'Top Chef All-Stars': Deep-fried thievery, with a side of chef law

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The end is almost in sight, but first the remaining chetestants will have to face one of the surliest guest judges in "Top Chef" history.

Just kidding! It's Paula Deen, y'all! And you best believe she wouldn't make the trip Yankee territory if deep fryers weren't involved.

Her quickfire calls for the imaginative use of frying, and as she goes through the list of things she's fried personally (read: everything), the chefs look surprised when she mentions balls of butter. They are familiar with her work, right?

They start battering with a vengeance when Mike announces that he's making fried oysters. No, not that kind of oyster, plebes. He's talking about the ones in chicken armpits. This would be fine if he hadn't just heard Richard talking about making the same thing a few hours earlier... but we'll get back to that.

Poor Antonia, with her delicious-looking fried avocados and shrimp, is Paula's clear favorite -- but she only made one plate. And Padma does not like to share. She's disqualified for this one.

That leaves Mike as the winner, and Richard is not happy about it. But Paula sure is. She just hoofed down six plates of fried food, and there's more just around the corner.

Her fellow southerner and guest judge, chef John Besh, arrives to dole out the elimination challenge. The chefs will cater for 300 guests at a benefit for fisherman put out of work by the oil spill, cooking gulf seafood, southern style. That sounds like a lot of work....

Luckily we have all these eliminated contestants hanging around to be sous chefs. Tre, Angelo, Spike, Fabio, Tiffani and Marcel traipse in holding different fish. The non-kicked-off chefs can have their pick of the protein but they have to take the losers holding them. For puns' sake, Marcel is give the white shrimp. Hey-o! They split into pairs and get into planning mode.

After the trip to Whole Foods, Richard is pouting about his swiped oysters. The ladies gossip about it in their lady bedroom and Carla brings up chef law. Apparently it is much different than man law, and Mike is in clear violation.

Dale calls the eliminated chefs "bed bugs" for returning. Dale!

Things are awkward in the kitchen as everyone is giving Mike some serious sass, and this carries over to the event space, where others start to unravel.

Carla, who's trying to redo her failed quickfire dish, is again not happy with her product. And neither are we, because she is our emotional barometer. Dale also isn't happy. He's serving raw potatoes and somehow never thinks to stop.

John Besh says that Mike "hit the nail on the head" with his meal, so there goes the possibility of chef law being properly executed in this episode.

The top three are announced and it's Antonia, Richard and Mike. Antonia deserves it for her unfortunate quickfire loss, Richard deserves it for getting plagiarized, and Mike should go home for not seeing his foul -- but it's already too late for that. Richard takes it for his whimsical salute to the other side of the gulf. "Snapper and pulled pork on the same plate? We never!"

The bottom three is the predicable combo of Carla, Dale and Tiffany. Paula says something obscene about sucking shrimp heads, but we mostly just hear Charlie Brown adult noises while we wait for Carla to be sent home. (It would figure our mini-TC hiatus would end with the eviction of our most cherished competitor in the history of reality TV.)

But hold your horses. Dale served raw potatoes, mustardy croutons and, apparently, not so much fish. He goes home. And though we're happy for Carla to have another shot at redemption, Dale's crying makes us for feeling anything but sad.

We guess that's... chef law.
Photo/Video credit: Bravo