Top Chef

Season 4 Episode 12

High Steaks

Aired Wednesday 10:00 PM May 28, 2008 on Bravo
out of 10
User Rating
25 votes

By Users

Episode Summary

The remaining chefs' butchering skills are tested when they are challenged to cut and then cook the perfect steak. Guest Judge Rick Tramonto then trusts his new restaurant, Tramonto Steak and Seafood, to the Top Chefs for one evening. Guest Judge: Rick Tramonto QuickFire Challenge: Butcher and Cook a Perfect Steak Elimination Challenge: Prepare an Appetizer and Entreé Round Twelvemoreless

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  • It should've been Lisa

    Well, my top picks Richard and Stephanie are still in the running. For this episode, in the quickfire, the chefs are expected to cut the beef from scratch. Many of the chefs messed up in this area, but Spike ended up winning the challenge. In the elimination challenge, the chefs choose their own meat to prepare a meat. Most of the chefs did really well, but Spike is told to go home. I was hoping that Lisa went home but some part of me tells me Spike's smart mouth might've gotten the best of him. Hopefully Lisa goes home next....she's really irritating me and one of the chefs is taking the integrity out of the show for me. It was an aight show.....Hopefully Stephanie wins the entire thing and score one for the girls.moreless
  • Not that exciting to be frank. Anticlimactic, but I'll watch the finale.

    So, steaks for the Quickfire. Spike's and Antonia's looked so delicious. I could've eaten both of their steaks without no problem.

    Lisa's grilled and chilled prawns with lemon zest looked delicious, but I like my shellfish warm as well as Gail Simmons pointed out. Richard's himachi with sweetbreads looked good. Spike's stupid scallops with hearts of palm sounded bad. Even made that Evian water look delicious. Stephanie's sweetbreads and Antonia's mushroom and artichoke salad with poached egg looked and sounded like good and solid dishes.

    Richard's dish looked awesome, I think the judges must me so lazy if they can't even bring all of Richard's elements together using a fork and knife. I mean, Richard does some great plating. Lisa's New York strip with peanut butter mashed potatoes made my mouth water. Spike's chop looked tough and difficult to eat. Stephanie's beef tenderloin... Yum... And Antonia's rib-eye looked so nice and fat and lovely.

    I'm glad Spike went home. He was the weakest, but I was hoping in some unexpected twist that there was only gonna be a Final 3 and Lisa would go home too. Richard, Antonia and Stephanie are definitely my favorite three this season, but I think I want Antonia to win it overall. I like it when people with heart win competitions like this.

    Can't wait to see who wins and joins the ranks of Harold, Ilan and Hung. :)moreless
  • And then there were four!

    And then there were four chefs waiting as Antonia, Lisa, Richard, and Stephanie are in the final four. As Spike, who won the quick fire challenge but wasn't immuned, ever though he got to win the quick fire thing and choosed the first vegetable, got sent home. I admit I will miss him as he provided some tension, but still, his big mouth and he should had thrown away the scallops got him sent packing. Lisa barely made it but I thought she shouldn't had been in the final four. Well, we will be out of Chicago and onto Puerto Rico come next time.moreless
  • we see the chef's butchery skills as well as their technique in using that cut; the old top chef winners come back

    this as i said was a very special ep b/c it is getting down to the finals and everything is looked at as observed in this ep..spoiler..the judges were more critical of course and like u had to have everything perfect..i was so happy that stephanie finally won and so happy that the judges had only one complaint against this stage that is an excellent thing..i think both spike and lisa did bad and they should have cut both of them but hey thats just me..spike really didnt need to argue with the judges and i think thats part of the reason he got sent homemoreless
  • One mouth-watering episode. Leading up to a fine finale.

    An enjoyable episode. Sure got my mouth to watering with all the cooking of steaks. Most of which the chef contestants prepared, both in the QF and the Elim challenges, looked delicious.

    Chef Tom was back. Plus it was great to see the previous TC winners, especially Harold and Hung, and yeah, I guess Ilan, too, (still feel it should have been Marcel, Sam or Cliff there) as guest judges.

