“Top Chef” Recaps: Episode 4.8 “Common Threads”

The 15 minutes fly by like, well, 15 minutes, and then it’s
time to taste. Guest Judge Art shows us all the people skills has learned from
Oprah over the years. Instead of criticizing dishes he doesn’t like, his comments
are hedged in platitudes. So Stephanie’s too heavy pancakes and Andrew’s too
crunchy fish are both "clever."

The Worst: Mark (didn’t work as a dish), Stephanie (didn’t
need scallops) and Lisa (didn’t seem very original).

The Best: Dale (tasted good), Richard (tasted delicious) and
Antonia (also tasted delicious). But who wins and gets the oh-so-coveted
immunity? Antonia.

The frugal gourmets —
After the blur of a Quickfire, Padma focuses the chefs on the philanthropic side
of cooking. She mentions Art’s charity organization, Common Threads, a group dedicated
to bringing families back to the dinner table together.

So this Elimination Challenge is to cook a delicious and
nutritious, simple dinner for a family of four. Oh, and did I mention they can
only spend $10. The reaction from the chefs to their budget is laughter on the
outside, tears on the inside.

At Whole Foods, the chefs dash around trying to conserve
their cash. Many of them end up at the protein counter giving everyone’s
favorite poultry the hairy eyeball. If a lot of their dishes end up tasting
like chicken, it’s because a lot of them are using chicken.

Andrew, who has been laying surprisingly low on the crazy
scale of late, tells us his cooking philosophy is "Simple. Old. New."

Andrew: Keep it
simple. You take an old idea and you bring a new concept to it.

Gosh, am I going nuts, too, or did that make a whole lot of

But someone who is having a hard time making sense?
Stephanie. She seems unsure about her chicken choice. She seems unsure about
her dish. She seems unsure about her flavor combinations. The challenge is hard
for her, she says, because her mom was more concerned with what tasted good
than with what was healthy, so they ate a lot of "gourmet food."

Stephanie: I
really, at this point, have no idea what I’m going to do. My mind races to so
many ingredients and flavor combinations. I am thinking to myself, "Stephanie,
stop thinking like this, you’re being crazy."

I mean, come on Stephanie, we all know crazy is Andrew’s

While I worry about Stephanie’s scatterbrained shopping, I’m
more intrigued by her T-shirt. Jantastic?
Anyone know what that’s all about? More evidence of her honorary chefbian
status? Or just a really big fan of the middle
Brady daughter

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