“Top Chef” Recaps: Episode 4.3 “Block Party”

The rest of the chefs get busy innovating. Manuel grabs some
cactus. Spike, who apparently shares Erik’s view of the taco, keeps it simple.
Andrew chooses plantain and duck. Richard takes "reinvent" to heart
and uses jicama in lieu of tortillas. Three minutes of on-screen cooking later
(talk about your Quickfire), it’s time to taste.

Time for "fourthmeal" — Rick and Padma
reemerge to level their judgments.

Manuel‘s chorizo taco: Guessing this isn’t the first
taco you’ve made.

Lisa‘s grilled skirt-steak taco: [Indecipherable
mumbles. Why? They can't bite through the steak.]

Andrew‘s duck and plantain taco: One of my favorite
tacos in the world is the duck taco.

Erik‘s chipotle chicken taco: It’s very traditional

Spike‘s ground pork taco: If you were going for
street style [fist pump].

Ryan‘s grilled squash chickpea tacos: Thank you.

Richard‘s jicama tortilla tacos: [No comment, just

But was Chef Bayless impressed by any of the tacos? Not so
much. Instead of gourmet tacos, he says he got a lot of street tacos, because
listening is apparently not one of the cheftestants many kitchen skills.

The Bad: Erik ("the plate looked sort of like a train
wreck"), Lisa ("no one can bite through [rare skirt steak]"),
Ryan ("that piece of paper [around the taco] really bugged me for fine

Sore loser Erik has a few sour grapes to squeeze.

Erik: I don’t think fine dining and Mexican go together,
so he can go screw himself.

Again with the degrading of an entire country’s culture and
cuisine. Also, how about you make a taco that doesn’t look like something they
serve at Denny’s at 3 a.m. and maybe then you can tell a six-time James
Beard Award
-winning executive chef to go screw himself, OK?

The Good: Andrew ("flavors were really good and quite
refined"), Richard ("it tasted like Mexican street food, but the package was
pure fine dining"), Spike ("the flavor was super

Richard gets the win and immunity for his beautiful dish.
His victory also comes with the surprise that Chef Bayless is going to steal
his recipe and put it on the menu at Topolobampo.

Spike has some sour grapes of his own to squash as he
kvetches about the judge picking Richard over him. I’d like to take a minute
and kvetch about Spike’s choice of headwear. Spike, buddy, Kevin Federline
called and he wants his hat back.

Take the blue pill or the red pill — To prepare for
the Elimination Challenge, Padma has the chefs split themselves into two teams:
Team Red and Team Blue. No word on where Team White went — probably still
trying to memorize the "Star-Spangled Banner."

Whenever you watch people spilt into teams, it’s a
fascinating social experiment. Who will gravitate toward each other? Who will
stay away from each other? Who will get picked last for kickball? Oh, wait,
sorry — painful childhood memory.

The teams shake out as such: Blue Team — Richard, Mark,
Stephanie, Lisa, Antonia, Nikki and Manuel; Red Team — Spike, Ryan, Andrew,
Jennifer, Zoi, Erik and Dale.

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