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Top Chef: Chicago, Episode 10: Welcome to Spike’s Headwear Emporium


Spike shops very awkwardly and sends a taunting wave to his competitors. He says that his strategy is to pick ingredients to block others: chicken breast, bread, tomato and lettuce. Moron. Come on, cook your own food. As Antonia once said, Stand By Your Dish! Antonia THs that if he doesn’t use tomatoes, he’s going straight to hell and that is just mean. She rightfully adds that the fact that he is thinking about ways to “screw us up” means that he hasn’t been putting thought into his own dish.

Spike informs them of his choice and lies that “this is nothing personal – it’s a dish I want to make.” He THs with the old do-rag that he wants to see them “try making a lunch box with no chicken, tomato, lettuce or bread.” He then laughs evilly like a cartoon character. Andrew thinks Spike picked the “dumbed down” components that you would use in a lunch box and that the other chefs are too stupid to be creative.

With Andrew, Spike and Lisa insulting the other chefs – chefs that have repeatedly kicked their collective asses all season – I hope they watch this at home and are mortified to the point that they cannot come out of their apartments. Sadly, I expect that they still think that they were right.

Antonia goes for lean ground beef. Steph says that she is now screwed by Spike. Ew. Lisa changes to ground turkey and for the first of many times refers to her dish as a stir fry. She is also adding shrimp. Rich is formulating his plan as they go. It will be a burrito, but with bok choy and tuna.

Did you know that Andrew studied nutrition for two years? He says that while the others ran around he “walked around like a dart” and found what he wanted. He is proud of something he bought while in line and demands that Steph experience the “smell of success” as he shoves it in her face. Kudos to her for not shoving it back somewhere else.

Cooking! They are supposed to give the cops instructions on how long to heat things in the microwave. I would make fun if it wasn’t exactly the conversation I have with my wife regarding leftovers. Antonia says that they have two hours to cook, and she did well on the last healthy challenge and she does well at home with these tasks.

Andrew is making a “Rice” substitute of pureed parsnip and pine nuts. He wants to win and show who “is the man.” Whatever. Steph sees Andrew rolling sushi and correctly states that it doesn’t seem like a hearty lunch. She adds that it wouldn’t be for her. I think I am hoping for Antonia, Steph and Rich to make the finals.

Dale is making lettuce cups and bison and a lot of other stuff. Bison has 50 percent less fat and cholesterol and is actually quite good. Antonia says that he only does Asian food and it will be his downfall. Just like Ilan and Hung, right Antonia?

Lisa is going with all veggie and some shrimp. She is also making brown rice, and starting to cook early. I’m trying to check the heat on her pot on a freeze frame but I can see nothing.

Andrew tells Lisa that shrimp may have too much cholesterol for this challenge. She quotes the rules and says that a small amount of shrimp should be ok. She is still remembering past challenges that found her in the bottom for technicalities. I can remember the Improv and Movie challenges especially. As a result, she has become a stickler for the rules.

Tom arrives and approaches Steph. She describes her soup, appetizing to many I am sure, but the mushrooms are a deal breaker to me. She says it is a cold day and should fill up well. I will admit to being dubious about soup in this challenge because I thought convenience would be a factor. It wasn’t and thus soup becomes a great idea.

Lisa calls her dish a stir fry to Tom’s face and gives Tom some of her Chinese hot sauce to taste. He is actually sweating afterwards and makes a joke about calling for firemen instead of cops because this is a seven-alarm hot sauce. She apologizes for his mouth. When will she apologize for hers?

Spike confirms to Tom that he essentially blocked the others with his choices and that he considered using the tomato as display.

Rich begins his story arc for the week by asking Tom, “Do you like burritos?” He adjusted fairly well it seems but feels nervous because he doesn’t want to go home making a box lunch.

Tom thinks that all of them are focusing on healthy eating, and making things diabetic healthy. He doesn’t seem to have much criticism and thinks that they are the cream of the crop, yada yada.

Boxing of lunches. And now we have Ricegate. Lisa claims to have been checking rice every 8-10 minutes. She exclaims that “someone has cranked up rice too high” She thinks that someone sabotaged her dish. OK, she is one of those people. Steph thinks Lisa might have just made a mistake and Dale says it happens all the time in the kitchen. He says that you can get mixed up but her accusations were BS and she was covering her own ass. Lisa hopes it steams a bit and it will work anyway. My take – Lisa accidentally made her flame higher rather than lower and felt like an idiot on TV and so she blamed the others. If someone had done it, the Bravo cameras would have shown it. All of her yammering almost made me forget to mention that Dale totally wrecked himself over his cooler. That was fun.

