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Top Chef Chicago: Sam Talbot and Boxed Lunches Send Another NYC Chef Packin’

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Last night’s Top Chef began with an airing of bad vibes throughout the house—everyone commenting that Dale was in fact a “little bitch." But all negativity was temporarily quelled upon arrival at the quickfire, where former cheftestant Sam Talbot stood looking luscious (yet incredibly cheesy) before the young chefs. Antonia for one got slightly hot and bothered. In no effort at subtlety, the challenge was to “put the sexy back into salad,” which was accomplished by Spike as he was declared the winner. For the EC, chefs had to create a healthy boxed lunch for Chicago cops following several stipulations. Spike’s advantage led him to create a mediocre chicken salad, which landed him in the bottom three. Dale took the win with his Vietnamese bison and Stephanie came in second with her mushroom/meatball soup. After a rocky judges’ table, the NYC crew lost another member last night, leaving only 3 remaining to fight it out for a spot in the finale.

Let’s take a look at how our NYC 4 fared last night:

1. Andrew: Andrew’s fruit salad landed him in the middle during the QF, but his antics were zanier than ever in the EC. Taking nutrition a bit too seriously may have been his downfall, as he created a strange salmon maki roll with faux pine nut/parsnip "rice" for Chicago cops. We know the guy used to be chubs/is really into being healthy and all, but it seems he has a serious problem following directions. His dish failed to include a whole grain (one of the stipulations) which Lisa called him out on during judges' table. He got strangely defensive at the judges because they didn’t understand or appreciate the healthfulness of his dish and then deservedly shot back at Lisa for throwing him under the bus. None of this mattered as his dish tasted really bad anyway and he was sent packing.

2. Spike: Spike’s mission to create a salad that would make two people “want to have sex after eating it” landed him a rare quickfire win. Later, in an effort to be as evil as possible, Spike chose basic lunch ingredients like bread, tomato, and lettuce, which could not be used by the other chefs in the EC. However, this plan backfired as his dish was tasteless and uninspired, putting him in the bottom three. Spike got super sassy at Tom for not liking his dish, who reminded him that his opinion is what matters (not the cops’).

3. Lisa: Lisa’s QF dish was among Sam’s least favorites and she was accordingly listed in the bottom three. In the EC, she made a shrimp ‘stir fry’ with brown rice, a dish Andrew questioned for being higher in cholesterol. Then in a shocking twist, a "mystery sabotager" allegedly turned up her burner to high, nearly ruining her brown rice and landing her in the bottom during judges’ table. Aside from the undercooked rice, the shrimp and veggies were also on the raw side and Lisa tried to save her ass by pointing out that Andrew’s dish lacked a whole grain. Apparently her plan worked, however mean-spirited it may have been, and Lisa was spared from elimination.

4. Dale: Dale’s QF dish impressed Talbot although it’s clear that most team members consider him a major enemy. Antonia is “convinced” that Dale only cooks Asian and has no range, and true to her theory he made a Vietnamese-inspired bison dish. To Antonia's dismay, the dish was declared the winner. Re: Lisa's sabotaged rice, Dale thought her rationale was "BS" and that she probably screwed up the rice herself.

Highlights: Andrew and Spike's ridiculous antics, everyone getting pissy at judges' table, Lisa "throwing Andrew under the bus" by calling him out on his missing ingredient, Richard inexplicably asking everyone "if they like burritos," Andrew's overall melodramatic departure.

Outcome: Andrew got the boot for some strange-tasting salmon maki and for not following the rules of the challenge.

—Kelly Dobkin

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