Last night's Top Chef kicked off with the chefs walking into a kitchen full of fondue pots, prompting jokes about bell-bottoms and being naked. We were born in the eighties, so any fondue parties we've attended have not included these things. Mom, we know you're reading this, but if you knew firsthand what Richard was talking about, we can skip that convo (however, we'd love more details from non-relative commenters).
Anyway, moving on For the Quickfire, Padma asked the chefs to skip fondue's usual conventions of chocolate and bananas and make a unique version of the dish. Naturally, Richard immediately grabbed chocolate, bananas, and the liquid nitrogen. Padma had our beloved cheftestants look around to figure out who the guest judges were, and they were all bewildered when she announced that they would be judging each other. ZOMG, WHAT A TWIST! Never been done before, ever. Antonia set off to re-create Jewish deli in fondue, while Dale decided to make a fondue version of pho, which he called phondue. Even if you don't win this season, Dale, you win the Grub Street Award for Best Terrible Pun.
Padma announced the results of the non-secret ballots and that Fabio's caviar billini with crème fraise and fromage blanc, Tiffany's apple-ricotta fritter with hazelnut chocolate, and Mike I.'s feta fondue with spiced-lamb kabob were on the bottom. Taking advantage of their non-secrecy, she called people out and asked why Dale put Mike on the bottom. Dale was honest like a "New York Times reviewer up in this bitch." Apparently the other chefs appreciated that and puns that are so awful they're wonderful, because Dale got the win and a trip to Napa.
For the elimination challenge, Padma sent the chefs to Rockefeller Center. They spent a minute or so walking around NBC studios claiming they had no idea where they were or what was going on, yet no one looked surprised in the slightest when they walked onto the set of Late Night With Jimmy Fallon. Maybe it was all the signs they passed announcing Late Night With Jimmy Fallon? Jimmy then made them play Cell Phone Shoot-out and take pictures of his favorite dishes, which they would then have to cook for his birthday lunch. Of course, the chefs couldn't get to cooking before opening their freezer containing only Buitoni products and having a conversation about their favorite Buitoni raviolis. Nor could Dale get started before he admired Angelo in his tight purple pants, calling him a "stunning man."
Kitchen madness at Colicchio & Sons mostly involved Carla yelling and running around while Fabio continuously pronounced burger as "booger." Meanwhile, Mike complained that Richard (who doesn't need 40 pounds of dry ice and a flame thrower to make his food exciting) was being too helpful to everyone, while simultaneously asking Angelo for advice on his peppers. During all this whining and yelling, Jimmy explained that he hates mayo because he once got his head stuck in a railing and they had to mayo up his head to get him out of there. And no one brought in a photo to share with the producers? Come on, Mama Fallon.
The judges, Jimmy, and his family loved Carla's chicken potpie with carrots, celery, and pea salt; Angelo's barbecued pulled-pork sandwich with coffee, all spice, dill, and cilantro rub; and Antonia's pressure-cooked beef tongue on pumpernickel rye with caramelized onions and dill slaw. But considering everyone at the table couldn't stop eating Carla's potpie (with extra crust at the bottom, a key component that often gets overlooked), she got the win, a trip to Tokyo, and a cooking segment on Late Night. Yay! Hooty hoo, girl.
Mike's sausage and peppers Fenway (boo) style and Richard's ramen with seared pork and duck egg ended up in the middle, putting Tiffany, Fabio, and Dale in the bottom. Tiffany's chicken and dumplings weren't very comforting and had too-flat dumplings, Dale's Philly cheesesteak was overpoweringly salty, and everyone could tell that Fabio had treated his hamburger like a meatball. His dish's lack of beefy moistness, plus its grainy cheese sauce, was enough to send him packing, sadly ending his bromance with Richard. Though before he left he did give Richard something of his to wear. An apron? Boxers? You tell us what you think it was.
Next week: Sesame Street muppets! Elmo yells at Richard! Cookie Monster is thrilled! Playing what appears to be Supermarket Sweep in Target! Cooking in Target! Urine tests?