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29 chefs gather at the Alamo in San Antonio, Texas, to compete for 16 slots in the 9th season of Top Chef. Tonight they are divided into three groups and must master their challenge to move forward. Some will know their fate immediately and receive a chef coat or be sent home. Others will be on the "bubble" and must compete and be judged again before they know their fates. Yes, it's bigger in Texas, but it's also hotter and harder, too.
Group 1 Qualifying Challenge: Prepare a Dish Using One Cut of a Pig
Group 2 Qualifying Challenge: Prepare a Dish Using the Same Ingredientmoreless
Night two of heats for the coveted contestant slots begins with 10 competitors, 10 ingredients, and only five chef coats left. Once again, those who excel in the challenge get a chef coat immediately, and those who bomb are sent home. The remaining hopefuls on the "bubble" participate in a cook-off for the last coats with last week's four who are still waiting in the Stew Room for their second chance.
Group 3 Qualifying Challenge: Choose One of the 10 Ingredients and Then Create a Dish in the Amount of Time on Your Clock
Qualifying Challenge Final Cook Off: Prepare a Dish Using Any Ingredients in the Kitchenmoreless
Tonight the chefs are asked to create a dish using rattlesnakes. Later, they will cater a girl's quinceañera celebration.
Guest Judge: Johnny Hernandez
Quickfire Challenge: Create a Dish Using Rattlesnake
Elimination Challenge: Cook for Family & Friends at Blanca's Quinceañera Party
The contestants spend two long, spicy and Texas-themed days cooking. First up is a dish that uses chili pepper, but the chefs must choose carefully- the winning dish is awarded a cash prize based on the heat of the pepper used. Next, they divide into teams to create unique chilis that will satisfy the Tejas Rodeo Company participants. Of course, this means a scramble for space, ingredients and cooking appliances back at the house.
Guest Judges: Mary Sue Milliken and Susan Feniger
Quickfire Challenge: Create a Dish Highlighting One Chili Pepper
Elimination Challenge: 1. Team Chili Cook-off 2. Repurpose Losing Chili into Winning Dish
The contestants begin the day on the road as they travel to Dallas, and Padma decides to test their creativity with canned goods in the roadside Quickfire just to keep things in theme. Then it goes from rags to riches as the chefs must shift gears to cater a dinner party in an exclusive Dallas suburb.
Guest Judge: John Besh
Quickfire Challenge: Create a Dish Using the Ingredients Inside the Survival Kits
Elimination Challenge: Create a Course for a Progressive Dinner Party
The contestants settle into their new home kitchen at Dallas' Le Cordon Bleu. The collegial atmosphere seems appropriate, since the Quickfire asks them to regress to sauciers. Next, they must prepare steak for some of Texas' most discerning palates, at least beef-wise, the attendees of the Cattle Baron's Ball.
Guest Judge: Dean Fearing
Quickfire Challenge: Personalize Your Mother Sauce
Elimination Challenge: Create a Four Course Steak Dinner for Cattle Baron's Ball
The chefs begin the day with shots of tequila, and then must cook for an all-star table of chefs when they cater a game night event for Tim Love's friends. Unfortunately, the random pairing of teams may work against some as tonight's twist is a double elimination.
Guest Judge: Tim Love
Quickfire Challenge: Create a Dish That Pairs with the Tequila of Your Choice
Elimination Challenge: Cook One Course for a Game Dinner
The contestants hit the road again, this time for the capital. Once they arrive at Austin's Le Cordon Bleu's kitchen, the chefs must adapt quickly in the Quickfire when their cooking mashes up with social networking and they receive challenge twists via Twitter. Later, they will each be able to pay homage to the person who inspired him or her to become a chef when they are asked to create dishes in their honor.
Guest Judge: Patti LaBelle
Quickfire Challenge: Top Chef Fans "Tweet" Instructions for Chefs
Elimination Challenge: Make a Dish to Honor Your Cooking Inspiration
The chefs combine learning with cooking tonight when they use Nathan Myhrvold's Modernist Cuisine to influence their Quickfire dishes. Next, they team up for a sleepless barbecue challenge.
