For the Elimination Challenge, the nine cheftestants draw knives to see which course of a typical three-course Italian meal they will be preparing. Antonia, Carla, and Tiffany get the antipasti course; Tre, Dale, and Mike get the primi piatti, and Fabio, Angelo, and Blais get secondi. They will be working at the famous Rao's restaurant and trying to impress Frank Pellegrino, his son Frank Junior, and chef Dino, among others, with their spin on Rao's home-cooked-style Italian food. The three Italians in this competition - Fabio, Antonia, and Mike - all think they have it in the bag. Fabio surprises all by not making gnocchi, and Mike gets ambitious and makes his own fresh rigatoni (pretty impressive that the Top Chef kitchen is equipped with an extruder and dies for doing such a thing, unless he brought his own).
After two hours of prep, the recheftestants head to Rao's for one more hour of cooking. We see the tasting panel assemble: the Pellegrino boys, actress Lorraine Bracco, and some long-time staff of Rao's. The three antipasti chefs go out first with their minestrone, mussels, and polenta, all of which please the judges. The pasta boys go out next and serve overly al dente rigatoni, mushy and unsauced fresh pasta, and clumpy risotto, all of which displease the judges. Finally, the meat boys go out with pancetta cutlets, pork chops, and chicken cacciatore, and get mixed results.
On top are Antonia, Carla, Fabio, and Tiffany. Despite of - or because of - her simple mussel dish, Antonia was given the win. On the bottom were Mike, Dale, and Tre, all of whom could have definitely been out of the competition for their missteps with the primi course. Mike squeaked by with his good sauce and because Tre's over-garnished, too-lumpy risotto was the worst of the three.
Always sad to see Tre go.
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