Tom Colicchio

Tom Colicchio empathizes with Carla Hall's fans.

on Mar 10, 20110

Bahamian Royalty…? I’m surprised our chefs fell for that. Did they think they were cooking for Queen Elizabeth? She’s the reigning monarch of the Bahamas, and I have a hunch she was out of town the night our chefs were cooking. Or at least otherwise engaged (though what an episode of Top Chef that would have been!)
 
It was still quite the honor, and certainly a lot of fun, to have with us Percy “Vola” Francis, the King of Junkanoo, even if the title was self-proclaimed back when he was about 15, much the way that Michael Jackson named himself “The King of Pop” and the title stuck (Elvis didn’t name himself “The King of Rock and Roll,” by the way. He was uncomfortable with the title, but it stuck. But I digress.) As with all royalty, there were protocols to follow in the presence of the King, such as the imperative to drink Kalik beer at dinner (specifically, the one Kalik puts out during Junkanoo, with the Junkanoo label). No other would do.
                                                            
The fire in the kitchen understandably rattled the chefs, so I'm not surprised that we didn't get their best in this challenge. And this was not the first event in this episode that had a psychological impact on them. This week’s Quickfire Challenge really affected them. When our finalists saw the winners of their seasons standing there, they assumed that they were there to serve as sous chefs, to help the finalists as they competed against each other. Instead, they found that their Top Chefs –- the chefs who had beaten them for the title in their first seasons on the show –- were there to go head-to-head with them. The finalists were already really fired up to compete in the Bahamas, and they really wanted to prove something by beating their particular Top Chefs. For Tiffany, Richard, and Mike Isabella, doing so gave them a mental edge going into the Elimination Challenge, an extra boost of confidence. Mike was strong in the last challenge prior to coming to the Bahamas; his then beating Michael Voltaggio in the Quickfire gave him an extra boost in confidence, and we saw him parlay that into a win in the Elimination Challenge. So, he’s in a good head space moving forward. For Carla and Antonia, however, losing to their Top Chefs clearly unnerved them, and we saw the domino effect from there. Antonia didn’t cook her own food, and Carla didn’t cook to her ability.
 
Carla is a good cook, but her style of cooking suits her well in some challenges and not as well in others. She was remarkably gracious with all her comments in her exit interview but was also self-aware and honest when she said that the judges had made the right decision. In addition to presenting an over-sweet, poor dish, she served raw meat. It was an insurmountable error. As soon as she sliced into the pork, she must have seen it wasraw, but perhaps she was simply out of time. Any which way, she knew the gig was up. Hard as it was to ask her to pack her knives, her dish made her the clear choice for elimination.

116 comments
TeamAntonia
TeamAntonia

Antonia wasn't in charge of Casey's pancake which was described as heavy --- and the chicken feet was a gross choice. That whole episode was stupid that other chefs were watching eachother's dishes and then being in competition with eachother????? Top Chef is getting "kitchey" with their antics and not focusing on good chefs, and good food and creative self starting Top Chefs who should own their own restaurants someday. This show is losing fans fast. Time to get back to basics!

Nadine Harris
Nadine Harris

I suppose you have your reasons, but judging by all the remarks always made about Carla and her style, it seems to me you just eliminated the best chef left. Isabella is a clown and the others are all inconsistent rag ends. I'm afraid I'm losing interest. I'll check who won and maybe check out the next season. Funny -- this started out a very interesting season, but I find it harder to watch now.

Teresa Parsons
Teresa Parsons

WHATEVER--and let's try NOT to quote Bordaine too much. He's obviously in it for the laughs & he gets them by putting others down.

Carla is a chef-enough said.

Fan o' Tiffani
Fan o' Tiffani

Bye, Tiff! Luv you. We'll see what you're cookin' in Dallas. In our hearts, you're the tip-top Top Chef.

MayaT.
MayaT.

I agree completely! I couldn't believe it when Dale was voted off! I missed the episode when Fabio left the show, and I was very surprised to not see him the next episode. I haven't eaten any of Carla's food, but from the way she talks about it, they all seem like winning dishes (minus the pork, i don't eat or like pork). Carla is such a hoot! I love her and was sad to see her go. I'd love to see her and Tiffany have their own show. Now thats an idea!!

