Top Chef judges begged producers for an hour to let them keep the final five

Top Chef All Stars didn’t eliminate anyone last week, deciding that all of the final five chefs . It was pretty obvious that would happen from the very start of the episode–everyone kept saying they’d be cut to four, and it was just a little much–and it was also unprecedented. Considering the incredibly minor things that the judges have used to eliminate people in the past, that’s pretty significant.

But the judges really were at an impasse, so much so that it took them an hour to convince the producers that they could not make a decision. Judge Gail Simmons writes, “It took probably an hour of begging our producers to let us do it. They kept us there for a while, saying ‘Guys, deal with it. Make a decision.’ Then finally, after a long time of hashing it out and none of us feeling comfortable, we decided to bring everyone to the finale.”

She added that “we realized there was no way to penalize any of them for what they had made. We, for the first time, were at a stalemate. We just couldn’t think of a legitimate reason to get rid of anyone.”

about the writer

Andy Dehnart is a journalist who has covered reality television for more than 15 years and created reality blurred in 2000. A member of the Television Critics Association, his writing and criticism about television, culture, and media has appeared on NPR and in Playboy, Buzzfeed, and many other publications. Andy, 36, also directs the journalism program at Stetson University in Florida, where he teaches creative nonfiction and journalism. He has an M.F.A. in nonfiction writing and literature from Bennington College. More about reality blurred and Andy.