“Top Chef” Recaps: Episode 4.4 “Film Food”

Hanoi Hilton, reservations for two — Can the Good
Morning, Vietnam
boys pull off a similar feat of self preservation though
hand gestures? Well, Spike is sure going to try.

But maybe he isn’t being quite emphatic enough, because the
judges go after their dish anyway. In fact, they’re baffled as to where their
budgeted $150 went.

Tom: It seemed like all the other contestants had a
different budget than you. We didn’t see the value on the plate. It was
something that you could find in a local neighborhood Vietnamese restaurant
where you would pay $8 for an appetizer.

Pssst, more hand gestures, boys. Seriously, start flailing
wildly.

Alas, Manuel keeps it conservative with a one-handed
approach. He explains that he thought making a Vietnamese dish would be a great
way to learn from his partner. The judges question whether now is the time to
learn from the other chefs.

Padma cuts the conversation to the quick.

Padma: So, if one of you goes home for that dish, who
should it be?
Spike:
I don’t play that way. I’m sorry. I’m not going to say that he
should go home over me.

Hmm, very noble. I’m going to tuck this little tidbit away
for a rainy day. There are a lot more episodes left and a lot of more
opportunities to throw someone under the bus.

The judges send the chefs back to the waiting room with
their tails between their legs. Each rue their fate, but perhaps none more than
Jennifer, who rues for Zoi and thinks it’s unfair that she and Antonia made it
into the bottom two. Don’t mess with a chefbian’s woman.

The judges discuss their decision. Turns out Zoi and Antonia
could have avoided their fate if only their story had matched their plate from
the start.

For Spike and Manuel’s uninspired spring roll, the question
for the judges is whether to send home the leader (Spike) or the follower (Manuel).
If it were my decision, it would be a no-brainer. Always, always, send home the
guy in the stupid hat.

I will follow you — The judges bring them back, and
Zoi and Antonia are declared safe because at least their dish tasted good.
Spike and Manuel, however, cannot shake their leader/follower dilemma. So who
had to pack his knives and go? Manuel.

Alas, Spike and his hats ‘o’ plenty will live to cook
another day while Manuel is sent packing. Dammit, nice guys do always finish
last. And he is so gracious in defeat. Poor guy, if only his dishes had been as
memorable as his goodbye.

Next time on Top Chef: Richard doesn’t charm.
Dale doesn’t want whining. Jennifer doesn’t appreciate people putting teammates
in the ground. Spike doesn’t care. Oh, and chairs are thrown. Next, on Jerry Springer!

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