Top Chef: All-Stars: Festival of Losers Brings the Heat

Last night was the premiere of Top Chef: All-Stars, and it was also the first night of Chanukah. For those of you un-chosen folks, you celebrate the first night by lighting the shamash (helper candle) that will light the first candle for the first night and eventually all eight ― in other words, a gift that keeps on giving. Likewise the All-Stars premiere gave off enough heat to keep us watching for way more than eight days/episodes.

This is Top Chef's Season 8 and they are bringing it. First, Bravo brought back all of our favorite and most hated cheftestants. Second, Bourdain is a judge. Lastly, the winner will get $200,000, double the amount for Top Chef commoners.

Last night's Quickfire Challenge was to create a dish that represents the city each contestant competed in. Which season was the best? The chefs were paired for bragging rights. (San Francisco's O.G. Season 1 cheftestants made a cioppino gazpacho with sourdough to represent a classic regional dish.) The winner? Season 4 and its Chicago dog (gee, I wonder what city they were representing) ― Richard went all out with mustard ice cream. Only a Quickfire and already the nitrogen guns were drawn.

The Elimination Challenge was just as ice-burn cold as that mustard. The chefs had to turn the dish that sent them home into a success. Think about that for a minute: The dish that required them to pack their knives and be sent home had the power to become their redemption. Oh, it was good! Especially since the group was split in two, with half cooking first while the rest tasted and sized up the competition. It was on, as chefs ripped their competitors' food way harder than Bourdain did. For extra evil the diners didn't know that their comments were being recorded, fed straight to the kitchen. Enemies were made.

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