Give it up to Loren Means who spent her birthday night watching Top Chef All-Stars. Hear her roar:
I was really disappointed to see Tre leave last week and after last night’s episode of Top Chef All-Stars, I am now heart broken and feel like the rest of the season will be a little less fun. On the upside, Tre’s new restaurant, The Marquis, will be opening soon in Dallas and I think Dale got the memo as there was no mention of his girlfriend last night.
At the Quickfire challenge, our remaining eight cheftestants– Carla, Dale, Mike, Fabio, Antonia, Richard, Tiffany,Angelo–had to make a creative, unique fondue. The concept was reminiscent of fondue parties in the 70’s but the food needed to modern. The twist? The chefs would also be the judges. Perhaps Bravo had a hard time rounding up a Quickfire host that wanted to sample fondue? I say, some things are better left in the past. Most Chefs took the task of judging seriously as opposed to treating it like a popularity contest. Dale made his approach clear saying he was going to be “a New York Times reviewer up in this bitch.”
Okay, let’s get to it.
Immunity is now off the table but at stake for the Quickfire was a three-day trip to Napa. Unfortunately for Tiffany, Fabio and Mike, they came in on the bottom. Tiffany’s apple frittata with chocolate sauce seemed pedestrian while Mike’s lamb kabobs with feta cheese fondue and Fabio’s caviar and belinis with fromage blanc fondue did not win anyone over. Having impressed their peers, Antonia, Dale and Angelo were on the top. Antonia served a smoked salmon with a crème fraiche fondue, Angelo presented endives with a goat cheese fondue and Dale took the win with his pho soup fondue, “Phondue.”
The Chefs were whisked off to Rockefeller Center for the Elimination Challenge and Jimmy Fallon was in the house! On his show, the chefs participated in a “Cell Phone Shoot Out” in which the chefs had to snap a picture of a dish with their cell phones (several images of food were rotating, a la slot machine style, in front of them). Whichever one of Jimmy’s favorite dishes each chef photographed was the dish they had to make for his birthday lunch the next day. Antonia got stuck with beef tongue. Fabio snagged the burger and fries. Carla was ecstatic, which is putting it mildly, to get chicken potpie. Mike was working with sausage and peppers. Dale was in charge of the Philly Cheesesteak. Tiffany had chicken and dumplings. Richard had to snazz up Ramen noodles and Angelo had to deliver a pulled pork sandwich. Everyone seemed pretty confident except for Antonia who had never cooked nor eaten beef tongue.
Jimmy and his family and friends arrived for lunch accompanied by the judges, Tom, Gale, and Padma. As much as I love Jimmy Fallon, he wasn’t as funny as I had hoped he would be. I needed more cow bell. Regardless, he seemed to be enjoying his birthday lunch and all the food that was coming out of the kitchen minus a few hick-ups. Fabio’s burger was made of brisket and short ribs with a side of curdled cheese was not juicy enough and Jimmy thought Dale’s Philly cheesesteak had major potential but got hit by the “salt monster.”
Carla, Angelo and Antonia were called in as the top three at the judges table. They loved Carla’s pot pie and appreciated having crust on top and bottom. Jimmy commented that he could feel the love in the pot pie, which we know is Carla’s signature. She loves her some love. The judges were very impressed with Angelo’s seasoning for the pulled pork. Tom was confused by how beautifully coffee, dill and cilantro went together. Lastly, the judges were amazed at how well Antonia’s beef tongue turned out given the short amount of cooking time she was given along with her inexperience with the ingredient. As we know there can only be one winner and that person is… my new BFF, Carla, winning her third trip this season, a six-night trip to Tokyo, and a cooking segment on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon!
Fabio, Tiffany and Dale were brought in for elimination. Tiffany was brought in along with Fabio and Dale because her dumplings were flat and the southwestern flare wasn’t a welcome surprise. After much deliberation, the judges sent Fabio packing. I’ve said from the beginning that Fabio wouldn’t win but I sure did enjoy having him around. He did manage to leave us with one last Fabio-ism and words of wisdom, “You are the only shadow standing in your sunshine.” Thanks Fabio, I can’t wait to come visit you in California and try your “boogar.”
Food for thought:
What is Richard’s obsession with the liquid nitrogen? How has Carla managed to win the only three elimination challenges with vacation prizes? Jimmy Fallon hates mayonnaise?! I don’t trust people who don’t eat mayo.