining All-Stars are left standing and it’s a fight to the finish to claim the coveted title of ‘Top Chef.’ But it won’t be an easy road to the finale as the chef’testants have to face the high stakes in the Bahamas. First roadblock? What happens when the chef’testants must physically fish for local Bahamian protein? And for the elimination round, the chef’testants must pair up to deliver a winning meal. When the pairs end up as girls vs. guys, it becomes one last battle-of-the-sexes before the Finale.

TELL US – THOUGHTS ON CARLA’S INTERVIEW, PHOTOS & TONIGHT’S EPISODE OF TOP CHEF?

Top Chef Masters 3

After not sending any chefs packing last week, Top Chef All Stars returns tonight with an all new episode.

On the 13th episode this season titled “Fit for a King,” the chefs set sail for the Bahamas, and each participates in a culinary duel against the person who was crowned the winner during their first stint on the show. Later, they create meals for Bahamian royalty, but it’s a royal pain with limited cooking equipment.

And back to last week’s episode as show judge Gail Simmons revealed this week in her Entertainment Weekly blog that the show’s producers were not too happy with the judges decision to not eliminate anyone. Below is an excerpt –

“When we got to Judges’ Table, we realized there was no way to penalize any of them for what they had made. We, for the first time, were at a stalemate. We just couldn’t think of a legitimate reason to get rid of anyone. But I don’t want anyone to think that this is setting a precedent. This is not the point of the show. It took probably an hour of begging our producers to let us do it. They kept us there for a while, saying “Guys, deal with it. Make a decision.” Then finally, after a long time of hashing it out and none of us feeling comfortable, we decided to bring everyone to the finale. Rest assured, we will be eliminating every single person except one in the finale.”

The new episode airs on Bravo at 10/9c. A preview clip is below.

Meanwhile, Bravo announced this week that Top Chef Masters will return next month with a brand new format and 12 new award-winning chefs hungry to compete for the title of “Top Chef Master” and win $100,000 for their charity.

On the new season, the masters will no longer be judged on a scale, but in elimination style challenges similar to the format of the original Top Chef. In each episode, money will be at stake, with the winners of every quickfire challenge winning $5,000 and elimination challenges winning $10,000 for their designated charities.

As previously announced, celebrity chef Curtis Stone will serve as the newly appointed host of the series along with returning judge and culinary expert, James Oseland, and new series judge, the legendary food critic and author, Ruth Reichl. Season three of Top Chef Masters will premiere Wednesday, April 6 at 11 p.m. ET/PT and will move to its regular time period on April 13 at 10 p.m. ET/PT.

A preview clip of tonight’s Top Chef episode is below –

TELL US – THOUGHTS ON TONIGHT’S NEW EPISODE PLUS ARE YOU EXCITED ABOUT THE RETURN OF TOP CHEF MASTERS? DO YOU AGREE WITH THE JUDGE’S DECISION TO NOT ELIMINATE ANYONE LAST WEEK?

While this season of Top Chef All Stars had brought us some surprising eliminations (Fabio, Angelo anyone?), the elimination of Dale Talde however seemed to be the most surprising yet as he had performed solidly all season, and won a number of competitions.

In a new interview with TV Guide, the Season 4 alum talks the potato dish that got him eliminated, whether Angelo Sosa was really of help to him, his newer calmer self, plus his opinion on Chicken Oyster-gate.

Excerpts from Dale’s interview below –

Did you think you were getting cut after Judges’ Table?
Dale:
I wasn’t confident about my dish. When you don’t feel good about your dish, you feel like you have a chance to go home. … I should’ve asked the judges to wait [for service]. If I literally had five more minutes, [the potatoes] would’ve been cooked through.

So what happened? You put in a new batch of potatoes?
Dale:
I did. We were going to cook à la minute with them, and they came on us a little faster than we thought. I ended up kind of freaking out and serving. … I never thought [about not serving the potatoes]. It was part of the dish. And the croutons were just too mustard-y. Paula Deen is a mayonnaise girl. If you watch her show, she just puts mayonnaise on everything.

How much did Angelo help? It didn’t seem to be an advantage to get him since he was just eliminated and is coming off back-to-back seasons.
Dale:
He helped me a lot, but I mean, put yourself in his position. Fifty-two straight challenges for that guy. That’s crazy. Crazy! I mean, really, it’s masochistic. It’s like, why put yourself through that again? But he did. Sometimes you have no more gas in tank. … He did [try to talk me up]. He saw me with my head down and he was like, “Dude, you’ve got to get your head up. Keep your head up, man.” He’s a buddy of mine. He’s my merman. He’s helped here at [Buddakan]. He opened the restaurant.

