“Top Chef” Recaps: Episode 4.2 “Zoo Food”


As they all ponder which five to choose out of more than 500 ingredients available at the market, I ponder the sleeve tattoo on Jen’s right arm. Hey Bravo, how about a close-up for us lesbians?

As they descend on the market, everyone is a blur of activity. Everyone, that is, except for Spike, who has decided that Elimination Challenges are like the first quarter in basketball — really not that important. Instead he stops to listen to the music. Brilliant strategy or just plain lazy? You decide.

Honorary chefbian Richard buys eucalyptus for his dish. Uh, can you eat that? I thought it was just for cough drops and potpourri. (Answer: yes, in small doses.)

Mark grows impatient with the vendors and runs around frantically. In his hurry, he leaves one of his bags at a stall and rushes off. Have you learned nothing from Aesop’s Fables, mate? Slow and steady wins the race.

Five by five — Back at the Top Chef Kitchen, guest judge Wylie Dufresne, the chef/owner of New York’s wd-50 restaurant and molecular gastronomist extraordinaire, is introduced. Fellow molecular gastronomist Richard grins at him like a teenager in love. Someone has a man-crush.

As the contestants run to their respective stations, Richard explains the finer point of molecular gastronomy while secretly making moon-eyes at Chef Dufresne.

Richard: Molecular gastronomy is not whiz-bang gadget gizmo. It’s the basis to take traditional items and because of science make them better.

He blinded me with science!

Mark decides to use butter instead of his forgotten lettuce. Um, is butter a normal substitute for lettuce? I’ve never rooted around my fridge while making a salad and thought, "I’m out of spring greens, but I’m in luck — I still have a stick of butter!" This seems like it would considerably cut down on the healthy aspect of eating salads.

Spike opens his tenderloin tips and deems it "dog meat." He also drops what I believe is this episode’s first F-bomb. Either producers sat the chefs down to talk about their use of FCC-unfriendly language or everyone broadened their vocabularies in the past week.

Stick ‘em up — As the chefs make with the cooking, I’m reminded of that old saying, "too many cooks in the kitchen." So is Valerie, who struggles to find a free burner on the stove.

The seconds tick away as the finishing touches are applied to plates, and then it’s "if you’re happy and you know it, raise your hands" time. That or they’re all being robbed.

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