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Top Chef Recap: Sure They're Cute - But Can Muppets Really Eat?

Last week we saw Fabio pack his knives. Fabio! Call me if you're feeling a little blue at the South Beach Food & Wine Festival next week...I'll do my very best to comfort you in your time of need.

Padma introduces the Muppets! The judges are Cookie Monster, Tellie and Elmo. Which is adorable, of course (who doesn't love a Muppet), but please tell me how these glorified sock puppets are going to be able to actually taste the cookies.

Quickfire Challenge

The cheftestants have to make their version of the world's best cookie in 45 minutes. Elmo wants a cookie with zucchini. Cookie Monster wants one with "chocolate chippies". Elmo is no fun, whatsoever. Winner gets $5,000. That's going to buy someone a lot of zucchini cookies.

Antonio says cookie monster wants a chocolate chip cookie, so he'll make him one. Tiffany is making a shortbread cookie. Richard has the nitrogen out because he's making something with zucchini per Elmo's request, so of course he needs the nitrogen. Angelo says he hasn't made a cookie in 25 years. Mike hasn't made a cookie in, like, ever. Dale says that since Mike looks like he eats so many cookies, he should be more comfortable making cookies (snap). Carla says she makes cookies all the time, since her days at girl scouts (of course).

 The cheftestants make:

  • Antonia makes a chocolate cookie with white chocolate chips. Elmo can taste the white chocolate.
  • Carla bakes a traditional chocolate chip cookie with cinnamon. Tellie asks if its cardamom. Wow - a pretentious Muppet.
  • Dale makes a pretzel and potato chip cookie. Cookie monster likes these. Antonia calls Dale a cookie cheater.
  • Richard makes an ice cream cookie with zucchini and mint. It's an ice cream disc. Made with liquid nitrogen. Which has nothing to do with a cookie, yet is badass because liquid nitrogen is so, well, badass.
  • Mike makes an almond and cherry cookie. Cookie Monster says its perky.
  • Tiffany bakes a shortbread cookie with lemon and thyme. How much thyme? 43 minutes. Hey - that's Elmo's joke, not mine.
  • Angelo makes a chocolate chip cookie with banana milkshake.

Cookie monster doesn't like Richard's cookie. Angelo's was too dry. Favorites are Dale (sweet and salty) and Antonia (the only cookie that was "chewy gooey"). The winner is Dale. Dale wins $5,000.

Elimination Challenge

Padma says that now that their inner child is unleashed, they're going to be turned loose likes kids in a candy store. Winner gets $25,000. They're going to Target. They have three hours in the middle of the night to raid the store and grab whatever they can to make food for 100 target employees. The cheftestants are looking like WTF? Target? Padma reassures them that Target does in fact have one or two non-overly processed foods in their mega stores. (I can haz cheez whiz?) It doesn't look like they're buying that particular load of crap.

Middle of the night. Target is closed. The cheftestants are running through the empty aisles. They also have to get appliances, pots and pans ,tables and everything to make the food since they'll be cooking right there in the Target aisles.

Why is Dale getting irons (like for clothes)? Mike and Angelo have paired up to get the stuff they need. Tiffany is clothes shopping. Carla forgets to shop for her food and is wandering aimlessly.

Here come the target employees, as well as Padma, Tom, Tony Ming Tsai and Thomas O'Brien from Target. I'm sorry, but Tony Bourdain is way hotter than Elmo.

  • Antonia is doing a soft egg with parmesan crème on a garlic Crostini. Tony says its ballsy to make 100 eggs.
  • Tiffany is making jambalaya. Tony's not crazy about it. Tom says it's not a great dish.
  • Dale is making grilled cheese sandwiches with a clothes irons. Tony says its good late night stoner comfort food.
  • Carla finally starts to cook a curried apple soup with apple slaw. Tom says it's two dimensional.
  • Mike is making spicy coconut broth with vegetables. Tom and Ming liked the spice.
  • Angelo makes potato soup with cheddar, onion & bacon. Richard says that the soup needs something so Angelo puts in about two pounds of salt. T-R-O-U-B-L-E. Tom says it's too heavy and way too salty.
  • Richard makes braised pork with green chilies.

Tom says some did really well and some screwed up. Tony says he's souped out.

Judges Table

It's early morning in the stew room. Padma wants to see Dale, Antonia and Richard. They have the top dishes of the evening. Tom says Dale's sandwich was nice and crispy. Tony liked the creative use of a clothes iron for the sandwich. The winner is Dale. $25,000. Padma says it's a very expensive grilled cheese sandwich.

Carla, Tiffany and Angelo have the worst dishes. Carla said the texture of her soup wasn't good and the flavors weren't there. Tony says that it needed chicken. Angelo said that his soup base was not balanced. Tom says one spoonful and he was gone. Tony says the scallions let a bad taste in his mouth. Tiffany said it's not a real jambalaya. Tony asked if she used a prepared spice mix and that was the problem.

Tom says this challenge was difficult. Carla's dish never developed. Angelo's had too much salt.

Angelo packs his knives. He says he's mentally fried.

Next - people break things and Carla's redemption is slipping away. Bye Bye redemption....

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