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Top Chef: Keepin’ It All in the Family

March 02, 2011 09:25 PM by Shayla Perry

This week on Bravo’s Top Chef: All-Stars, the five remaining chefs are in for a surprise when they’re greeted by their family members on Ellis Island.When tasked to make a dish representative of their heritage, two of the contestants are shocked to find that they’re related! Which chefs are keepin’ it all in the family, and who will make it to the Top Chef finale? Keep reading for everything you missed!

Tonight, in an all new episode of Top Chef: All-Stars

There are five chefs remaining – Carla Hall, Mike Isabella, Richard Blais, Tiffany Derry, and Antonia Lofaso. But only four can go on to compete for the title of Top Chef. Who will make the cut?

Still stunned over Dale’s elimination, the chefs are very aware of the fact that the end is near.

The contestants are surprised when Padma Lakshmi arrives at their pad and asks them to meet her on the roof. There, she informs the chefs that they’ll be taking a ferry to Ellis Island for their Quickfire Challenge, and that she and the guest judge will meet them there.

But when they board the ferry, they see a note with instructions for the challenge.

The contestants scramble to create their dishes. Tiffany Derry is attempting nachos, with Antonia Lofaso making grilled cheese on a hot dog cooker. But Richard Blais gets crafty, using an MRE meal that he happened to have in his bag.

When the horn sounds again, Padma arrives with guest judge Dan Barber to sample the dishes.

Mike Isabellas soup made with pork rinds and hot dog buns looks just like it sounds, and Richard is liking his chances.

The winner of the Quickfire is Carla Hall and her “sliced oranges with some candied fruit on top” (as Richard Blais put it).

For their last Elimination Challenge in New York, the chefs are consulting with one of the best genealogists in the country to give them the information they need to create a dish representative of their unique heritage.

And to help… some special guests — their families!

Richard Blais’ wife (5 months pregnant at the time) looks through his family tree and finds that he’s got some chemists in his family (go figure!).

With her mother, Tiffany Derry comes up with a dish including okra. She knows that Tom Colicchio isn’t a fan of the vegetable, but Tiffany wants to stay true to the family recipe.

Carla Hall and her husband discover that she had some entrepreneurs in her family.

Antonia Lofaso and her mother discover that she and her nemesis, Mike Isabella, are distant cousins!!!

With their recipes planned, the chefs head to Whole Foods.

Before calling it a night, they all share a laugh over Antonia and Mike’s relationship and a pretty hilarious picture of Isabella as a kid (yes — we will try to get it!).

The next day, the chefs find a DVD with a key and go outside to find a Toyota Highlander. They play the DVD in the car and learn that the winner of the Elimination Challenge will not only secure their spot in the final four, but they’ll also win the Highlander!!!

With 3 hours to cook, Carla Hall is once again attempting to redeem herself with some Southern cooking and even dabbles with the liquid nitrogen.

Antonia, inspired by her father who is battling cancer, is making his favorite dish — veal.

Richard Blais is honoring those in his family that worked in meat markets.

Carla’s biscuits aren’t cooking, and Antonia is hoping to make the perfect risotto, knowing that it was what sent Tre Wilcox home just weeks before.

As time winds down, the judges and the chefs’ family members all gather to taste what’s been prepared.

Mike Isabella is first to present his dish and gets choked up thanking his mother. We must say… It’s a bit awkward having family members there to judge the contestants. The judges are mostly reserved with their comments, and of course, no one’s mother is going to say that their child didn’t do a good job.

Tiffany manages to make an okra that Tom likes, and Richard’s fried bone marrow impresses everyone.

Last, but not least is Carla (who met her husband on Match.com by the way!).

Everyone’s dishes are so good that Antonia’s mother suggests the judges have a “final five.” If only!

Soon, everyone is done and it’s time for the families to say goodbye.

After toasting their success in the Stew Room, it’s time for the last Judges’ Table in New York and EVERYONE is called in!

As it turns out, the judges loved each of the dishes as much as they said they did in front of the family members! Not a negative comment at ALL! This has to be another Top Chef first!

Mike Isabella is even brought to tears when the judges compliment his grandmother’s  gnocchi recipe. It’s something that he never dared to make before, because he didn’t want to insult her memory. Gail Simmons tells Mike that his mother felt that his was better than his grandmother’s and that she would be proud. (Is it wrong to be crying this much on an episode of Top Chef?!)

But… as we know, someone has to go.

The winner of the challenge (and the Toyota Highlander Hybrid) is Antonia Lofaso!

Mike Isabella also learns that he is safe and will be competing in the finals in the Bahamas. The two cousins run to the Stew Room and celebrate. But there’s no celebration for the remaining three.

Padma surprisingly tells Richard Blais to pack his knives — to go to the Bahamas!

Only Tiffany and Carla remain.


Yes, the final four is now the final 5! We’re thinking we have Antonia’s mother to thank for that. Thanks Mom! :)

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Photo credit: BRAVO

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