Top Chef

Season 4 Episode 12

High Steaks

Aired Wednesday 10:00 PM May 28, 2008 on Bravo



  • Trivia

    • 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

    • 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

    • 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.

  • Allusions