“Top Chef” Recaps: Episode 4.12 “High Steaks”

Sometimes you feel
like a nut … —
Lisa is up next with her New York strip with a spicy apple
caramel sauce and peanut butter mashed potatoes. Gail is nervous about trying
the mash. Tramonto dives right in and says he is "really digging the mash"
and says it’s "really working" for him. But Ilan and Hung have
problems with the steak. Once Gail gets up her courage, she deems the dish "not
entirely balanced."

Spike’s tomahawk chop with sweet potato puree and Brussels
sprouts follows. Does anyone else think his steak looks incinerated? Also, can
you really call five Brussels sprouts leaves a side dish?

Ilan says the meat should have been served without the
sides. And the dish didn’t blow his mind. Padma and Gail say the puree is too
sweet. And Tramonto gives it a grudging "OK."

… Sometimes you don’t
Stephanie prepares her plate and asks if her presentation of beef
tenderloin with wild mushrooms and apple sauce looks "stupid." Her
worries were unfounded as Padma calls it "really gorgeous." Tramonto
says he wants to finish the whole dish. And even Hung loves it.

Finally, Antonia brings out her dish. She says working with
Tom has made for a fun atmosphere. I agree. It’s nice to watch the chefs work
without the drama and the yelling. It’s — dare I say — professional. Antonia’s
bone-in ribeye, fennel and cipollinis with a shallot and potato gratin may be
last, but they’re not least.

Ilan has fallen in love with the fattiness of her steak.
Tramonto says he digs the dish the most because "it ate the most rounded."
Well, with all that fat, something is definitely going to get round.

One last stew — The
chefs enter the Stew Room for the last time. Spike breaks out the wine. Antonia
says she needs a Xanax. They all toast to the most nerve-wracking day of the
competition — and possibly their lives.

Lisa: No matter
what happens, no matter who goes home tonight, we’ve all been through a
s—load, we’ve all rocked these challenges and everybody is f—ing awesome
and I hope we all stay in touch.

You know what? Since Dale’s departure, everyone has seemed a
lot nicer and more relaxed. Heck, even Spike. God, maybe Dale was the problem
all along.

Padma in a red dress,
red dress, red dress —
Padma comes in and thanks them for a great meal. She
then asks to see all of them. It’s their final Judges’ Table in Chicago and she
reminds them that the journey ends here for one of them. You know, because they
might have forgotten.

Padma asks Richard how he thinks he did. He starts to
answer, and then thinks better of it and asks how they think he did instead.
Tramonto says his appetizer was "brilliant." But Gail says there was "inconsistency"
with his entrée.

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