City & State or ZIP Tonight, this weekend, May 5th...
City & State or ZIP
City & State or ZIP Tonight, this weekend, May 5th...
City & State or ZIP

Top Chef All-Stars recap, Episode 6: We’re gonna need a bigger boat

SPOILER ALERT! This recap contains absolutely NO spoilers. Seriously. If you have not watched the show, it is probably a great idea for you to read this. I promise it won’t completely ruin everything for you.*

As usual, we pick up right where the last episode left off, with the chefs reeling from the previous elimination. And, early on, Bravo and Jamie reiterate what every single person in the country already knew: Jamie should have gone home.

We also get to see drunken Marcel yelling at Dale about how he supposedly only cooked eight portions of his winning dim sum. Words can’t describe how lamely ghetto he tries to act here. Marcel’s sour grapes quickly descends into full-blown faux thug “smack talkin”, including flailing arms and the phrase “then get out the bleepin’ game”. Word to your mother.

QUICKFIRE (Or is it?)

The bleary-eyed chefs roll out of bed at 4:30 AM and head into the kitchen, only to find that Padma and Tom apparently got to sleep in. The kitchen is empty, except for a kitschy “Gone Fishin’” plaque and directions for the chefs to hop into their (PLUG ALERT!) Toyota Siennas and drive out to Montauk Point, one of the most popular fishing spots in New York.

Tom and Padma await our cheftestants at the point and immediately blindside them: There is no Quickfire this week, and it is a double elimination.

The chefs must split into four teams of three and they have 5 hours to catch all of the fish that they will need to cook for a crowd of 200. If they don’t catch any fish, they are S.O.L. At this point, I’m already imagining myself hurling a wine bottle at the screen if any of the chef’s inabilities as anglers lead to their elimination. If these guys are going to lose the challenge, I want it to be because they cooked crappy food, not because their fishing guide gave them crappy advice.

The teams are:

Team #1 – Dale T., Tre, Carla (Boat: Sea Wife IV)

Team #2 – Mike, Angelo, Tiffany (Boat: Susie E. II)

Team #3, AKA “sucks to be you guys, you got Jamie” – Jamie, Tiffani, Antonia (Boat: Sea Wife IV)

Team #4 – Blais, Marcel, Fabio (Boat: Susie E. II)

We learn that both Fabio and Dale’s fathers were avid fisherman, so one would think that their teams would have an immediate edge. We also find out that Angelo is scared to get into a baby pool because his parents let him watch Jaws a few years too early. I’d be lying if I said that I’ve never panicked in the deep end and scrambled for the ladder with images of a giant great white pulling me under running through my mind. Except that happened when I was 10 years old.

The teams on the Sea Wife boat come out of the gate strong, and the Susie E teams have not pulled in a single fish as of 2.5 hours into the excursion. While I enjoy the drama of it all, I was relieved to see the Susie E boat start pulling in fish to catch up.

This weeks’ sexual innuendo? The teams on Susie E help each other reel in their fish by sitting in front of the angler’s crotch and steadying their rod while one person works the reel. Mike I. makes a suggestive comment to Tiffany and Blais just spells it out for us: “We kind of have a weird technique that I don’t know that I’m proud of. I’m kinda sitting in Marcel’s lap…holding his rod…” (Eh, eh?!?!)

We also get to see Dale give birth to the biggest striped bass in Bravo history. The baby is crowning!!

Once everyone is content that they have enough fish to serve, menu planning begins. Team Blais/Marcel/Fabio makes a crucial mistake at this point. They let Marcel take charge, who thinks that they should only make one dish. Fabio is on board with this idea, because if they wind up on the bottom, the judges won’t be able to decide whom to send home for it. I’ll pick that logic apart later.

Professor Blais says, “I’m letting Marcel think that he came up with the entire dish. That is the key to managing Marcel.” Sound logic Richard, except that you actually let Marcel come up with the entire dish.

