“Top Chef” Recaps: Episode 4.8 “Common Threads”

Quickfire: Your
15 minutes of fame starts now.
Elimination: Child labor laws be damned.

“I need sauce and I need this chicken to not be so tough.”

Last lesbian standing
And then there was one, one chefbian that is. Lisa, our sole lesbian left
in the dwindling field of nine contestants, is doing her best James Dean while
smoking a cigarette alone on the patio. The female chefs’ bunk is starting to
look mighty empty.

Jennifer’s departure gives Stephanie pause. She realizes it
could just as easily have been her packing her knives and going home instead.

Stephanie: There
are a lot of people gone. It’s been a long haul so far, and we’re only like
halfway through to get to the finals … I’m lucky to still be here, so I just
need to prove that I am actually supposed to be here.

While Stephanie takes the road of penitence after her
near-elimination, Antonia takes the road of righteousness.

Antonia: I wake
up this morning like fired up because I am done doubting my flavor compositions
in my head … I woke up this morning and I was like, f— everybody. I came here
to win.

Oprah’s (Recipe) Book
Club —
When the chefs enter the Top
Kitchen, greeting them is Padma along with Oprah’s personal chef/today’s
guest judge, Art Smith. Art is apparently known for his simple and healthy

But before the chefs can ask him about The Secret or Tom Cruise or what Oprah is really like with Gayle at
home, Padma tells them time is of the essence in this challenge. Seems that
this Quickfire is really quick. The chefs have 15 minutes to create a “fabulous

But don’t fret, says Padma, they get a little help. What
could it be? A third arm? The ability to stop time? Roller skates? Nope, rice.
But not just any rice, Uncle Ben’s Ready Rice. This is rice so ready it only
takes 90 seconds to cook.

I’m telling you, Top
producers, just invest in that big, blinking “BUY THIS!”
neon sign I
mentioned last episode, and you can save your cheftestants untold future
grief and heartache from these crazy product placement challenges.

And they’re off —
With a scant 15 minutes to cook and only instant rice on their side, the chefs
scramble to prepare their dishes. What ensues is a lot of running around and
screaming “Behind! Behind! Behind!” as they whiz pass each other.
Man, I know there’s a dirty joke in there somewhere.

The cheftestants have to think on their feet. Stephanie is
going original with a rice pancake she has never tried before. Spike is
sticking to his Greek roots and making stuffed tomatoes. And Antonia is going
comfort food with one of her mother’s favorite recipes, rice salad.