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Top Chef Chicago Debriefing: ...And Jen Makes Four

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Last night's episode of Top Chef was full of comedy improv, weird sexual innuendos, Padma bowl-licking, some very arbitrary (and highly questionable) judging criterion and svelte pastry judges (well, only one of those, but still). With Zoi and Ryan packing their knives in the last two episodes, the original SF Foursome was down to good ol' faux-hawked Jennifer, who did her best to break the San Francisco losing streak. Sigh. Now, on to the recap:

Fallen Comrades: Per normal, the episode started off with the Bravo editors reminding viewers that Jen misses Zoi and is still, in fact, doing "this" for her. Meanwhile, Ryan was missed too, in his own special way, as elfish Andrew mourned the loss of everyone's favorite metrosexual: "The room got a lot uglier. Ryan pretty boy left."

Quickfire Challenge: For the QF, NYC pastry icon Johnny Iuzzini relished his role as guest judge, and the chefs had to make a dessert, "the Achilles heel" of many a cheftestant. Jennifer whipped up some innocuous chocolate cake with chocolate-dipped bananas, and once again, Richard—anyone else notice that everyone simply calls him Blais now?—scored a win, this time with "banana scallops with guac."

Quote of the Episode: By Jen, a theme that was echoed through this episode that saw no big misfires and some costly little hiccups: "I can't be in the middle anymore. I gotta be on top."

Elimination Challenge: The chefs went to Second City and watched some improv, then had to pair up and create a dish based on words shouted out by the show’s audience. Jen immediately joined forces with Stephanie, which probably seemed like a good move at the time, since Stephanie had been near or at the top of most challenges. Their dish: orange turned-on asparagus. What could go wrong?

Evil Lisa: Was it just us, or did this episode feature several instances of a vicious and scary Lisa? She maniacally cackled when the boys discovered that they couldn't use any cooking machines, and then cackled again when others got flustered when the kitchen move was announced. Later at the judges' table, she single-handedly scared the living beejeezus out of Colicchio, thus allowing her to continue (more on that later).

Random Voiceover Quote of the Episode: By Ricky Gervais voice-twin Mark: "Obviously Blais wants to wear pink. Goes well with his skin tone, doesn't it?"

Judgment: Jen and Stephanie decided to go uber-sexual and made a "menage-a-trois" of asparagus, orange and goat cheese, complete with a phallic slice of bread and tons of sexual connotation quotes (thank you, 12-year-old Bravo editors). Unfortunately, even an asparagus-eating demonstration couldn't sway Ted Allen, who said the dish was more of an orgy mess than a menage-a-trois.

Dumb Poll Sidenote: Not as bad as in weeks past, but still silly: "How was Jennifer and Stephanie's presentation? A) Sexylicious B) Funny C) Leave it to the pros"

Winners: Spike and Andrew, for their squash soup interpretation of vanilla yellow love; top winners Dale and Richard, for their green perplexed tofu curry concoction.

Losers: Following their orange orgy, Jen and Stephanie found themselves on the bottom along with Antonia and Lisa, the team that basically took a page out of The Ryan Scott Manual for Cheftestants and ignored the rules of the challenge. Then, in the shenanigan of all shenanigans this season (so far), Jen was sent home for the clumsy composition of the dish.

How Not to Answer Elimination Questions: Judges: "How did you come up with your dish?" Team JB/Stephanie: "We both really like cheese."

Final Thoughts: Sure, we're biased—and also disappointed that the SF chefs dropped like flies—but we really can't understand how Antonia and Lisa escaped elimination, seeing as how their dish incorporated nothing about their improv challenge, not even Polish sausage, which was the given ingredient. To make matters worse, they drank tequila in front of tequila-craving comedians. Finally, can anyone explain why Jen was kicked off instead of Stephanie? Past performance? The bread?
· All Top Chef Coverage [~ESF~]

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