The chefs de-board and head straight to the market, which Angelo thinks is “banging”. And we get to see the budding bromance of Fabio and Richard, getting all buddy buddy strolling through the market with their cute little radio flyer wagon. No one said it better than Anotnia: “They are like the odd couple. The professor and the…strange Italian immigrant.”

Carla caught two bluefish, a “trashy fish”, but she knows that she must remove the bloodline, which is extremely bitter and fishy. This will serve her well (and others, not so well).

The chefs scramble onto Water Taxi Beach to begin prep work, and Jamie “Debbie Downer” Lauren seems to have finally gotten on the other chefs’ last nerve. She can’t stop complaining about everything, from the sand, to the heat, to the cucumber water dripping on her. Though there were some great one-liners this week, my favorite was Antonia mumbling under her breath at Jamie: “What do you want me to tell you…you’re going home.”

Fabio, the “baby kisser”, is designated the prep chef for Marcel and Richard. He is fine not being “the rock star”, but his new bromance with Richard is soon tested after the 47th order that Blais barks at him.

Fabio: “Dude, shut up. You won’t get faster done if you keep asking.” Oh, Fabio. You and your endearing butchery of the English language. He had another quote about Blais that started with “I love him to death”, but after 16 rewinds on the DVR, I still couldn’t piece the second half of the sentence together.

Honestly, I’m on Richard’s side on this one. If Fabio didn’t want to be talked to like he is a prep chef, he shouldn’t have taken the job.

Tom C. makes the rounds, playing some wicked mind games with the chefs. His chats are filled with loaded questions (“Why only one dish?”) and sideways looks. Dale gets freaked out about using store bought tortillas, and Tiffani has to defend her choice of using blue fish. To say that Blais is nervous about his team’s succotash and their decision to cook only one dish would be an understatement.

This week’s quest judge, fish guru Kerry “No, it still isn’t Anthony Bourdain” Heffernan is the executive chef at South Gate restaurant, and Tom’s fishing buddy.

At the first Judge’s tasting, as he digs into Richard/Marcel/Fabio’s sea bass you can hear the contempt in Tom C. voice as he says “Yeah, this team only made ONE dish.”


The way that Angelo describes his dishes is an infraction that frustrates the hell out of me whenever I hear chefs talk this way: “Well, what we have here is a beautiful striped bass and a beautiful…blah blah blah.” I don’t want you to inject “beautiful”, “delightful”, or “wonderful” into the explanation of your food. I’ll be the judge of that.

Commercial interlude: Angelo thinks Mike would be a blowfish because he is gassy, Carla thinks Tre would be a creature buried in the sand because you don’t notice that he is there until he laughs, and Dale thinks Angelo would be a mermaid. Why would Angelo be a mermaid? He doesn’t say, because it just makes sense. Did you disagree with Dale? No, you didn’t. You probably said, “Yeah, that sounds about right.”


Teams Dale/Carla/Tre & Mike/Tiffany/Angelo are this week’s top teams, and it is a high stakes challenge. The winner gets a trip to Amsterdam (Wait, is that stoner Antonia I hear crying from the stew room?). Though the diners loved Dale’s fish tacos, Carla’s tribute to a NY bagel (smoked blue fish lettuce wrap w/ toasted pumpernickel bagels) wins her a trip to Holland. HOOTIE HOO!!!!

Understandably, Carla is ecstatic over her win, but her jumping-up-and-down celebration in the stew room irks Marcel, who just figured out that he is on the bottom. I get that, but why be a D-bag and rain on her parade Marcel? Oh, that’s right. It’s because you ARE a D-bag.

The losing teams (Antonia/Tiffani/Jamie and Blais/Marcel/Fabio) face a tough judges table. The judges quickly poke holes in Fabio’s theory, questioning whether Fabio really contributed to the dish and squarely placing blame on Blais/Marcel for a failed concept. Antonia learns that her dish was actually so good that she would have won the trip to Amsterdam if she hadn’t been on team “dead weight” that presented two other weak dishes.

You want to know why she is crying Padma? It isn’t because she should have critiqued the other two dishes. It is because she wants to legally eat mushrooms and go to the Van Gogh museum.

