Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Top Chef All Stars - HB To Jimmy Fallon And Mike Is A Pig

Top Chef – All Stars Feeding Fallon

The chefs are at the house, toasting Antonia for the win. Dale tells us that his dish last week was the worst he’s ever made. Fabio is nagging Antonia to “walk him through” her winning mussel dish. She’s reluctant, because she doesn’t want to hear his nitpicking about how it’s not Italian, it’s French. HE says Italians don’t serve fennel with mussels.

Antonia asks Mike how it felt to be an Italian and be on the bottom in an Italian challenge. He asks her how it felt to win with a FRENCH dish. Oh, then we learn Mike is the only one who didn’t say congratulations to her. That wasn’t nice. (And no, that's not why he's a pig.)

Back in the kitchen with Padma and lots of fondue pots. Richard (unfortunately) tells us about the naked fondue party his parents definitely had when he was a kid. Listen, I’ve had fondue in my day AND it was NEVER that fun!

Padma says it’s not the 70’s and they’re (who’s THEY?) not looking for a banana dipped in chocolate. The chefs have to make a unique fondue. I wonder if any of them will stretch the word fondue and go the Mongolian hotpot route. (It’s a stretch because fondue comes from the word “melted” and in a Mongolian hotpot, the vegetables and/or meat is cooked in broth. Hmmm. Let’s see.)

Oh, the chefs themselves are the judges. Everyone (including Padma) will vote for his or her favorites and least favorites. They can’t vote for themselves, and there’s no immunity, but the winner will win a 3 day trip to Napa valley.

They get started with their fondues and, almost instantly, Mike shows himself to be a real jerk. I’m sure I’m not the only one who was appalled when Mike says (to us) that since he was born in the 70’s he doesn’t know “too many people who have gone to these gay fondue parties”.

Using the word “gay” as a pejorative is NOT okay. In fact, it’s really asinine and it shows what a Neanderthal he is. I really wasn’t hating him this season. In fact, I found him rather entertaining, but now I think Mike is a dumb oaf and I’m not going to forgive him. (I freely admit that I am an enthusiastic grudge holder.) In fact, I may boycott all references to him. Who? (Anyway, that's why the person I'm NOT naming again is a jerk!)

Somehow, someway, Antonia decides to do a smoked salmon fondue as an homage to the Jewish deli food her mother always loved. (Her ITALIAN mother?) That sounds perfectly dreadful and, why, are we seeing so much of Antonia? Is her number up? I was hoping it would be homophobic jerk-face (it’s really bad to cross me!) going home.

Richard stands behind a pot with huge billowing steam. He’s doing EXACTLY what Padma told him NOT to do – chocolate fondue with bananas…naturally with a liquid nitrogen spin. I like Richard more this season. He doesn’t grate on me as much.

I know that all these freezing molecules is his thing, but doesn’t it get a bit tired when that’s ALL he does? Does he even know HOW to make a roast chicken and pommes frites for example, without making it a chemistry experiment?

Dale :-}  is making a Phở (pronounced Fuh), which is not unlike a Mongolian hotpot. SEE? I called it…kind of. The main difference that I can see between the two (if you’re a Phở or Mongolian hotpot expert, PLEASE add your two cents here) is that Phở is served as a completed dish; and for Mongolian hotpot, the diners actually cook the meat and vegetables themselves and then drink the cooking broth at the end.  Dale is funny. He calls it Phở-ndue. 

Angelo is doing a deconstruction of a “beet and goat cheese salad with endive”. Huh?  It probably doesn’t matter, because he says he didn’t finish anyway.

Here are all the dishes.

They start the tasting with Richard’s, and he has Ras El Hanout in his dish. Remember that he used that in EVERY, SINGLE dish he made in his first season?!! Isn’t that really a bore? Even though Richard uses all these exciting, new techniques, by relying on them so heavily AND using many of the same spices over and over again, many of his dishes seem like the same old, same old.

Richard doesn’t approve of Tiffany’s “big, clunky” doughnut dipped in chocolate sauce. He thinks it’s pedestrian.

Angelo’s turns out to be a goat cheese fondue into which you dip endive and then guzzle some pickled beet juice. Interesting. Dale thinks it’s a bit complicated.

Carla’s sounds awesome. It’s a coconut curry fondue (can you say YUM!) with beef and shrimp to dunk. Double (or triple) YUM!

Dale’s Pho Fondue looks super complex and really, really hot (in temperature).

Jackass’s was lamb with a feta cheese fondue. Big whoop.

I have no idea how Antonia’s crème fraiche fondue with smoked salmon will be received. Hmmm, a few of the chefs says mmmm.

Fabio’s looks fab. It’s a “homemade” blini (is there any other kind?), dipped into a fondue of crème fraiche, fromage blanc and wine. There’s caviar in there somewhere too.

Padma passes out the ballots. They have to vote for best and worst.
The worst – Fabio, Tiffany and Jerkface. I guess Fabio’s SOUNDED better than it was. Padma rats out Dale and actually says, “Dale, you had The Creep on the bottom.” (Of course, she used his name.) Dale says the combination of the spice and the feta cheese didn’t work.

The top three fondues belong to Antonia (I REALLY know nothing), Dale and Angelo. Richard thinks he’s not on top because “stylistically” he’s so different from everyone else and that they’re scared of him. And the winner is…Dale!  YAY!!! YAY!!! YAY!!! He wins three days in Napa.

