This week, the sixteen remaining Season 8 cheftestants met up at the Top Chef kitchen to find Padma with David Chang, renowned chef/owner of the Momofuku empire. He is there to judge the Quickfire, which is a race. Not a relay race as in past seasons, because this time everyone works at the same time in order to chop a butt-load of garlic, cut lamb into chops, and turn artichokes. The first team to complete all three tasks then has fifteen minutes to cook a dish with those ingredients while the other teams continue to struggle with their mise en place. Consequently, each team that finishes after the first team will have less time to complete their dish.
Padma decided the teams would be formed by the way the chefs stood next to each other when they filed into the room. It panned out like this:
Green Team: Angelo, Fabio, Tiffany, Mike
White Team: Dale T, Carla, Marcel, Tiffani
Red Team: Antonio, Casey, Dale L., Jamie
Blue Team: Stephen, Spike, Blais, Tre
After many minutes of simultaneous frenzy, the Green Team finishes first and starts the fifteen minute timer. Blue finishes next, then red, then white who ends up with only about 8 minutes of cooking time. Padma and David come in to taste; despite their first place finish, the Green Team produces one of the two worst dishes, as does Red Team. Blue and White are favorites, with Blue getting the win for their dish. They do not get immunity from elimination in the next challenge, but they do get a cool $5000 each.
For the Elimination Challenge, the teams draw knives to pick one of four hot New York restaurants in which they will first dine and then cook. Team Green gets David Chang's newest restaurant Ma Peche, Team Red draws David Burke's Townhouse, Team Blue gets Marea, and Team White has WD-50. They will not work as a team, but will compete against each other.
That evening, each team has dinner at their restaurant to get a feel of the kind of food it serves. Part of the challenge is to create a dish that the restaurant would be proud to put on their menu. The next day, they have two hours to cook. Needless to say, Fabio and Carla are a bit outside of their comfort zone cooking in Ma Peche and WD-50, respectively, while Stephen and Angelo seem to have advantages with Marea and Ma Peche.
The judges go around the city in a cab, dining first at Marea, then Ma Peche, Townhouse, and WD-50. Along for the ride with Padma, Tom, and Bourdain is Food & Wine's Kate Krader, and the chef/owner of each restaurant acts as an additional judge. There seem to be few really horrible dishes in the lot, but Fabio, Dale L, Stephen, and Tiffani manage to end up as the worst from each team. On top are Dale T, Angelo, Tre, and Antonia. While each of the four restaurants would be proud to feature these cheftestants' dishes on their menu, Dale Talde takes the top honors with his egg and pork belly dish for WD-50; he also gets a 6-day trip to New Zealand. Pretty cool.
Since this episode was billed as having a shocking elimination, I feared that Fabio would be one to go, but that was not the case. Instead, Dale L and Stephen both were sent packing for their dishes.
So were you shocked? What did you think about this episode? Please tell us in the comments.