Recap: Top Chef All-Stars, Episode 9, Feeding Fallon
This week, the final eight chefs put their own spin on fondue and prepared a feast for Jimmy Fallon's 36th birthday party. It was a night of song, dance, and awkward sexual innuendos. Hold on to your liquid nitrogen, 'cause it's all ahead in this week's recap!
[Warning: Spoilers ahead!]
For this week's quickfire challenge, Padma asked the chefs to create a "unique" fondue dish which would then be judged by their fellow competitors. Before leaving the room, Padma specifically told them not to make chocolate fondue with bananas. So what did Richard Blais do? That's right! He cut up bananas, covered them with chocolate, and froze them with liquid nitrogen. In the wise, wise words of Fabio: "You've gotta be kidding me, man! This is Top Chef, not Top 'Let's Freeze Everything'!"
The other chefs didn't care for Richard's frozen turds on a stick, and neither did Padma. First, it was exactly what she told him not to do. Second, it was so cold, it got stuck to her tongue when she tried to eat it. Richard smugly replied: "That's good. Eating should be dangerous sometimes." You know what else can be dangerous? Blais getting too close to an open flame with all that product in his hair. Can you say flammable?
Oh, but Richard wasn't finished yet. He called Tiffany's dish "clunky" and "pedestrian" and then told the cameras: "My dish would be a winning dish if there was a judge. I think there's a little bit of intimidation with the chefs because I know how to do things other people don't." Jeez. Enough! We get it! You know how to make things really, really cold. Gosh, you're amazing. Do you want a cookie?
After a tough deliberation, the chefs voted, and unanimously decided Dale prepared the best fondue dish. His pho fondue earned him a three-day trip to Napa Valley. Not too shabby!
For this week's elimination challenge, the chefs headed to Rockefeller Center and met up with Jimmy Fallon, who broke the news that they'd be cooking for his upcoming birthday party. They played a game of "Cellphone Shootout" and used their cell phone cameras to snap pictures of various foods that appeared on a screen. They then had to cook whatever food they photographed. Frankly, I was impressed their cameras were able to capture images of those fast moving foods at all. I can't get my cell phone to take a clear picture unless I'm standing on my head, holding my breath, and facing due west.
Fabio photographed a burger, which he hilariously kept pronouncing as booger. "I'm going to make the best BOOGER Jimmy Fallon has ever eaten! They're all going to love my BOOGERS!" Sounds so appetizing, doesn't it?
Meanwhile, Blais got Ramen noodles, Carla got chicken pot pie, Angelo got pulled pork, Dale got cheese steaks, and Antonia got beef tongue. She rocked it out though, and with a little help from Blais, fired up the pressure cooker and hoped it would cook in the two-hour time frame. "Words like beef tongue freak me out sometimes," Antonia said. That's okay, Antonia. Words like "beef tongue" freak me out ALL the time.
As the chefs put the finishing touches on their dishes, Fallon arrived at Colicchio & Sons with his wife, his parents, his sisters, his in-laws, his writers, his show announcer, three french hens, two turtle doves, and a partridge in a pear tree. Tom Colicchio, Padma, and Gail Simmons also joined them. So yeah. No pressure or anything, guys.
Fabio decided to make his hambooger out of ground brisket, chuck, and shortribs. And to make a long story short, everyone hated it with the fire of a thousand suns. Fallon called it a "meatloaf burger", Gail lamented its lack of juiciness, and Tom complained about the gross melted cheese sauce he put on the side. Dale didn't exactly impress anyone with his overly-salted Philly cheesesteak on a pretzel roll, either.
Surprisingly, everyone at the table loved Antonia's beef tongue! Jimmy Fallon's lead writer enjoyed it so much, he said she "licked" the challenge. Har har! Get it?? I don't watch Fallon, but one can only hope those aren't the types of jokes he's writing for the monologue.
Everyone liked Angelo's pulled pork sandwich as well. Fallon's announcer joked, "I pull my own pork a lot but if Angelo's gonna pull it for me, God bless him." (You see that, lead joke writer dude? That's how it's done!)
Antonia, Carla, and Angelo had the best dishes of the night, but in the end, Carla won for her chicken pot pie. She won a trip to Tokyo, $5,000 for airfare, and a cooking segment on Fallon's show. She was so happy, she seemed to magically hover in the air for at least 15 seconds. Now that's excitement.
The bottom performers were Tiffany, Fabio, and Dale. Tiff's chicken and dumplings were way too spicy, Dale's Philly was way too salty, and Fabio's meatloaf burger was way too meatloaf-y. And so, after a tough deliberation, the judges decided to send Fabio home. Sigh. I thought he was the most entertaining chef to watch, but I understand the judges' decision. That burger seriously did look grody with a capital G.
What did you all think of the show? Should Dale have been sent home for serving that salty, hot mess of a Philly cheese steak? And was it just me, or did you know Carla was going to win from the moment she stepped on Fallon's stage?