Quickfire Challenge: Guest Judge Wolfgang Puck presides as each of the remaining three gets to assign another cheftestant a previous Quickfire, and then halfway, they each get to assign each other a twist. Mike assigns Antonia to do canned foods and she ends up with the double apron twist with Carla as a partner. Antonia gives Blais hot dogs and adds the one-hand twist. Blais assigns Mike the one pot challenge, and adds the no-utensils twist. Antonia makes curry coconut soup, Blais makes a hot dog on handmade bread with curry ketchup, and Mike makes pork shoulder with black beans. Wolfgang likes all of them, but decides that the winning dish belonged to Mike.
Elimination Challenge: Prepare and serve a last dinner for three culinary icons. Mike chooses to cook for Michelle Bernstein, who wants fried chicken, biscuits, and gravy. He assigns Antonia to cook for Morimoto, who wants miso soup, pickles, and sashimi. Mike assigns Blais to cook for Wolfgang Puck, who wants apple strudel, goulash and spaetzle. Padma tells them that there will be a surprise revealed later.
Antonia serves a bento box with tuna sashimi with pickled daikon, mushrooms and eggplant, miso soup and rice. Morimoto thinks the miso is too salty, and Gail complains that the tuna has harsh seasoning. While various diners like the components (rice, pickled vegetables), Tom doesn’t think the dish as a whole is subtle enough. Morimoto tells Antonia that the miso soup was too salty, but it was interesting.
Mike serves fried chicken with pea puree, and an egg yolk empanada with mustard gravy. Tom has some issues with the way the chicken was prepared but liked the overall effect, and it seems like everyone agrees that the non-traditional approach kind of worked. Michelle tells Mike that his chicken wasn't juicy enough, and the breading slid off the meat, but other than that, it was perfect.
Blais serves beef goulash, spaetzle with sour cream, and apple strudel with tarragon cream. No one has any problems with the flavors, and Gail can't praise the strudel enough. Wolfgang thinks his mother would have approved, and tells Blais that he loved the goulash, but thought the spaetzle was too tough.
When the dinner ends, Tom immediately tells Blais that he's going to the finale. That must have been payback for making him sweat a few weeks ago, and thank God it's not Mike who gets the free pass. Then Padma tells Antonia and Mike that only one of them will be moving on, and she busts out the envelope she showed them earlier. She gives it to Antonia, who opens it and reads that there will be one more challenge. Tom tells them that they have 45 minutes to go back in the kitchen and make one bite. The winner goes to the finale.
Here are their bites: Antonia made seared grouper in coconut lobster broth with a yam, apple and dill pollen relish. The judges thought it was a good concept, but the sauce was almost overpowering. Mike made tempura lobster over beef tartare with caramelized olives and chimichurri sauce. The judges thought it lacked flavor a bit, but was really creative, especially with the sauces, and was technically perfect. Padma polls the diners and it's a tie, with Wolfgang unable to choose a side (at least that we see).
And then Padma tells Antonia to pack her knives and go, so we're not going to have a female Top Chef All Star after all. Boooooooo. And if Mike beats Blais, I will seriously vomit.
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I always love the opening dramatic shot of an empty Judges' Table, especially since this time one of the chairs (Padma's) isn't pushed all the way in. That is so like Padma to leave her chair out! She probably normally has an assistant who goes around pushing her chair in for her. No manners, that one. Anyway, Mike, Blais, and Antonia talk about how Tiffany was sweet and awesome and accomplished, but Mike is sure that the best competitors are left. Every time he includes himself with Blais and Antonia (and the Voltaggios), I die a little inside. But I'm starting to see his point. Even if I think he's an asshole who cooks boring food, obviously the judges see something else. And he has won a lot of recent challenges. He's not just coasting, as I feel he did in his first season, since they came to the Bahamas. It is annoying that he flew under the radar until he made it there, and then sees fit to bash everyone else, but he's...kind of earned it? I still hate him, though. Blais points out that Mike has won two challenges throughout both of his seasons, and Blais has won eight. I kind of love that. I don't know why Blais's cockiness doesn't bother me, or only bothers me when he's putting down the ladies. I guess because he has shown that he has the goods to back it up, at least more so than Mike has. Antonia interviews that the boys are expecting to dominate, but it's not going to happen. Is that a promise, Ms. Antonia?
The next day, the final three enter the kitchen and find Padma standing there with Wolfgang Puck. And it's time for the final Quickfire. Padma explains that they've chosen seven classic Quickfires from the past eight seasons, but the twist is that they will get to assign the challenge to one another. Since Mike won the last Challenge (urp!), he gets to go first, and he assigns Antonia to do the "only canned and dried foods" task. Does that include dried herbs? Antonia interviews that it's the hardest challenge on the table, and she kind of wants to kill Mike, paisan or no. Antonia makes Blais do the hot dog challenge, where he has to make a hot dog. I know the title threw you there, so I thought I'd include the details of the task. Blais, in a Herculean reach, assumes that since Wolfgang Puck is from Austria, he loves hotdogs. As if the American hot dog is anything like a Germanic sausagefest. Blais gives Mike the one pot challenge, because he has observed that Mike uses a lot of pans. Antonia interviews that this was really dumb, because now Mike doesn't have the ingredient limitations that the others have. Indeed, Mike is grinning like a fool. No, he might be an actual fool. Blais has super dark circles under his eyes. I am concerned about his mental state.