Top Chef All-Stars: Who Do You Want to Win?

Top Chef All-Stars ended with an unexpected dessert course Wednesday night. With Antonia, Mike, and Richard all having received safe passage to the finale — it was down to Carla and Tiffany for the fourth and “final” berth. Padma uttered the ladies’ names in her standard “shark-eye” monotone, then perked up: “You’re both going to the Bahamas!” Sweet!

I know, I know…Beaumont has been struggling for weeks now — and probably has no chance to take home the top prize — but it’s hard not to be happy for the sunny Texas gal, and for the career boost that she’ll likely get from the judges’ vote of confidence. (Let’s be honest: She kinda sorta needed it after making microwaved nachos in the Quickfire Challenge in front of a national TV audience.)

Oh, and about that Quickfire. Has there been a less appetizing dish than Mike’s “peasant soup” — which was code for pork rinds and soggy hot dog rolls mashed up in a mystery broth? You know if Mike himself admitted it “tasted a little weird,” then it had to be a big, cardboard container of bile rising. (Side note: I’m not sure I needed to see Richard ragging on Carla and Antonia’s dishes when he essentially served hot dogs and jerky on a bun. Mmkay?)

Thankfully, the Elimination Challenge brought out the best in our top five, who each received a visit from a relative and a detailed dossier on his or her genealogy to inspire a dish that drew from family roots. Mike and Antonia discovered they were distant relatives, Carla discovered her great-great-grandfather fought in the Civil War, and everyone discovered a photo of a kindergarten-era Mike dressed in a pink leotard and shiny green vest. Maybe the guy’s such an obnoxious lout because there’s a dancer inside him yearning to break free?

All of the final dishes looked spectacular and drew rave reviews from the judges, though as Antonia pointed out, Tom and Gail weren’t exactly going to tear their plates apart with the chefs’ family members at the table. Antonia won the week — and a Toyota Highlander Hybrid — for her braised veal, rapini leaf, and fava-bean risotto, but it was her mom who first suggested to the judges that they consider a final five, as opposed to the planned final four. (That sound you hear is an additional round of tears from last week’s evictee, Dale.) Naturally, Mike responded to the news of an expanded finale by wishing the Top Chef panel had booted one of his comrades and kept it to four. (I suspect the idea that women outnumber men heading into the final challenge is more than our resident chauvinist can handle.)

Personality issues aside, I liked how our chefs all pushed themselves to new heights — Carla breaking out the liquid nitrogen, Mike delving into an Italian meal he hadn’t made since his grandmother died, and Richard getting in touch with his Irish/British roots, despite the fact that for the purposes of the challenge, he wished he was Italian. If that was the case, though, would he have still made the item that will haunt me till I’ve ingested it (aka “fried bone marrow)? The best part of the episode, though, was Padma’s deliciously sadistic fakeout when the “elimination” was down to Carla, Tiffany, and Richard: “Richard…please pack your knives,” said our icy hostess, giving a terrible pause. “You’re going to the Bahamas.” Too bad she didn’t finish it off by giving The Full Oprah: “And you’re going to the Bahamas! And you’re going to the Bahamas! And you’re going to the Bahamas!”

Anyhow, now that everything’s over but the finale — and the reunion show, of course — I’d like to know which cheftestant you’re hoping will win the season, and which you think is most likely to take home the crown. (I’m going with Carla on both counts!) Vote in our polls below, and for all my reality recaps, follow me on Twitter @MichaelSlezakTV.

Comments are monitored, so don’t go off topic, don’t frakkin’ curse and don’t bore us with how much your coworker’s sister-in-law makes per hour. Talk smart about TV!

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  1. SaraK says:

    Antonia or Richard FTW!

    • darclyte says:

      Season 4 FTW! Too bad Dale wasn’t still there to complete the domination.

      Oops, I accidentally originally posted this is the wrong place, hehe.

  2. Mimsy says:

    I really want Carla to win but I think Antonio cooks better under pressure.

  3. Holly says:

    Most of my faves are gone (Fabio, Angelo etc), so I am hoping for Carla to win. However, I don’t think anyone can beat Richard.

    • Lidia says:

      I hope that Richard will be the winner.
      Antonia she does not know what”Secondi” means.
      Fabio was my favorite.
      Carla is 2 weird looking.
      Tiffany she does not know how to cook.
      Mike looks like a frog…and he has a big mouth…i don’t like the way he spoke to Marcel.
      Now it is up to Chef Colicchio…he’s the boss in deciding.

  4. Sharada says:

    Tiffany will definitely loose. Carla should win. Richard will probably win. Or they could pull the rug out from under him like they did on his original season and Antonia/Mike(y) will beat him.

  5. jean10brook says:

    Antonia all the way. Don’t like Richard, never have! Wouldn’t mind if it was Carla or Tiffany – like them both as well and like Mike, but he just does not cook as good as the rest of them.

  6. Michael says:

    Antonia has been killing it this season. I love Carla and Tiff but Antonia has consistently been in the top of… well everything. I hate when someone dominates a season and then they hand off the final win to someone who’s just skated by. It wouldn’t be fair for Tiffany to take it home.

  7. Amy says:

    Richard ftw and Antonia

  8. raelee514 says:

    I think the win will be between Richard and Antonia, with a possible Carla surprise.