Dia Borrow
Dia Borrow

Hey Tom, great season so far! I don't know if you will actually read this but I have been trying to find a way to get an autographed picture of you and maybe some of the cast for my 10 year old son, Matthew for his 11th birthday. He will be 11 on April 2nd and started watching the show when he was 7. Since he started watching he began cooking. He has been cooking for us at least once a week since he was 7. He now has 6 kids cook books and received a R. Ray cookbook for Christmas this year. He just loves you and Eric and says he will grow up to be a chef. He is a straight "A" student and I would just love to get this special gift for him to hang over his bed.PLEASE HELP ME! Thanks.

Kim Hinnkle
Kim Hinnkle

Tom,

"Mikie" may have the winning dishes with the judges but he is STILL a A hole!!!

Carla is a "Class Act".

Viewer46
Viewer46

if mike wins, i will never watch top chef again. he is such a jerk and eptiomizes everything that contributes to the bad chef reputation. judges - wake up!

DGcruz
DGcruz

When did TopChef become Top Swimmer? Did not think it was appropriate. Admittedly, to serve a chowder on the cool side intended to be warm/hot is not good. Maybe the weather played a role. It seemed like a personal taste bias of being "too sweet," which others liked, played more of a role than it should have.

tyroneplanet
tyroneplanet

Tom is the most lucious, delicious and seductive produce on this show. There remains so much of him yet to be seen, that I pray the show go on in infinity. The satisfaction of merely sensing his brain, sighting his brawn and sacitating his appetite remains sesantional and seductive enough to prove to appease any appetite one could conjure by imagination or have in pure nature, that I live for this show. Combine his tastebuds with food elements of any foodie and u will succeed in making the food angles sing or the food reapers weep. He, as the grand food-god, speaks only of foodfoolishness and great food. ABTW if the topic is other than Tom, I abstain. LongLiveThe4EverSexyCulinaryKingColichicco!!!!! Shuckit, suckit, swallowit babie!

C'mon Tiffany!!!!
C'mon Tiffany!!!!

TIFFANY . . . We're crossing my fingers. We're praying. The eyes of Texas are upon you. We love you, Tiffany! TEAM TIFFANY TEAM TIFFANY TEAM TIFFANY TEAM TIFFANY TEAM TIFFANY TEAM TIFFANY TEAM TIFFANY We're cheering for you. We're chanting for you. You can do it. It's all yours, the kitchen - it's all yours. You've got this. You're on the home stretch. Come on, let your inner kitchen-whatever out, and take control of this competition. We have total confidence in YOU. You ARE the all-star Top Chef. It's YOU. It's only you. It's always been you. You're IT. You're the ONE. I know it. You know it. We know it. They know it. We all know it. Everyone knows it!!!

tkharmonic
tkharmonic

I think Tiffany's problem is the same problem Angelo had, burn out because they didn't have much of a break between when their season ended and the All Stars began.

jhnmm37
jhnmm37

In case it hasn't been pointed out yet, if you're referencing Highlander the proper phrase is 'in the end there can be only one'

oh, please !!!
oh, please !!!

What? "Bring Fabio and Carla back"? You sound like some nutso fan of Desperate Housewives of New Jersey . . . "Bring Dina back!!!" Once a chef is gone, they're GONE. They don't bring 'em back. Get a grip. And why on earth would Carla "throw a challenge"? Makes no sense. What makes perfect sense is that she got sent home for serving raw pork. She's a CHEF! A chef knows better, surely Carla knows better. Carla is smart and she knows she f***ed up. She probably knows that she deserved to go home for raw pork, and she's probably not whining that they should've sent someone else home. They've sent home people for too much salt. Raw pork is pretty obvious. Get over it, already. The show is fair, even if you don't like the outcome.

Jane m.
Jane m.

Hi Tom/love u on the show! One thing I am disapppiinted about is on a recent Chinatown episode - Antonia really dropped the ball when she said she would watch over Casey's dish. She didn't. Casey was sent home because the dish wasn't cooked enough which Antonia oversaw. I am SO disappointed in Antonia that I would never vote for her or root for her. I hope se goes home soon because she let Casey. Shame on u Antonia!!!

