Every week now, when this show begins, I feel like a patient waking up in a hospital bed after a traumatic head injury. HOW LONG HAVE I BEEN HERE? You look around the room with your eyes that shift in and out of focus and wonder why your mom AND your ex-wife are sitting next to each other. Am I dead? After last week’s “difficult” elimination of Tre, everyone heads back to their favorite relaxation spot, some half-lit, cleaning-up-before-closing Internet cafe or whatever. This is my favorite part of any episode is when they go to this stupid cafe. Nothing unwinds you from a difficult day of head-to-head elimination challenges and a grueling Judges’ Table like a nice hot cup of coffee. Mmmmm, just feel the stresses of the day melting away. In the form of diarrhea? I mean, some of these guys have to have diarrhea, right? Do the math. Dale doesn’t have diarrhea, though, because he’s drinking a pink mojito or something. Haha, Dale. That is your drink. Fabio yells at Antonia some more about her mussels from last week being a French dish instead of an Italian dish, which is true, but also that was a million years ago? Is anyone still thinking about that? (I know that this segment was taped right after the elimination, so I’m not criticizing Fabio for harping on it, I’m criticizing the Top Chef: All-Stars editors for including it. We’ve all moved on, guys. We’re different people now, basically.) ANYWAY: for the Quickfire Challenge, the chefs have to make “interesting” fondues. Uh, like what? SPOILER ALERT: none of the chefs really know the answer to that question either. (Feta cheese fondue, Mike Isabella, are you kidding me?) At the very least I hope this turns into a key party.
Padma is like, if you want to know who your judges for this challenge will be, look around, and everyone looks around like they are ACTUALLY BRAIN-DAMAGED. Like, what do you think? “Is our judge that bird? I bet our judge is a bird. Or a ceiling tile maybe.” Get it together, contestants. This is your SECOND time on a reality show. You are the judges. “I’m a professional chef, so it’s hard to have my food judged by a group of morons.” They cook their fondues. Blais is doing a chocolate and banana fondue, which is exactly the kind of fondue that Padma said they weren’t looking for. Why does someone always do that? “I know she said this was exactly what she didn’t want, but I think I have a way to make her change her mind.” Nope. No one ever does. That’s why she said she didn’t want that. Mike, as mentioned, heats up a big vat of feta cheese because his brain is broken. On what planet would that taste good BESIDES the Alien Nation planet? I’m also kind of disgusted by Antonia’s smoked salmon dipped in fromage blanc or whatever the hell. It’s like ordering “Sauce” for brunch. People vote. Everyone hates Mike Isabella who, I will remind you again, made MELTED FETA CHEESE. Man, that is just so gross. Even typing that gives me the barfs. Mike calls Dale a “fucking monkey.”
Dale wins for Pho, which is kind of a fondue, I guess? Who cares? Get out of here, fondue NARCS. He gets a novelty sized bottle of wine and a trip to Sonoma County!
For the Elimination Challenge, everyone goes to Rockefeller Center to find out more about their challenge. Ooh, are they cooking Christmas trees? No. They are appearing on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon. Kind of. I mean, this is obviously fake because the Jimmy Fallon show is only an hour long, or whatever, and that is about how long this segment takes. That’s OK, though. It’s called showbiz! Everyone takes pictures of food on their cellphones (kind of a missed product placement here, NOKIA, take notes) of Jimmy’s favorite foods, and that is what they will have to cook the next day for him and his family for his birthday lunch. Jimmy keeps talking about his birthday lunch like it’s a thing that we all know about? Like we all have a special birthday lunch and then we do other birthday stuff too maybe, but definitely a birthday lunch for sure every year on our birthday. Haha. Sure, Jimmy Fallon.
Shop shop shop. Cook cook cook.
Pause for a Buitoni commercial. (That’s how you do it, NOKIA!)
The next day, lunch is served at Colicchio & Sons. Jimmy is there, along with his mom and dad, and producer Steve Higgins, and oh look, it is head writer A.D. Miles! Hi, head writer A.D. Miles!
Serve serve serve. Eat eat eat. Jimmy Fallon loves the food of the PEOPLE! Burgers and pot pies and “chicken and dumps.” (Is that how other people say it, too, because if so, stop.) Fabio got burger and does not know what a burger is. Eek. Angelo puts coffee on his pulled pork and it has everyone BUZZING. Get it? Coffee. Other chefs, other foods. Steve Higgins makes a lot of boner jokes and talks way more about college than you might expect. Those were the days! Let’s just go to Judges’ Table please?
Carla (chicken pot pie with carrots, celery, pea salt & herbs) Angelo (pulled pork with coffee, dill, allspice & chipotle rub, coleslaw) and Antonia (beef tongue, pumpernickel rye, caramelized onions & dill slaw) are in the top three. Good job, guys. You can all get work at the carnival now! Carnival food! Everyone is impressed with Angelo’s combination of coffee and dill because of how that sounds disgusting and this is one of those cases where we’re really going to have to take the judges’ word for it because it does sound disgusting and we will never taste how he did it. Carla and Jimmy Fallon have a moment about how great pot pies are. Cutey CUUUTE. And also Antonia. I mean, let’s be honest, Antonia’s a ticking time bomb where the explosion is just her going home. Carla wins. She gets a trip to Japan. This is the third trip Carla has won on the show? That is too many trips. If you can’t take the trips, stay in the kitchen.
Blais seems a little grumpy this week. Cheer up Blais!
You too, Dale!
Loserz: Tiffany (chicken, dumplings with poblano chilies, red peppers, cilantro & lime) Fabio (hamburger, melted cheddar cheese sauce & fries) Dale (Philly cheesesteak on a pretzel roll, hot sauce, onions & cheddar cheese sauce). Tiffany’s “chicken and dumps” didn’t have any of the qualities that one looks for in “chicken and dumps.” Why didn’t she work harder on her dumps?! Dale’s sandwich should have been a winner but here comes the Salt Monster. That sandwich was a one-way ticket to Salt Town and other references to salt where you just insert the word salt into something. Then, of course, there is Fabio’s burger which was more of a meatloaf with a disgusting cheese sauce on the side. You know, I would be willing to give Fabio a little more credit for being stuck behind a cultural barrier if he hadn’t already on THIS episode said that he was from Los Angeles. If you’re from Los Angeles, learn what a hamburger is. Seriously. Jimmy Fallon explains that he does NOT know how the judges do it because he loves everyone and it is going to be so hard and he is going to have to drink afterwards to deal with the guilt. That does sound tough.
Two second later, Fabio is eliminated.
Is Jimmy Fallon OK? Has someone checked on Jimmy? Call all the hospitals. You can never be too safe. Awwww, goodbye Fabio! You were definitely eliminated before a couple of other people should probably and/or definitely have been eliminated, but as they say in the home country, “That-a tha way that the-ah pasta crumble.”