You’ve been open about taking anger-management classes after Season 4. How important was it for you to come back and show everyone you’ve changed?
Dale:
I came back to compete! [Laughs] One, I love to cook, and two, I love competition. I’m one of those failed athletes by genetics. I’m not an athlete because I’m 5-foot-5 and I’m flat-footed and my ankles are terrible. If I could’ve been an athlete, I would’ve tried to, but I love to compete. A lot of it was trying to show people I’m a lot more mature this time around. I didn’t like who I was. I didn’t like seeing myself like that. You really see yourself in a different light when you’re put in front of millions of people. Some people dig it and some are like, “You’re kind of a jerk.” When your mom is embarrassed of your behavior, it says something. I don’t ever want to put my parents in a position where they’re embarrassed to see me. … The [fan reaction] has been unbelievable. [The show] really showed me in a great light and I appreciate that.

What’s your take on Chicken Oyster-gate?
Dale:
You can’t patent food, but you also can’t straight-up tell people that you ripped this dude’s dish off and you won $5,000 and shove it in his face. That sucks. Mike should’ve told [Richard], “You gave me some inspiration.” To be honest, we all [get inspired]. That’s why we go out to eat. That’s our job. I have to. My owner says, “Dale, you have to eat out twice a week and tell me where you’re eating, and it has to be food that’s relevant to New York City.” I have to take inspiration from that.

Dale also adds that he is currently looking for investors regarding two of his concepts — a Thai/seafood restaurant and a Bodega. As of the moment, he just took a position with a company with Stephen Starr, the culinary director of Buddakan.

Moving on to tonight’s all new episode, the five remaining chefs will create food fare on the open water. Later, they will take a journey to Ellis Island to whip up dishes based on their family tree. The new super-sized episode airs on Bravo at 10/9c. A preview clip is below –

TELL – THOUGHTS ON DALE’S INTERVIEW & TONIGHT’S EPISODE OF TOP CHEF?

Ai ya ya! Top Chef host Padma Lakshmi is proving you can be sexy at any age!

The 40-year-old mother of one, who gave birth to daughter Krishna just one year ago, showed off her amazing bikini body as she took a dip in the ocean on Sunday in Nassau in the Bahamas.

As for how she snapped back so quickly after giving birth, Padma credits water. “I drink a ton of water,” she told UsWeekly last December. “Water really flushes everything out.”

Padma is currently in the middle on a nasty custody battle with her daughter’s father Adam Dell, brother to billionaire Michael Dell of Dell Inc. Adam filed a suit for full custody on Jan. 25, with his lawyer, Bill Zabel, stating Adam is upset with the amount of time Padma allows him to have with his daughter.

Sources reveal Adam is also upset with the name Padma chose for his daughter and is unhappy he is not even listed on her birth certificate. According to the filing, he’s asking for his name to be officially listed as the father and for Krishna to take his last name along with Padma’s.

Moving on to tonight’s episode of Top Chef’s All Stars. On the all new episode titled ‘For The Gulf,’ the remaining meal mavens employ a deep fryer in an attempt to please culinary star Paula Deen’s precise palate. Later, the chefs serve up seafood at an event that benefits fishermen of the Gulf region. Paula and chef John Besh are guest judges.

Thoughts On The Season – I finally caught all the episodes of this season thanks to Monday’s marathon and whoa! I have been missing out. What a great season with the all stars! I was a bit disappointed to see the hotness Angelo go home on the last episode as I honestly thought Tiffany should have been the one to go. My favorites are Carla, Antonia, and Dale. I think Carla and Dale are both neck in neck to win it all. It’s been a while since I’ve watched Top Chef but I’m definitely hooked on this season. Plus I had missed Padma’s extreme enthusiasm for her job. With that said, can’t wait to watch tonight! I plan to start writing more about it.

More bikini photos of Padma below!

TELL US – THOUGHTS ON TONIGHT’S EPISODE OF TOP CHEF ALL STARS PLUS THIS SEASON SO FAR? WHO SHOULD WIN IT ALL?

michael-voltaggio-top-chef

Michael Voltaggio has been crowned the new winner of Top Chef’s Season 6.

Michael beat out the other 2 finalists, his brother Bryan Voltaggio, and Kevin Gillespie, a chef from Atlanta. Michael was named the Top Chef champ after serving the judges an impressive four-course menu in California wine country that showed his creativity and technical talent.

Kevin was the first sent home out of the final 3, leaving the two brothers to battle it out for the win. At the end of the day, the judges felt Michael was the stronger of the two.

Michael wins $225,000 in cash and merchandise, a spread in Food & Wine magazine and a showcase at the annual Food & Wine Classic in Aspen, Colorado. “I wish both of us could win,” Michael said of his brother, breaking into tears when their mother walked out.

TELL US – WERE YOU HAPPY WITH THE RESULTS? WHO WERE YOU ROOTING FOR?