Alex from MA
Alex from MA

At first, I thought Tom actually meant to pay Carla some much needed compliments, only to see him insult her by calling her a cook. Someone as talented and gracious as Carla deserves so much better. Likewise, all of us who have been loyal viewers deserve so much better than the garbage that has dominated Season 8, from the absurd challenges to the unforgivably poor equipment/supplies in the past two episodes. Who wants to watch chefs struggle not only against the clock, but also against burners that turn off themselves or fryers so decrepit they burst into flames? Of course, such things can occur in restaurant kitchens, but this is supposed to be Top Chef, rather than allegedly Top Chefs toiling in kitchens unworthy of the worst greasy spoon.

We've lost faith in the editing, production, judging and equipment to the point where we no longer enjoy the show. The whole sorry mess feels contrived, even fixed, and certainly unsatisfying. We will choke if we have to watch such a slovenly, sleazoid, dishonest twit such as Mike walks off with the top prize. While you're at it, stop attacking Richard, who clearly has been victimized by poor editing at a time when he must be reeling after the loss of his mother and grandmother, not to mention possibly missing the birth of his new baby. I've suffered such a double loss, and it takes a long time to recover, especially for such a warm, compassionate person as Richard. He has our empathy, as well as our best wishes for success. All the best to Antonia, too.

ChefRa
ChefRa

To those who think Tom was being insulting when he called Carla a "cook":

"Chef" is a title of deference used by the line cooks, waitstaff, and public. It is generally not used from one chef to another who see themselves as equals.

I think it was Anthony Bourdain who said something to the effect of: The highest compliment you can pay to a chef is to say he's a great cook.

Luvcattzz
Luvcattzz

Luv, Luv U Carla, so bummed your off the season's best, personality, cool, willing to admit when you were unable to do your best work. Girl, if you opened a place in my town, I would feel like home coming by to visit with you. And you are darn funny, and down to earth, missing ya

Vv20
Vv20

I agree, what's up with that comment Tom?

KLMSA
KLMSA

BTW........thanks for hooking me on that stupid MAHJONG game

acaringnurse
acaringnurse

Carla is an excellent chef! I am very suspect about her serving raw "PORK" of all things. Carla is a meticulous person and I am wondering if she threw the challenge to make it easy of one of the guys to win. Tiffani should have gone home long ago, but she is still there! I like and all the chefs, but lets be fair....bring Fabio and Carla back. They really made watching the show exciting and fun. I can do without Mike and Tiffani at this point!

YouGottaBeKiddingMe
YouGottaBeKiddingMe

Yes! Thank you for saying it, j-son. No, no, no Foam! Serve me a plate that looks like that, and I'll send it back.

J-
J-

Ugh, Top Chef, please stop giving us episodes with these ridiculous challenges. This late in the season, we don't want to see contestants making a three-course dinner with a bag of Fritos and a hot plate. We just want to see them cook. On things that don't catch fire.

robr
robr

maybe you can get christopher lambert and sean connery to host a challenge...

there can be ONLY ONE!

Christian Velazquez
Christian Velazquez

I must say, this is one of the worst episodes of Top Chef I have ever seen. I could focus on the fact that the lovely, classy Carla was eliminated while Richard (an egotestical snob and drama queen) and Mike (absolute jerk and also a hypocrite who apparently steals recipes) are still there. But that's not my complaint about this episode.

My complaint is how it all came together. The cooking equipment especially. What was up with that? More than one thing malfunctioning in the first challenge with previous winners (which I called Stephanie and a bunch of jerks). Then the kitchen for the elimination challenge, which was just mediocre on top of mediocre. Fast food places have far better equipment than what was shown there. It's no surprise to me the place caught on fire. But even after that, you force these chefs to cook the very same night? Everything got ruined, give them a breather for crying out loud! We're dealing with the finalists, they deserve a chance to give you their very best! Why force them to try to give you their beast when they clearly can't under these circumstances?

