“Top Chef” Recaps: Episode 4.3 “Block Party”


Quickfire: Yo quiero Taco Bell.
Elimination: Won’t you be my neighbor?
Padmaism: "The wonton was genius."

Boys will be boys — It’s morning in the casa and
Spike and Andrew have apparently turned 14 overnight. They slap each other with
towels and mock-wrestle. Look, desirable 18-25-year-old demographic, Top
is just like The Real World. Later they’ll all get in
the hot tub and make out. Please, watch our show.

While the boys parade around half-naked, the women (fully
clothed) bemoan the loss of one of their sisters, Valerie, in the last
Elimination Challenge.

Stephanie: It’s definitely a little sad to see, like,
another woman leaving. We all just want a woman to make it to the finals and to

Amen, sister, amen.

Chefbian couple Jennifer and Zoi share another snuggle
moment on the bed. I notice they’ve taken a bottom bunk; very wise, very wise

Zoi muses on the state of female chefs in the food industry.

Zoi: It’s not common to have one lesbian in the
kitchen; it’s not common to have one woman in the kitchen. That I think
is probably the biggest struggle as a female, is just to break people’s image
of what a chef is.

The producers then cut to Spike and Andrew faux-smashing
each other into a wall. Yep, they look like chefs to me. Andrew explains his
actions by saying he thinks part of the job of being a chef is also to be an
entertainer. Hmm, last time I checked no one wanted their steak cooked by Bobo
the Clown.

Run for the border — Enough horsing around; time to
cook. The Quickfire brings back Padma and new guest judge Rick Bayless,
chef/owner of Chicago
restaurants Frontera Grill and Topolobampo. Bayless is known for turning
Mexican food into fine dining, ergo the challenge is to — you guessed it — turn
Mexican food into fine dining.

Our 14 remaining cheftestants must take on the simple taco
and reinvent it as a gourmet dish. Great, would you like mild, hot or fire
sauce with that?

Erik — he of the neck tattoo, blingy chain and silly hat —
immediately has a problem with the concept.

Erik: Mexican food is about the people and it’s about
the streets. It’s a soulful kind of a thing. To put fine dining in it, it just
kind of bugs me.

OK, so Mexican food can’t be fancy? A whole country’s cuisine
and none of it is gourmet? It’s all from the street? Dude, you’ve eaten
at way too many taco trucks.

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