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Top Chef Recap: The Relay, Wedding Wars, and A Long Awaited Elimination

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Now that’s more like it! Last night’s Top Chef was considerably more entertaining than the past few weeks thanks to one of the most ridiculous elimination challenges to date and the return of a favorite quickfire, the relay race (this time with a bonus terrifying monkfish). After an incredibly close race between the two teams, Stephanie pulled ahead in the mayo making, and Dale got so pissed about losing he lost it and punched a locker.

As for the elimination challenge, instead of “restaurant wars” the two teams catered a wedding for two restaurant professionals. Both teams b>pulled a 36-hour day between prepping, cooking, and the event itself. In the end, Nikki’s disorganized team (the groom) went down, and Stephanie’s team (the bride) pulled out on top. Guest judge, top pastry chef Gale Gand of Tru joined our favorite regular Gail at judges’ table. The NYC Crew lost another member last night, but not one that didn’t have it coming.

Let’s check in with our remaining NYC 5:

1. Nikki: Nikki (with some help from Spike) pretty much lost the relay race for the team when she couldn't make mayo fast enough. But the EC was where Nikki really tanked. Nikki refused to step up and take any responsibility for the menu despite being integral in its creation. After judges' table she reprimanded Dale for his behavior, and in the end her refusal to take responsibility, and her inability to make a good showing throughout the entirety of the show, got her canned by the judges.

2. Dale: Dale’s temper and bitchiness were at an all-time high this week, between the locker punching incident in the QF, and a fight with Spike/the judges during judges’ table. Dale had his hands in almost every dish during the long night of cooking, taking responsibility for most dishes. After being provoked by Spike at judges’ table, he went off and got defensive with the judges, arguing that he “busted his ass” and did all of the work for his team.

3. Lisa: Lisa went head-to-head with Antonia in peeling some oranges during the quickfire, “smoking her ass” and giving her team a “killer lead.” Lisa deferred to Nikki during the EC because of her lack of Italian/catering skills. Lisa’s cake (which looked strangely like some Aztec ruins) actually tasted pretty good and she was spared from elimination.

4. Andrew: Andrew provided some decent sound bites this week. He evened out the relay race with his secret artichoke peeling weapon (a peeler), remarking his turn was “where the fire comes in.” We discovered that Andrew’s “culinary boner” was over having to stay up all through the night. Andrew was forced to stay in the kitchen to prevent scaring the guests during the wedding, but his dishes were the two weakest on the team.

5. Spike: Spike and Andrew were sad that their other BFF Mark was no longer with them, but they pressed on to compete "mano e mano" in artichoke peeling during the QF. The man wasn't as evil this week as he tried to make his dysfunctional team work together. Spike’s best moment was during judges’ table when he antagonized Dale into pointing figures and told him he was “such a little bitch.” The judges liked Spike's fish and he survived to cook another week.

Highlights: Andrew’s "culinary boner", Spike and Dale’s bitchy showdown during judges’ table, Dale’s temper tantrum after the QF, Nikki trying to shade out of responsibility, Richard giving his win to Stephanie (and them splitting a Crate and Barrel gift cert).

Outcome: Nikki finally got the boot for a general poor showing and for not stepping up during a challenge that should have been her time to shine.

—Kelly Dobkin

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