I know I'm complaining plenty, maybe being whiny at that. But I tune in to watch Top Chef, and I expect to see these people cook to the best of their abilities, and that can be allowed by giving them good cooking equipment. We've reached the finals, this is to determine the winner of what had to this point been a very nice season so far, so why these chefs were not given the best to work with and show us what they can really do is beyond me. The show didn't just drop the ball, they dropped the whole ball factory, and it was just a pain to watch. Hopefully Antonia can pull off a win, that would at least make up for how bad this whole start at the Bahamas was.

Kerri Gibson
Kerri Gibson

Go Antonia Go!!!! i'm sick of Blais and Mike--- but only time will tell.... Still hoping Antonia can pull it off!!! cook your butt off girl!!!!

Shellyge
Shellyge

Forget about Carla..I'm still in mourning about Dale T. going home.

rlehrmann
rlehrmann

All are great chefs but in the end only one will win.

Fan-lantan
Fan-lantan

I find it disheartening how so many fans have changed their attitudes so quickly away from Richard and towards Mike. Have they forgotten all of the nice and positive things Richard has done throughout the season versus all of the crude and negative things Mike did? Richard helped Antonia with her beef tongue and Mike criticized him because he thought it might help her win the challenge? Richard shared his concepts with several cheftestants and then Mike took one of them as his own to win a Quickfire, never telling any of the "powers-that-be" that it was Richards concept he used? How about Richard inviting Fabio to take the vacation with him because he helped him win his Louisiana elimination challenge - do any of you recall any other chef doing anything of this magnitude and being so gracious?

Which of these two chefs earned the admiration and respect of all of the other chefs and which one irritated the others? I could go on and on with examples of which chef was the positive influence on the show versus the negative influence, but we all already know the answer.

Richard Blais makes great food; he knows that. He always pushes himself to do more; we heard Richard say that he tries not to make the same thing on Top Chef (except the scallop bananas his first season, if I'm not mistaken). The one thing Richard does do is make complicated food, something most of his competitors won't do - there are typically a lot of components in his dishes; this was his downfall in his finale his last season. Richard thought he would have a Sous Chef to help with his prep so he could work on all of his courses. This gave him a chance to plan a "bold meal". Unfortunately for Richard, he found out at the last minute he wouldn't his Sous Chef just before service, so he didn't have any help preparing his complicated meal. The menu was planned so Richard was short on time and he did the best he could with what he already had to work with. Richard went into the final prep work somewhat defeated because he knew had designed a complicated menu, and didn't have enough time for one person to adequately prepare all of the meals properly. I'm sure this is one of the reasons why he was so down at the finale.

Richard is an intelligent chef who thinks a lot about his menus and in his preparations, and then once he's finally plated them, he starts to worry; not just because of the complexity of the meal, but about the timing of the delivery and the size of a party; about a component not being perfect when tasted. Richard is a perfectionist as a chef and is a mentor to his fellow chefs. He also loves talking to his guests at the front of the house, and has the personality to capture their hearts...when he has the time. If these aren't the characteristics of a Top Chef, I don't know what are.

Editors have a way of making "good" TV so that it's viewers will have reason to watch next week; become attached to the show and its cast. Top Chef shouldn't be any different. As the season winds its way down, we should all remember that we are only seeing a small snippet of actual footage of what's going on with the chefs, so we are only viewing what is intended for us for that particular episode. No one is as good, or as bad, as they ever seem on TV. I'm sure Mike was never as bad as made out at his worse moments, nor Richard at his best. On the same token, I can assure you that at this juncture of the competition, Mike isn't the strong competitor and "angel" being portrayed, nor Richard the "neurotic mess," we are currently observing in the Bahamas.

The switch in roles is leading up to something for a reason...let's just see how this whole thing plays out. Nothing is ever as it seems; just remember the season Stephanie won - who made into the top three with her and Richard; and almost won? How about the year Hosea won? I bet most of you thought Angelo would win over Kevin the last series, didn't you? In other words, you just never know.

jenny b
jenny b

This isn't a show that's based on overall achievement. They are based on what is served on that particular day. It's like they say, "One bad dish will send you home". So thats the reason Dale, Carla and few others are sitting at home watching the finale like everyone else. Carla is one of my favorites but she served RAW pork...that's pretty much unforgivable by itself, but it seems like it was also much, much to sweet. When Dale went home, he too just screwed the pooch that day, his dish was worse than Tiffanys so home he went. I think they have it right when it comes to judging. Judge contestants by what is in front of you on that day.

