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

Not going gently into that good night — Inside with
the judges, the Red Team is seeing red. Padma asks Ryan what got them there and
he honestly doesn’t know. Spike takes it even further.

Spike: I thought we kicked their ass, to be honest.
Padma: You didn’t.

Oh, snap. The soggy corn dogs are the first to come under
fire. Erik says they’re "as good as [he] can do with hot dogs." Zoi
tries to stem the bleeding by explaining their approach.

Zoi: We just decided that it was middle
America, block party, kids.
Tom: That is fine, but does that mean you should dumb
down what you’re doing?
Zoi: No, that’s not what we were doing at all.

Next on the firing line is Ryan’s Waldorf salad. Too much
chicken and too little crunch equals a soggy gloop. Now it’s Spike’s turn to
try to cauterize the wound.

Spike: You have to take in consideration that you
guys are four people on the panel that have very good palates, intense palates.
You can taste food better than others.
Jennifer: But we were cooking for the neighborhood.

Psst, Jennifer, you just totally blew your girlfriend’s
argument. But Spike can’t leave well enough alone and tries to reason his way
out of sucking. He says everyone tasted everyone else’s dishes and was happy
with them.

Spike: We kind of made the block party.
Tom: All right, everyone tasted Zoi’s pasta and
everybody thought it was good? Then you guys collectively have really poor
palates, ’cause it was bland, it was oily and it had no flavor at all.

Oh, double snap. But instead of throwing Zoi under the bus,
her teammates comfort her and Erik tells the judges that the pasta salad wasn’t
Zoi’s choice.

At this point Andrew has had enough and says their team’s
effort and camaraderie should have put them over the top. He also says they’d
have to drag him out with security before he’d leave because "this is my
house." Tom looks like he is not sure if he should laugh or run.

Once, twice, three times the terrible — Sent back to
await their fate, the Red(-faced) Team members grouse. The judges grouse, too.
Their decision boils down to three terrible dishes: the soggy Waldorf salad,
the soggy corn dog and the flavorless pasta salad.

Zoi kicks herself for not speaking up against the pasta
salad. Chefbian Jennifer realizes her girlfriend may be the one sent home. You
can see by the look on her face the amount of processing that they’d have to do
if Zoi got kicked off first. She’d better just hope the show crowns its first
dual Top Chefs.

Once back facing the judges, the cheftestants get spanked by
Tom some more. But who has to pack his/her knives and go? Erik.

Big bear hugs all around for departing Erik. A relieved Zoi
later tells the cameras that she is sorry to see him go, but, "I’m glad it
wasn’t me who had to go home for pasta salad. That would have been super
embarrassing." I don’t know, Zoi. I think being sent home for corn dogs is
about as embarrassing as it gets. And don’t forget, he gave the world the
abomination known as nacho soufflé
back in the first Elimination Challenge. An unholy creation like that you never
live down.

Next time on Top Chef: Plastic wrap does not flambé.
Richard Roeper gives the thumbs-up. Andrew is Dorf on Cooking.


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