For once, you don't need to stay up past midnight to see Jimmy Fallon when the Late Night host serves as the guest of honor on tonight's Top Chef All-Stars. To celebrate his 36th birthday, the reality-show fanatic invited his friends and family to a three-hour feast prepared by the eight remaining cheftestants at Manhattan's Colicchio & Sons. "I'm so lucky," says Fallon. "It was really like something where you go, 'Oh, this is crazy — I can't believe this is happening.'" Adds Fallon's mom, Gloria, "His birthday parties as a kid weren't this elaborate. We'd go to McDonald's and play games in the backyard."
Another childhood experience influenced the meal: Mayonnaise was banned because Fallon once got his head stuck in a banister at his grandparents' house, and they smeared mayo on it to squeeze him out. "I've hated mayonnaise ever since," he says. But the menu does include what host Padma Lakshmi calls "classic comfort-food dishes" like chicken pot pie, cheesesteaks, soft pretzels, pulled-pork sandwiches and ramen noodles.
"Everyone has really strong opinions about the dishes they grew up with," says Lakshmi. The results, says Fallon, "surprised me. It's a hodgepodge of foods, so I felt bad for the chefs, but they rose to the occasion. It was a great birthday present."
Top Chef All-Stars airs Wednesday at 10/9c on Bravo.