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Top Chef Chicago: Shocking Elimination Spares All 6 NYers

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All six New York chefs held strong again this week in the face of some difficult competition. Last night was a serious reality check as there were almost no mistakes in either challenge and the judges were forced to make a decision based on more minor criterion. NYC “pastry icon” Johnny Iuzzini was on hand as guest judge during the QF in which the chefs had to make a dessert, (“the Achilles heel” of many a cheftestant,) while competing for a spot in the Top Chef cookbook, (another tactful product placement.) Johnny gave Richard the win for his “banana scallops with guac.”

For the EC, 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. Ted Allen, who can’t ever shut up about his love for bacon, was also back last night in the EC judges’ table. Dale and Richard’s green perplexed tofu was declared the winner, with runners-up Spike and Andrew. Interestingly enough, it turned out to be kind of a battle of the sexes—with all boys teams on top, and the girls teams of Stephanie/Jen, and Antonia/Lisa on the chopping block.

Let’s look at how our NYC 6 did last night:

1. Spike: Spike’s cockiness was a tad less overbearing this week, but his ambitious chocolate/coconut soufflé was in the bottom of the QF. After avoiding immune Richard, he paired up with BFF Andrew for the EC. Free of the tyrannical reign of Antonia, Spike finally got to make his squash soup, this time with some Vanilla Love. The two “vanilla lovers” were among the judges’ favorites, (Padma wanted to lick her bowl) and Spike avoided elimination yet again.

2. Andrew: After making a passable QF dish, Andrew paired up with butt buddy Spike for the EC and churned out a “bangin’ perfect soup” despite the presence of any electrical equipment. Spike and Andrew blushed and talked about their love for each other during judges’ table and Andrew made it through yet another week.

3. Dale: Dale continues to be on a roll this week, and looks to be the one to beat. In the QF his shaved ice dessert was in the top 3. He also was integral in the creation of the Perplexed Green Tofu, with his killer curry sauce, which ended up winning the EC.

4. Nikki: Nikki who "likes to order multiple desserts", skated by the QF relatively unscathed with her Buttermilk Cake and berry sauce. At Second City, brilliant as usual, she was able to predict that the improv routine would be the basis for the elimination challenge, (because random social outings NEVER have to do with challenge.) Nikki and Mark’s depressed purple bacon was a hit and both of them ended up surviving yet another week.

5. Lisa: Lisa “swore she would never do a pastry in this competition,” but she also swore during nearly every scene in last night’s episode with F-bombs left and right. She ended up in the middle during the QF, but paired up with Antonia for the EC, refusing to “dumb down” her food by actually using Polish Sausage (the ingredient given.) These feisty ladies decided to make sea bass and chorizo with a side of tequila (huh?) as their interp of a Magenta Drunken Polish Sausage. However, the judges didn’t buy their ‘improv act’ and their dish ended up in the bottom two.

6. Mark: Frodo’s QF dessert, featuring pavlovas with Australian wattleseed didn’t impress Johnny whatsoever and he ended up in the bottom three. After slowly and gratuitously reciting a list of all the comedians to come out of Second City, he paired up with Nikki to interpret “Depressed Purple Bacon.” Nikki’s sunglass-wearing ways must have rubbed off on Mark, who needlessly wore his shades in nearly every scene this week. Mark declared their dish “damn sexy” and the judges apparently thought so too. He escaped elimination for yet another week.

Highlights: Spike and Andrew’s homoerotic antics, Jen and Stephanie’s ‘sexed up’ presentation to the judges, more bad jokes from Richard, and that Second City guy saying he loves polish sausage and telling Ted Allen “not to take that the wrong way.” (Don’t worry, he’s not Polish.)

Outcome: Surprisingly, Jen was sent home for making the 'clumsy' bread in her team's weak asparagus dish.

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