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

It’s sweet to see the children have pride in their food. And
it’s hilarious to see how excited they are to see Spike’s spaghetti. Just goes
to show you, chefs, cook all the fancy, oil-infused, herb-crusted, foam-enhanced
dishes you want. A kid is always going to be happier to see a plate of
spaghetti come her way.

The judges are also happy to see Spike’s spaghetti.
Returning judge Gail Simmons calls it "tasty" and guest judge Art
calls it "yummy." Sigh. Is it wrong that I root for his dishes to

Today on Oprah Nikki trots out her one-pot
wonder to even more glowing reviews. Chef Art particularly liked her hardscrabble
story of growing up fending for herself as a child of a single mother. It’s the
Oprahfication of Top Chef. Tell me
more, Nikki. How did that make you feel?

Throughout the service, head judge Tom stays in the kitchen
to taste each dish. His presence particularly rattles Mark, who sees Tom as a
great shiny-headed enigma. He never knows what the guy is thinking.

We, however, know exactly what the other judges are
thinking. Mark’s sweet potato curry is — surprise, surprise — too sweet. And
the dish lacks protein. Hey, Mark, did you ever think cooking a curry with
Padma — the author of Tangy, Tart, Hot
and Sweet
and Easy Exotic — as a
judge might not be the wisest move?

Both Antonia and Spike’s dishes are praised and earn the
requisite "mmm, mmm" noises from the judges. And then comes Stephanie’s
dish. It’s couscous with eggplant, zucchini and chicken in a peanut butter-tomato-lemon
sauce. Nothing about that sounds good. Nothing about that looks good either.

This couscoustastrophe rivals departed cheftestant Erik’s
nacho soufflé
in the "things I never want to put in my mouth"
department. And from the looks on Tom and Gail’s faces, neither did they.

A bun in the oven —
As the chefs head back to what Lisa calls "the Stew Room," Richard makes
a major life decision.

Richard: The
whole experience of seeing these kids, seeing Antonia cry. I want to go home
and I want to make some babies. Some little Blaises.

Someone better warn his wife.

Padma enters the waiting room wearing a mini-dress and kicky
boots. I’m so transfixed I almost miss when she calls in Andrew, Nikki and

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