Top Chef Recap: Fabio Makes a Booger for Jimmy Fallon

Last Top Chef, Tre was sent home packing for his crummy risotto dish. Read the recap here.

Quickfire Challenge

The cheftestants walk into the kitchen and see fondue pots. Richard notes that his parents probably went to nude fondue parties (eww).  Fabio says that fondue is something boiling that you put something on a stick and eat it (yep. that's basically it). Padma tells the cheftestants that they are to make a fondue and the twist (there is always a twist) is that each cheftestant will vote for best dish. Padma reads the kids chefs minds and says they can't vote for themselves. By the way, immunity is off the table. Fabio says he's doing just fine without immunity (Fabio, Fabio...please don't test the fickle food gods).  

  • Antonia is doing a smoked salmon fondue because her mom likes jewish deli.
  • Richard is making chocolate fondue with bananas, but with a twist (bring out the liquid nitrogen!).
  • Tiffany is doing apple fritters with a chocolate and hazelnut fondue.
  • Fabio has memories of making a stop for oysters, caviar and fondue after skiing so he's making a roasted lemon caviar bellini. (Where is this roadside caviar, oyster and fondue stand, Fabio?  Please tell me because all we have here in Florida is Cracker Barrell).
  • Dale is making (surprise) Vietnamese fondue. Well, really soup.
  • Angelo is doing a deconstructed pickled beet and goat cheese fondue. 
  • Mike is doing a feta cheese fondue with lamb kabobs. 
  • Carla does coconut puree fondue with shrimp and beef tenderloin.

Voting time is awkward because the cheftestants find out it's not a blind ballot. The chefs turn back into fifth graders, saying things like "did you vote for me? and "I'll vote for you if you vote for me". Cute.

Fabio, Tiffany and Mike are the least favorites. Dale didn't care for the spice and feta cheese in Mike's dish so Mike calls him a f**king monkey. Nice. Top three dishes belong to Antonia, Dale and Angelo. Dale wins the quickfire.

Elimination Challenge

The cheftestants are told to head over to Rockefeller Center. They walk into Jimmy Fallon's set while the show is filming.  I mean right onto the set.  On the one hand I find it hard to believe they didn't know they were going to go on Jimmy Fallon's show. On the other hand, they're dressed like crap, in promotional t-shirts and sloppy jeans so maybe they really didn't know.

Jimmy announces that the cheftestants are going to play Cell Phone Shootout. Each cheftestant has to take a picture with their cell phone of a randomly flashing screen. Whatever they take a picture of, they have to cook at Jimmy's Birthday bash. Jimmy also reminds them that he hates mushrooms, mayo and eggplant and that his entire family will be there. Here is what the cheftestants have to cook:

  • Antonia gets a beef tongue.
  • Fabio gets a hamburger and french fries. Fabio says he's never done a "booger", but he'll make it like a meatball. This could be a "fail" for my pretend boyfriend.
  • Carla gets Chicken Pot Pie and starts jumping up and down like she won Lotto.
  • Tiffany gets chicken and dumplings.
  • Mike gets sausage and peppers (Fenway Park style).
  • Dale is making Philly cheese steaks.
  • Richard gets ramen noodles and duck.
  • Angelo makes BBQ pulled pork. 

The cheftestants are prepping Jimmy's birthday meal at Colicchio & Sons. Antonia is cutting the beef tongue and I'm gagging. Sorry, but it's all black and blue on the bottom of the tongue. Dale says watching Carla is like watching a chicken with it's head cut off - shes screaming and flailing.

At the party we meet Jimmy's wife Nancy, various Fallons, Padma, Gail and Tom.

Fabio serves his "booger" with cheese sauce on the side. Jimmy say's it's a different type of burger (that's cause it's a "booger"). It tastes more like meatloaf.  Gail wants more juciness. 

Jimmy, by the way, confides why he doesn't like mayo. When he was a kid he got his head stuck between some bars and his grandma put mayo on his head to slide him out. I don't like mayo because I don't like the way it tastes, but Jimmy's reason is so good, I'm going to use it as my mayo-hating excuse from now on.

Back at the party, Tiffany's chicken and dumplings are not going over well. Jimmy says he was expecting a smoke machine and lasers to come out of Richard's ramen, but it underwhelmed.  Jimmy says Dale's cheesesteak presentation was awesome but the "salt monster" attacked him.  Padma asks Tom how he feels about Carla's chicken pot pie and he says he's too busy eating to discuss.  

In a blatent attempt to bribe the judges, Carla brings out a birthday cake for Jimmy. 

Judges table

Carla, Angelo and Antonia had the best dishes at lunch. Jimmy says he had the greatest birthday ever (and there wasn't even a bounce house or a pony). Carla is freaking out. Jimmy says that you could tell there was love put into Carla's dish. Antonia, Angelo and Carla then sing and perform "The Beef Tongue Song" (beef tongue...beef tongue...beef tongue...) Jimmy announces the winner is Carla! Carla attacks Jimmy - I love her - did I tell you how much I love her? She wins a trip to Tokyo and shes freaking out again. Love...her.  

Fabio, Dale and Tiffany are in the bottom three. Tom says Tiffany's dumplings were flat. Jimmy says he wanted more comfort food.  Tom hated the cheddar cheese sauce on the side of Fabio's "booger". Jimmy says the salt monster killed Dale's sandwich and that he drank a keg of beer because of it and now he's drunk. Love him for that.

It's time for Jimmy to kick a cheftestant to the curb Jimmy is saying this is terrible because he's a fan of the show. He's going to have to go out and get drunk. Padma sends Fabio home! Fabio!  Fabio!  What?  Fabio? 

Fabio says he "Don't feel good going home", but shakes Jimmy's hand. In his exit interview, Fabio says "Jimmy you come on my show and send me home? Jimmy - I will cooka "booger" for you and you will go down on your knees and beg forgiveness. People should look at me for consistency and perserverance. You are the only shadow standing in your sunshine". I'm going to miss Fabio, but doesn't this mean he'll now have more time to spend with me and our imaginary children?

Next week, Elmo, Muppets, Target and Tony Bourdain!  Awesome!!!

Follow Clean Plate Charlie Facebook on Twitter: @CleanPlateBPB.
KEEP NEW TIMES BROWARD-PALM BEACH FREE... Since we started New Times Broward-Palm Beach, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of South Florida, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
Laine Doss is the food and spirits editor for Miami New Times, covering the restaurant and bar scene in South Florida. She has been featured on Cooking Channel’s Eat Street and Food Network’s Great Food Truck Race. Doss won an Alternative Weekly award for her feature on what it’s like to wait tables. In a previous life, she appeared off-Broadway and shook many a cocktail as a bartender at venues in South Florida and New York City. When she’s not writing, you can find Doss running some marathon then celebrating at the nearest watering hole.
Contact: Laine Doss