“Top Chef” Recaps: Episode 4.13 “Puerto Rico”

 
 

With a job this big, Tom tells the chefs they’ll need a
little help. So out come the last four eliminated chefs: Spike, Dale, Andrew
and Nikki. They will serve as the final four’s sous chefs.

Lisa looks at her options and realizes they are limited. She
doesn’t want to work with Dale (“He and I don’t get along. We never have
and we just never will.”) or Andrew (“Andrew felt that I threw him
under the bus”). Well, I’d say go with the guy who doesn’t look like a
reject from a Will Smith video circa his “Parents Just Don’t Understand”
era.

But it turns out Lisa doesn’t have to worry about who to
pick. As the winner of the Quickfire, Stephanie gets to assign the sous chefs.

Stephanie: I am
just going to try to put people together that will actually work well together,
just because I’d rather have everybody in the kitchen getting along than having
people screaming.

It’s a classy move as well as a nice bit of self-preservation.
No one needs a repeat of the Dale/Lisa “Restaurant
Wars
” kitchen eruption.

This little piggy
went to market —
Stephanie picks Dale for herself (they’ve apparently known
each other for 10 years). Then she pairs Richard with Spike, Antonia with Nikki,
and Lisa with Andrew. For his part, Andrew says he’ll play nice.

Andrew: Never
have I thrown someone under a bus. I play with honor. I’m her sous chef; I am
going to try to help her win the best I can.

The chefs will have 30 minutes to plan their menus and check
out the facilities. Then they will send their sous chefs to the market to pick
up ingredients while they stay and butcher their pigs.

They head into the kitchen and they each find their own “Wilbur”
waiting for them. Aww, Stephanie made a Charlotte’s
Web
joke. I’d say it was adorable, but I’m too busy staring at a pig
carcass’s head to think cute thoughts. I will spare you that accompanying
screencap.

As each plans out her (or his) menu, they have different
approaches. Stephanie and Richard want to showcase their strengths. Antonia and
Lisa want to go more traditional, with Lisa going full-on Puerto Rican. Richard
thinks it’s a bad idea. Is it just me or does Richard have more critiques than
usual this episode?

Richard: I don’t
think it’s a good idea to do Puerto Rican food. That’s like playing someone
else’s game, you know. Play your game.

The sous chefs are sent off to the market, but Whole Foods
this is not. Instead they’re confronted with an exotic array of food and more
than a little language barrier.

Going whole hog —
Back in Slaughterhouse Top Chef, it’s
time to get busy butchering — or, as Lisa calls it, “happy hogging.” If
you belong to PETA, best to look away now.

The chefs sharpen their knives and get busy. Lisa and
Richard have some technical difficulties as the heads of their mallets fly off mid-pound.
She jokes that it is because she is Jewish. I would imagine dismembering a
whole hog would be a little strange for someone who proudly wears a T-shirt
that reads this:

While he is sawing away, Richard remembers a Haitian friend
from his childhood who used to drink this soda called Malta. He
calls Spike in the market and asks him to pick up the drink so he can glaze his
pork ribs with it.

As the sous chefs return, Andrew walks in first and is
greeted by a pigeon who has found its way into the kitchen. Andrew then
declares it “Pigeon Wars.” Snicker. He is crazy, but at least he is
entertaining.

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