Why now is the perfect time for a 'Top Chef All-Stars'

tiffany-derry-top-chef.jpgIf rumors are to be believed, Bravo is secretly planning an "All-Stars" season of their recently Emmy-winning "Top Chef" franchise. And though the network won't comment on the matter, a dozen competitors from previous seasons have been spotted with camera crews in New York.

Eater reports that all of the production isn't for a one-off special either, like previous "All-Star" efforts. It will be a full series following the format of regular "Top Chef," only with people we already love and don't have to spend several episodes getting to know.

This would be welcome news any time but comes as a particular relief this week after the lame and completely unjustified kick-off of Tiffany Derry, one week before final four jets off to Singapore. (Derry, if you were questioning the pertinence of this tangent, is among the cheftestants spotted on the New York set.)

Now we don't pretend to know better than the judges -- even if we did share their sophisticated palates, we're not tasting the food -- but come on. Neither combative Kevin or kindly Ed should have moved on ahead of Tiffany based on the NASA challenge or their performance throughout the season. New York strip with bacon-jalapeno marmalade? Rack of lamb in outer space? Get bent.

Tiffany probably wouldn't have gone on to win the whole thing, but it's insulting that we'd be denied such a strong contender in the last leg in favor of two who really don't have a chance.

Maybe "All-Stars" was conceived as an 11th hour play for redemption by a show struggling with guilt over its first criminally premature elimination. It seems like an obvious answer, considering we'd be otherwise inconsolable and considering a boycott right about now. (Just kidding.)

The rest of the reported cast is a mixed bag of almost-winners and fan favorites, including Marcel Vigneron, Richard Blais, Fabio Viviani, Stephen Asprinio, Spike Mendelsohn, Michael Isabella, Dale Talde, Tiffani Faison, Jamie Lauren, Antonia Lofaso and the biggest surprise, the current season's only other entry, Angelo Sosa.

The "DC" final four member -- and possible mail order Russian bride patron -- is either headed for failure or really, really greedy. And if it's not the latter, consider us Team Kelly.

So are you still cut up over Tiffany and is the possibility of her triumphant return on an "All-Stars" any consolation? Sound off in comments.

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Photo: Bravo