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


Light my fire — The chefs convene in the waiting room
to learn their fate. Padma brightens the doorway and calls for Team Fire to
come to the Judges’ Table. Once there, they get the good news. Their fiery dish
(not to mention attitudes) was their favorite. The judges praise each component
and then reveal that the winning chef will get a five-night trip for two to

Chef Tsai picks Lisa and her miso bacon as the winner
because it was a technique he had never seen before. Our first chefbian win! I’m
not sure, but I think Lisa is happy about her free trip to Italy.

Speaking of which, is she single? Because that’s a trip for
two. Ahem.

But not everyone is as ecstatic.

Dale: She made bacon and she gets a trip to Italy?
Are you f—ing kidding me? I’m bitter.

Some bad elements — The winning fire starters return
to the waiting room and give teams Earth and Water the bad news.

Team Water get doused first. The fish was mushy and the
scaly. When Gail asks if Richard cleaned the fish, he does the old play dumb
routine and responds as if confused, "Uh, in what regard?" And when
Padma tells him half the people at their table had scales, he continues his
incredulity. Scales? What scales?

Oh, Richard. First you’re a suck-up and now you’re a bad

Andrew and Mark get their comeuppance, too, as the judges
pick apart their contributions. Bottom line: Water wiped out.

Dishonor the earth — Switching their attention to
Team Earth, the judges reveal that au naturale wasn’t the way to go, either.
They say that every element on the plate needed more seasoning.

Zoi tries to talk her way out of her bland mushroom hole.

Zoi: Our concern as a team was we didn’t want to
overpower the meat. So maybe in our attempt to not overpower we did just the
opposite … I tasted the mushrooms … they were really, really good … I am not
one with a light hand in terms of seasoning. I like really strong-flavored
foods …

Too much talking, not enough shoveling.

Then it’s Spike’s turn to talk. He says he originally wanted
to do a butternut squash soup. Antonia chimes in that she was against it. The
judges ask whether she should have been so forceful, given her immunity.

Antonia: That didn’t stop me from voicing …
It didn’t stop you at all, actually.

I believe it is what we like to call on between those
two. Adding insult to injury, Chef Tsai says he thinks soup is a brilliant dish
to start out with. Damn hindsight and its perfect vision.

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