Top Chef All Stars Episode 1

You know how you had that thing you did in junior high? Maybe you played the piano. And every time your birthday came around, you were gifted with something that reflected that hobby–the keyboard tie, a treble clef charm necklace, a sheet-music-themed t-shirt–like it was your only defining characteristic. Well, it will come as no surprise to you that D Magazine Partners is very much like junior high, and my thing is television. So when any reality show premieres–no matter the topic–I get tasked with writing about it. So keep in mind that I’m a television aficionado–not a food expert–when you read this week’s recap of Top Chef All Stars. I’ll keep it short and sweet, and I’m going to stay focused mainly on our Dallas peeps.

We open in New York City. Losing Top Chef contestants from every season are back to compete for cash and prizes worth around $500,000. Some observations: our old friends are now sporting expensive hairdos, fancy sunglasses (worn inside in some cases), and narrower waists. Even as he enters his 30s, Marcel is still insufferable. Somehow Fabio’s accent has gotten thicker. Spike has lost the fedora, but he’s still terribly obnoxious. And what’s going on with Anthony Bourdain? Is he embarrassed by this gig? His heart just really didn’t seem to be in it tonight.

Local talent: Tiffany Derry, Tre Wilcox, and Casey Thompson. Tre and Casey appeared on Season 3. So how are our old friends? Casey is a little more glam. Tre is still really buff and used the word motherfu**er in his pre-interview. Contestants seem to really like and respect both of them–Marcel actually says that he thinks Tre is his biggest competition. Tiffany (Season 7) still seems a bit overwhelmed by it all, but maybe that’s just an act?  I think she’s sweet. As a fellow Beaumonter, I admit I’m biased. I loved when she described her life journey this way: “From Beaumont to New York City.”

Quick fire: The contestants are divided into teams based on the season they appeared. They must come together to create one dish that represents the city where the season was filmed. Winners get immunity.

How our kids did: Casey and Tre were both Team Miami. They make a pork/plantain dish. They place in the top three. Tiffany has to deal with some dramz–her D.C. teammate Angelo drops the fish–and in the end the judges called it out as a “least favorite” for being too salty. Neither team wins. Chicago takes it.

Elimination challenge: Chefs are presented with the ingredients that sent them home the first time. They must prepare the same loser dish, but make it better. Obviously.

How our kids did: Casey “redeemed herself here” with her pork belly. (The first time she overcooked it.) Unfortunately, Tre did not wow anyone with his salmon. Tiffany didn’t fare any better. Judges and fellow contestants opined that her halibut was overcooked and her sauce lacked sugar. In the end, they all finished somewhere in the middle, and they will live to cook another day.

Winner: Season 7’s Angelo

Loser: Season 2’s Elia.

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