Padma says they have to go to Rockefeller Center to find out about the Elimination Challenge. They think maybe they’re going ice skating. It turns out they end up at (and ON) the Jimmy Fallon show. They have no idea what they’re doing there.

They have to play some game, which is somewhat complicated. The chefs have to take pictures on their cellphones of slides of food that flash by really quickly on a big screen. Whatever they end up taking a picture of is the dish they have to cook for Jimmy Fallon for his birthday lunch. Did I explain this right?

Anywhoo, however it happened…The Bonehead gets sausage and peppers; Antonia gets beef tongue; Fabio gets a hamburger and French fries. The rest go by too quickly. Oh, Angelo gets pulled pork.  I think Antonia and Fabio are kind of screwed. Carla gets chicken pie and Dale gets Philly cheesesteak. And Richard gets ramen noodles. Who knew that Jimmy Fallon ate like a 19 year old kid?

This next scene is truly annoying. We see the chefs in the house, making pre-made Buitoni ravioli and pretending to really like it. Do the powers-that-be actually expect us to view that as an authentic moment?

The chefs get to cook and serve their lunch at Colicchio & Sons. Padma arrives at the restaurant with Gail and Tom and greets Jimmy’s parents, Gloria and James. Then Jimmy and wife, Nancy, walk in. A whole lot of others folks are there – Jimmy’s sister, his head writer, mom and dad-in-law. This is sweet, but a little yawn-worthy.

They start with Fabio’s burger. There’s a problem with it. Only one person likes it, the rest of the table agrees it tastes more like meatloaf. Gail says there isn’t that juiciness she wants. I do think it will stink if Fabio goes home for a hamburger. Tom “isn’t a fan” either. Jimmy, being nice, liked that Fabio served a cheese sauce separately in case someone wanted it.

For some reason, Tom is talking at such high speed that he’s completely incomprehensible as he answers Jimmy. Let me try the closed captioning...(It wasn’t worth it…something about why Jimmy hates mayo and I don’t know what else…)

Jimmy loves Antonia’s beef tongue. (At least, he didn’t say he loved her beefy tongue. That wouldn’t have been good.)

Richard says (to us) before presenting his noodle dish that it’s important to him to prove he doesn’t need a helmet and dry ice to make his food “exciting”. That doesn’t seem to be what he’s thought before, but okay.

Too bad that Jimmy expected all that cool stuff from Richard and says, “It wasn’t a home run, he bunted.” Hmmm, plus Jimmy thinks it’s too spicy for him.

Everyone thought they were going to love Dale’s cheesesteak, but it is way too salty. He was obviously compensating for being told his food was bland last week. Darn!

Carla’s Pot Pie is a hit. (I HATE the expression POT pie. Just call it a Chicken Pie and call it a day!)

Jimmy loves Angelo’s pulled pork. So does Tom. The begrudged-one (the one I refuse to name) has a popular sausage dish. Too bad!

At the end of the meal, Jimmy says the winner will get a cooking segment on his show.

Back at Judges’ Table, Carla, Angelo and Antonia get called in. They’re the winners. Jimmy is so happy and says this was his best birthday lunch ever.

Tom loved Angelo’s unusual combination of spices and herbs.

Jimmy tells Carla putting crust on the bottom is one of his favorite things.

Antonia says she never ate or cooked beef tongue before. Then the three chefs start singing a beef tongue song.

And the winner, who will be a guest on his show, is…Carla. I really thought he was going to say Angelo, but this is okay. She ALSO wins a 6 night trip to Tokyo. What does a trip to Tokyo have to do with the price of eggs? FYI, Carla says it’s her third trip.

They want to see Tiffany, Fabio and Dale. OY, I think it will be Fabio. IT BETTER NOT BE DALE! I don’t want Fabio to go home either, but I guess they really hated his dish.

They say Dale’s was soooo salty and he says he was spooked from last week. Jimmy says this is really hard for him. (Not as hard as for the chefs.) Okay, let’s get this over with.

Jimmy doesn’t want to send anyone home. I don’t want him to either. I think it will be Fabio, but please, please, don’t make it my Dale.

And going home is…Fabio. Oy, I’m sorry. He tells Jimmy not to cry as he leaves. He says he will one day cook a burger for Jimmy and Jimmy will beg him for forgiveness. Fabio slaps Dale (in a nice way) one last time and then he leaves, telling us, “You’re the only shadow standing in your own sunshine.” Maybe it sounds better in Italian…most things do.


The Short (dis)Order Cook said...

You are posting so prolifically I feel guilty for ever day I dno't have a post up!

I've stopped even trying to watch this, but I do catch snippets of reruns. I saw Fabio's departure. Why do I love him so much? I hated seeing him lose and he was just so cool leaving.

While I can't blame you for the grudge, I need to remind myself to stay on your good side!

Sue said...

Hey Rach,
Keep thinking that and just don't look at how sparse my posts are this whole new year.

THIS Top Chef series is good and worth watching...really. (Although I could do without next week's Sesame Street themed episode...)

Yeah, my grudge-holding is actually legendary. You better be careful. ;-)

Tracy said...

I agree with you about "gay" in the pejorative - NOT OK.

I was very bummed about Fabio leaving for a booger. But glad Dale is still doing well -- I really like him this time around. I'm hoping it comes down to him & Carla.

Sue said...

Hiya Tracy,
It's actually a shame that all those dishes were kind of dumb. I mean, ramen noodles??! The hamburger, actually, was one of the more straightforward. It was too bad that Fabio flubbed it.