As we saw in the preview of next week’s hand-holding judges’ table, the finale is a mere two episodes away and our NYC cheftestants are dropping like flies. In last night’s quickfire, the chefs had to work the short order egg station at Chi-town breakfast spot Lou Mitchell’s, and in the end Antonia pulled out a solid win, with Dale a close second. The elimination challenge, Restaurant Wars, could have been a great bit of television but devolved into a straight up shitshow, intentionally edited to draw out the conflict. It also yielded one of the most painful-to-watch judges table eliminations, as the loser team went at each other like animals and exposed themselves as more hateful than any previous Top Chef villains. Meanwhile the gawky/acid-tongued Anthony Bourdain judged in the stead of Tommy C, and Spanish chef Jose Andres showed up as guest judge. The team of Antonia, Stephanie, and Richard were clear winners from the get-go. And of course another NYC cast member got the ax.
Let's check in with our remaining NYC crew:
1. Dale: Dale coasted through the quickfire, coming in runner-up to Antonia. But the real challenge was during the EC, as the team combo of Lisa, Dale, and Spike seemed disastrous from the start. Trouble started when Lisa’s rice got screwed up yet again and the bickering began between her and Dale. Their squabbling at judges’ table and thereafter didn’t change the fact that most of the dishes they put out looked god-awful, including Dale’s butterscotch scallops and mucky-looking halo halo. Even though he has been a much stronger chef than Lisa throughout the competition, Dale was sent packing. He also cried.
2. Spike: Spike skated by the quickfire and got a lot of camera time this ep in general. As GM of “Mai Buddha,” Spike set up the restaurant and generally avoided the shitshow going on in the kitchen between Dale and Lisa—proving to be a very wise move. Generally he did a good job of schmoozing with guests and expediting with a hectic and very unpleasant kitchen environment. Bourdain didn't like the napkins, which reminded him of "Prince's van," but that was the least of this team's worries.
3. Lisa: Lisa nearly set a Styrofoam container aflame during the quickfire, but her most fiery moments last night were during the EC. She and Dale butt heads about sticky rice among other things, but the real angst came out during judges’ table. The judges pointed out her inability to take criticism as one of her major flaws, something Dale mentioned earlier in the ep. We thought for sure she was getting the ax last, but somehow avoided elimination yet another week. We're also getting the sneaking suspicion that producers may have chosen her in the casting for her difficult nature and inability to get along with others.
Highlights: Padma’s cheesiness in announcing the return of Restaurant Wars, all of Bourdain’s commentary, Spike in a suit, Lisa and Dale's judges table implosion, Dale crying at the end.
Outcome: Dale was sent home for failing as executive chef.