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

The neighborhood descends on the team tables. Plates are
filled, s’mores are blowtorch brûléed. The judges stop at the Blue table first.
Ted and Padma seem particularly excited by Stephanie’s streusel fruit crumble
with cinnamon gyoza/wonton. Then they leave and they keep all their catty
comments about each dish to themselves. No fair!

Over at the Sexy table, Padma and Ted load up and light up
when they see the s’mores. Geez, those things work on everyone. But Padma
experiences a s’mores malfunction and drops hers on Ted’s no-doubt very
expensive shoes. Oh, girl, don’t mess with a gay man’s footwear. Ted assures
her that she’ll be receiving a bill in the mail.

Slam-dunk dining — Spike says Team Red Sexy Cocky has the challenge in the bag
because they’re more charismatic and have "the schmooze factor." The
judges, once again, give nothing away. Catty comments, we demand catty

Instead, the chefs have to talk their own trash. Blue Team
honorary chefbian Richard brings the claws out and assures his people that
"little hamburgers aren’t that great." But inside he worries about
Team Cocky’s outward displays of dominance. They’re slapping high fives and
playing hoops and drinking beers without a care in the world. Dominance? More
like dumbinance.

Back in the judging waiting room, Team Cocky continues its
swagger. Across the circle, Blue Team color-coordinates with its mood. Padma
comes to the entrance and asks for — wait for it, wait for it — the Blue Team.
And that, my friends, is how you deflate an overinflated ego. Any questions?

Lesser of two evils — At Judges’ Table, the
stone-faced panel gives nothing away. In fact, Tom chastises the team for a

Tom: Considering the first two challenges, I was
expecting a lot more from this team. And this just kind of left me asking, Is
this the same group of people?

Then the judges start to pick them apart one by one. Nikki’s
mac ‘n’ cheesetastrophe formed a brick. Richard’s paella was a rice pilaf in
disguise. And Stephanie’s fruit crisp and sexy drink were, actually, really

So the Blue Team was the winning team after all. Everyone
celebrates in their own way: Some pray, some sigh, some look like they want to

Padma warns them that they only won by a small margin, but a
win is a win. Antonia’s bean salad and Stephanie’s fruit wonton dessert are the
judges’ favorites. In fact, Tom says the latter is probably why they won. So
Stephanie picks up the win and lays the demons of underfried chips to rest.
Gosh, she is adorable. It’s official: She is now an honorary chefbian. So is it
written; so it shall be.

Tom chides them one more time before asking them to send in
the real losers. The no-longer Blues stoically tell the no-longer Cockies that
Padma wants to see them. Blue Team has the good manners to not gloat and dance
and play the didgeridoo until after their bested competition has left the room.
(P.S. How adorable is Stephanie’s little robot dance? I’m so glad I made her a
chefbian, even if only in my mind.)

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