  9. Duffi says:

    Carla, Carla, Carla!!!

  10. Kaiulani says:

    Want to win…Carla
    Will win….Antonia
    I think Richard will choke at the end again and Tiffany and Mike won’t hold up. Loved Padma’s fake out lat night. I am happy that all 5 are going, cause I just couldn’t see them sending one of them home after a fantastic finish.

  11. amanda says:

    Love…love…love Richard and hopes he wins all stars! He should have gotten the first time around!!

  12. Elizabeth says:

    As long as it’s not Mike, I’m okay. I think Antonia or Richard, but I definitely have a soft spot for Carla! But, I have to go with my hometown guy Richard.

  13. Darth Clavie says:

    I’m okay with any of the girls winning because I like them all and hot damn is TIME!
    But I’m OK too if Richard wins, because I do reckon that he’s an amazing chef.

  14. Scott says:

    Carla or Richard for the win!!

  15. Vicki H says:

    Carla is who I want to win, but I think Antonia will win.

  16. Idol Fan says:

    Antonia should win. Shes good.

  17. Idol Fan says:

    Or Should Richard win :)

  18. darclyte says:

    Since they have to compete against the chef that won their season, how awesome would it have been had Dale still been around so that it was 3-1 against Stephanie? I still think the Final Four should have been Richard, Antonia, Carla and Dale, but ah well. Tiffany is VERY lucky to still be around. That said, that was probably the best dish she’s made this season. I would say that the “standings” will end up: Richard, Antonia, Carla, Mike, Tiffany.

    • darclyte says:

      Season 4 FTW! Too bad Dale wasn’t still there to complete the domination.

    • Leigha says:

      Mike has the hardest task cooking against Michael Voltaggio. Richard can redeem himself against Stephanie since he’s quick to tell everyone he should have won his season.

  19. Sabrina says:

    I love Carla and if she can keep her head as she appeared to last night, then I think she will make the finals. I am thinking they will cut 2 instead of 1 when they arrive in the Bahamas, and traditionally they use a quick fire for that cut. So Tiffany and Mike better be prepared, I don’t think either of them fares well in the QF. I feel for Richard because he is clearly the most gifted chef, but does he need to remind us that he thinks that way with every interview? Or is that just editing to make him unlikeable so when he loses to Carla (who gets the best edit of all reality TV) no one is that upset. Antonia has been so strong this season whatever the “twist” to the final challenge may decide if she comes out a winner. But again, she has not gotten the best edit this year.

    And how weird was it that finding out they were “distant” and apparently VERY distant relatives suddenly made Mike and Antonia family?

    • Sabrina says:

      Ooops, forgot – I also thought I heard Dale scream NOOOOO! When they allowed all 5 to go to on to the Bahamas.

  20. allie says:

    Never thought I’d say this but I am kinda disliking Blais these days – I know he thinks he is the bomb but perhaps it has escaped his notice that Antonia is breathing down his neck? I haven’t kept count of the wins but I suspect Antonia… and maybe even Carla… have done better than him this season. While I liked this feel good episode – in particular I thought it was hilarious that Antonia and Mike started chumming around after discovering they are 300 time removed distant cousins – Tiffany really doesn’t belong in the finale. It’s kind of a travesty actually.

  21. Rhonda says:

    Actually Carla has won the most challenges of the Final 5 (3 eliminations to Richard and Antonia’s 2 each). I’ve always loved Carla but I’m from Atlanta so I gotta stick with Blais. I would be happy with anyone except Mike and Tiffany. Why is Tiffany still here? She should have been gone weeks ago. Her making the finals is comparable to the chick with the mohawk and the anger issues who made it to the Final 3 a few years ago (except I actually like Tiffany).

  22. kate says:

    as long as Tiffany or Mike don’t win, i’ll be happy…neither of them have even come close to the other three….Antonia has been killing it lately!

  23. Debbie says:

    How about the previews for next week, that the chefs will go up against the winners of their season, so certainly Mike will go against Mike Votaggio right? Blais goes against Stephanie, Carla against Josea(sp), Tiffany against Kevin, Is Antonia going to cook against Stephanie as her and Blais were both from season 4? I can not wait until next week.

  24. Gisella says:

    It was a big mistake to let Fabio go.He’s not only handsome,he’s also a good chef,respectful and generous.
    I don’t care for Antonia.Tiffany and Carla must go go go.
    Richard and Mike are good chefs,will see what happems.

  25. Jackie says:

    What “unexpected dessert course”?

  26. wenz says:

    richard will definitely win. no one is as talented a she is. and it’s true, he should have won season 4. im praying he won’t make the same mistake. all chefs agree that he is super talented, from the cheftestants in season 4, even the top chef masters who worked with him.

  27. wenz says:

    richard will definitely win. no one is as talented a he is. and it’s true, he should have won season 4. im praying he won’t make the same mistake. all chefs agree that he is super talented, from the cheftestants in season 4, even the top chef masters who worked with him.

  28. topchefwhat says:

    if Blais doesn’t take it home, I’ll be very disappointed. The fact that Tiffany and Isabella are still around and chefs like Dave and Angelo are not is ludicrous.