Top Chef

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The Elements

Ever-curious Padma asks about conceptualization, and Spike mentions his original desire to make butternut squash soup, and Antonia explains her adamant opposition and maintains that immunity in no way deter her from expressing her opinions. "Didn't stop you all, actually," cracks Spike, proudly grinning at his big funny. Ming disagrees with Antonia -- "soup is a brilliant dish for 80 people in a banquet. It's the test in France to see if you're a good cook -- make me a soup." So now Spike's going to be all pissed that they didn't make soup, but Antonia did say that she would make a soup if that's what Spike and Zoi wanted -- they were convinced by her argument, and went along. Too bad -- and Colicchio does point out that they're not on the chopping block for choosing Carpaccio, they're on the chopping block for making it tasteless.

Spike chooses to make it about the soup, though -- as they walk into the back room, awaiting the final decision, someone asks what happened, and Spike says, "We should have made butternut squash soup, that's what happened." He's angry that he let himself be led away from the soup -- watch for a new, more aggressive Spike, if he manages to stick around. Richard thinks he's going home for the scales, and while I'd love to see him go, there's no way that's going to happen yet. As Zoi assures Jen that whatever happens will be cool, Jen tells her, "You are someone to be reckoned with. You're an amazing chef," although she's looking away while she says it and it's not nearly as convincing as when she says the same kind of stuff to the camera.

As the judges once again discuss the unforgivability of scale-laden salmon, it looks like Richard might be right -- plus, even though Padma believes Richard was genuinely satisfied (as if there's anything "genuine" about Richard) with the texture of the fish, no one else liked it. But the Carpaccio was the lowest-scoring dish according to the dinner guests. Colicchio would like to send both Zoi and Spike home, for "allowing someone who has immunity to dictate what they were going to do," and Ming calls bullshit on Zoi's "I like highly seasoned food" defense. Colicchio voices his opinion that the "whole dish hinged on those mushrooms" -- and we all know who made those mushrooms.

But before this week's axe falls, Team Water gets chastised for a dish that "didn't work out very well," while Team Earth gets dinged for not bringing much earth to their Carpaccio. After stating that the judges agree with the guests' assessment that the Carpaccio was the weakest dish of the night, Zoi is sent to gather her knives. She's "disappointed, obviously," and explains that she's not really a competitor, which begs the question of what on earth (haha) she was doing there in the first place. Richard's crying, presumably because he's so relieved about staying, and Jen puts on her incredulous face, as Zoi tries to comfort her with a kiss. Zoi's pleased that she got to share the experience with her partner, and "to show people that you can be a couple and be professional and still compete" -- all the implied lesbian drama fizzling . . . uh, turning . . . out to be more about the dignity of gay unions, or something similarly banal (at least where reality TV is concerned -- while it would be nice to see more gay couples on television, this whole plot thread was pretty much a dud).

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Top Chef

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