Top Chef

Season 4 Episode 3

Block Party

Aired Wednesday 10:00 PM Mar 26, 2008 on Bravo
out of 10
User Rating
25 votes

By Users

Episode Summary


The contestants mix it up with Rick Bayless tonight as they dress up street food, and then take to the streets themselves to cater a community event.

Guest Judge: Rick Bayless

Quickfire Challenge: Create an Upscale Taco

Elimination Challenge: Block Party Challenge

Round Three

Who was the Episode MVP ?

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  • Not my favorite of the season!

    Not my favorite of the shows as they didn't have a lot to do. As well as no cooking utensils it seems. How can you not get food and have no cooking utensils? I mean, you could get food dirty over that. Plus, I think you should wear gloves in order to present the food to the block party. Glad though that they are mingling with the crowd. The team that Spike was on didn't seem to care about the challenge as they wanted to mingle with the people. Noting bac about that but the team that Stephanie was on, worked hard and cared about their food. As they won that challenge easily. Over hard work!moreless
  • taco quickfire and block party elimination challenge

    this wasnt one of my faves b/c i mean i realize this is a competition but that doesnt mean that they have to be completely nasty with each the person i thought would win for sure..i think it was manuel and im like oh my gosh..his looked perfect but i guess its the taste i was disappointed in that and then i got even more furious when i heard some of the contestants comments in the green room or whatever they call it...then i didnt really like the challenge much and i think they do the block party thing a little too muchmoreless
  • Silly as in the way the chefs performed, not the way the challenges and judging were executed.

    This episode presented some great opportunities for the chefs that I felt they just threw away. The challenges were great, and it's a shame the contestants just didn't seem up to par.

    The Quickfire Challenge was to make a fine dining taco. Despite complaints from several contestants that a taco isn't a fine dining food, I think that the challenge was, well, challenging, and what else should it be? Sure, we don't tend to think of a taco as a fine dining food, but some of the stuff produced not only looked scrumptious, but also like something that you would be served in a fine dining restaurant. The winner here was clear, and I'd like to try that taco.

    The Elimination Challenge was another group challenge. The chefs had to cater an annual block party, the catch being that they had to collect ingredients from the houses in the neighborhood, which had been stocking up on stuff to use for the party. Despite some underhandedness on the part of the contestants, everyone got what they needed, but that's where things started to go a little wrong. The two obviously wrong choices were mac and cheese and corn dogs. Even I know that mac and cheese, especially made with Velveeta, will turn into a block of rubber after a few minutes, and that corn dogs that sit for an hour and a half in the kitchen and then in a warmer will be soggy and gross. Some of the other dishes just seemed lackluster or like an afterthought, and there were also some naming issues that affected the way dishes were judged. Ultimately, the right decisions were made at judge's table, though it is disappointing to see a chef skate through twice on the strength of the group when she has clearly made basic mistakes both times.moreless
  • Block party

    This weeks quick fire challange was to make an upscale taco. Richard won that challange and was granted immunity for the elimination challange. I thought that this weeks elimiation challange was a good idea. They were catering a block party but they were to only use the food that they got from the comunity. They all had to go door to door and ask for the food. I thought that was a great idea. I was a little disapointed with both teams, I thought they should have done a little better and put a little more effort in their dishes. Eric was sent home for his soggy corndogs.moreless
  • The quickfire was a joke. A fine dining taco is like a fine dining hot dog, a joke. The elimination challenge was a good idea, not very well executed.

    Who had this brain spam, a fine dining taco? Come on, street food is still street food. Having the chefs put a spin on it and then using it in your upscale dining establishment is the ultimate insult. Tacos are not fine dining and it was not your idea.

    The block party could have been much better. The choices of the food was not well thought out. Corn dogs do not sit well for a couple of hours and the Waldorf salad was a disaster. The dish called paella was rice pilaf, it appears that people know fancy names but not how to really make the dishes as they did in previous seasons.

    Yes the right person went home, but it could have been any one of 4 or 5 people.moreless

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


  • TRIVIA (8)

    • Although on the surface it appears this is the first branded challenge without product placement, is a site owned by the Clorox company, makers of the ubiquitous GladWare seen throughout the program. They also make Hidden Valley Ranch dressing, KC Masterpiece barbecue sauce (both of which got close-ups during the shopping spree), and Kingsford charcoal (seen briefly during the block party).

    • First-Run Fan Poll:

      Which will happen first?

      A. Female President 15%
      B. Female Top Chef 85%

      (all percentages are as of the end of the episode.)

