Photo: Barbara Nitke / Bravo
Here's where things get really wacky. Now that the stakes are sufficiently high (talented chefs sent home!) and the challenges have gotten progressively more bizarrely creative (tennis cook-offs!), you get the sense that the All-Stars who have made it this far are, well, cracking a little.
First it was the fact that they all had to compete against their "daddy" (more on that term of endearment later), Tom Colicchio
, trying to beat his 8-minute entrée time for a high-stakes quickfire. In case you're wondering, the keys to besting Tom's speed in the kitchen are: Beg, borrow or steal some quick-cooking fish, and don't screw up the sauce. This meant Mike
's branzino was seared to perfection, while Dale
's attempt to do a pad thai -- well, it looked like one thick shoelace in a puddle of urine. And he admitted as much.
Then there was the now-patented "night before elimination challenge" montage, which in this case involved lots of bra-throwing, jalepeño juice in in the eyes, and the repelling of all of the boys back to their rooms. None of the women could understand why the chefs of the less-fair sex could "fiddle around with their diddlies" whenever they wanted, while one errant bra could produce a stampede.
There was good reason for all of the nervous nuttiness. These very Western chefs were assigned a daunting task: Cook dim sum for a room full of hungry New York City Asian-Americans. And the problem, it turned out, wasn't so much that they couldn't master the cuisine -- some of them did so splendidly -- but that they couldn't stop fussing over their little plates to get them out to the hungry diners.
Spoiler Alert: Read on only if you want to know the outcome of this "All-Stars" episode.