“Top Chef” Recaps: Episode 4.7 “Improv”

Sweating the
sweets —
As the chefs go on a
sugar rush, they worry about their pastry skills. Dale has one dessert recipe
he brought with him — for shaved ice. Me, I wouldn’t have picked a dessert they
sell on the boardwalk for $1. But I guess it could have been worse; he could
have picked cotton candy.

Lisa says she
swore she wouldn’t make pastry when she went on Top Chef. You see,
baking and cooking are different skill sets. When you cook you can make
adjustments throughout the process. When you bake, once you put it in the oven
you are done.

Richard, whose
faux hawk is growing by the second, is improvising his dessert. It comes to him
while he is cutting the bananas. Oh, Lord, I sense another food-based pun.

Richard: You know I’m very tongue-in-cheek and very
witty, so banana scallops. To me writing the menu is as important sometimes as
the food itself.

I know they say
the pen is mightier than the sword. But now it’s mightier than the spatula,
too?

Cooking with
cojones —
In the meantime,
Spike thinks dessert is a perfect opportunity to show that "this kid has
balls" by making a soufflé. Ew, ew, a million times ew. By using those words, he has officially ruined soufflé for me
for the rest of my natural-born life.

But what did
guest judge Johnny Hairdo make of all their sugary stuff? Well, I’ll get to
that, but first I want to marvel at the fact that Richard made banana scallops
with guacamole. Guacamole in dessert? Now those are some real cojones. And
apparently it works because Padma calls it "strange and delicious."

The worst: Antonia’s
brûléed lemon curd (dish didn’t come together), Spike’s pineapple rum-raisin
soufflé (risk didn’t pay off), and Mark’s pavlovas with wattle seed (didn’t
compose a full dessert).

The best: Dale’s
halo-halo shaved ice (flavors worked well), Lisa’s yogurt with fruit puree
(fresh flavors), and Richard’s banana scallops (original flavors). The winner:
Richard, who also gets immunity.

Richard: Something I’m trying to show is that I’m not a
one-trick pony. I can do the chemical thing and the technology thing, but I
also just won with a dessert course.

One trick? No.
One joke? Yes. I beg of you, Richard: no more food puns. The comedy gods are
weeping.

Have you
heard the one about …

Instead of telling the chefs what the Elimination Challenge will be, Padma says
they all get a night on the town for inspiration. They are going to see a show at
Second City, Chicago’s famed improv comedy group.

Back at the
house, the chefs pretty up as much as they can minus their former resident
pretty boy. Honorary chefbian Stephanie says how nice it will be to relax and
hang out as friends. Has no one watched this show before? For the love of God,
wear comfortable shoes and clothing that moves. You never know when you’ll have
to cook at 2 a.m. in a taco truck for a bunch of drunks.

Despite
whatever subterfuge might lay ahead, it’s looking good that is most on their
minds. While the girls compare tank tops, the boys compare undies.

Mark: Me and the boys, you know, we don’t want to
clash. Obviously [Richard] wants to wear pink. Goes well with his skin tone,
doesn’t it?

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