Top Chef

Anything You Can Cook I Can Cook Better

Season 4, Ep 1, Aired 3/12/08
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  • Episode Description
  • A classic theme runs through tonight's round that begins with introductions to the 16 new contestants, a QuickFire that takes on a Chicago signature dish, and an Elimination that's nothing but tradition. Guest Judge: Rocco DiSpirito Guest Judge: Anthony Bourdain, Elimination Challenge QuickFire Challenge: Create a Signature Deep Dish Pizza Elimination Challenge: Head-to-Head Classic Dish Cook-off Round One

  • Cast & Crew
  • Padma Lakshmi


  • Tom Colicchio

    Lead Judge/Co-Host

  • Andrew D'Ambrosi

    Season 4 Contestant

  • Antonia Lofaso

    Season 4 Contestant

  • Dale Talde

    Season 4 Contestant

  • Fan Reviews (6)
  • Top Chef is back!

    By JPPT1974, Jun 01, 2008

  • The new contestants go head-to-head to prove that they have what it takes to be the next Top Chef.

    By VestalDarkness, Apr 05, 2008

  • Who wants pizza?

    By lsburton, Mar 25, 2008

  • A few twists and turns, it is a little early in the series to determine the depth of the players, but gimmick cooks do not work for me.

    By QuakertownBob, Mar 13, 2008

  • Intros to all the new characters, not really enought time to get a fix on anyone, but the show continues into its fourth season, with a new cast, and only a few personalities stand out..

    By 311feen, Mar 13, 2008

  • Trivia & Quotes
  • Quotes (3)

    • Anthony Bourdain: (of Ryan) I really find it worrying that I have absolutely no idea what was coming out of his mouth. Rocco DiSpirito: Let's just say it wasn't only his gnocchi that were dense.

    • Spike: When Jen and Zoi announced that they were a couple, instantly I was like, ah, this– this is bull*$&@. But, I-I thought about it for a while, and I was, like, no big deal – they can go home together.

    • Erik: (referring to his cheese souffle) I made glorified nachos. I'm not proud of it.

    Notes (7)

    • Sixteen of the top up-and-coming chefs around the country have been asked to show off their culinary skills as they vie for the top prize, the title of Top Chef. Season Four, located in Chicago, returns with the judges Tom Colicchio, Gail Simmons, Ted Allen and Padma Lakshmi. This season's title includes a feature in Food & Wine magazine, the opportunity for the winner to showcase his or her skills at the Food & Wine Classic in Aspen, Colorado, a gourmet dream vacation in the French Alps, and $100,000 to help turn the winner's culinary dreams into reality. A creation of Magical Elves Productions.

    • During season three, there was a bit of a controversy at the Bravo website's blogs when Anthony Bourdain accused Rocco DiSpirito of being a sell out because he seemed to be more interested in being a reality TV show star than living up to his great potential as a chef. But Rocco never rose to the bait, and Anthony later said that he only said this because he respected Rocco's abilities so much.

    • In his blog at the Bravo website, Harold Dieterle points out that the odds against the competitors who had to make a souffle was worse than just their mutual lack of experience with the dish. He points out that a souffle is not something that you can hold off serving, it has to be served as soon as it's done to stay at the proper texture. Going last gave them too long to wait, and would have spoiled their dishes regardless of the recipe used.

    • Padma says in her video blog at Bravo's website that she and Rocco tasted all the pizzas twice- hot and cold- to determine their favorites.

    • According to Lee Anne's blog at the Bravo website, all the contestants are provided with a detailed list of the ingredients available at the Top Chef Pantry, so Andrew's failure to realize that mayo wasn't available was his own carelessness.

    Show More Notes

    Trivia (8)

    • This episode was "supersized" by 15 minutes in it's initial airing. Reruns eliminated details from the audition videos, parts of the contestant introductions, Padma's discussion of the Top Chef kitchen, the entire Whole Foods shopping sequence, and some of the cooking in the Elimination Challenge

    • Season four adds a new component. Each contestant was allowed to bring up to $200 of personal ingredients with them from home. They also were allowed to bring unique equipment/appliances with them, but any restrictions to that were not revealed.

    • First Run Fan Poll: Do Zoi and Jen have an advantage in the show because they're a couple? A. Yes 22% B. No 78% (all percentages are as of the end of the episode.)

    • QuickFire Challenge Dishes Shown: * Richard - "Peach Taleggio Pizza" with Sweet Tea Sauce * Stephanie - Pizza with Melon-tomato Sauce, Prosciutto, Olives & Arugula * Zoi - Pizza with Broccoli, Pesto & Lamb Sausage * Pizza with Sausage, Pickled Kohlrabi, Scallions & Sriracha Sauce * Ryan - Pizza with Escarole, Ricotta Salata & Butternut Squash * Nikki - "White Pie" with Comte, Ricotta, Pecorino Cheeses & Mushrooms * Andrew - Pizza with Smoked Marinara, Prosciutto, Onions & Cheese * Jennifer - "Harvest Pizza" with Grapes, Bacon, Fontina & Rosemary * Erik - Pizza with Mushrooms, Onions, Peppers & Sausage * Spike - "Pizza a la Grec" with Onions, Feta Cheese, Olives & Sausage * Nimma - "Hunter-style Pizza" with Mushrooms, Onions & Stracchino Cheese * Mark - Pizza with Chicken, Zucchini & Marmite Molasses

    • Elimination Challenge Dishes: Duck a l'Orange * Mark - Enoki Mushrooms, Squash, Tangerine & Soy Glazed Duck Breast with a Sakitini * Stephanie - Duck Breast, Mushrooms, Bok Choy & Duck Spring Rolls with Orange-soy Glaze Crab Cakes * Andrew - Panko & Lump Crab Cake with Cilantro-basil Pudding, Orange Sauce * Richard - Blue Crab, Brussels Sprouts & Apple Coleslaw with Smoked Ras al Hanout Lasagna * Jennifer - Lasagna with Autumn Vegetables, Meat Sauce & Mint Verde * Nikki - "Classic Lasagna" with Sheep's Milk Gouda Shrimp Scampi * Antonia - Parpardelle with Shrimp, Lobster, Tomatoes & Squash Blossoms * Nimma - Shrimp Scampi with Cauliflower Scramble Eggs Benedict * Spike - Poached Egg with Bacon, Mushrooms & Lemongrass Sabayon on a Crouton * Lisa - Poached Egg on Toasted Halla Bread with Lobster, Spinach, Hollandaise Sauce & Bacon Steak au Poivre * Dale - New York Strip Steak with Candied Peppercorn, Parsley Puree & Bok Choy * Manuel - Sirloin with Mushroom Ceviche & Scallion Cilantro Sauce Chicken Piccata * Ryan - Chicken Cutlets with Lemon-potato Gnocchi & Warm Herb Salad * Valerie - Chicken Breast with Orange Demi-glace, Potato & Haricots Verts Salad Souffle * Erik - Pepper Jack Cheese Souffle with Avocado Creme Fraiche, Black Bean Puree & Salsa * Zoi - Rice Pudding SoufflĂ© with Candied Figs & Fennel with Espresso

    Show More Trivia
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