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Top Chef All-Stars Finale Tonight: Who Should Win?

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20110329-top-chef-all-stars.jpgNote: This is an updated version of an article that previously ran this morning.

We've reached the end of the line! The Top Chef-All: Stars finale airs tonight. Let's re-meet the two finalists and take a look back at their best and worst moments.

Mike Isabella, Season 6, Las Vegas

Education: New York Restaurant School
Hometown: North Jersey, but currently lives in DC
Was eliminated on his season after: Serving an awful vegetarian dish to Natalie Portman

Mike's the loudmouthed, opinionated guy of the group, but as Fabio would say: "This isn't Top NICE GUY... it's Top Chef!" Isabella definitely deserves his spot in the finals. He started off slowly on All-Stars, but has been picking up momentum and really hitting his stride during the last few weeks of the competition. Mike racked up several victories against All-Stars favorite Richard Blais, and has won the last two elimination challenges going into the final episode.

Highlight: Beating Season 6 winner Michael Voltaggio in a Secret Ingredient challenge in the Bahamas.

Lowlight: Winning a Quickfire challenge with chicken oysters, a dish he knew to be originally conceptualized by Richard Blais. The other competitors said he violated "Chef's Law" by taking a dish from another chef.

Richard Blais, Season 4, Chicago

Education: Culinary Institute of America
Hometown: Uniondale NY, but currently lives in Atlanta
Was eliminated on his season after: choking under pressure and serving an underwhelming pork belly dish during the final episode in Puerto Rico

What could I possibly say about Blais that hasn't been written a thousand times already? He's a culinary whiz-kid, a master of his craft, and the only finalist with his own Wikipedia page. The judges lavished constant praise on him during every phase of the competition, and it was almost a given he would compete in the finale. For me, though, his constant usage of liquid nitrogen, along with his incessant self-doubt and "I'm not good enough" whining, grew old and tiresome months ago. SNL's Stuart Smalley needs to pay this dude a visit, STAT.

Highlight: Being named winner of the All Stars: Restaurant Wars challenge. He made raw tuna belly and served it in a tin can. The judges loved it.

Lowlight: The sunglasses he wore during the entire "Gone Fishing" challenge. Crikey!

And for posterity's sake, the most quotable, memorable line from the season goes to Paula Deen:

Now that we're all caught up, who's your pick to walk away with the title of Top Chef: All Star?

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