    The elim round was held in Chef Rick Tramonto's restaurant, and at first when all the rest of the contestants frowned on Spike's using frozen scallops, I didn't get the problem, until he thawed them out. If they weren't good frozen, I wondered why the chef would have them in his restaurant to begin with, and though it could be seen as somewhat disrespectful, I'm glad Spike pointed it out later to Tramonto. And he went home instead of Lisa. Anyhoo, I think it's going to be a great finale. Though my favorite this year is Richard, I can't help wanting to see a girl win. I think Stephanie is most deserving, but I'd be happy with either she or Antonia taking the top prize.moreless
Rick Tramonto

Rick Tramonto

Guest Judge

Guest Star

Harold Dieterle

Harold Dieterle

Season 1 Winner

Recurring Role

Ilan Hall

Ilan Hall

Season 2 Winner

Recurring Role

Hung Hyunh

Hung Hyunh

Season 3 Winner

Recurring Role

Featured Episode Clip

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


  • TRIVIA (4)

    • Chef Tramonto asks each contestant how long they rested their steak before serving it to him in the Quickfire Challenge. Meat is rested, or allowed to sit for varying lengths of time depending on the cut, because as it's heated, the juices are forced from the edges into the center by the heat. Resting allows the juices to return to the outer edges, so it's juicy all the way through, and when cut the juices don't puddle on the plate. A second reason for resting the meat lies in the fact that it continues to cook for a few minutes after it's removed from it's source of heat, so the meat should be taken off the stove a little bit before it's up to the desired temperature, so that it won't overcook.

    • First-Run Fan Poll:

      Who was chopped too soon?

      A. Andrew 18%
      B. Dale 53%
      C. Jennifer 29%

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

    • Stephanie is announced the winner of the Elimination Challenge and wins Rick Tramonto's new cookbook, Fantastico! and a complete set of GE Monogram appliances. Spike is told to pack his knives and go.

    • Spike is the winner of the QuickFire Challenge and is allowed first choice of proteins for the Elimination Challenge.

  • QUOTES (2)

    • Lisa: (with the woodfire at her back) Is this fire open for a reason?
      Antonia: So it gets air, and can get hotter. Is it too hot for you?
      Lisa: Little bit. Shoulders are slightly on fire. Trying to sabotage me?
      Antonia: (closing the oven except for the final inch) I don't want it to die. It needs air.
      Lisa: What about me? What if I die?
      Antonia: Well, then I guess you're not going to Puerto Rico, Lisa!

    • Stephanie: Sweetbreads are the thymus gland of veal, which sounds really unappetizing, but when you eat them, it's like Chicken McNugget if it's done right.

  • NOTES (4)

    • The proteins available for the contestants to use in the Elimination Challenge, a combination of things from Allen Brothers, Whole Foods, and Tramonto's were: filet mignon, skirt steak, dry aged NY strip, bone in rib-eyes, the long bones from the Quickfire, prime sirloin, duck, sweetbreads, bacon, quail eggs, white anchovies, colossal shrimp, frozen scallops, jumbo lump crab meat, hamachi, tuna, halibut, oysters, clams, salmon roe, and caviar.

    • Lee Anne says in her blog that the frozen scallops were donated by The Allen Brothers, so if anyone was to blame for them being in the walk-in, it was her, since she decided her budget could not afford fresh scallops when there were free, if inferior quality ones available. As she points out however, Spike knew beforehand that they were not suitable for the dish that he wanted to make, and should have adapted his menu accordingly, and failed to do so.

    • There is bonus footage from this episode at the Bravo website showing Spike and Richard playing a prank on the women. They made ice cream from scratch the night before, and had some dry ice left, so Spike put it into various places in the ladies' bathroom, causing clouds of CO2 to rise out of their sinks and toilets.

    • For the record, Chef Rick Tramonto says that he never uses frozen seafood in his restaurant, but if that was all he had available, he would only use it in something like a seafood mousse or soufflé, where it's inferior taste and texture would not be as noticeable. The scallops, as well as other products, were provided by Allen Bros., the same company that the chefs visited to butcher the steaks for their QuickFire Challenge. Chef Tramonto knew that this was the case, but chose not to make it an issue at the Judges' Table, according to Tom.