“Top Chef” Recaps: Episode 4.2 “Zoo Food”

THIS WEEK’S KITCHEN ESSENTIALS:

Quickfire: Who knows how to count to five?
Elimination: Lions and tigers and bears, oh yum!
Padmaism: "Did you say balsamic?"

Windy City wake-up — It’s morning in the casa of phatness, and the cheftestants begin to rise and shine. Chicago girls Stephanie (that’s Ms. Yoda Backpack, if you’re nasty) and Valerie are working out. Stephanie shares that her secret weapon during the first Elimination Challenge was using "Eye of the Tiger" as her personal theme song. That’s fine, as long as she doesn’t start punching a side of beef or chugging raw eggs.

Valerie confesses that Jennifer and Zoi aren’t the only chefs who knew each other before coming on the show. Years ago she worked with Stephanie at a restaurant in Chicago, and she is "relieved to have a friend in this competition, at least for now." Anyone else’s Spidey senses just start to tingle?

Spike tells Kiwi Mark he was sad to see Nimma go and actually thought Mark was going to be the one sent packing. Psychological gamesmanship before your morning coffee should be illegal.

Over in the den of love, Jennifer and Zoi are checking out each other’s sensible shoes. They decide to swap and then swap again. It’s like the gayest thing ever. Then they say that they’re trying to keep their distance from one another. Though to be fair, they didn’t say they were trying to keep their distance from each other’s shoes.

To market, to market — The 15 remaining chefs troop out to Chicago’s Green City Market. Their mission is to use ingredients from the farmer’s market to create a "delicious entrée." (Side note: Wouldn’t it be great if Padma threw them for a loop one of these challenges and said their mission was to create a "truly heinous entrée, like epically bad"? Maybe that’s just me.)

But what is the ever-present catch? The chefs can only use five ingredients. The only items that won’t count toward this number are salt, pepper, sugar and oil.

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