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

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THIS WEEK’S KITCHEN ESSENTIALS:

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

Chef
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

represent.

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

indeed.

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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