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


The little chefs are all paired off with their Top Chef counterparts. We soon learn
that Antonia isn’t the only one with experience cooking with small fry.

Lisa: My
girlfriend has a kid and he loves to cook. He’s always like, "I want to
help you, I want to help you." It’s cool when they’re like, "Let me
stir the noodles." Or, "Let me put the butter in." Or, "Give
me a knife," and then you’re like, "No." But it’ll be fun.

Well that answers the who-is-she-taking-to-Italy

No soup for you —
Spike and his little helper are planning to make pasta puttanesca, carrot soup
and baked apples. Dude, enough with the
. We get it: You like making soup. But the show isn’t called Top Soup Chef. And even if it was, Lauren
Lee Smith
would win that title hands down.

Spike sets his kid up peeling carrots, and the poor guy
promptly peels his own finger. Hey, how about giving the child some safety
instructions first, before you hand him the sharp implement?

Spike: Within 30
seconds of having a peeler in his hand, my kid is bleeding … I am amazed, just
to see a kid cut himself with the peeler and get right back into doing what he
needs to do impressed me tremendously.

Spike then goes on to ask his kiddie assistant, who can’t be
much older than 9, whether he has a girlfriend. When he answers "not yet,"
Spike says that "yet" is the operative word. Yeah, because that’s
what America’s young and impressionable minds need — lessons on how to become a

But Spike isn’t the only one with child-appropriateness
issues. Mark plans to cook vegetable curry, but his sous chef has never had curry
before. Lisa thinks it’s a bad idea. But is it as bad an idea as not
using Polish sausage
in a dish about Polish sausage?

Misty water-colored
memories —
The challenge gives the chefs an opportunity to talk about how
they got started cooking. Nikki started because she was raised by a single mom
and helped out in the kitchen. Dale started because he wanted to be a professional
basketball player, but stopped growing at 5-foot-5 and turned to cooking

And Andrew, well, Andrew started because he was a 200-pound
kid in high school and decided he had to cook more healthy food for himself.
Wow, 200 pounds? I always thought Andrew had the crazy of a much larger man.

Parental guidance is
required —
Head Judge Tom Colicchio comes in for his regular spot
inspection of the chefs. But instead of just popping in, Tom stays and keeps a
watchful eye over the contestants and their charges. Even the protective Papa
Bear, Tom wants to make sure the cubs are safe. Over at Andrew’s station, he
finds a youngster hammering away at some meat with a pan.

Tom: Watch your
fingers! [cringes]

My prediction: Someone will lose an eye before this
challenge is over.

Kid-tested, Top Chef-approved — The clock ticks
to zero, and now it’s time to serve this healthy family fare to some real
critics: the kids from the Common Threads program. Each chef and his/her mini
chef present their dishes to a table of kids and the judges.

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