Although on the surface it appears this is the first branded challenge without product placement, mealstogether.com 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:
• 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)
• 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!
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?
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.'
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.