“Top Chef” Recap: Episode 4.11 “Restaurant Wars”

Quickfire: How you like your eggs?
Elimination: War is not the answer.
Padmaism: “We’re not joking around here on Top Chef.”

Wake up, sleepy heads — Tom Colicchio enters the house in the wee small hours of the morning. The six remaining sleepy cheftestants are surprised out of their slumber at 5:45 a.m. They look thrilled.

So, why the early wake-up call? Well, Quickfire, of course. They will be working the egg station at one of Chicago’s most popular breakfast joints.

Spike: Egg cookery is the most precise cooking technique there is, especially on a short-order line. It’s a tough job, and any chef will tell you that.

As the chefs all quickly dress and prepare to leave, Spike has one last bon mot.

Spike: Let’s get the egg out of here.

Ahh, eggs. Hard to cook with, harder to pun with.

Don’t burn the toast — The chefs arrive at Lou Mitchell’s, a Chicago institution since 1935. The place is bustling. Sitting at the counter is Tom, who introduces the chefs to owner Helene. She will watch each chef as they take a turn at the egg station and then pick the one she would hire as the winner.

Helene looks like she means business. She introduces the chefs to “The Hole,” a colorful and not entirely affectionate name for the high-paced egg station. The chefs get a few minutes to watch the restaurant’s cook whip out orders, and then it’s time to break some eggs.

Antonia is up first. Already, her attitude matches the no-nonsense challenge. Well, at the very least her T-shirt has the right idea. Yo Biotch, indeed!

She handles her time in The Hole with what seems like ease. Now let’s see how the rest of our chefs fare.

Last one in is a rotten egg — The remaining chefs’ time in egg hell is cut into a montage of varying degrees of ineptitude. Stephanie loses sight of her eggs in a murky poaching pot. Richard doesn’t know the lingo. Lisa almost burns down the building — her Styrofoam to-go box got a little too close to an open flame. On the plus side, she may have invented a new dish: eggs flambé.

Spike is up, and I hear a lot of cussing. What else is new? And then Dale brags about how everything is working out pretty well during his turn. Again, what else is new?