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Top Chef Chicago: First New Yorker Gets the Ax

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Last night’s Top Chef may have been the most random albeit most entertaining one yet—Daniel Boulud, Richard Roeper, a basket of greens, and movie-inspired dishes were all on the menu during this bizarre 4th ep. As usual, the spazzy antics of the young chefs did not disappoint: bitching, flailing, and clawing their way through this "cinema-themed" episode. A quick summary is up ahead followed by a breakdown of the ever-prominent NYC 7, who saw their first head roll last night.

Summary: As previously mentioned, Top Chef regular Daniel Boulud, (D-Biggity if you will), was front and center at the start of the quickfire. Bonus Info: We learned/were reminded that Ryan and Richard had both worked in one of his restaurants. Apparently Boulud’s style just wasn’t “Ryan’s thing.” Shocker. The QF challenge was to create a veggie plate using 3 classical techniques to impress D-Biggs. After whining about their lack of technical skills by many cheftestants, Dale pulled off his first win. Then, in a total segue of theme, the elimination challenge was to create a 6 course meal for Richard Roeper and Aisha Tyler, each course done by a different pair of chefs and inspired by a different film. (Who comes up with this stuff?) In the end, Richard, Andrew, and Dale's Willy Wonka dish was the winner, Padma's outfit was a feat in itself, and a panel of eight randoms accompanied the judges at the dinner table.

Let’s check out what went down for our NYC crew members:

1) Dale: Last night was really Dale's time to shine. He was "chomping at the bit" for a win, and he finally got it after he destroyed in the quickfire. Then later, he pulled out a win with Richard and Andrew for their Willy Wonka-themed first course. Dale had no time for Andrew’s shenanigans however, begging him not to dress up like an Oompa Loompa upon presentation of their dish. Thank god for that.

2) Lisa: Frumpy Lisa’s track record is a bit all over the place and last night was no exception. After finishing in the bottom three during the QF, she ended up placing second in the elimination challenge for her and Stephanie’s “Top Secret Beef.” PS: Stephanie mentioned three times that Lisa has a very “strong personality?” Is she really weird?

3) Andrew: Andrew was spazzy yet skillful as ever this week. He ended up in the winning Willy Wonka team with Richard and Dale, but professed his desire for dressing up like a midget/oompa loompa for the elimination challenge.

4) Spike: Spike's hipster cockiness was crushed last night, as he was nearly eliminated for some weak summer rolls. Pretty much all the blame fell on his shoulders as he created the dish and the theme (Good Morning Vietnam, obvi) and yet wasn’t sent home for its failure. Something’s definitely up here. Oh right, this is television. Producers have made Spike a "main character", and we all know you can't kill those off during the first act.

5) Manuel: Burly Memo said adios this week more for being a weak character than anything else. The failing dish was mostly credited to Spike, but they got Manuel for being too "passive." Tough break: first fired from Dos and then sent home after only four episodes. He also ended up in the bottom of the quickfire for some lacking technical skills. But on the bright side, at least he pronounced "cilantro" correctly.

6) Nikki: For the first time in probably the entire season, Nikki's dish for the EC wasn't one of the most god-awful looking food we've ever seen. She and Jennifer ran with an Italian theme, and created some pretty decent looking pasta. Naturally she got nailed in the QF for her dismal technical abilities. The clock is ticking on this one. We'll give her two more episodes, max, before she packs her knives.

7) Mark: Frodo appeared to be stoned for the latter part of the challenge particularly during the “movie discussion” with Ryan, one of the more humorous scenes from last night. He skated by in the QF, and his EC dish with Ryan was one of the judges' favorites; although their movie discussion, which included such ideas as "Dumb and Dumber" and "Old School" stupified everyone watching and seemed highly telling of future doom.

Highlights: Andrew borrowing Spike’s beloved fedora and kneeling into his shoes trying to imitate an Oompa Loompa, Manuel’s melodramatic goodbye speech after getting the boot, Mark and Ryan’s idiotic movie discussion, in which Ryan exclaimed to us: "New England, New Zealand...where the hell was Mark from?"

Outcome: Memo got the boot for not standing up to Spike and for a weak showing up until now.

—Kelly Dobkin

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