'Top Chef All-Stars' Recap: Taste My Conch

Kim Conte

top chef richard blaisWe may be nearing the end of Top Chef All-Stars, but that doesn't mean that the craziness is winding down at all. Last night's episode narrowed the field down to three chefs -- but not before we saw one of the coolest challenges in the show's history. Oh, and if that's not interesting enough for you, I have four words for you:

Padma in a bikini ...

First, the boring stuff. For the main challenge of the night, the chefs had to cook a dinner -- using conch -- for the 80th anniversary of the Nassau Yacht Club. It was a cool set-up: The chefs were taken to an island where they had to don snorkeling suits in order to collect the conch they would be cooking on the beach for the judges. (It was here that Richard Blais made a D-Day reference, comparing the beach drop-off to "storming the beach at Normandy." A little over-the-top, Richard, don't you think?)

I've definitely spent all season mocking Mike Isabella. But last night I've got to admit I had tremendous respect for the nose-picker/booger flicker. He told the camera that he actually practiced cooking with conch before the competition because he knew it was so popular in the Bahamas. You know what? That's a totally brilliant idea, and one that actually paid off in the end. Mike was the only chef who didn't have a difficult time getting the conch -- or sea snail -- out of the shell. While the rest of the chefs banged away at them with hammers, he boiled the shells so the inside flesh could be removed more easily.

In a scenario that's actually been repeating itself all season, the judges ended up liking all four dishes. But only three could move on to the next challenge. In the end it was Tiffany Derry -- who many fans would argue should have gone home long ago -- who was sent home for her cold chowder with ceviche. And Mike, good ol' Mike, won for his conch in a banana leaf dish. I hate to say it, but it looks like he may end up winning it all ... but maybe it's too soon to tell ...

Now, for the fun stuff: Padma in a bikini (while Sammy Hagar's twin brother looks on):

top chef padma bikini

Do you wish you looked that hot in a bikini? Were you ready to see Tiffany go home?


Image via BravoTV

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