November 29, 2010

Meet the Chef'testants of 'Top Chef All-Stars'

Hot on the heels of the very successful spin-off franchise Top Chef: Just Desserts foodies everywhere will be able to see their favorite chef'testants back in the kitchen when an All-Stars version of Top Chef premieres this Wednesday, December 1 on Bravo.

18 past chef'testants will return to New York City for season eight of the Emmy-winner show, with host Padma Lakshmi and head judge chef Tom Colicchio, alongside judges Gail Simmons and new this season, best-selling author and chef, Anthony Bourdain.

Each episode holds two challenges for the chefs. The first is a Quickfire test of their basic abilities and the second is a more involved elimination challenge designed to test the versatility and inventiveness of the chefs. The challenges not only test their skills in the kitchen, but also uncover if they have the customer service, management and teamwork abilities required of a Top Chef.

Keep reading to meet the 18 chefs who are looking to take home the title of all-star Top Chef.

Antonia Lofaso, Season 4

Perhaps a bit of a sleeper in the first few episodes of her season, Antonia finally hit a winning streak before ultimately being eliminated in Puerto Rico for poorly-cooked pigeon peas!

Marcel Vigneron, Season 2

One of the most controversial cheftestants in Top Chef history, Marcel is probably most known for his passion for molecular gastronomy. Marcel went all the way to the finale, losing to Ilan Hall in Hawaii.

Tiffani Faison, Season 1

Tiffani went up against Harold Dieterle in the Season 1 finale in Las Vegas. Although Tom Colicchio has said in the past that her artichoke risotto was one of the best dishes he's ever eaten on the show, the fact that she presented duos for each course bit her in the arse, and Harold took home the title. Tiffani did, however, win the holiday special that aired in 2007.

Stephen Asprinio, Season 1

One could call Stephen the "Top Sommelier" for his unparalleled knowledge of wine. Making it all the way to the top five in Top Chef's inaugural season, Stephen proved he still had it winning the Quickfire Challenge during an all-star special with his perfect egg omelet

Elia Aboumrad, Season 2

Her hair's grown back! Elia was the last woman standing in her season, making it all the way to the final four before being ousted.

Casey Thompson, Season 3

Some say she helped Carla Hall lose the Season 5 finale, but that's old news! Casey made it all the way to her season's Aspen finale, competing against Dale Levitski and eventual winner Hung Huynh.

Tre Wilcox, Season 3

People were upset when Top Chef D.C.'s Kenny got the ax, but it's safe to say Tre's Restaurant Wars elimination is probably still the biggest upset in Top Chef history.

Dale Levitski, Season 3

Fighting to get his culinary groove back, Dale proved he still had a passion for cooking by competing against Casey Thompson and Hung Huynh in the Aspen finale.

Richard Blais, Season 4

Like Marcel, Richard brought molecular gastronomy back to the forefront of Top Chef discourse. Although he made it all the way to the Puerto Rico finale, he lost the title to the show's first female winner, Stephanie Izard.

Spike Mendelsohn, Season 4

Spike is back without his sidekick Andrew D'Ambrosi, but he's still got his hat. Spike's cooking (and smooth-talking) pushed him all the way to the final five of his season.

Dale Talde, Season 4

Although showing he can sometimes get heated in the kitchen, Dale was the casualty in his team's poor Restaurant Wars performance.

Carla Hall, Season 5

Hootie-hoo! Carla started her season off quietly, but quickly proved she was a force to be reckoned with. Her classical technique helped her make it to the finale, eventually buckling under the pressure and losing to Hosea Rosenberg.

Jamie Lauren, Season 5

An original member of "Team Rainbow" and -- we're sure he'd like to think -- "Team Stefan," Jamie got sent home during a Le Bernardin challenge, but stood as one of the final seven chefs standing.

Fabio Viviani, Season 5

Fan Favorite Fabio not only charmed everyone but had the chops in the kitchen to back it up, making it all the way to the final four.

Mike Isabella, Season 6

The chef fans loved to hate, Mike Isabella always has something to say (and it's usually about Robin.) A vegetarian challenge sent him home in Episode 10.

Jennifer Carroll, Season 6

Although she had some high highs and low lows, Jennifer's skills brought her all the way to the Napa finale competing against Kevin Gillespie and the Voltaggio brothers. Unfortunately, Michael Voltaggio took home the title.

Tifanny Derry, Season 7

Tiffany, a favorite of Ed and the fans, always keeps it positive with her bubbly personality. Although she made it to the top five, she was eliminated in a space food challenge.

Angelo Sosa, Season 7

Angelo made it all the way to the Singapore finale but lost to fellow competitor Kevin Sbraga after falling ill. Considered one of the cockiest chefs in his season's kitchen, we have a feeling that won't be the case this time around.

Who's your favorite to win Top Chef All-Stars? Who do you think deserves redemption the most? Leave a comment!

Top Chef All-Stars premieres on Wednesday December 1 at 10pm on Bravo