Top Chef

Zoo Food

Season 4, Ep 2, Aired 3/19/08
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  • Episode Description
  • Cooking with limited ingredients is the challenge in this episode which features a QuickFire set at a farmers' market, and an Elimination round in a real zoo. Guest Judge: Wylie Dufresne QuickFire Challenge: Create a Dish Using Only Five Ingredients. Elimination Challenge: Cater a Cocktail Party for 200 at the Lincoln Park Zoo using Foods in Five Animals' Diets. Round Two.

  • Cast & Crew
  • Padma Lakshmi


  • Tom Colicchio

    Lead Judge/Co-Host

  • Gail Simmons


  • Andrew D'Ambrosi

    Season 4 Contestant

  • Antonia Lofaso

    Season 4 Contestant

  • Fan Reviews (7)
  • Two great challenges!

    By JPPT1974, Jun 04, 2008

  • the quickfire takes place the farmer's market at the zoo and the elimination challenge continues the zoo theme as the teams are divided into groups according to zoo animals

    By Collegebound06, May 25, 2008

  • The chefs have to take the diets of a handful of animals and invent dishes for a cocktail party.

    By DeypaRue, Apr 28, 2008

  • Two great challenges and some great examples of cooking from the cheftestants.

    By VestalDarkness, Apr 05, 2008

  • Cute Challenge.

    By namibia574, Mar 27, 2008

  • Trivia & Quotes
  • Quotes (5)

    • Party Guest: I think that the Gorillas have the best station, except for the olive pancake which tasted a little bit like dirt.

    • Spike: (listening to music at the Green River Farmers' Market) My other competitors are running around, but, I'm, like, I'm gonna enjoy the Farmers' Market, like I do. If do good on the QuickFire, cool, if I don't, I don't. And if anything, it's gonna calm me down, and bring me back to my roots.

    • Richard: Molecular gastronomy is not whiz-bang-gadget-gizmo. It's the basis to take traditional items and, because of science, make them better.

    • Zoi: What's the diet of a vulture? Decomposing carcasses? Roadkill? Rats?

    • Gail: (about Team Bear's mushrooms) It looked like something a bear would produce, not eat.

    Notes (6)

    • Not long before this episode aired, Guest Judge Wylie Dufresne's restaurant wd~50 was upgraded by the New York Times from two stars to three.

    • Valerie is annoyed with Antonia because she said she'd choose Stephanie over her in spite of the fact that Antonia didn't taste her blinis in their final form. But Antonia points out that she tasted each of the elements separately, and didn't need to taste them together to know that Stephanie was more worthy of her support before the Judges.

    • Also Featured: Dr. Shana Lavin – Nutrition Manager, Lincoln Park Zoo Elizabeth Bruccoleri – Zoological Manager, Bird Department, Lincoln Park Zoo

    • Andrew annoyed the production crew when he used an entire $100 bottle of yuzu concentrate for his glacier, as well as putting a serious dent in the Top Chef Pantry's spice supply to make his penguin table decoration.

    • Lee Anne says in her blog that she went out and bought quails and rabbits and had Whole Foods hold them behind the counter for Team Vulture because the market doesn't regularly carry those items. Unfortunately, the Team chose not to use those meats, so Lee Anne ended up with a freezer full of game.

    Show More Notes

    Trivia (5)

    • First Run Fan Poll: Do you think of Judge Tom as more of a… A. Gorilla 21% B. Bear 62% C. Penguin 17% (all percentages are as of the end of the episode.)

    • QuickFire Challenge Dishes Shown: • Richard - "Chicken Soup" with Chicken, Apples, Apple Cider, Eucalyptus, and Butter • Ryan - Lettuce, Radishes, Potatoes, Sirloin Steak, and Dijon Mustard • Dale - Mushrooms, Shallots, Radishes, Eggs, and Butter • Valerie - Rib Eye Steak, Peaches, Sweet Potatoes, Tomatoes, and Arugula • Spike - Tenderloin Tips, Apples, Bread, Apple Cider, and Rosemary • Erik - Lamb Chop, Baby Carrots, Potatoes, Mint, and Garlic • Mark - Sirloin Steak, Turnips, Mushrooms, Peaches, and Butter • Andrew - Lamb Chops, Peaches, Onions, Mint, Potatoes, and Balsamic Vinegar

    • Elimination Challenge Dishes: Team Lion (Ryan, Erik, and Richard) • Beet Salad with Yuzu, Ras al Hanout and Goat Cheese Foam • Bison Tartare with Tarragon Coulis • Chicken Sate (not shown) • Prime Rib with Horseradish Foam (not shown) Team Vulture (Mark, Manuel, and Zoi) • Marinated Anchovy on a Quinoa Croquette • Moroccan-Spiced Lamb Meatball, Ricotta, Pomegranate Syrup, and Pistachio • Braised Chicken on a Tostada Chip (not shown) Team Gorilla (Valerie, Stephanie, and Antonia) • Roasted Pear and Crab Salad with Celery Root • Black Olive Blini with Fennel Mascarpone, Rutabaga, and Beets • Minced Lamb and Edamame in Lettuce Cups • Banana Bread with Salted Caramel Sauce and Meringue Team Bear (Dale, Spike, and Nikki) • Chimay Cheese and Honeycomb on Cranberry-Pecan Bread • Salmon a la Plancha on Lettuce Cups with Pickled Vegetables and Peanuts • Mushrooms Stuffed with Blueberries, Walnuts and Pecorino Cheese • Venison Loin with Squash (not shown) Team Penguin (Lisa, Jen, and Andrew) • Yuzu and Mint "Glacier" • Squid Ceviche with Soy-Balsamic Tapioca • Thai Shrimp and Crab Salad with Watercress • Roasted Zucchini (not shown)

    • Andrew is the winner of the Elimination Challenge. Valerie is told to pack her knives and go.

    • Mark is declared the winner of the QuickFire Challenge and is granted immunity for the Elimination Challenge.

    Allusions (1)

    • Richard: We're also doing a tiny little version- kind of a 'Honey I Shrunk the Prime Rib.'
      This is a reference to the 1989 Disney film, Honey, I Shrunk the Kids, a story about an experiment gone wrong that strands the inventor's children in the yard while miniaturized.

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