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


Down-home cooking —
These three are the judges’ favorites. Nikki’s one-pot dish is praised for its
perfect seasoning and ingenuity. Andrew’s fennel, apple and orange salad is
praised for expanding the kids’ "culinary language." Antonia’s whole-wheat
stir-fry is praised for being tasty, period. So, who won? Antonia.

Antonia: Honestly,
if I didn’t win that challenge that would have been embarrassing. Like, the mom
can’t cook food for the kids … That one goes straight to my daughter.

She is triumphant in victory, but I notice that she doesn’t
win anything. No trip to Italy. No gas grill. No $2,500 of kitchenware. What
gives? Just because it’s a kiddie challenge doesn’t mean she didn’t deserve a
prize. Have Oprah kick something in, Art. You know how that woman loves to give
stuff away.

How you like me now? —
Antonia returns to and breaks the bad news to Lisa, Stephanie and Mark. They
were the judges’ least favorite.

Stephanie’s combination of peanut butter, tomatoes and lemon
juice is deemed "bizarre," and her couscous was branded "not
right." She admits the dish wasn’t simple enough and her couscous was overcooked.

Mark, on the other hand, is not ready to admit defeat when
Padma asks him why he thinks he is there.

Mark: I’m a
little baffled, Padma. I think Tom doesn’t like me.

Well, judging from Tom’s reaction, he likes Mark at least
for this moment. That’s possibly the biggest smile I’ve ever seen Colicchio

Tom: I hope you’re
not serious.
I don’t know. It’s undercooked, it’s overcooked, it’s too salty. I
don’t know, how do I make this guy happy?
Don’t have it too salty or, in this case, too sweet.

Just call Tom Colicchio the Goldilocks of judges. He wants
it not too sweet, not too salty, but just right.

The rules are for
suckers —
Lisa, like Mark, isn’t going to pack her knives without
brandishing them first. She tells the judges she enjoyed her dish and thought
it was nutritious and balanced.

Lisa: Something I
learned from the last time I was up here was pay attention to the rules, that’s
the most important thing. And it was originality, flavor, cost-effective and
healthy, and I tried to get all of those things.

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