Top Chef: All-Stars S01E06: We’re Gonna Need A Bigger Shark Bag

My good friend and fellow Top Chef recapper, Max Silvestri, just pointed out to me yesterday that last week’s episode was officially titled “Dim Sum Lose Sum” and that this week’s episode was officially titled “We’re Gonna Need A Bigger Boat.” ARE YOU KIDDING ME? First of all, “Dim Sum Lose Sum” is the best thing I’ve ever heard, probably, I’m sure that is true and not even remotely hyperbolic. Second of all, in the words of Bandler Ching, could this show BE any more for us? Man! Although, I do regret all of the hours wasted each week trying to come up with a “clever” (never particularly clever) pun-based headline joke when I could obviously have just used the episodes’ official titles each time. Oh well. Better luck next time. These guys know what I’m talking about. ANYWAY: this week, Marcel is up on the roof playing the fool. Seriously, shut up, Marcel. “I don’t know how you do in your seasons…” What? Idiot. “Rah.” Hush. Marcel says that people shouldn’t cry about things, and if they’re going to cry about them, they should get out of the game, which is a perfectly fine thing to say on a reality show except that MARCEL IS THE ONE WHO IS CRYING. So, huh? Dale says that Marcel is lucky he took anger management training. Lucky for Marcel, unlucky for us. GET HIM, DALE! GET HIS HAIR AND SMIRK! Dale goes to bed. Marcel does not, although he should.

No Quickfire Challenge this week, it is just straight to the Elimination Challenge. Kind of. Everyone wakes up at 4:30 AM and heads to the kitchen. What could this be? “It’s too late for a midnight snack, too early for breakfast,” Fabio says. That is the name of Fabio’s memoir. “Too Late for a Midnight Snack, Too Early for Breakfast: The Fabio Story.” They get to the kitchen and Padma’s not even there! Uh, of course she isn’t, clowns. She is getting her beauty, SO BEAUTY, sleep. But there is a sign and a note:

“Between the sign and the note, it’s pretty clear that we’re going fishing,” Tiffani says. Whoa. I’d been wondering why there was a “Going Out of Business” sign in the window of the Sherlock Holmes Detective Agency. Pretty clear. Could be a little clearer, but you know, you get it. They all pile into the Toyota Siennas (neat!) and head out to Montauk. Ah, there’s my girl.

So, the chefs will split into three teams of four, they will have five hours to fish, and then they will cook whatever they catch for 200 people on the beach (the beach = Long Island City, Queens). Oh, and this week is a DOUBLE ELIMINATION. Boom. Goodbye, Jamie and someone else! Seriously, that’s not even a spoiler, right? Jamie is definitely going home finally. Team challenges are not Blais’s favorite. He likes to Blais his own trail. Angelo explains that he hates the water because he watched Jaws too many times and then start spitting some ACTUAL SHARK FACTS. Remember how Jaws was a documentary full of facts? So interesting. “Capturing the Friedmans of the sea,” is what they call Jaws. Angelo says that he won’t even go in “the pools,” such is his fear of the shark thing, which is funny, but 7-year-old me TOTALLY relates to that. Angelo really has his finger on the pulse of infant-child neuroses!

Fish fish fish. Shop shop shop. Cook cook cook. The whole fishing segment is one of those classic Top Chef Non Dramas where they make it seem like one team is just totally out-fishing the other teams, but by the end of the segment everyone has plenty of fish so whatever. It would have been hilarious if one team didn’t catch a single fish. Woulda shoulda LOLa. But, so, yeah, everyone catches fish, although I guess Dale REALLY catches fish. His dad is a fish or something? A fish in some serious dad shorts.

Dale catches “the fish of a lifetime.” It’s all downhill from here. R.I.P. Dale. (Later, Tom will say that he heard Dale made quite a catch, and Dale will say that it was a moment he will always remember, and Tom is clearly SO BORED by this story. Haha. They build you fish just to fish you down, Dale.)

When they step off the boats, Antonia explains that she never understood the appeal of fishing before, but now she does. Sure. You definitely had a normal fishing experience, the kind which most fishermen are always talking about, Antonia. You get it, now.

Farmers market. More like SNORE MARKESTNORE. “This is so much more exciting than when they shop at Whole Foods,” said no one.

