“Top Chef” Recaps: Episode 4.6 “Tailgating”


Are you ready for some football? — Game day arrives.
The chefs are given the choice of shiny new gas grill or charcoal. Mark is the
only one with the "testicular fortitude" to pick briquettes.
Fortitude or foolishness: You decide.

The judges arrive all wearing matching No. 4 Bears jerseys.
I’m guessing that’s in honor of the fourth season of Top Chef, because
the guy who wears that jersey on the team now is a punter, and nobody wears the
punter’s number.

I also wonder, from afar, if Quickfire judge Koren has
suddenly become much stockier and butcher. But no, it’s not Koren. It’s Chicago
culinary star Paul Kahan, the chef and owner of Blackbird and Avec, where she

Tom and Paul are having some sort of cap-wearing
competition. Paul wears his to the front while Tom prefers it to the back. Does
this mean something in the underground language of chefs? Is it like the hanky code?

And then it’s time to get your grub on. Like the last
Elimination Challenge, the diners will again have comment cards. Unlike last
time, the public’s ratings alone will determine the top and bottom three.

Hungry as a bear — The judges stop at Stephanie’s
table first to try her pork tenderloin with bacon, potato and pear salad, and
Gail calls it "tasty."

Dale could care less about the judges; he has Bears legends
Gale Sayers, Richard Dent and William "The Refrigerator" Perry at his
table looking for food. He tells them it’s an honor. The Refrigerator tells him
to get the ribs. That’s a big man — I’d get those ribs posthaste.

The judges arrive to see what’s left after The Refrigerator
clears out. Dale’s tandoori marinated ribs look delicious. If I could just get
a couple of those and the beer from the Quickfire, hello heaven. The judges
agree, and Gail doles out another "tasty."

Meanwhile, Spike and Ryan are working the charm angle. Spike
wants to show more charisma and personality. He then proceeds to ask the crowd
when the Bears last won the Super Bowl. For the love of Ditka,
this dude is an idiot.

The judges come to chow down on his fire-spiced wings, and
Gail declares them — you guessed it — "tasty." Either her vocabulary
is severely limited or she has some strange rule of threes she lives by.

Over at Antonia’s table, the jerk chicken with plantains and
pineapples is another hit. But this time Tom breaks out the "tasty"
praise. I guess Gail had her mouth full.

Now that’s cooking with gas(s) — Ryan is
working the crowd even harder than Spike. He has long lines waiting, so he
enlists the fans to help him. He lays it on thick. Maybe too thick.

Stephanie: Ryan is sort of a full-of-s— schmoozer
guy. I’m not here to be pretty and talk really well. Some of us are just here
to cook.

That was awesome. Seriously, I rewound it twice.

The judges arrive and get a full whiff of the hot air Ryan
is emitting. Grilled bread this. Sherry vinaigrette that. White wine-poached
the other. The Bears fans declare it too fancy and hard to eat.

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