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Top Chef

Season 2 Episode 8

Holiday Spirit

Aired Wednesday 10:00 PM Dec 13, 2006 on Bravo
out of 10
User Rating
34 votes

By TV.com Users

Episode Summary

It's all a party when the contestants are asked to put their skills to work on both hors d'oeuvres and spirits. This round focuses on entertaining as the chefs are asked to create an original drink accompanied by a small snack, and then must change gears and cater a holiday event.

Guest Judge: Kristin Woodward - QuickFire Challenge

Guest Judge: Lee Hefter - Elimination Challenge

QuickFire Challenge: Create an Original Baileys Holiday Cocktail.

Elimination Challenge: Cater a Hollywood Holiday Party.

Round Eight.moreless

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  • The Holiday Spirit Episode

    It was really awsome how many dishes the orange team made. From home they looked delicious. Even if they all weren\'t the best dishes ever they had amazing presentation. Sam was also an awsome leader. He was able to keep all the chefs from fighting and he helped them all work together. My bet is either he or Ilan will win this whole competition. I can\'t wait to see what cometitions come up later. but i didn\'t like this quickfire challenge. it didn\'t seem as fun or unusual as other ones have. although i loved this episode, i hope the next one is better. I alos wish that Mia hadn\'t removed herself from the competition. She was awsome!moreless
  • Mia, sacrifaces herself, what an ending!

    This was a great episode. I thought the Quick Fire was a little silly. None of these chefs is thinking of becoming a bar tender, and to ask them to create a cocktail based on Bailey's (as nice as it is) I thought was a bad challange.

    Now on to the elimination challange. The teams were: (Black) Mike, Mia, Cliff and Elia vs. (Orange)Sam, Betty, Ilan, and Marcel. Betty and Mia both have catrering businesses. The challange was to create a WOW, Hollywood cocktail party spread for upwards of 200 people. The Orange team put Sam in charge, an excellent move and decided to listen to Betty's suggestion that more is better. The team ended up with 15 items. The Black team put Elia in charge and decided to go with 4-5 "quality" items.

    This proved to be there undoing. While there were comments that the quality was excellent, they did not produce enough. In the end, all the Quality in the world is no good if you don't feed the customers.

    At the judges table, I thought there were to things of note. First, I felt Marcel was way off base trying to take something away from Sam. While he did contribute, if he wanted the glory he should have stepped up and taken the leadership role. On the losing side, I thought Mia had some issues other then the challange. I still cannot belive that she sacrificed herself. I am still not sure that the judges were going to send Elia packing. I think thay might have sent Mike. Tune in next time for more adventure!moreless
  • WOW what an ending

    I'm simply loving this show. There were 8 contestants left, and they were divided into two teams. Black and Orange, and the teams had to cater a holidya party. One team does four dishes, and another team does 13 dishes. The team that only did the 4, simply did not listen to Mia's ideas. Seems everything she said got shot down. But when the team loses, and Cliff tries to make it seem like Mia was the problem, she simply had a melt down and let him have it!!! She really went off on him, but it was clear the judges were not going to send Mia home, but Mia being home sick and frustrated removed herself from the competition. Goes to show this competition is not for the weak hearted. Mia having a business to return home to, kept saying she is the first in her family to accomplish anything, and she has nothing to lose by returning to her business. Excellent episode.moreless
  • Mia takes the fall

    I didn't quite get this weeks quickfire challange but I thought that Cliff 's looked the best as far a presentation wise. I think the Black's teams decision to only make four dishes was not a good idea. The orange team had about ten ti fifteen dishes. I think it better to have too much food than to not have enough. Mia's decision to want to go home so that Ellie can stay was not a decision that I would have made. She decided that she wanted to step up and be the team leader so she should take the fall. Mia went homemoreless
  • Teams of 4 are asked to cater an L.A. party by preparing canapés. Elia\'s team prepares four different varieties whereas Sam\'s team prepares twelve (approximately). Sam\'s team wins. Elia would have been elimiated, but Mia sacrifices herself.moreless

    Save the final dramatics on Mia\'s part, I found this episode rather boring. The problem with cooking-oriented reality shows is that the complications in the plotlines are so totally unglamorous, because the plotline is just that...unglamorous. The plotline is just \"Contestant and/or team cooks a meal.\" So the plot twists are generally lame:

    \"I ran out of tamarind. I knew then that I was finished.\"

    \"Someone turned off my broiler. I couldn\'t believe it. I panicked.\"

    \"Cliff changed his mind at the last minute and we couldn\'t do the lobster. What the f***?!?!\"

    Usually Top Chef does a great job of dissolving the superficial silliness of these complications and what the viewer gets is an engaging show punctuated by suspenseful music. But I don\'t know...this time I wasn\'t convinced. The tiff between Mia and Cliff at the beginning, then the food shortage...the drama seemed artificially inflated. Thank goodness for the fireworks at the end! Awesome. I thought Mia was going to call Cliff an Uncle Tom. With regard to Marcel\'s piping up at the Table...I really don\'t think he\'s as much of a snake as this show would have him be. I sensed something manufactured about his comment. I feel like he\'s being coached by a reality-tv consultant to play the a-hole. I dunno.moreless
Padma Lakshmi

Padma Lakshmi


Tom Colicchio

Tom Colicchio

Head Chef/Judge

Betty Fraser

Betty Fraser

Season 2 Contestant

Mia Gaines-Alt

Mia Gaines-Alt

Season 2 Contestant

Elia L. Aboumrad

Elia L. Aboumrad

Season 2 Contestant

Michael Midgley

Michael Midgley

Season 2 Contestant

Ted Allen

Ted Allen

Guest Judge - Elimination Challenge

Recurring Role

Featured Episode Clip

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


  • TRIVIA (3)

    • First Run Fan Poll:

      Who is the sexiest chef?

      A. Betty 5%
      B. Elia 20%
      C. Ilan 26%
      D. Sam 49%

      (all percentages as of the end of the episode.)

    • Elimination Challenge Dishes:

      Black Team (Elia, Mia, Cliff, Michael)
      1. Strawberries with rosemary mascarpone & pancetta brunoise.
      2. Seared scallops with Belgian endive & ginger-grapefruit marmalade.
      3. "Surf & Turf Canape" Lobster medallion with filet mignon & herb salad.
      4. Smoked salmon with avocado mousse (not shown).

      Orange Team (Sam, Marcel, Ilan, Betty)
      1. Cinnamon croissant bread pudding with two chocolates & almond cream.
      2. Pickled mussels with apple molasses mignonette.
      3. Sesame shrimp skewers.
      4. Vegetable terrine.
      5. Confit of pork shoulder with tomato marmalade.
      6. Chorizo and egg tostada.
      7. Beef tenderloin with blue cheese.
      8. Crab cake with spicy fire roasted corn & pasilla relish.
      9. Calamari with dip (not shown).
      10. Cauliflower a la Plancha (not shown).
      11. Croquetas (not shown).
      12. Salmon mousse (not shown).
      13. Mushroom tart (not shown).

    • QuickFire Dishes:

      •Mike – "Tasty Lacy" Caramel Baileys, Bushmills, Guinness foam & candied rim; accompanied by a cherry ice cream sandwich.

      •Cliff – Original Baileys, rum, vodka & vanilla bean; accompanied by grilled beef crème fraîche fondue, nutmeg & chocolate.

      •Sam – Baileys hot chocolate with Godiva liqueur & heavy cream; accompanied by egg nog French toast topped with apple, rosemary & onions.

      •Marcel – "Smoke & Fire" Scotch coffee with Baileys & milk foam; accompanied by tapa of pancetta, potato & coffee grinds with vanilla vapor.

      •Ilan – Baileys & egg whites foamed with Guinness & topped with scotch; accompanied by horseradish & beets on matzo with a pan fried egg yolk.

      •Mia – "Chocolate Mama" Mint Chocolate Baileys, Crown Royal & orange juice; accompanied by grilled mango & Brie on a Danish apple crisp.

      •Elia – Cappuccino with Caramel Baileys & ginger; accompanied by a classic petit four of chocolate & nuts.

      •Betty – Parrot Bay coconut rum with heavy cream, Caramel Baileys & cinnamon; accompanied by scallops marinated with Parrot Bay rum, mint, parsley & cilantro.

  • QUOTES (1)

  • NOTES (6)