TOP CHEF ALL STARS: Feeding Fallon - Give Me My Remote : Give Me My Remote

TOP CHEF ALL STARS: Feeding Fallon

February 10, 2011 by  

The Italian guys, Fabio and Mike, are still butt-hurt about Antonia winning the last challenge. They say her combination of mussels and fennel was definitely French and had no place winning an Italian cuisine challenge. To me, her winning with a sorta-French dish just means that it tasted amazing enough for it not to matter. No matter how you swing it, there’s no arguing against a win for the tastiest dish. I get Fabio’s frustration, having made that elaborate, traditional, chicken cacciatore, but Mike and his undercooked pasta need to take their bitching elsewhere.

The quickfire challenge – judged by fellow cheftestants (gasp!) – is to make a unique fondue. Padma says this means something more exciting than chocolate and bananas. Of course, Blais takes this as an invitation to make a chocolate and banana fondue…except, it shall be infused with awesomeness i.e. liquid nitrogen. These days, Richard’s swag is leaning a bit too far on the arrogance scale for my taste. If I need to hear about how he should have won his season one more time…

Dale’s fondue is inspired by pho, which is my favorite thing to eat when hungover … I mean… on a cold day. He calls it a pho-ndue. Love. It.

Antonia’s salmon and toast fondue seems like a crazy idea, but people seem to enjoy it, as they do Angelo’s strange endive and beet shooter concoction. Dale wins the quickfire. Pho real.

For the elimination challenge, contestants are herded into Studio 6B in Rockefeller center without a hint as to what they will be doing. They end up playing a random selection game with Jimmy Fallon, which will determine what dish they will have to prepare for a birthday dinner for him and his family. Antonia gets beef tongue. Fabio gets hamburger. And which of these will be more successful? Hm. Read on to find out.

Carla hopes to get chicken pot pie. She gets chicken pot pie. She does a chicken pot pie dance, and does a silent I-can’t-breathe laugh. This woman’s incredibly infectious joy never gets old.

Downtime footage includes some blatant Buitoni product placement, with chefs almost convincingly acting out a skit about picking their favorite ravioli (though I noticed we don’t actually see any of them eat the ravioli) and Dale gushing over what a stunning man Angelo is, with his well-manicured five-o’clock shadow.

Competition resumes, and everyone’s on edge. Antonia gets a significant boost of help from Blais, who teaches her how to pressure-cook the beef tongue. Dale has never made philly cheesesteak from scratch, so he’s worried. Carla is reconsidering her excitement over having the stars align with her chicken pot pie aspirations, as she realizes the time constraints are tighter than she thought. Fabio struggles to pronounce the word “burger.”

When time’s up, dishes are served to Fallon, family and friends (sounds like a medical clinic or something, doesn’t it). In perhaps a bit of a twist, Antonia’s tongue dish is received very positively, while Fabio’s “boorger” with the side of cheese sauce (?) is more meatloaf-like than anything.

According to Jimmy, Professor Blais’ ramen is lacking smoke-machines and laserbeams. It’s pretty sad that Richard let down a huge fan. Tiffany’s chicken and dumplings was by most counts disappointing, but at least Jimmy’s mother-in-law enjoyed it.

Dale’s philly cheesesteak was good, but too salty. Carla’s potpie was a hootie hootie homerun. Late Night announcer Steve Higgins pulls his own pork often, but enjoys the pork that was pulled by Angelo in his pulled pork sandwich. And he experimented with sausage back in the day, but Mike’s sausage was one he enjoyed. Higgins is apparently fond of the innuendos.

As the group finishes their eighth meal, I wonder what they do with all that extra food. The portions look way to big for everyone to have finished each one. I am also reflecting on what a great guest host Jimmy Fallon is. He comes across as a genuine fan, yet gives an objective opinion on the food. But it’s really sweet how he cares about all the contestants. The love fest between Jimmy and Carla at judges table was just great. They bonded over the joys of crust at the bottom of a potpie. Adorable.

Equally adorable, if not more so: the “beef tongue” song sang between Angelo, Antonia, and Carla. “Gotta make the beef tongue, gotta make the beef tongue…”

Carla wins her third challenge, which means two things: 1) Carla gets a segment on the Late Night show, which means more Carla/Jimmy adorable interactions, and 2) Carla has now won three challenges so everyone else better eat their words and watch their back. Carla. Is. Fierce.

The results of this elimination challenge are bittersweet. A Carla win makes me happier than anything. But alas, Fabio’s “boorger” sent him home for being not juicy and not resembling a burger. His shining personality and constant quotability will be sorely missed.

It almost brings a tear to my eye to hear him talk about the shadow being the only thing in the way of your sunshine (only in an Italian accent does that not sound cheesy) and to see him embrace his best boy Richie with one final goodbye… then plant a big wet one on his cheek. Fabio also tossed an item of clothing to him (his apron?) and demanded “wear it” with the urgency of a fallen comrade eager to keep his legacy alive. No one will wear it like you did, Fabi.


One Response to “TOP CHEF ALL STARS: Feeding Fallon”

  1. Andrea on February 15th, 2011 1:45 pm

    I may be biased, but I thought Tiffany should have gone home. She has had more weak dishes than Fabio this season and her interpretation of chicken and dumplings was extremely off base.

    With the fishing, tennis, and Fallon challenges, this season has had the most diversity and creativity so far. This challenge was by far my favorite…largely due to beef tongue song.