Teresa Parsons
Teresa Parsons

Tom, why did you refer to Carla as a "cook"? Is she not considered a chef?????

Bianca Maria
Bianca Maria

Why is everyone hating on Richard? As far as I'm concerned he's been pretty consistent as far as second guessing himself...which I don't see it as being malicious as everyone wants to believe. Also, if he's more stressed than usual, it makes sense, he's almost at the end of the competition which everyone knows one mistake will send you home and, at the time of this show, his wife was almost due to have his child. Geeze people! Stop being so cynical.

Viewer1941
Viewer1941

I am so glad that Karla is such a lady and never take it to heart when she has been misused. Thanks Karla for representing... Karla, you have the exposure you needed to make it,cause, believe me, that is all you were going to get.....THE EXPOSURE.

Viewer1941
Viewer1941

Yes.....She is a true "CHEF" and not just a cook...

j-son
j-son

I love Carla, but serving RAW pork, even if only in 1 of 20 dishes, is instant FAIL in a competition like this. I told my wife the second she put that thick solid porkloin in the deep fryer, "what's she thinking; it's going to be brown on the outside and raw in the middle?!"

I'm not psychic, nor am I a trained chef, but I know that piece of meat that thick and dense in a fryer is going to result in raw protein in the center.

Richard's plate did look like spit.

EVERYONE: PLEASE STOP using the stupid FOAM!!!!! I honestly cannot think of a single thing adding any type of foam, to anything other than perhaps a cappuccino, adds to a dish. STOP IT!

Tiffany, YESSSSS!
Tiffany, YESSSSS!

Here in Texas, we're keeping our fingers crossed for you, Tiffany!

Viewer1941
Viewer1941

You are so right. He could not care less.

Tiffany rocks the kitchen!
Tiffany rocks the kitchen!

If I could choose any of the chefs to cook for my family, I'd have to go with Tiffany. You want people to eat a meal that makes 'em happy, not put art on plate and take one puny bite. FOOD! It's about real food, and Tiffany's got it over all of them. Second would be Antonia. Enough said.

Teresa Parsons
Teresa Parsons

Come on you guys: "Richard is MEAN"????????????? Richard is harder on himSELF than anyone ever could be. When he reaches the pearly gates, he'll question our maker about their decision to let him into heaven.

Teresa Parsons
Teresa Parsons

I SO AGREE! And on top of that, the fire. For gosh sakes, why didn't they at least let them take a breather and "re-perform" the next day? Give them a crappy kitchen, contaminated food & tell them to go back and start over all in the same night. GEESH. PS: The "dining room" looked like a diner in Jersey.

rongee
rongee

I greatly enjoy the show and have been watching for all the past seasons. That said, I find this current season of All-Stars a bit suspect with regards to the judging. How can Tiffany still be in the hunt when she hasn't won a thing, nothing, nada, zilch...all season. How can she still be there when Carla and Dale, who both won so many QF's and Elimination rounds, be gone. My feeling, if you're winning on a regular basis you should have a leg up on the competition. Having not won a thing all season, how can it be possible that Tiffany can still be considered as a Top Chef All-Star contender. The rules need to be reveiwed and changed to allow for the mediocre to fall by the wayside through a cummulative point system. To me the show is losing credibility and integrity in the judging by allowing someone who hasn't won a thing through the season to still be in the hunt. To allow consistent non-winners to hang on is saying that given enough chances imedocrity can find a way to be Top Chef at some point.

rg

Teresa Parsons
Teresa Parsons

Tiffany is still standing and Carla is gone?????????????????? Give me a break Tom, she almost served you guys freaking Cheerios. I'm so considering never watching (what used to be my FAVORITE SHOW) Top Chef again.

