“Top Chef Recaps” Recaps: Episode 4.5 “The Elements”


Check your scorecard — After all the ingredients are
sampled, it’s time to see how they did. The worst: Stephanie, with six out of
15 right. The best: runners-up Ryan and Jennifer, with 11 out of 15 each.

Zoi: I’m a little irritated that Jen beat me. I want
to be able to have bragging rights, you know. Whatever, she beat me by one.

Oh, but you know she’s
going to lord that one point over you for years to come, honey.

Who won the challenge? Antonia with 12 out of 15. So she and
her blindfold fetish good palate win immunity.

You’re a shining star — Next, Padma lays out the Elimination Challenge. Sadly, there are
no blindfolds involved. Instead, they will be cooking for the Meals on Wheels
Chicago Celebrity Chef Ball. The charity event is catered by the city’s best
chefs. They will create the second through fourth courses, and the cheftestants
must work in teams to cook the first course.

Chef Tsai gives them a few words of advice: Keep it simple,
execute it perfectly, and "taste, taste, taste — and that comes from your

They will be cooking based on the evening’s theme of "The
Four Elements," so each dish will be inspired by earth, water, fire and
air. At this point I start humming an Earth, Wind & Fire
. What? You know you did too, don’t lie.

They draw knives to break into four teams of three. Who got
what? Water: Richard, Andrew, Mark. Air:
Jennifer, Ryan, Nikki. Fire: Dale, Stephanie, Lisa. Earth: Zoi, Spike, Antonia.
They get 15 minutes to plan their menus.

A periodic tabling of elements — Jennifer on Team Air
immediately thinks of making a bird-based dish of duck or chicken: "something
that flies." Um, I hate to break this to you, but chickens don’t really
fly all that well.

Team Earth wrestle with what to make as well. Spike suggests
butternut squash soup. Antonia thinks soup is too basic for the team’s $500
grocery budget and won’t showcase quality enough. Zoi agrees, but Spike still
isn’t convinced. He says that with Antonia’s immunity, it’s Zoi and him with
the most to lose. I hate to say this, but Spike and his stupid hat have a

They decide on beef carpaccio instead. I don’t know why that
says earth, exactly. I mean, I guess cows walk on the earth.

Over at Team Fire, they are being true to their name and
fiery in their discussion about what to make. Dale wants to do a seared beef
tartar wrapped around a deviled egg. But Lisa is "totally not having it."
Hello, showdown.

In the grocery store, the chefs pore over the ingredients.
Team Water decide to make poached salmon. Get it? Fish cooked in water. Groan.
Team Air decide on duck, which could have just as easily gone to Team Water.
But, hey, at least it’s more aerodynamic than a chicken.

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