Top Chef

Season 4 Episode 2

Zoo Food

Aired Wednesday 10:00 PM Mar 19, 2008 on Bravo



  • Trivia

    • First Run Fan Poll:

      Do you think of Judge Tom as more of a…

      A. Gorilla 21%
      B. Bear 62%
      C. Penguin 17%

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

    • QuickFire Challenge Dishes Shown:

      • Richard - "Chicken Soup" with Chicken, Apples, Apple Cider, Eucalyptus, and Butter
      • Ryan - Lettuce, Radishes, Potatoes, Sirloin Steak, and Dijon Mustard
      • Dale - Mushrooms, Shallots, Radishes, Eggs, and Butter
      • Valerie - Rib Eye Steak, Peaches, Sweet Potatoes, Tomatoes, and Arugula
      • Spike - Tenderloin Tips, Apples, Bread, Apple Cider, and Rosemary
      • Erik - Lamb Chop, Baby Carrots, Potatoes, Mint, and Garlic
      • Mark - Sirloin Steak, Turnips, Mushrooms, Peaches, and Butter
      • Andrew - Lamb Chops, Peaches, Onions, Mint, Potatoes, and Balsamic Vinegar

    • Elimination Challenge Dishes:

      Team Lion (Ryan, Erik, and Richard)
      • Beet Salad with Yuzu, Ras al Hanout and Goat Cheese Foam
      • Bison Tartare with Tarragon Coulis
      • Chicken Sate (not shown)
      • Prime Rib with Horseradish Foam (not shown)

      Team Vulture (Mark, Manuel, and Zoi)
      • Marinated Anchovy on a Quinoa Croquette
      • Moroccan-Spiced Lamb Meatball, Ricotta, Pomegranate Syrup, and Pistachio
      • Braised Chicken on a Tostada Chip (not shown)

      Team Gorilla (Valerie, Stephanie, and Antonia)
      • Roasted Pear and Crab Salad with Celery Root
      • Black Olive Blini with Fennel Mascarpone, Rutabaga, and Beets
      • Minced Lamb and Edamame in Lettuce Cups
      • Banana Bread with Salted Caramel Sauce and Meringue

      Team Bear (Dale, Spike, and Nikki)
      • Chimay Cheese and Honeycomb on Cranberry-Pecan Bread
      • Salmon a la Plancha on Lettuce Cups with Pickled Vegetables and Peanuts
      • Mushrooms Stuffed with Blueberries, Walnuts and Pecorino Cheese
      • Venison Loin with Squash (not shown)

      Team Penguin (Lisa, Jen, and Andrew)
      • Yuzu and Mint "Glacier"
      • Squid Ceviche with Soy-Balsamic Tapioca
      • Thai Shrimp and Crab Salad with Watercress
      • Roasted Zucchini (not shown)

    • Andrew is the winner of the Elimination Challenge. Valerie is told to pack her knives and go.

    • Mark is declared the winner of the QuickFire Challenge and is granted immunity for the Elimination Challenge.

  • Quotes

    • Party Guest: I think that the Gorillas have the best station, except for the olive pancake which tasted a little bit like dirt.

    • Spike: (listening to music at the Green River Farmers' Market) My other competitors are running around, but, I'm, like, I'm gonna enjoy the Farmers' Market, like I do. If do good on the QuickFire, cool, if I don't, I don't. And if anything, it's gonna calm me down, and bring me back to my roots.

    • Richard: Molecular gastronomy is not whiz-bang-gadget-gizmo. It's the basis to take traditional items and, because of science, make them better.

    • Zoi: What's the diet of a vulture? Decomposing carcasses? Roadkill? Rats?

    • Gail: (about Team Bear's mushrooms) It looked like something a bear would produce, not eat.

  • Notes

    • Not long before this episode aired, Guest Judge Wylie Dufresne's restaurant wd~50 was upgraded by the New York Times from two stars to three.

    • Valerie is annoyed with Antonia because she said she'd choose Stephanie over her in spite of the fact that Antonia didn't taste her blinis in their final form. But Antonia points out that she tasted each of the elements separately, and didn't need to taste them together to know that Stephanie was more worthy of her support before the Judges.

    • Also Featured:

      Dr. Shana Lavin – Nutrition Manager, Lincoln Park Zoo
      Elizabeth Bruccoleri – Zoological Manager, Bird Department, Lincoln Park Zoo

    • Andrew annoyed the production crew when he used an entire $100 bottle of yuzu concentrate for his glacier, as well as putting a serious dent in the Top Chef Pantry's spice supply to make his penguin table decoration.

    • Lee Anne says in her blog that she went out and bought quails and rabbits and had Whole Foods hold them behind the counter for Team Vulture because the market doesn't regularly carry those items. Unfortunately, the Team chose not to use those meats, so Lee Anne ended up with a freezer full of game.

    • In Lee Anne's blog, she says that the five animals were chosen because of the wide variety of their diets. She wanted to be sure that the guests would have more to sample than just "leafy greens and eggs."

  • Allusions

    • Richard: We're also doing a tiny little version- kind of a 'Honey I Shrunk the Prime Rib.'
      This is a reference to the 1989 Disney film, Honey, I Shrunk the Kids, a story about an experiment gone wrong that strands the inventor's children in the yard while miniaturized.