    • Elimination Challenge Dishes:

      Blue Team
      • Richard - Richmond Avenue Paella with Clams, Oysters, Sausage, and Shrimp
      • Manuel - Barbecue Pulled Pork & Chicken Sandwich; Ribs with Mexican Chocolate Barbecue Sauce
      • Stephanie - Mixed Fruit Crumble with Cinnamon Sugar Wontons
      • Nikki - Macaroni and Cheese Topped with Bacon and Breadcrumbs
      • Mark - Cookie-in-a-Cookie (called Inside-Out Cookie in all other parts of the episode)
      •"Sexy Drink" with Citrus, Pineapple, Mint, Lavender, and Soda Water
      • Antonia - Bean Salad (not shown)
      • Lisa - Slaw (not shown)

      Red Team
      • Spike - Taco Salad with Chorizo, Avocado, Shrimp, Jalapeño, Cabbage & Lime Dressing
      • Jen - Mini Sliders with Bacon & Provolone Cheese Sauce
      • Dale - Grilled Pork Skewers with Pineapple & Smoked Red Curry Barbecue Sauce
      • S'more Lollipops
      • Ryan - Waldorf Chicken Salad
      • Erik - Corn Dogs with Pomegranate Ketchup, and Spicy Mustard
      • Andrew - Sangria (not shown)
      • Zoi - Pasta Salad (not shown)

    • QuickFire Challenge Dishes Shown:

      • Manuel - Chorizo Tacos with Picante Verde, Cilantro, and Goat Cheese
      • Lisa - Grilled Skirt Steak Tacos with Caramelized Onions, Pineapple and Cabbage Slaw
      • Andrew - Duck Breast Tacos with Plantain Jam and Cotija Cheese
      • Erik - Chipotle Braised Chicken Taco with Avocado, Pomegranate Salsa, and Guacamole
      • Spike - Ground Pork Tacos with Tomatillo Sauce
      • Ryan - Grilled Squash Tacos with Stewed Chickpeas
      • Richard - Jicama Tortillas with Avocado, Papaya, and Cilantro Stems

    • Stephanie is declared the winner of the Elimination Challenge. Erik is told to pack his knives and go.

    • Richard is the winner of the QuickFire Challenge. His winning jicama taco will be featured on Rick Bayless' Topolobampo menu.

    • Spike's statement that the house the other team was about to try being empty (untrue) was the first overt case of sabotage on Top Chef. In previous seasons, particularly season one, sabotage was alleged several times, but the true intent and the identity of the culprit each time was never discovered.

    • Double Dip Alert
      When Richard is mixing his filling for his taco, he uses a spoon to take a taste to make sure it's correctly seasoned. But immediately after doing so, the spoon goes back into the mix!

  • QUOTES (7)

    • Andrew: As far as me going home right now? You'd have to drag me out with security guards, more or less, 'cause I ain't going nowhere. This is my house.

    • Spike: I think I speak for everybody when we say we're pretty surprised that we're here, because we tasted everybody's food and I think we kinda made the block party.
      Tom: All right. Everybody tasted Zoi's pasta? And everybody thought it was good? (they don't answer) Then you guys collectively have really poor palates.

    • Tom Colicchio: (about the Blue Team's sexy drink) What makes that sexy?
      Nikki: The lavender.
      Tom Colicchio: Lavender. Lavender's sexy now? Okay, good.

    • Erik: (after losing the QuickFire) I don't think fine dining and Mexican go together so he can go screw himself.

    • Erik: Mexican food is about the people and it's about the streets – it's a soulful kind of a thing – and to put fine dining in it, it just kinda bugs me.

    • Andrew: You guys smell that?
      Ryan: What?
      Andrew: Success!

    • Andrew: We immediately sent Ryan in, 'cause Ryan's a pretty boy, and he speaks very well, so it just makes sense for him to go in first. Be like, 'Hey, I'm tall, dark and handsome, I need some grapes.'

  • NOTES (5)

    • According to Lee Anne's blog, it was 90° outside on the day of the block party, and had been approximately that temperature the day before (as the chefs scavenged the neighborhood for supplies), as well.

    • As originally planned, the contestants were only going to be allowed into the people's refrigerators, not their pantries. In the end, the only rule was that the food taken had to be fresh and unopened (for food safety reasons).

    • Lee Anne supplied the chefs with a tortilla press and fresh masa, as well as other interesting tortilla options, but was disappointed that almost everyone used the packaged corn tortillas also provided.

    • Ryan had previously worked for a couple of days in one of Rick Bayless' kitchens. He vaguely remembered Ryan upon seeing him, but when the contestant schmoozed him during the QuickFire Judging, Bayless remembered him completely. That, however, was not a good thing for Ryan, because Bayless remembered that he didn't care for him.

    • In bonus footage at the Bravo website, the Red and Blue Teams agree to a gentlemen's agreement on the outcome of the Judging: the entire losing Team must shave their legs. Spike attempts to modify the bet so that Richard must shave his fauxhawk, but Richard insists on staying with the original bet. But of course, Richard's Team won, so his hair is safe, regardless.