‘Top Chef’ – ‘Give Me Your Huddled Masses’: A family affair

03.03.11 6 years ago 49 Comments


A review of last night’s “Top Chef” coming up just as soon as I find out that we’re cousins…

Interesting. Very interesting.

I haven’t watched every season of the show, but I never remember that result happening. I’ve seen them not send everyone home for a Restaurant Wars challenge where everyone botched it so badly that they just repeated it the following week, and friend of the blog Adam Bonin reminded me that there was a challenge where no one was sent home because a refrigerator failed, but there’s never been a case of no one being sent home due to general awesomeness.

On the one hand, I was glad to see a challenge where everybody kicked ass, and got to do it in front of their loved ones. And I can see how the judges would have felt it was unfair to send anybody home based on that. On the other, tough decisions have to be made, and I could see a circumstance like this as a time where the judges could have thrown out the “we only judge based on the current dish” rule and used past performance as a tie-breaker – which would, I guess, have sent Tiffany home.

I can’t decide what’s the more fair response to a circumstance like this, particularly this late in the game, so I’m curious what y’all think.

As for the episode itself, it probably didn’t need to be another extra-long one, but the padding did allow for more time with the loved ones, and to spend a lot of time on the amusing revelation about Mike and Antonia being distantly related.

Also a bit disconcerting – but not surprising – to see Richard starting to crack under the pressure that comes so close to the finish line. As he said at the start of All-Stars, season 4 is remembered by most people as his season, yet he choked at the end; I would argue that of all the All-Stars, he’s the one who most clearly is thought of as the one who “should” have won his season. (And by that I don’t mean Stephanie didn’t deserve the win at the end; just that Richard dominated his year in a way that none of the other runner-ups did. Even Carla only came on late after Stefan had been the overwhelming favorite for most of their year; and then weirdly both of them lost to Hosea.) And you can tell it’s weighing on him. He’s usually so generous with and happy for the other contestants, but you could see how irked he looked when Carla won the ferry challenge, and his reaction to Padma’s elimination fake-out was the closest to homicidal I’ve ever seen on this show. As he’s my favorite, I really hope he can get it together for the finale, but I fear his nerves are going to get the best of him again.

So what did everybody else think?

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