Commercials – Toyota talks about gas prices being bad. Thanks, Toyota, didn’t notice that one.

Police Academy, and no Michael Winslow to be found. They all unload. Lisa makes labels and instructions and tries to cover for the rice. The police enter. Andrew says the cops took their time at each station. Antonia says the officers were really nice, just regular people and she is glad she has no outstanding traffic tickets in Chicago.

Rich says the question of the day is, ya da DA daaaa, “Do you like burritos?” He chose this because he expected people to say, “Hey, a burrito, I know what that is.” As opposed to those exotic dishes like soup and chicken salad, I guess. We get a montage of “do you like burritos?” from Richard. Spike calls Rich cheesy, another pot and kettle moment. Of course, he is now wearing another hat. He’s like the Cher of crappy headgear. He should open up a hat store instead of restaurant. Spike’s Headgear Emporium: head attire for the perpetually lame and pretentious poseurs.

There is much serving and microwaving. Spike puts out two dishes at a time. Lisa calls it his marketing technique. He tells the officers to ‘get them quick’ and then puts out a couple more. Basically he is trying to make it look like his food is popular. However, Lisa states that it matters what the judges say.

Judging

Steph: Mushroom, leek, and meatball soup with barley, a side of veggies, apples, and yogurt. One cop calls hers better than McDonald’s. High praise, indeed. Ted thinks it is a hearty soup. Tom thinks it is good and seasoned well.
Spike: Open faced chicken salad with carrots, wheat pita, cucumber sticks and grapes. He says that you have the option to eat with bread or without and that the chicken salad has no mayo. One officer is fooled by the lack of mayo. Padma thinks it is “pedestrian” chicken salad. Tom removes the bread, tomato and lettuce and is quite surprised to see this is how Spike used three of his four ingredients. Ted says that with two hours and having only made chicken salad, that you could have done something with tomato at least.
Dale: Lemongrass mango bison, brown rice, cucumbers, radish, and herb salad. Tells them to microwave for 25 seconds. Several cops with hats that would make Spike freak out liked it and one female cop expected it to be tough but it wasn’t. Sam mumbles something as Tom and Ted cram their faces. Ted thinks it can use some heat, but thinks it has great texture and the bison was well prepared.
Antonia: Curry beef with caramelized cauliflower served with brown and jasmine rice. She gets comments that hers is tender and has good sauce. Ted thinks that the meat is good and not overdone. Padma likes the flavors and thinks it is tender. Sam agrees 100%.
Andrew: Salmon maki roll with parsnip/pine nut rice & pickled ginger wasabi. He calls his a raw dish in a tartare style and adds that wasabi helps with tooth decay. Two officers critique the dish by saying that a) the wasabi was “too much for me,” and that it was “good but messy.” Padma hysterically says, “Hmmm, that’s very strange!” Ted doesn’t think the flavors are good. Tom breaks his apart with disgust. Padma points out lack of whole grain in the dish. That is a bad thing.
Rich: Sam swaggers up to Rich and walks right into a “do you like burritos?” question. Sam does. Grilled tuna burrito with quinoa, beans, avocado, mango and cucumber salad. Ted says it tastes better than it looks. One officer opines that it would be nice on a summer day. Of course, as we know, this was filmed in the autumn.
Lisa: Shrimp stir fry with edamame, bean sprouts, brown rice, hot sauce and yogurt. Again she calls her dish a stir fry. She’s nervous about her rice. Sam thinks it’s spicy, but Ted likes the spice. Padma notices the problem with the rice. The officers think it is really spicy.

Lisa tries not to speculate about what’s going to happen because it would drive her insane. Speaking of insane, Andrew does the robot. He feels good because he did something different. Dale can’t point out a clear cut loser and that scares him.

Padma asks Sam what he thinks since he comes from family of cops. He really doesn’t say much. Tom wants to get people healthy, but you can only do that by making things delicious. There is no table deliberation, we go straight to commercials.

Commercials – Shear Genius on Bravo. I have no interest at all… wait, Jaclyn Smith!!! OK, maybe some. How is she still hot?

Meat Locker of Doom. Spike asks Lisa about the rice and she yet again thinks someone turned up her burner and she is soooo mad. Andrew gets wind of the fact that he needed a grain. Padma brings her sexy into the room and calls for Dale and Steph. They are the Top Two this week.


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