Guest Judge: Nathan Myhrvold
Quickfire Challenge: Create a Dish That Illustrates Modernist Cuisine
Elimination Challenge: Cook Barbeque for 300 Guests at the Salt Lick
The most brutal challenge is back with a few additions. Tonight the teams not only have to conceptualize, decorate and execute a menu for their restaurants, they must also design signs, logos and other accessories never before required in the challenge. Plus, for the first time, the challenge will be gender-based, and the women's preoccupation with Beverly could derail everything.
Guest Judge: None
Quickfire Challenge: None
Elimination Challenge: Create a 3 Course Menu for 100 Guests
The chefs travel back to San Antonio, which is fitting because the Quickfire is on the move, too, except it's the ingredients that are moving. Next, the chefs must access the darkness inside of them when they are asked to create "evil" on a plate.
Guest Judges: Eric Ripert, Charlize Theron
Quickfire Challenge: Create a Sophisticated Dish Using 3 Ingredients from Conveyor Belt
Elimination Challenge: Create a Dish for a 7 Course Gothic Fest Fit for a Queen
From Quickfire teams to Elimination head-to-head challenges, this will not be an easy day for the remaining chefs. First up is a timed Quickfire mise en place race where teams must not only prep, but also cook their ingredients. Then they are off to a charity block party where one-to-one cook-offs leave everyone vulnerable to elimination.
Guest Judge: Cat Cora
Quickfire Challenge: Prep All Ingredients & Make a Dish with the Remaining Time
Elimination Challenge: Create the Best Dish for a Healthy Choice Block Party
Pee Wee Herman drops by for breakfast and lunch today. First, the chefs must show their creativity with a pancake stack in the Quickfire. Then, they are armed with just $100 and a bicycle to navigate San Antonio's streets where they must purchase ingredients and negotiate prep space in strange kitchens, all for dishes to wow Pee Wee in the Elimination.
Guest Judge: Pee-Wee Herman
Quickfire Challenge: Make Pancakes in 20 Minutes
Elimination Challenge: Make a Family Lunch for Pee-Wee Herman
The return of an eliminated chef from Top Chef: Last Chance Kitchen is only the beginning of tonight's trials for the contestants. A blindfolded pantry raid for the Quickfire is next, and then the chefs are tasked with creating dishes that will not only impress the judges, but honor the chefs who trained them.
Guest Judge: None
Quickfire Challenge: Find Ingredients While Blindfolded & Then Cook a Dish
Elimination Challenge: Make a Dish to Impress Your Mentors
British Columbia is the location for the final challenges, and tonight's events take full advantage of Whistler's Olympic history as the four remaining chefs must prove themselves adept at very little cooking as the focus shifts to their adaptability and sports skills.
Guest Judges: Gretchen Bleiler, Jon Montgomery, Cammi Granato
Quickfire Challenge: None
Elimination Challenge: Event #1 – Peak 2 Peak: Create a Dish While Riding in a Moving Gondola, Event #2 – Ice Blocks: Create a Dish Using Ingredients That Are Frozen in Ice, Event #3 – Ski & Shoot, Then Create a Dish with the Ingredients Won
The three remaining chefs travel to Vancouver. There, they play a tag-team Quickfire with an assist from some Asian master chefs. Next, they are asked to combine Texas and Vancouver into a cocktail and dish that best exemplifies each of their transitions from the Southwest heat to the Northwest cold.
Guest Judge: None
Quickfire Challenge: Team up with a Top Chef Master to Create an Asian Inspired Dish
Elimination Challenge: Create One Dish & One Cocktail for "Fire & Ice" Party
Each of the last two chefs takes over a Vancouver restaurant where he or she is responsible for a four-course dinner that will be served to the judges and some surprise guests. But first, 11 chefs vie for the eight sous chef spots by cooking a dish to entice the finalists in a blind tasting.
Quickfire Challenge: Create a Dish to Earn Spot As Sous Chef for the Final Cook
Elimination Challenge: Create Four-course Tasting Menu & Restaurant of Your Dreams
Andy Cohen hosts an hour with the cast and chefs as they recall the season and answer questions.