Everyone gathers at Water Taxi Beach in Queens to cook and say very stupid things about Water Taxi Beach in Queens. “I used to think Manhattan was cool,” Angelo says, “but seeing Manhattan from the other side is really cool.” Uh, it is not either/or. Also: how have you never seen Manhattan from the other side? Oh right.

You were constructed in a basement somewhere in midtown probably. (When Padma shows up, she says something similar, like, “it’s so close to the city!” Yes Padma. In fact, it’s even part of the city. Love you, honey. And then Gail says “I’ve been to lots of parties here.” Haha. Gail. Total Party Hog. Love you, too, Gail!) They cook. People eat what they cook. Well, most of them cook. At one point they cut to Jamie and OF COURSE that girl can’t even just cook a piece of fish. She’s all thumbs. Her fingers are thumbs, her head is a thumb. After the meal is done and they are packing up their pic-a-nic baskets to head back to the Judges’ Table, Jamie complains that Team Blais-Fabio-Marcel only cooked one dish and that means it will be harder for the judges to determine who did what if they come up for elimination, and then she has the balls to say that she doesn’t appreciate people copping out. WHOAAAAAAAAA. EASY JAMIE! PEOPLE WHO ARE HUMAN COP OUTS SHOULD NOT THROW COP OUT STONES. DON’T COUNT OTHER PEOPLE’S COP OUTS BEFORE YOU’RE ELIMINATED. OTHER COMMON EXPRESSIONS WE ALL ARE VERY FAMILIAR WITH ABOUT COP OUTS AND JAMIE. The worst. Is there any way we can use this week’s double elimination on Jamie? Double eliminate her?

Judges’ Table. The best chefs are called in first. These are Team Tiffany-Angelo-Mike with their pickled blue fish, spicy watermelon, shallots, red chillies, confit potato & dill and also their striped bass with corn puree, tomato, aleppo spice rub & watermelon. Then there is Carla for her smoked blue fish lettuce wrap, pickled watermelon rind, radishes, bagel croutons, Dale with his fish taco with bass, corn & avocado relish, creme fraiche, radishes & cabbage, and Tre for his striped sea bass with gazpacho salad, tomato & avocado. Yums all around. Good job everyone. Dale caught a big fish, let’s talk about it some fucking more. In the end, Carla wins (HOOTIE HOO, I’M SURE). She gets a trip to Amsterdam! She’s going to need a BIGGER WEDDING! You know, for all these honeymoons. She is understandably excited as she returns to the Stew Room, but it’s short lived because Marcel gives her a Pete Campbell bitch face.

Fuck you, Marcel. Seriously. When he leaves, Carla is regretful and says she should have kept her enthusiasm to herself. SEE?! SEE, AMERICA?! A decent human being! She SHOULDN’T have kept her enthusiasm bottled up, but at least she is conscious of other people’s feelings. Marcel is the new Jamie. LET THE COUNTDOWN BEGIN.

Six losers enter, two losers leave. The losing teams are Team Fabio-Marcel-Blais for their sea bass, succotash, corn puree, tomato confit, concord gastrique & jamon air, and the other team featuring Jamie and her striped bass, watermelon salad with fresh dill, shaved radishes & cucumber water, Tiffani with smoked blue fish with tomato, roasted corn & zucchini ribbon salad, and Antonia open-faced porgy po-boy with old bay mayo & cabbage slaw. Aww, even the Judges admit that Antonia’s po-boy was so good and that she’s only their because her teammates are bunk. They are berated and then sent away while the judges deliberate. “I think we all agree on one person who should go home, but the second one is hard,” Tom says. Haha. YUP. CORRECT, TOM! Sort of. It’s not actually that hard. Because Tiffani should go home. And she does. Goodnight, Tiffani! You get the STINK STAMP.

But most importantly, GOODNIGHT JAMIE! You get the DOUBLE STINK STAMP.

You are the thumbest head, goodbye. Thank God. You know how sometimes you want something so bad that when you get it you’re kind of disappointed? NOT THIS TIME. Relish this moment. Dale will never forget when he caught that one fish, and I will never forget when they finally eliminated Jamie. (Just kidding. I have already forgotten!) As she exits, Jamie explains that she is bummed that she didn’t get to cook in two of the challenges. YUCK. The Worst Until The Very End, that is Jamie’s memoir. You can seriously not go away fast enough, Jamie. Go away faster please. Faster. And…she’s gone.