Split into teams, the contestants were tasked with replicating four famous chefs' signature styles and cooking up a dish the esteemed bunch would be proud to serve at their various New York City restaurants.
First, though, for a Quickfire challenge, David Chang (of Momofuku fame) paid a visit. The contestants were split into four teams to begin a Top Chef favorite: the mise en place relay race, in which they had to prep various ingredients (breaking down lamb, preparing an artichoke and peeling garlic) and turn them into one fabulous dish.
And the catch: the first team to complete the relay would hit a button starting up a 15-minute countdown, indicating the time the chefs had to prep and cook, so they had to be speedy.
In the top, Richard Blais, Spike Mendelsohn, Tre Wilcox and Stephen Asprinio – a.k.a. the blue team – whose crispy lamb dish delighted Chang. Alas, they received no immunity this week.
A Big Impression
Still split into four teams, the chefs were spirited away to an eclectic array of New York City restaurants owned by an equally diverse group of chefs, all of whom have achieved considerable accolades for their cooking.
The teams were sent to Ma Peche (Chang's French-Vietnamese restaurant); Townhouse (David Burke's over-the-top but elegant American eatery); Marea (Michael White's seafood-focused Italian spot); and wd~50 (Wylie Dufresne's molecular gastronomy temple).
After sampling a meal, the chefs worked individually, crafting a dish that emulated the food they ate and that would fit comfortably on their respective restaurant's menus. Their work would be assessed by the usual panel of judges, plus the chef whose restaurant they were assigned.
A tall order, sure, but these all-stars got to work – and served up an ultimately appealing array of food. There were problems (like Fabio Viviani's complex dish or Tiffany Derry's too-simple crudo), but overall the panel was pleased.
In the end, one chef from each team was singled out as a top contender. Tre's swordfish pleased White; Angelo's creative fish with white chocolate delighted Chang; Antonia's whimsical take on peas and carrots was showy and flavorful enough for Burke; and Dale's poached egg and breakfast-flavored broth met Dufresne's passion for innovation.
But Talde ultimately clinched the win, plus a trip to New Zealand as a prize.
Then in a twist, two chefs were sent home: Dale Levitski, for his too-sweet French toast plate with veal, and Stephen Asprinio, whose fennel pollen-scented salmon was too aggressively seasoned.