Carla, if your reading, your my fan favorite and I'll vote until my fingers bleed. You are the ONLY chef from the very beginning that never stooped to the immature levels that the others have, at one time or another (more/less depending on who we're talking about). Your a classy chick, with a GREAT sense of humor and you cook from your heart. I, for one, will miss you a ton. Don't fall off the grid girl, your Top Chef in my book : )

Teresa

arribaeltequila
arribaeltequila

I am liking Mike more and more everyday!... And unfortunately disliking Richard :(. Mike is a good winer and he's been cooking pretty impressive things, while Richard, in my opinion has not, and his attitude this last episode was SO disappointing! From his usual "I am the best that has walked this earth" at the beginning of the episode to a very weird "I am in Antonia's head and I want to mess her up" to a final and very off putting "I hate everything I do"!! Richard, what is wrong with you this episode! I hope it's just your nerves because it was so sad to watch and really made me wish you don't get the final prize! Especially the last remark, who wants to eat, or have or anything, something that the person who made it hates! If you hate all you do, why do you do it? and if you don't, stop being a bad looser or stop trying to fish for compliments or I don't know what but please just STOP!

Sad to see Carla go but happy that Antonia stayed. And LOVED to the the past seasons winners back :).

Can't wait to see the finale!

Bbrie
Bbrie

Sorry to see Karla go, I liked her cooking style, light yet comfort food. Her personality is fun I'd love to see more of her on TV. She will do well though she already has a lot going for her in her life and she did win lots of prizes! She's a household name now. I'm rooting for anyone but Richard he is too mean and moody and his food is too rich, heavy, fatty and unhealthy.

Viewer from Michigan
Viewer from Michigan

This has been a great season, and completely unpredictable. A while back, I thought that Dale and Richard would be the last two left standing, with Carla as a wild-card third. Here we are with an entirely different group! You can argue against the "worst dish, bad day" approach, but it does add to the suspense.

Too bad about Carla's elmination. Tom's tribute to her was touching; she was a gentle, fair competitor and an off-the-charts chef. But nobody--nobody!--can excuse raw food, especially raw pork, which is so dangerous. It was clear, too, that Carla was rattled, and when she gets rattled, she goes down in flames. I will miss her.

As for the remaining: I agree that this season, Tiffany has seemed lackluster and uninspired. Makes me wonder if she's having some personal issues, as with her new marriage; something is not right with her. She's making weird mistakes, like her chicken-and-biscuits-tortilla soup dish. And she keeps squeaking into the next episode.

Antonia has done some amazing dishes, and some amazing composition of dishes. She has really proven herself as a great chef this season.

People blast Richard Blais for 1) being a sore loser and 2) putting on a "I'm going home; I suck" act. I don't think he's nearly as sore a loser as Michael V. was--man, he was nasty when someone else, even his own brother, won...and he's been very gentlemanly about things like when Isabella robbed him of his 5K by stealing his recipe concept. And I don't think his nervousness is in any way an act. It seems to be part of his process. He's the most creative chef on the show. His work is startling; people say constantly, "I would never have thought of this; I would never have put these ingredients together."

And much as I loathe the boorish, vulgar, recipe-thief Mike Isabella, he has really upped his game. I can't believe how much better his cooking is this season than before. When I saw his duck dish in the Quickfire, my mouth literally watered; it looked perfect. But I'll be horrified if this loudmouth jerk actually WINS.

Bring it on!

fellowtexan
fellowtexan

I think it was a travesty that Carla was eliminated instead of Tiffany. If you look back over the score card of this season, you'll see who is the better chef.

As for Carla and Antonia being in a bad head space because of losing in the quickfire, I agree. However, perhaps they wouldn't have lost if they had been given heating elements that worked consistently.

Throughout this season Tiffany has been mediocre at best, and at the bottom of nearly every challenge.

Perhaps, on second thought, Carla leaving wasn't a travesty after all. She was TOO good for Top Chef.

dustbowl
dustbowl

Love this season..the contestants are all so familiar to me so imagine my surprise when I am vacationing at the Atlantis on Paradise Island and I see Stephanie shopping along the cobblestones! Then I see all the previous winners at the casino playing alongside my husband! Pokerstars had a huge tournament going but I knew that couldn't be it. I was too shocked to go up and ask what was up. I just told all my friends that Top Chef winners were at the Atlantis! No advertising, no celebrity cook off, no posters featuring them...so I was clueless! Very good at keeping the big reveal a surprise....go Antonia!