Friday, May 23, 2008

"Top Chef: Chicago" 5/21

Only six contestants were left.

Quickfire: The remaining six went to Lou Mitchell's to work a short order egg station. Heline, the owner of the restaurant, determined who the winner was, based on whom she might hire the most if this had been a job interview.

The top two were Antonia and Dale. The winner was...

...Antonia Lofaso!

Elimination Challenge: Tom Colicchio didn't oversee this challenge because he had to be at a charity event at the time of this taping. Here, it was the ever-popular Restaurant Wars challenge! This time, two teams of three competed. Each team got a $1,500 budget for food and a $5,000 budget for decor.

Antonia Lofaso chose Stephanie Izard and Richard Blais, which sounded like good choices, because they're the only three-time Elimination Challenge winners so far this season. Hence, the other team consisted of Dale Talde, Spike Mendelsohn and Lisa Fernandes.

Mai Buddha was ran by Dale, Spike and Lisa, and the concept of their food was Asian Fusion. The Warehouse Kitchen was ran by Antonia, Stephanie and Richard, and the concept for their cuisine was Gastro Pub.

The guest head judge this week in place of Tom was Anthony Bourdain. Another guest judge this round was Jose Andres, the chef who hosts "Made in Spain" on PBS.

We started with the Warehouse Kitchen.

1. Beef salad with goat cheese and ras el handut spices
2. Linguine and clams with sausage and horseradish creme fraiche

1. Trout with cauliflower and hazelnut brown butter
2. Lamb loin and braised lamb shank with Jerusalem artichoke and spiced honey

1. Gorgonzola cheesecake with sweet potato puree and corncord grape sauce
2. Banana "scallops" with banana guacamole and chocolate ice cream

The first and second courses were said to have been really good, while the desserts weren't quite as good. Now, for Mai Buddha.

1. Spicy coconut shrimp laksa
2. Pork and pickled plum pot stickers (aka homemade dumplings)

1. Braised short ribs with pickled red cabbage and apple basil salad
2. Butterscotch miso scallops, spicy eggplant and pickled long beans

1. Halo-halo with cantaloupe, coconut, kiwi, avocado and candied nuts
2. Mango sticky rice with toasted coconut

By a landslide, the Warehouse Kitchen won! That meant no matter who the solo winner was, that person would set some sort of milestone on the show. And that person was...

...Stephanie Izard! She is the first four-time Elimination Challenge winner EVER on this show! Also, she won a culinary tour of Barcelona for two as well as a guided wine tasting tour for two!

Now, did El Cheapo, aka Spike Mendelsohn, go down this week?...

...NO. His latest victim was...

...Dale Talde. Too bad he didn't too a temper tantrum when host Padma Lakshimi told him to "Please pack your knives and go". Oh well.
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