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

Fired up and ready to cook — Three hours of cooking
gets slicing and dicing. Blue Team members all decide to do an individual dish.
Richard has paella; chefbian Lisa, slaw; Antonia, bean salad; Mark, inside-out
cookie; Stephanie, fruit cobbler; Nikki, mac ‘n’ cheese; and team effort on the
"sexy drink."

Nikki proceeds to pull out two obscenely big bricks of
Velveeta. Ah, yes, processed cheese: the secret ingredient of any four-star

Stephanie decides to switch up dessert and fry gyoza
wrappers with Mexican cinnamon and sugar, served with streusel-topped fruit.
It’s a ballsy move considering her fried celery
root chips
last week were a soggy bust.

Over on Team Sexy, confidence is the secret ingredient.

Andrew: You guys smell that? Successss!

Hmm, does that smell anything like napalm in the

I’m too sexy for my apron — The rest of Team Sexy
busy themselves with the picnic food at hand. The dishes they hope will dazzle
the crowd? Jennifer has sliders; Erik, corn dogs; Dale, pork skewers; Andrew,
sangria; Ryan, Waldorf salad; Zoi, pasta salad; Spike, taco salad; and team
effort on the s’mores.

But Zoi is none too happy with her assignment. The pasta
salad wasn’t her idea; it was just all that was left. Again, I’m having a
kickball flashback.

Zoi: It’s not, like, a Top Chef winner. You
know, like, I won Top Chef by making f—ing pasta salad? I mean, it’s
not going to happen. I’m feeling a little bit like I should have said

Dale thinks he should have said something too. He worries
their corn dogs and sliders won’t be refined enough for the judges. But, hey,
they’ve got a killer Super Bowl party menu going.

Peeping Tom — Head Judge Tom Colicchio comes in to
check up on the progress. He immediately cuts through all this sexy business.
What makes Blue Team’s "sexy drink" sexy? Apparently, lavender. Whew,
and I was worried it would be Axe body spray. And why are Team Sexy’s dishes
the winning dishes? Apparently, heart. Luckily they mean that metaphorically,
because giblets gross me out.

Over at Ryan’s station, Chef Tall, Dark and Handsome tells
Tom about the mayonnaise-less Waldorf salad he is preparing.

Tom: You know, the funny thing is, the mayonnaise is
what keeps everything fresh.

The look on Ryan’s face foretells another epic chicken
"McNuggets" piccata
disaster in the making.

Have food, will travel — Blue Team member Nikki
worries her mac ‘n’ cheese may be fatally flawed because of the lag time
between completion and service at the block party. Yeah, have you ever seen
what Velveeta does once congealed? It ain’t pretty, people. And over on Team
Sexy, Erik worries about his dish’s lag time too, but for more mushy reasons.
His fried corn dogs will have to sit in a hot box and could lose their crisp.
Dry mac ‘n’ cheese and soggy corn dogs; it really is like block party food.

Dishes packed, the teams arrive at the block party and have
20 minutes to set up. As suspected, Erik’s corn dogs went limp and Nikki’s mac
‘n’ cheese got hard. Ahem. But this is no time to let them see you sweat,
because the judges have arrived. Joining Padma, Tom and Rick is former Queer
Eye for the Straight Guy
foodie Ted Allen.

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