December 02, 2010 04:00 PM by Shayla Perry
In last night’s premiere episode of Bravo’s Top Chef: All-Stars, Elisa Aboumrad ended up being the first chef to pack her knives and leave the competition. See what judge Gail Simmons had to say in her blog about the decision to eliminate Elisa over Fabio and Stephen.
“The bottom three were all bad. I think that with Fabio [Viviani] and Stephen [Asprinio] there were execution problems, but more so conception problems. I don’t think their dishes were ever going to be perfect. They needed to be tweaked, especially Stephen’s, which had 2,000 components. That said, there was so much to his dish that we were all impressed with how much he was able to get done and how many techniques he was able to show, which s why we didn’t eliminate him.
“None of us were fans of the paper on Fabio’s plate. I certainly wasn’t as bothered by it as Tony was, but I did understand his issue with it. Because he put it out on a platter with that paper (as opposed to in a bowl), it looked sloppy. You didn’t understand what the paper was adding, and it hindered instead of enhancing. It was always going to be muddy unless he changed the way he cooked certain ingredients. I would’ve kept some of the crab pieces whole. The kind of pasta, which is so integral to that type of dish, was probably not the best choice. It was this fresh pasta that’s so delicate, and it fell apart an added to the mushiness. But he did show us that he had a mastery of the technique he was trying to achieve. For that sake, he did do it correctly. Whether or not we liked it was a whole different story. There are two parts to judging: Do we like how it tastes? And was it done properly? We understood that Fabio had a grasp of what he was doing.
“Unfortunately, we felt Elia [Aboumrad] made no attempt to improve on her dish. She really made the dish exactly as she had made it previously–with very slight changes that weren’t enough to make it interesting. There was little personality in the dish and that was the case the first time around. Stephen and Fabio’s dishes showed us a boldness, something of them that we didn’t see in Elia. Because of the inconsistency in the tealeaf and perhaps the way her fish was cut, a lot of her pieces were completely undercooked.
“When she made that last-minute plea not to be eliminated, it was heart-wrenching. The contestants certainly had a lot more gumption this time around! But there’s not much you can do once you’re already in front of us, unless you have a really good piece of information we never knew before and can really justify why you did something. Ultimately, the proof is in the pudding.
“We know Elia is talented. We know all the contestants are talented. There was no one to eliminate who would’ve made it easy. That’s how it’s going to be all season. They’re all that much further along in their careers. They have a lot more to gain in terms of their reputation and also a lot more to lose.”
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