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Live-Blogging Top Chef 4.8 April 30, 2008

Posted by Amy Yen in Top Chef, TV.
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9:59 – Previously on Top Chef, Amy had to pass grad school so the live-blog took a back seat to the Project From Hell. Also, Jennifer went home. And hopefully, the absurdly uninteresting doing-it-for-Zoi subplot is mercifully put to bed.

10:00 – You know what’s awesome about watching the title sequence again after not really paying attention to it for a few weeks & learning about the chefs? You really start to see that they did somehow inject their personality into the three seconds they’re on the screen. For instance, Spike looks like an a-hole.

10:01 – Apartment open. We see Mark shave with his hair pulled back. He looks ridiculous.

10:02 – Quickfire time. The guest judge is Art Smith, Oprah’s personal chef. Dale is this week’s mandatory sucking-up-to-the-guest-judge interview, only he didn’t get the memo about how impressed he’s supposed to be with Art, so he just says who he is & not much else. The producers also tell him to mention the product placement Uncle Ben’s rice on the table.

10:03 – The theme of the week is clearly timing. As Art says, a minute in the kitchen is ten minutes to the diner. This is true. My friend & I have this running joke when we go out to dinner, we always want the waiter to just pull our order out of his pocket like as we are ordering it. Alas, this hardly ever happens. Anyway, the Quickfire challenge is to create an entrée in 15 minutes. Predictably, they are expected to use the product placement microwavable rice. Yum.

10:04 – Food frenzy. All the chefs grab rice & shove it in the microwave. Stephanie is making a seafood pancake. She—and now I’m quoting—“doesn’t know what it tastes like, but thinks it looks pretty cool.” Red flag!

10:05 – Antonia is making rice salad, which she insists is really good. She says people think it’s crazy, but they always think it’s good. I definitely think you’re crazy, Antonia.

10:06 – Hands down, utensils up! Tasting. Antonia’s crazy rice salad actually looks pretty good. Art seems to like it. Shockingly, Nikki made comfort fried rice. And when I say shockingly, of course I mean, not at all shockingly. Art thinks Stephanie’s seafood pancake is clever. He also likes Spike’s stuffed stuff. Is there anything Art doesn’t like?

10:08 – Dale’s fried rice with scallops look delicious. I’m getting hungry. Oooh, Art doesn’t like Mark’s dish, or Andrew’s crusty crust thing. Mark, Andrew, Lisa & Stephanie are the bottom. Apparently Stephanie’s pancakes were heavy. Stephanie is bummed to be on the bottom of a Quickfire again. Dude. Haven’t you won like 4 elimination challenges already? What more do you want??

10:10 – Dale’s delicious looking fried rice, Richard and Antonia’s crazy rice salad are on top. Antonia wins immunity. You know, I love the polite golf claps after someone wins.

10:10 – Elimination challenge. Apparently Art has an organization, Common Threads, which tries to bring families back together to eat together. I mean, that’s nice, but I think I will continue to give my money to fighting cancer. I’m just saying.

10:11 – The challenge is create a delicious, nutritious complete dinner for a family of four on a budget of—prepare for an absurd reality show budget—$10. I mean, I spent $10 on a mediocre sandwich for lunch, by myself, let alone for a family of four. And it was neither nutritious OR delicious. I’m getting upset thinking about this.

10:11 – We see back-to-back interviews with Andrew, who says it’s impossible—IMPOSSIBLE!—and Antonia who Tim-Gunns make it work. I like Antonia.

10:16 – This program, in case you somehow missed it, is brought to you by Uncle Bens, who reminds you to eat more rice. WHAT? That’s their tagline? REALLY?

10:16 – Whole Foods shopping trip. Everyone goes for the cheap chicken, except Dale, who tries bratwurst. Interesting. The music becomes kind of whimsical & clueless & we see Stephanie wandering around, not knowing what the hell she is doing. Antonia tells us she is a single mom, which means we are going to be hearing a LOT from Antonia in this challenge.

