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Top Chef Chicago: NYers Barely Escape the Ax

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These Polls Are Getting Ridic

Things are getting more tense on Top Chef after last week’s bitter smackdown. This week our cheftestants stepped it up with mostly above-average food, a tad more civility (except for Spike), and a whole assortment of bizarre hijinks. Up next, a summary of last night’s sports-themed ep, followed by our weekly check-in with the NYC 6, who again nearly escaped another elimination.

Summary: Last night’s episode started out with another confrontation between Dale and Lisa, Jennifer talking about missing Zoi, and Spike discussing how talented he is. In the Quickfire, the contestants created dished that paired perfectly with beer, conveniently offering an outlet for more product placement. Chicago Chef Koren "poker face" Grieveson of Avec presided as guest judge, and when all was said and done, Jen pulled out the QF win for shrimp beignets. For the Elimination Challenge, the chefs catered a Chicago Bears tailgate party, which was oddly reminiscent of the recent block party challenge. This time it was a solo challenge which made for less cattiness but still plenty of screw-ups and silliness. Dale ended up winning for his spicy ribs, and Ryan the charmer got the ax. Judge Paul Kahan of Chicago's Blackbird and Avec joined Gail and the usual twosome of TC and Pads.

Let’s see how our NYC 6 behaved last night:

1. Andrew: This week the old Andrew was back and spazzier than ever. After skating by in the QF, Andrew sported a Chicago Bears helmet at the tailgate party. Just remember, “cooking is his sport, and this is his house.” The judges were pretty happy with his cooking although Tom “wasn’t sure about this parsnip puree” and Gail thinks that: “he’s a trip, man.”

2. Spike: Spike was really showing his villain side this week. At the beginning he noted that people think he should have gone home, but that they’re just jealous because “he’s a talented dude.” His QF entry of charcuterie and clams didn’t impress Koren and he ended up in the bottom three, after which he bitterly declared: “Yay lesbians!” about Jen’s win. Right before the EC, he took a bubble bath with Mark while drinking cheap champagne. This incident disturbed the other cheftestants but seemed like more of a ploy for camera time than anything else. After “attacking his prep work” before the EC, his dish fell somewhere in the middle and he was spared yet again.

3. Lisa: After getting a weak apology from Dale and remarking that he can go “F himself,” Lisa reveled in Dale’s bottom three status in the QF with her comment of "Good, bitch." She was confident in her BBQ skills, and her skirt steak and corn cake went over pretty well in the tailgate challenge.

4. Nikki: Nikki, who wears her sunglasses at night, (or at the grocery store), was in the bottom three during the QF. Later she came up with the “brilliant idea” to make a sausage and pepper hero, (out of the box for an "Italian girl") and by make she meant?grill a pre-made sausage and top with peppers and onions. Her laziness almost got her sent home. It is unfathomable to us that she is still on this show.

5. Mark: Frodo the stoner admitted to being kind of a drunk during the QF. He bragged about his "testicular fortitude" in using the charcoal grill in the EC but his food and presentation was a total shitshow. Using the same spoon to taste and to serve people? Dicey. Needless to say, Mark was very close to getting axed this week.

6. Dale: After last week's yelling and crotch-grabbing incident, Dale berated Lisa for being a negative person, a speech which he likes to call an "apology" but was anything but. His dish in the QF ended up in the bottom three and Dale was seething. During the EC he gushed about being a huge Chicago Bears fan and made some ribs which were a fan favorite. Dale was declared the winner by the judges and received a tiny Top Chef jersey and a free really expensive grill.

Highlights: Jen acknowledging her shark-like faux hawk and choosing her QF beer accordingly. Mark and Spike's bubble bath. Ryan admitting to being a metrosexual. Dale trying to talk to the Chicago Bears players but receiving a response of: "just give me them ribs."

Outcome: Ryan was sent packing for refusing to actually do the challenge/just cooking whatever he wanted.
—Kelly Dobkin
· All Top Chef Coverage [~E~]

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