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

Was there ever any doubt the kitchen couple would pair off?
Jennifer calls Zoi "one of the best cooks" she has ever worked with,
and Zoi says she and Jennifer "know each other’s palates" better than
the rest of the team, among other stuff. What? I was referring to
their shoes
. Really, their shoes. Get your minds out of the
gutter, people. Seriously. We’re trying to run a respectful recap here.

What gratuitous product placement? — The teams jump
into matching red and blue Toyota Highlanders. We know this because the kind
folks at Bravo show us about 3,000 exterior and interior shots of said
Highlanders rolling down the streets of Chicago.
We get it; Toyota
is a sponsor. Please, can someone cook something?

Once inside their, uh — what kind of cars were they again? —
the chefs try to use directional clues to guess the challenge. They text back
and forth, and you know there is no more exciting television than watching
adults text-message each other.

Their destination turns out to be a nice, tree-lined Chicago neighborhood.
Padma lays out the Elimination Challenge rules while wearing a pale yellow top
and thick silver bracelet. The sun hits her hair just so, sending a warm glow of
light over her face and … Mmm, Padma, mmm. Oh, where was I?

The challenge is for each team to cook for the
neighborhood’s MealsTogether.com block party. Ah, but here’s the rub: Instead
of going to a nice big, well-stocked grocery store, they’re going to have to
get all their ingredients from the friendly neighbors on the block. That’s
right — they’re going to raid the fine people of Chicago’s refrigerators like marauding

Meet your neighbors — Blue Team member Richard is
glad he has immunity for this one because he is "not super social."
The Red Team has no such anxieties. In fact, they redub themselves "Team
Sexy." No, really, Team Sexy. And they have a strategy.

Andrew: We immediately send Ryan in because Ryan is a
pretty boy and he speaks very well. So it just makes sense to send Ryan in
first and say, "Hey, I’m tall, dark and handsome. I need some

Door bells are rung, pantries are pillaged. As Blue Team
heads to a house, Spike helpfully tells them they’ve already been cleaned out.
But, of course, they haven’t.

Spike: I’m here to win, for God’s sake.

Or is he really there to win over Britney Spears?

The Red and Blue teams show their inherent differences right
away in their menus. Reserved Blue goes upscale; gregarious Red goes classic Americana. Playing to the
judges versus playing to the crowd — gee, wonder how that’ll go.

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