Tiffani should have been paying more attention to Carla, because the bloodlines that she left in her bluefish gave the dish a heavy fishy taste that the judges didn’t appreciate. And Jamie’s decision to add cucumber water on top of her striped bass w/ watermelon salad made for a bland, washed out dish.

The editors take it down to the wire, leaving us wondering if it will be a Marcel/Blais ejection or if Jamie and Tiffani will hit the bricks. I must say, I was more on the edge of my seat this episode than any this season. I was ready to flip out if Jamie stuck around while Richard went home.

Thankfully, there is justice in this world, and Jamie and Tiffani packed their knives and went.

Jamie, it has been a good run. As a Top Chef fan, I’m so very glad that you were finally cut. However, as a Top Chef re-capper, I’m sad to see you go. Your terrible work ethic and constant complaining gave me so much material to work with. Thankfully, Marcel and Angelo are still around.


* That was a complete lie

- By Jon Watson, Food & More Blog


- Jon Watson writes about Popular Eats for the AJC Dining Team. He also publishes his own blog, Live To Feast

25 comments Add your comment

[...] Restaurants : Top Chef All-Stars recap, Episode 6: We’re gonna need a bigger boat [...]

Kaitie Lynn

January 13th, 2011
5:06 am

Hallelujah! And the clouds open and a light shines down to finally take Jamie out of the competition! Everyone was waiting for that moment. Sadly, they could have given it a little more mystery. Jamie wasn’t eliminated with the full bang she deserved.

Amazing Picture!!! Angelo never looked so good.


January 13th, 2011
5:18 am

I think Fabio said about Blais, “If he don’t pace himself he will have a heart attack.” Except it sounded like “if he don’t piss himself he will have art attack.”


January 13th, 2011
7:21 am

That Blais, such a cheerful shill. No wonder Bravo loves him.

Top Chef Junkie

January 13th, 2011
7:51 am

Blais seems to be making more mental errors this season, but being teamed with Marcel could take anybody down. Do the judges see the footage of Marcel’s antics? He should be eliminated just for that.
I had to laugh at the end when Jaime was disappointed she did not get to prepare 2 of her dishes. HA! That’s what kept her around for 2 additional weeks.
Carla seems to have raised her game – watch out for her.

Jenny Turknett

January 13th, 2011
8:30 am

Jon, as if the recap weren’t funny enough, the picture and the spoiler alert are hilarious. Thanks for starting my day with a laugh!


January 13th, 2011
8:43 am

Cucumber water. Duh.

Rodney Ho

January 13th, 2011
8:47 am

That was one scary elimination round! Still befuddled about the “one dish” strategy. It seemed doomed from the start.


January 13th, 2011
8:54 am

I’m surprised Jamie didn’t catch any scallops while fishing.


January 13th, 2011
8:54 am

Finally!!!!! And all the Top Chef fans rejoice…Jamie is history! I have to say I’m really sad to see the end of Tiffani. I really couldn’t stand her the first season but she seems to have changed and grown alot in personality since then. I really thought she might have a chance to make it to the final four at least. Of course I thought the same about Casey so I guess anything can happen this season. I am so happy for Carla though. I’ll bet there are several chefs who didn’t concider her a real challenge and are now having to really take a second look. Isn’t this the second trip she’s one this season?

Bravo Viewer

January 13th, 2011
9:19 am

Enjoyed the show as always. I have been waiting for Dale to change back to his argumentative behavior. It almost happened last night when he was in a heated discussion with Marcel. My money would have been on Dale! Even Dale admitted that things would have been different if he was his “old self!” Has Dale been redeemed?


