Top Chef

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Chuck: B- | Grade It Now!
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The Elements

Danger alert -- Nikki's infiltrated Lisa's workstation to hijack and electrical outlet, and Lisa's none to pleased. In response to some other grievous slight, Lisa tosses a tray, and Dale bitches about Lisa's bitching. "Observational negativity," he calls her behavior, and says "it's a horrible thing for me to be around." Word. Now the bacon's not working out, which sends Lisa into a paroxysm of cursing, and Lisa, speaking to the camera, officially comes out as "that bitch that everybody hates." We're all several minutes ahead of you, Lisa.

Things are moving quickly for Team Air, as Nikki, perhaps concealing a bomb, or a family of four, in the enormous rat's nest atop her head, muses that Ryan's acting a "little frazzled," a sentiment that proves on the money when Ryan realizes he's used all of the pomegranate juice, presumably in a dressing, even though some of it was supposed to be saved for the prosecco drink -- sorry, the "pomerini." Oh, for crying out loud -- I get that the bubbles create a feeling of air. They need something, right? But a "pomerini?" Lame. They come up with some alternate juice solution that I can't see, and Nikki tells Ryan, oddly, that "when you curse that draws attention to you," just as Colicchio shows up for a bit of snooping.

First stop: planet Earth, where Spike describes working with Antonia and Zoi as "a pleasure" before Colicchio forces them to drop the "it's all collaborative" act and admit that Zoi will be handling the mushrooms, and Spike will make the sunchoke aioli -- but from sunchokes that Antonia peeled! "You can't screw up peeling it," says Colicchio. Antonia suddenly looks pretty clever -- although she devised the dish, she's helping by doing the grunt work of peeling, essentially ensuring that Spike and Zoi will end up holding the bag for any flaws in execution -- and she's immune.

Richard and crew are next -- when Colicchio asks what element they have, Richard replies, "Water -- you can tell by the blue aprons." Bien sur, replies Colicchio, with a slight grin that fades immediately into annoyance. Extolling the importance of "a rapport with Tom," Richard lays on the charm, as he explains the dish and wonders aloud, "Who poaches fish anymore?" Colicchio looks confused. "Three chefs in blue aprons." Blank. "We do have Jacuzzi." Slightly incredulous. Acknowledging that he is digging himself a watery grave, Richard laments that "the Richard Blaise charm has just worn off." Yes, Richard, yes it has. God, that was satisfying to watch.

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Top Chef

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