The conceit for this special episode is that Fabio is hosting a dinner party for a bunch of previous cheftestants. They are:
Season 1: Tiffani and Harold making the second course
Season 2: Marcel and Ilan making the third course
Season 3: Casey, Dale and Hung making the first course
Season 4: Lisa and Richard Blais
Season 5: Carla and Stefan making the fifth course
Fabio introduces a challenge, where the chefs from each season will work together to do one course of a meal. They draw knives to determine which course each team will make. They go shopping with $500 and Marcel and Ilan still manage to go over budget. While they cook, Fabio goes around the kitchen and asks each cheftestant about his or her favorite challenge, and we get to see clips from all five past seasons. And in case you were wondering, Marcel is still a bitchy little dillweed.
Rather than being judged, the cheftestants all share the dishes and offer up opinions.
First Course: trio of seafood. Casey made Fanny Bay oysters puree, puffed rice, watermelon, and red onion. Dale made a crab pierogi with mushroom and asparagus ragout. Hung made sardines with black pepper broth and scallions.
Second Course: Tiffani and Harold made seared scallop with scallop sashimi noodles and tom yum broth and also provided a good wine to go with their dish.
Third Course: Marcel and Ilan made salt-encrusted Thai snapper with ratatouille
Fourth Course: Corn-fed beef, duck paté with savory root beer caramel. And somehow they used Cap’n Crunch in there.
Fifth Course: Raspberry panna cotta with rhubarb sauce, chocolate mouse with almond crisp
As they are eating, Fabio tries to start a discussion about various conflicts that happened and it gets out of hand with everyone talking at once and people just bitching and moaning about how tough it is to be on a reality show. Finally, Fabio has to stand up and remind everyone that they need to finish the show or they don’t get to go home. Everyone laughs and it lightens the mood a bit. Overall, it was an interesting experiment but also really awkward at times. I kind of wish they had invited some less asshole-ish people (ahem, Marcel) and maybe spent more time talking about the food and their current jobs.
You know it's going to be a very special episode when Fabio walks down the stairs in his (?) house and introduces himself. Like we were all sitting in the foyer of his palatial home, while he was upstairs fixing his hair and deciding whether to wear the tan blazer or the gray one. And why does he introduce himself when we were in his house to begin with? Would we be there if we didn't know? And also, as the clip reminds us, he was the Fan Favorite, so if you're watching this, you probably already know. So Fabio reads rather woodenly off the prompter to tell us that Bravo has invited various cheftestants from previous seasons back for a dinner party, and the preview clips promise us juicy gossip and fights, the staple of any reality reunion. And typing the word "reunion" just made me grateful that this isn't hosted by Andy Cohen.
The various cheftestants arrive at the airport while Richard Blais tells us that he jumped at the chance to meet people from other seasons. Harold from Season One reminds us that he had no idea what he was getting into when he signed up for the show. I feel the same way about the people from Real World seasons one and two (NY and LA the first time around) -- no one else has any excuse for complaining about how they were "edited" or any such bullshit. Dale from Season Three says he was going to retire from being a chef before signing up for the show, but it reinvigorated him. Tiffani from Season One says that she has traveled and consulted since doing the show, and ultimately wants to open her own restaurant.
The various cheftestants arrive at Social, the restaurant where they will be gathering today. In addition to the cheftestants already mentioned, we see Ilan from Season Two (blech), who's still wearing the stupid hipster glasses. The music changes and Marcel approaches outside on the sidewalk. Because he loves attention (but will deny it until the day he dies), he has to do a big jump in the air before entering the restaurant. He still has the wolfman hair, too. Look at me! I'm Marcel! But don't talk shit about me, because my art is pure. Man, I hate that dude. Every time I start to feel a little bit bad for him, he goes and does something stupid and I hate him all over again. Anyway, he's running a restaurant in Vegas these days. He reflects back on his season (like when Frank threatened him with bodily harm) and decides that the others were just jealous, and that's why they treated him so badly. And look, they did treat him badly. They were immature little shits. But Marcel is a dick. And he needs to take some responsibility for being a dick, which is what got the group sort of rallied around treating him badly. I'm not trying to blame the victim here, but it's ridiculous if he thinks that the reason the others on his season didn't like him was because he's so talented. Flashback to when Ilan told Marcel to keep making his foams and go cry in a corner, and then cut to Fabio asking the two of them if they've hung out since their season ended. They have, and Marcel claims that they are "culinary brothers of other mothers" (what does that even mean?).