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September 4, 2015

'Top Chef All Stars' Season 8, Episode 9 Recap

by Allison Waldman, posted Feb 10th 2011 5:15AM
top_chef_all_stars_2011_bravo['Top Chef All Stars' - 'Feeding Fallon']

Eight may be enough, but not for 'Top Chef All Stars.' At the end of this episode the elite group was pared down to seven. Looking at the remaining chefs, this is a tough bunch of cooks ... there's really nobody that doesn't have the chops to be there.

To kick off the show, 'Top Chef' pulled out a retro Quickfire Challenge. The chefs had to reinvent fondue. This was a tough one because fondue is retro for a reason.

Other than cheese and chocolate, what's worth all that dipping? Padma warned them not to go for the bananas. Plus, there seemed to be very little time for the chefs to really do what they wanted to.

Complicating matters was the fact that they were judging each other. The atmosphere when they all gathered around those fondue pots was convivial, like a party, but it was not a celebration. When Padma handed out the ballots, the question was, would the chefs be honest about their peer's fondue, or would they play the game strategically?

Ultimately, the chefs voted with their bellies. Fabio, Tiffany and Mike's food sucked and that was why they were in the bottom. The top three were Antonia, Dale and Angelo.

Antonia's smoked salmon fondue sounded brilliant, so I wasn't surprised by her success. Angelo, on the other hand, was his own worst critic. He was shocked that he landed on the top and so was I considering how stressed he was. Dale won with a twist on pho. He was smug about it. Big surprise.

Interestingly, Blais thought he didn't win votes because the other chefs are intimidated by him. That may actually be true. Just going by what so many of the eliminated chefs have said, Richard is a formidable opponent. The other chefs respect -- and fear -- the Blais.

The Elimination Challenge was one of the better one's this season. The chefs were whisked to Rockefeller Plaza where they were marched onto the set of 'The Late Show with Jimmy Fallon.'

They were going to cook a birthday lunch for Jimmy and what they had to prepare was based on a random, cell phone photo snap. The images were Jimmy's favorite foods. Of all the choices, Antonia got the curve ball -- beef tongue.

The easiest two were probably Fabio's burger and fries and Carla's chicken pot pie. Carla realized how lucky she was, but to pull off the pot pie in just two hours was a challenge.

The Fallons gathered at one of Tom's restaurant's, Colicchio & Sons. It was like a Fallon family reunion plus judges Tom, Gail, Jimmy and Padma. Anthony Bourdain was M.I.A. tonight.

The dishes were presented two at a time, which in some ways was unfair. Fabio's burger probably seemed even worse than it was because Antonia's deli-style tongue sandwich was such a pleasant surprise.

The same held true with Tiffany's southwestern chicken and dumplings versus Richard's authentic ramen noodles. However, Fallon did criticize Blais for playing it safe: He'd expected molecular gastronomy from Richard and got traditional cooking instead. Bummer.

The worst head-to-head was Carla's pot pie versus Dale's Philly cheesesteak. Carla hit it out of the park and the judges were enraptured. Tom actually told Padma to shut up because he was busy eating Carla's dish. Dale's sandwich had them chugging beer to wash away the saltiness.

Carla, Antonia and Angelo were called before the judges first. Clearly, they had the best dishes. Angelo concocted a weird pork rub, but it worked. Typical Angelo. Jimmy echoed Carla's enthusiasm about her pastry being on the top and bottom of the pie.

Antonia earned props for embracing beef tongue, and even sharing a song about it. That was a comical touch that was welcomed by the judges and probably the viewers, too.

Fallon announced that Carla was the winner and she would be on 'Late Night' to do a food presentation. Carla then did the Tokyo dance of joy.

Tiffany, Fabio and Dale were the bottom of the bunch. Tiffany flubbed up the dumplings. Fabio's "booger" -- that was how he pronounced it -- was an Italian meatball with curdled cheese sauce. Dale over-salted his cheesesteak because he'd been criticized for under-seasoning in a previous challenge. That's never a good thing.

But it was Fabio who was sent home. This wasn't a shock. I'm sorry, but if you can't cook a hamburger and fries, you deserve to be booted.

Fabio's been in the U.S. and in the restaurant business long enough to know how to make a burger. It's not rocket science. He'll be missed because he's a great personality, but he didn't earn a spot in the next round. Oh well ...

'Top Chef All Stars' airs Wednesdays, 10PM ET on Bravo.

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Culinary Kenna

Paula Deen is the guest judge tonight, the muppets from Sesame Street are making an appearence and... Looks like a New Bromance is Brewing on Top Chef All Stars! Are we witnessing True Brotherly Love?


I looove Top Chef!!

February 16 2011 at 6:03 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Arrivederci, Fabio! So sorry to see you go. Bad dumplings and excess salt should have gone before you.

February 10 2011 at 11:24 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

C-A-R-L-A wins! Yeah! Great Chef, classy lady. The tongue song was so cute!!! Fabio is gone...sooooo sad, he was a bright spot on the show. I'm sick of Dale and wish his salt creation had sent his pompous ass home. Blais is amazing and showed good sportsmanship helping Antonio with her pressure cooker tips. Nice, tired of the others posturing...looking for some good cooking to come as favorites keep dropping off. We'll miss you Fabio!

February 10 2011 at 9:55 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

You don't care about Fabio?! This season he was completely different, and likable. So hurt to see him go. Ahh and pot pie wins! That’s reassuring, that comfort food isn’t dead. I hope the trend lasts a long time. Get it Carla! She thinks winning is in the cards, but I'm not so sure. http://foodiegossip.blogspot.com/2011/02/top-chef-all-stars-episode-9-recap.html

February 10 2011 at 7:33 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to SuciaLove's comment
Scott Krul

No, and I didn't like him for the exact reason you said: This season he was completely different.

February 10 2011 at 8:21 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Scott Krul

I really didn't care that Fabio went home, but I am rooting for Carla all the way!

February 10 2011 at 6:08 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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