Often on Top Chef, the undoing of a contestant is anticipated by a preference for over-complication (think Marcel). But this week, it was the hamburger - a simple American classic - that proved to be the spoiler for a fan favorite.
This week's Quickfire was a fondue challenge, which inspired Richard Blais to dredge up some rather uncomfortable childhood memories.
Dale won the Quickfire with his Vietnamese-influenced Pho-ndue (pronounced "FUHHHHn-due") and was rewarded with a three day trip to Napa Valley, which, now that I'm thinking about it, doesn't seem like a lot of time to enjoy the sights. Whatever, it's still a free trip!
For the Elimination Challenge, the chefs were escorted to 30 Rock without knowing the purpose of their visit (Antonia sincerely hoped it wasn't ice skating), until they stepped onto the set of Late Night with Jimmy Fallon. There it was revealed that they would be preparing a special meal of Jimmy's favorite foods for a birthday luncheon. Most of the aforementioned favorite foods were expected, like chicken and dumplings and Philly cheesesteaks, but who knew that Fallon was such a big fan of beef tongue?
Speaking of big fans, you know what Carla's a big fan of?
CHICKEN POT PIE! I honestly cannot get over this woman's unabashed enthusiasm for EVERYTHING. CHICKEN POT PIE!!!
Fabio was less excited about his dish. Did Fabio get the dreaded beef tongue? Nope, that was Antonia. Fabio got the hamburger. Apparently, hamburgers aren't available in Italy or something? Fabio can't even pronounce the word, resulting in the best running gag of the episode.
Instead of preparing a juicy, traditional American favorite, Fabio used a blend of short rib, brisket, and mortadella to make some sort of meatball/meatloaf/burger hybrid that the judges found to be overly dry and disappointing.
I guess Fabio's booger was one the judges weren't quite willing to pick (sorry, I had to), because our favorite Italian gnocchi-master was sent packing his knives off into the sunset. And Carla backed up her unparalleled excitement with some appropriately delicious CHICKEN POT PIE (!!!) and was handed the win.