January 13th, 2011
9:38 am

Very well written!! Jamie….Hmm,What is happening to her? She has lost all passion for cooking,If you are on Top Chef,you stop complaning and you cook!!She was better in her own season.She has that “Whatever” approach.She was ready to go.So glad Carla won.Dale is doing good and seems much calmer,Marcel is the same,Fabio is likable but losing his charisma ,Richard seems very worried somehow and Antonia is the stable one.Loved the Bromance:)


January 13th, 2011
11:02 am

I loved the drunk Marcel! He was hillarious. And the Fabio/Richard bromance was adorable. But the ending lacked quite a bit. You pretty much knew in the first 2 minutes of the show that Jamie would be packing her knives…

Betsy Gluten Freedom

January 13th, 2011
11:17 am

Always enjoy your recap. I think that Bravo is grooming Blais to host a show in the future. Carla’s been doing really well this season, well, except for the spring rolls.


January 13th, 2011
11:29 am

I Love your recaps! And as Ms. Kaitie Lynn so perfectly phrased it “Jamie is OUT of the competition” and not to hate on Tiffani but I’m kinda glad she’s gone too. If you watch the exit interview she mentions how she was never two feet in…nice why even say yes if you aren’t going to give it your all? But I cry no more the Gods have uttered something (in my best Fabio voice) .


January 13th, 2011
12:41 pm

I am sooooo glad Jamie is gone. I mean she hasn’t done a darn thing all season. And I am soooo proud of Dale. On his season he trully would have gone off on Marcel if he had been talking to him that way, and he stayed really calm. I prob would have smacked him in the face, so kudos Dale for the great self control! and that huge fish!

[...] Atlanta Journal Constitution (blog) [...]

Christi J

January 13th, 2011
1:19 pm

It was awesome to watch my Top Chef twitter feed BLOW UP witha ton of “thank God” and “finally” tweets when they sent Jamie packing. I think most of us Blais fans were MORE than worried this ep.

Great recap, as always, Jon. :)

top chef fanatic

January 13th, 2011
3:49 pm

great recap mr watson and i was dissapointed to see the little man embrace his bud muscles …all it took was a few beers for the true marcel to come out. I was glad to see dale hold his own and keep calm from the ghetto drunkeness, Im just waiting to see marcel get bitchslapped! He showed a little bit of development to get into the door, Now its the old marcell.I found it to odd that the prize was to amsterdam:) with 5,000$ airfare it should be a entourage of culinary canibass curators on that plane!glad to see jamie go …so everyone would stop bitchin about her and looking foward to restraunt wars to seperate the good from the bad. Im gonna end with this my friend in boston recentlly graduated from the CIA in december and told me the guest speaker was Brian Voltaggio and i was soo glad to hear it because she thinks Top Chef is drama made for television….when actually its a fierce competition that only the strong will survive, And Blais is a testament to that on his post elimination choke speach. So i hope he has what it takes cause Carla is right there if he dosent.

have a blessed day:)


January 13th, 2011
9:38 pm

Thanks to closed captioning Fabio said, “I love the guy to death, but he’s going to have a heart attack if he doesn’t piece (sic) himself out a bit.” Of course piece might have been pace given Fabio’s accent.

[...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Jenny Turknett, Live to Feast. Live to Feast said: #topchef recap is up! Night, night kiddies [...]

[...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Martell Thornton and Christine Sullivan. Christine Sullivan said: The bleary-eyed chefs roll out of bed at 4:30 AM and head into the kitchen, only to find that Padma and Tom… [...]


January 14th, 2011
8:25 am

I think at this point Jaime herself wanted to go home. She doesn’t seem interested in food any more, and was probably thinking signing on to this All-Stars show was a mistake. I’m glad to see her go. Fabio is another one who doesn’t seem as into it as he was last time. What I have a problem with is that it seems like sometimes the winner of the elimination challenge gets a prize, and sometimes not. And where did Amsterdam come from??? Seems like a bizarre choice…


January 14th, 2011
5:16 pm

@RK – I too was wondering if Jaime was hoping to “catch” some scallops.

B. Thenet

January 15th, 2011
1:50 pm

Hey Marcel, you are on a TV show. Drinking straight from a gin bottle and acting all gangsta….not good.

Good that Blais has learned that you do not manage Marcel, you listen to what he says…nod politely…and then ignore everything he said.