It has been six months since the last episode (for the chefs, not for us, of course) and here we are in Puerto Rico! The last four Richard, Stephanie, Antonia and Lisa (with a brand new haircut) are the last four to battle it out for the title of Top Chef!
Not long after the chefs get off the plane, they are whisked away to an amazing resort for their Quickfire Challenge. There they meet their guest judge, Wilo Benet, owner of Pikayo and one of the best chefs in Puerto Rico. They are then told they must make two fritters using a stable Puerto Rican ingredient - plantains.
After some major frying (and a couple of fires) the chefs serve the judges their fritters. Chef Wilo was not a fan of Antonia' slaw and plantain jam or Richard's raw plantain salsa. In the end though Wilo really loved Stephanie's fritters with tuna slices, which, by the way, looked amazing. Stephanie then mentions that this is her first quickfire win of the season. Better late than never! (Plus, she's won a zillion elimination challenges, so that's not too shabby.)
After the challenge, Chef Wilo invites the chefs to come to a party with traditional Puerto Rican dancing, music, food and (most importantly) Rum. After some eating and dancing, the chefs rest up for their elimination challenge.
The next day the chefs are brought to the governor's mansion and told they will be cooking for a garden party filled with 100 VIPs and chefs. Then Chef Colicchio drops a bomb on them. He tells each chef they will be given an entire pig to butcher and they must produce three dishes using different parts of the pig.
But of course they are told they will be given some help in the form of Spike, Andrew, Dale and Nikki. Immediatly Lisa is shaking in her boots because she is not on very good terms with 3/4s of those contestants. Stephanie is told because she is the winner of the Quickfire, she gets to choose the sous chefs.
Stephanie picks Dale for herself (did anyone else know that they've known each other for ten years?), Nikki for Antonia, Spike for Richard and Andrew for Lisa. Could be worse for Lisa, I guess. She could have been paired with Dale. They are then told they will go back to the kitchen, discuss the menu and send their sous chefs to the store while they start butchering their pigs.
After two hours of prep work elapse, the chefs say goodbye to their sous chefs and return the next day to finish their dishes in 5 hours. When they walk in, Dale realizes he left Stephanie's pork belly on the table all night which is no good. She is forced to toss it so no one gets sick. Will Dale's screwup cause Stephanie to lose?
At Judges' Table it is pretty clear Richard and Stephanie did better than their counterparts. Richard was praised for his simple yet creative dishes and the judges loved Stephanie's plantain pancakes. The judges really loved Richard's dishes and gave him the win - and a brand new 2009 Corolla. It's good to be in the top three.
Lisa and Antonia were obviously the bottom two. They did not seem to like Lisa's pureed plantains and mentioned how her garnishes took away from the pork dish. Antonia immediately knew her undercooked pigeon peas is what hurt her the most.
As the judges discussed who to send home, they realized there was one table that had fewer people surrounding it - Antonia's table. After Antonia was sent home, Lisa voiced how she was pissed nobody said congratulations for staying. I think Richard said it the best:"What do you want a congratulations for -- getting the bronze?"
Looks like we just can't get rid of Lisa (or that haircut) just yet.
Until next time, Happy eating!