Top Chef All Stars LA Weekly Recap: It’s a Family Affair

TOP CHEF -- "Bring Your Loved One to Work" Episode 1705 -- Pictured: (l-r) Nancy Silverton, Gail Simmons, Padma Lakshmi, Tom Colicchio -- (Photo by: Nicole Weingart/Bravo)
TOP CHEF -- "Bring Your Loved One to Work" Episode 1705 -- Pictured: (l-r) Nancy Silverton, Gail Simmons, Padma Lakshmi, Tom Colicchio -- (Photo by: Nicole Weingart/Bravo) /
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Top Chef All Stars LA
TOP CHEF — “Bring Your Loved One to Work” Episode 1705 — Pictured: (l-r) Nancy Silverton, Tom Colicchio — (Photo by: Nicole Weingart/Bravo) /


LOCALE: Westfield Century City

CHALLENGE: Create a signature specialty product & build a dish to highlight it

GUEST JUDGE: Nancy Silverton

Assisted by their loved ones, the chefs had to create and package a specialty product, then make it the focus of a dish. Diners would be buying their creations, with the chef who sold the most units joining Kevin in having immunity.

  • Mel’s Kimchi-Peach Vinaigrette (Melissa)
    • Korean fried chicken wing
  • Mama Wong’s Mapo Sauce (Lee Anne)
    • Shrimp tofu shiitake dumplings
  • “Hotlanta” Hot Salt (Kevin)
    • Chicken ‘n waffles with fried peanuts in butter
  • Mighty Calypso Pepper Sauce (Eric)
    • “Doubles” topped with fried chickpeas & pancetta
  • GG’s Party Pikliz: The Spicy Haitian Pickle (Gregory)
    • Haitian creole chicken marinated in black pepper, thyme & clove
  • Nini’s Roasted Nuoc Mam Glaze (Nini)
    • Braised pork rib
  • “E+O” Romesco (Karen)
    • Pork belly, almonds, cinnamon romesco & crispy potatoes
  • “S’Miles” Fennel, Tomato, Chili & Citrus Relish (Brian)
    • Pacific swordfish with charred lemon & radicchio slaw
  • “S+D’s” Vegetarian Chili Base (Stephanie)
    • Two-bean chili with homemade cracker, beet & lime pickled onion, cilantro & scallion
  • Voltaggio’s Own Calamari Bolognese (Bryan)
    • Kale & nori spaghetti
  • Sunny Lemon-Ginger “Love” (Jen)
    • “Sunny style” skirt steak, yogurt & grilled kale

JUDGES’ TABLE: In a challenge that featured a wide variety of cultures, the judges’ three favorite dishes represented West African, Vietnamese, and Haitian flavors. Despite sharing the spotlight with Eric and Nini, Gregory’s creole chicken marinated in his Pikliz won the day. In addition, Melissa earned immunity by selling 31 bottles of her vinaigrette, leaving six chefs exposed for possible elimination.

LAST CHANCE KITCHEN QUALIFIER: Unlike in episode 4, the judges had three dishes that were clearly their least favorite, While Stephanie’s actual creation was fine, her chili base fell flat with the judges, as did Brian’s relish, which Silverton said “seemed just a little bit muddy”, and Jen’s “Love” that suffered from the inclusion of yogurt and her failure to strain the condiment. In the end, in yet another decision that was foreshadowed throughout the whole show, Jen was sent packing.

CHEF DISH: Can we talk about how much we love Mama Wong?! And we clearly aren’t alone, as Gail greeted her with an enthusiastic “Hi Mama Wong!” before getting a giddy “I’ve been watching you guys for years!” in response! Speaking of Mama Wong, we’d be remiss if we didn’t give props to Stephanie for sending her husband David over to help Lee Anne when her mom had to leave the kitchen after nearly fainting and Melissa for quickly lending a hand as well. Class acts, especially in the heat of competition.

MALARKEY SMARM-O-METER: Oh geez, where do we start? First of all, when your own wife cringes at your comments, you’re obviously an equal opportunity offender. But in spite of our lofty and clearly unrealistic desire to dial down the rating on our Smarm-O-Meter this week, Brian shattered those hopes into a million pieces by sharing his detailed process of keeping a journal ranking other chefs. Perhaps a little self-fulfilling prophecy when concluding the analysis of his competitors with “don’t think I’m an asshole, my friends!”? Only because we now firmly believe that there are still new heights of smarminess for Malarkey to surpass, we’ll assign him a 9.5 this week. Trust us, 10 is well within reach, very likely sooner rather than later.

SNARK ATTACK: Yup, it’s him again. Upon learning that he’d wound up in the bottom three, Brian muttered “oh my god!”, then saying “no way! not being a d–k, just telling the truth”. Enough said.


EN FUEGO: Since winning the Elimination Challenge pretty earns a chef En Fuego status, Gregory heads into next week riding a huge wave of momentum. Better yet, we got to enjoy the great relationship he has with his mom Yanick, who rocked her role as his sous chef.

ROLLING BOIL: Even with Gregory’s EC win, Eric’s “doubles”, a fried dough dish enhanced by his pepper sauce creation, prompted Nancy Silverton to proclaim that “every bite was delicious”.

BRING TO A SIMMER: As much as we hate to invoke his name one more time, it seemed like Brian was perilously close to packing his knives and leaving. Spared only by Jen’s “Love”, Malarkey lives to cook another day…unfortunately.

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Did the Top Chef judges get it right or should someone else have packed their knives and left?