Top Chef Recap: Elmo Said My Cookie Looks Like Sh-t

More of this, please.
More of this, please. Photo: Bravo

Last night’s episode of Top Chef kicked off with the usual reflection-on-who-went-home shenanigans, and we are over it. We know the chefs do these interviews right after it happens, but it’s been a week since we saw Fabio go home and we’re over it. (Also, WHAT is that coffee shop/bar they’re always at?) Surely that time could have been better spent showing us more Muppets?

That’s right, some Muppets left Sesame Street to come visit the Top Chef kitchen. Padma introduced everyone to Elmo, Cookie Monster, and Telly, because that was necessary. Padma, may we introduce you to the letter D, for duh? She explained that the challenge was to make a cookie, and then asked if the Muppets had any requests. Elmo wanted zucchini or carrots, Cookie Monster wanted chocolate chips, and no one cared about what Telly wanted. Really, was he anyone’s favorite Muppet? Did they even make Telly dolls?* (For the record, our missing-furred, scratched-eyes Elmo is still in our parents’ attic.)

The Muppets provided commentary while the chefs cooked, though none of their remarks — even Elmo’s thyme joke — were as good as Dale’s about Mike I, saying, “It’s funny that someone who eats so many cookies would be so uncomfortable making cookies.” Ouch. Angelo’s dry chocolate chip Belgian hazelnut cookie was not a Muppet fave, nor was Richard’s ice cream “cookie” with chocolate chips, zucchini, and mint. Our furry pals loved Antonia’s dark-chocolate cookie, even though it looked like cow chips, but declared Dale’s pretzel and potato chip shortbread with salted caramel chocolate ganache the winner. Can we have Muppets on this show more often, please?

Padma then announced that the chefs would be heading to Target for their elimination challenge, where they would get three hours in the middle of the night to shop and cook for 100 Target employees. After her product-placement spiel about how you can now get fresh food at Target and blah blah blah, the chefs headed out to a Target that was clearly not even remotely close to city limits, because it was huge.

Once they arrived, a flashback to Supermarket Sweep occurred, with everyone running around like fools, filling as many shopping carts as they could with appliances, tables, and food. Carla clearly thought she had switched shows, because she was comparing coffeemaker prices. Antonia tested the heat of the appliances she picked out by placing her palm flat against the plugged-in surfaces, while Mike and Angelo started a bromance and teamed up in their shopping and cooking. Mike told Angelo his baked-potato soup was missing something, so Angelo added both bacon and a giant handful of salt. Naturally, his soup ended up too salty, and we quickly got a shot of him pouring water into it. Don’t raw potatoes absorb extra salt? He didn’t have one or two around, having just made potato soup?

Obviously Mr. Salty Soup did not make the top, but Dale, Antonia, and Richard did. Antonia’s risky Parmesan-cream eggs over-easy with garlic crostini came out perfectly, while Richard’s gamble with cooking pork two ways paid off. However, Dale proved that a successful gimmick wins every time, as the judges (including Ming Tsai, who once made us try our first soup dumpling) loved his grilled-with-an-iron cheese with rib eye and spicy tomato soup the most, and awarded him the win and $25,000. Angelo, of course, was in the bottom, along with Carla for her curried-apple soup with tomato-ginger jam, and Tiffany for her jambalaya with chicken, sausage, and shrimp. Tiffany’s mushy chicken and Carla’s underdeveloped flavors were no match for the judges’ hatred of oversalting, and Angelo went home. And cried.

*Note: We asked our co-worker if she thought this was too mean, and she responded by Google imaging him and saying, “Gross. He’s like if Grover and Cookie Monster mated and ate red dye number 5.”

Next week: PAULA DEEN! (So, a butter challenge?) Fire! Kicked-off chefs return! Last-minute Fabio! Carla makes great faces!

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