10:19 – Back in the apartments, Antonia calls her daughter. Oh, God. Antonia tells an incredibly corny knock-knock joke that I refuse to reprint here.

10:20 – Art & Padma come into the kitchen & the music turns ominous. Padma tells them they will have extra help today…little kids wearing adorable branded aprons & chef hats. Antonia LOSES IT. She says they remind her of her daughter. The kids are in the Common Threads program. Okay, I officially don’t understand what this organization does.

10:21 – The kids and chefs pair up & Andrew earns points by calling his kid chef and telling him it’s an honor to work with him. We see the chefs act adorably with the kids. Antonia immediately gives her kid a big knife & gives him a ton of vegetables to cut. Spike’s kid immediately cuts himself. Oh, touché, Spike. Mark crazy-talks to his kid & it’s exactly like how he crazy-talks to adults.

10:24 – This week, there is a lot less food frenzy & a lot more cute chef/kid interaction, which is a nice change of pace. Tom C comes in for consultations. He is not so much sweet to the kids so much as he is his same old stoic, questioning self. Tom says he’s sticking around to observe today. Time runs out & the kids all high-five the chefs & it’s pretty cute.

10:33 – The chefs are serving to other kids from Common Threads. It’s pretty neat. I really like the guest judge, Art, he’s mostly pretty positive. We see poor Tom C eating by himself in the kitchen.

10:35 – Dale’s kid, Emanuel, adorably says he & Dale worked really hard on the dish. The other kids at his table say it’s good, although the judges think it’s too acidic.

10:36 – Nikki restates that she was raised by a single parent. Art eats it up. Mark introduces his kid & Gail Simmons beams a high-voltage watt smile at her. Their curry lacks protein & is too sweet. Meanwhile, after all the build-up, they spend four seconds showing Antonia serving. However, they are able to get in that this is “real life” for her.

10:38 – Stephanie’s kid is meh about her dish & it’s painfully obviously…awkward. The judges agree with the kid.

10:39 – Tom C joins the judges at the table. They like Nikki’s dish & Antonia’s “real life” dish, and dislike Lisa & Stephanie.

10:40 – WHAT?? Richard says that after working with the kids today & seeing Antonia cry, he wants to go home & make some babies. …WHAT?? Did that just happen? Why would you say that to us? Man, there are a lot of crazy chefs this season.

10:45 – Padma, who is wearing really cute boots, calls Andrew, Nikki & Antonia. I don’t remember what Andrew served. They are obviously the favorites. You know, Nikki’s comfort food one-note is really perfect for this challenge. The judges are sure to spend plenty of time praising Antonia’s dish. And she wins. Of course.

10:47 – Antonia sends back Lisa, Stephanie & Mark. Tom C didn’t like the peanut butter + tomato combo…I agree, that sounds disgusting. Mark says he doesn’t know why he’s there & thinks that Tom doesn’t like him. For serious? The judges laugh, then realize he is serious & therefore, really doesn’t know that his dish sucks. Touche, Mark. It’s been nice knowing your craziness. Lisa’s beets were inedible & her beans were under-flavored. She tries to explain that her dish was healthy, but the chefs was reject her out to the half court.

10:51 – Deliberation. The judges seems to take offense to Lisa’s defensiveness. They don’t spend as much time on Mark as I thought they would. Padma says that Stephanie’s dish was “disgusting” & she “detested it.” Whoa. Tell us how you really feel, Padma. Wow, are they serious about getting rid of Stephanie?

10:57 – Tom C’s self-esteem destruction speech. Mark, please pack your knives & go! Aww! The crazy Australian. That’s a shame. I will miss your crazy craziness! Tom C makes sure to point out that he doesn’t hate Mark. Whatev, Tom.

10:59 – Next time on Top Chef…ominous music! Cooking for 14 hours! Wedding! Lisa vs Dale, part 2! Dale slamming his hand into a wall! DRAMA!

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