9/13/2012 03:51:00 PM

Top Chef Season 4, Episode 8: And Then There Were Three

There were only four cheftestants left and host Curtis Stone wastes no time carving the group in two for the Quickfire Challenge

It’s Kerry Heffernan and Lorena Garcia against Chris Cosentino and Patricia Yeo, but (TWIST!) more than just the chefs are divided in two. The kitchen was split in half, too. One teammate from each team had to stay on the pantry side, while the other manned the burners.

Patricia and Chris work so well together, it almost seems like they’ve been practicing... Oh yeah! Patricia was Chris’ boss way back when.

Meanwhile, Kerry and Lorena are having all sorts of problems. Kerry seems more focused on his own dish than Lorena’s and tells her he can’t cook her shrimp and salmon at the same time. Lorena, for her part, holds the kvetching for the confessional.

“I can cook six dishes on the line at the same time,” she tells the camera, bemoaning Kerry’s culinary plodding. In the end, one of her dishes was indeed incomplete.

In one of the odder guest judge appearances in recent Top Chef Masters memory, Johnny Avello, oddsmaker for Las Vegas’ Wynn Casino, joins Curtis in trying the food. The judges note the incompleteness of Lorena’s dish, and then in a grand bit of irony, choose the Lorena-Kerry team as winners, because of how much they enjoyed Kerry’s farfalle with shrimp.

The winners split $5,000 between their charities.

On to the Elimination Challenge. They’re told they’ll be preparing picnic dinners for Diner en Blanc, a group that essentially does flash mob-style dining. 300 eaters will descend upon the Venetian Las Vegas, clad in all white and with tables and chairs in hand, ready to eat.

The chefs each need to prepare three courses for 75 of the diners. Although there are no teams for this challenge, on the car ride to Whole Foods, Chris and Patricia collude about recipes, while Kerry and Lorena go the way of lone wolves.

Chris and Patricia are so chummy, that she actually lends him some cash when he goes over budget at the store. Lorena stared darts of Cantina Bell fire sauce at the transaction.

While prepping, the chefs are all nervous that their food won’t keep overnight, and Kerry reveals that he learned his cold cauliflower soup recipe from an unlikely source: HILLARY CLINTON.

The Secretary of State likes to use the soup as a substitute for cream, according to Kerry.

As the chefs are setting up their picnic dinner the next day, the 300 patrons arrive. To the uninitiated, Diner en Blanc looks like a cross between a cult and a Tom Wolfe fan convention. The whole “everyone in white” thing is schticky.

As dinner is served a creepy French clown wanders around doing creepy French clown things like tapping people on their shoulders and winking.

When the judges arrive, we meet Sandy Safi and Aymeric Pasquier, Diner en Blanc’s hosts.
Lorena serves Huancaina-style potato salad with aji amarillo and cilantro; jerk chicken salad with mango; and jalapeno chocolate mousse with raspberries and whipped cream.

Although diners seem to like Lorena’s chicken salad, the critics say it’s “too sweet.”

Patricia’s dinner was inspired by the Silk Road, which brought Marco Polo from Italy to Asia. She made daikon, radish and edamame salad; bison with chili jam; and sumac-dusted flatbread with curried cauliflower and red lentils.

The judges seemed to find Patricia’s flatbread irredeemable and struggled to get the food out of her picnic boxes. Uh oh!

Chris serves swordfish with green beans, tomatoes and olives; marinated wild mushrooms with toasted pine nuts; and pork and chicken liver pate with hazelnuts and truffles.

The chefs think Chris’ pate is the bomb. Aymeric, who’s from Paris, says it's the best pate he's ever eaten.
When Kerry serves his guests, he tries explaining things in French, but these people are in Nevada and look dumbfounded. He made Clinton’s cauliflower soup with saffron coulis; hericot vert and orzo with pesto; and grilled chicken and kielbasa with peppers.

Everyone seems to love everything about Kerry’s meal.

At the critics table, Kerry’s cauliflower soup and Chris’ pate get major odes, but ultimately Chris is proclaimed the victor. $10,000 goes to his charity.

Unfortunately, the fun ended when he realized his mentor, Patricia, was in the bottom two with Lorena.
Here it is. The big showdown. Patricia v. Lorena, the umpteenth round. Patricia says, "the better person will stay in the competition."

Lorena stays in the competition.


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