This week we start off with... no guest chef. The chefs are greeted by plain ol' Chef Tom Colicchio and Padma. Right off the bat Padma drops the first bomb - from now on the Quickfire Challenge does not grant the winner immunity. She then asks the chefs to divide into two teams, the Forks and the Spoons.
Then the chefs learned they would be doing one of our favorite Quickfires - the relay race. The first task was between Lisa and Antonia to slice an orange. Lisa smoked Antonia and gave her team a head start. The next task was between Spike and Andrew - to de-construct an artichoke. With the help of a peeler, and Spike breaking an artichoke top, Andrew quickly broke up his artichoke and picked up the slack. Up next, Richard and Dale, who were pretty much head to head. They had to clean up a monk fish and produce two fillets which they do at pretty much the same time. The last task was to make homemade mayo. Stephanie and Nikki both beat the crap out of some eggs to make a mayo. Apparently Stephanie has stronger arms and her mayo gave her team the win.
Two notes: No one was able to shock viewers as much as Hung did last season when he broke down the chicken. Also, was this foreshadowing or what? Dale couldn't stand that Nikki said she hadn't made mayo since culinary school. We just know this means drama for them later in the episode.
After the competition, Padma drops the second bomb - there will be no Restaurant Wars this year! She instead tells the chefs they will be having Wedding Wars. (Maybe this is a good thing - Restaurant Wars judging always gets bogged down in decor - this is a food competition!)
The chefs meet J.P. and Corey (two restaurant and wedding venue owners) who will be getting married the next day. There is only one thing you can truly say about the happy couple - they are completely nuts! Who in their right mind would have Top Chef cater their wedding in one day!?
In this challenge each team will create a menu based on either the bride or the groom's preferences. The team who won the quickfire gets to pick who they would like to base their menu off of. They pick the bride, just because it is her special day.
The teams are told they will be working all night (they get cots to sleep on if necessary). The groom decides he wants a classic Italian menu while the bride wants a more home-style, down south style menu complete with fried chicken. Nikki (our resident Italian) immediately hits it off with the groom and her team decides to more or less listen to what Nikki has to say.
After some shopping at a Restaurant Depot (aka heaven) the teams run to the kitchen to get cooking for the next 14 hours. Nobody sleeps and everyone just cooks all night. Dale has his hands in a lot of pots while Nikki somewhat plays down her leadership role. She knows Italian food better than anyone, but yet it's obvious she doesn't want to take the fall for her team. Lisa gets the task of making the cake for the groom's team while Stephanie makes her team's cake. (Very brave - we know Top Chefs are never pastry chefs!
After about 24 hours of no sleep, a very beautiful wedding, and a well received reception, the chefs are called in to speak to the judges. The bride's team is called in first and Tom asks Andrew about his chicken fingers (which he also did at last week's challenge) and the creamed spinach which had a "funky taste." The judges finally came around though and told this team they won the challenge. They also announced that Richard was the winner. However, Richard gave his honors over to Stephanie, since she's the one who made the amazing cake. She won $2000 to Crate and Barrel. I want that!
The groom's team was called in and told they were the losing team. Tom asked who "drove the bus" on this team and immediately Nikki says she had the most experience with Italian food however she in no way wanted to be executive chef on this challenge. (Bad move!) The judges congratulated Lisa for her cake because it was actually the better tasting cake even though it didn't look as nice as the other team's. Dale got a little flustered because he thought he did the most work out of everybody. Spike was annoyed by Dale's comments because he felt he had just as much work. His fish dish was a fan favorite, even though Dale thought he took too long doing it.
In the end though it didn't matter who did the most work, Nikki was sent home for not driving the bus. The leader always goes down with her ship on Top Chef.
Until next time, Happy Eating!