Top Chef (season 4)

Top Chef (season 4)

Infobox Television Top Chef
season_name = Top Chef: Chicago

caption = The contestants of "Top Chef" Season 4
first_aired = March 12, 2008
last_aired = June 11, 2008
filming_started = Late 2007
filming_completed =
winner = Stephanie Izard
number_chefs = 16
number_tasks =
number_episodes = 14
previous_season = Season 3
next_season = Season 5
The fourth season of American reality television series "Top Chef" was filmed in Chicago in the second half of 2007 and first aired on March 12, 2008 on Bravo. [ [ 'Top Chef' cooks up a move to Chicago] . "Chicago Tribune", July 15, 2007]


In December 2007, Bravo started running a teaser commercial featuring a digital display of a clock typically used in the Top Chef kitchen, with time ticking down to zero against a black background. The commercial ended with the caption "Chicago 2008" and a voiceover from Padma Lakshmi saying "Utensils down, hands up!". In January 2008, Bravo released another teaser, this time actually showing Lakshmi. This teaser showed that Season 4 would have 16 chefs when it started on Wednesday, March 12, 2008.

Judges, guest judges, and special appearances

Permanent judges

*Tom Colicchio (Head Judge)
*Padma Lakshmi (Host)
*Gail Simmons (Judge (alternating with Ted Allen)
*Ted Allen (Judge (alternating with Gail Simmons)

Guest judges

*Rocco DiSpirito (Ep. 1 Quickfire and Elimination)
*Anthony Bourdain (Ep. 1 Elimination and Ep. 11 Elimination (temporarily taking over head judge duties))
*Wylie Dufresne (Ep. 2 Quickfire and Elimination)
*Rick Bayless (Ep. 3 Quickfire and Elimination)
*Daniel Boulud (Ep. 4 Quickfire and Elimination)
*Ming Tsai (Ep. 5 Quickfire and Elimination)
*Koren Grieveson (Ep. 6 Quickfire)
*Paul Kahan (Ep. 6 Elimination)
*Johnny Iuzzini (Ep. 7 Quickfire and Elimination)
*Art Smith (Ep. 8 Quickfire and Elimination)
*Gale Gand (Ep. 9 Elimination)
*Sam Talbot (Ep. 10 Quickfire and Elimination)
* Heleen Thanas (Ep. 11 Quickfire)
*José Andrés (Ep. 11 Elimination)
*Rick Tramonto (Ep. 12 Quickfire and Elimination)
*Wilo Benet (Ep. 13 Quickfire and Elimination)
*Alfredo Ayala (Ep. 14)
*Dan Barber (Ep. 14)
*April Bloomfield (Ep. 14)
*Eric Ripert (Ep. 14)
*Tim Zagat (Ep. 14)

pecial appearances

*Film Critic Richard Roeper
*Actress Aisha Tyler
*Former Chicago Bears Players Richard Dent, Gale Sayers, and William "The Refrigerator" Perry
*Members of Second City, a Chicago-based improvisational comedy troupe
*Students from the [ Common Threads] program
*Luisa Acevedo Vilá, the First Lady of Puerto Rico
*Previous Top Chef Winners Harold Dieterle, Ilan Hall, and Hung Huynh


("In order of elimination")

* Nimma Osman [Last name per [ Nimma Osman recipes] ] , 26 — Hometown: Peachtree City, GA; Resides in Atlanta, GA; Cook at Repast
* Valerie Bolon, [Last name per [ Valerie Bolon recipes] ] 32 — Hometown/Resides in: Chicago, IL; Personal Chef
* Erik Hopfinger, [Last name per [ Erik Hopfinger recipes] ] 38 — Hometown: Chappaqua, NY; Resides in San Francisco, CA; Executive Chef at Circa Restaurant
* Manuel Trevino, [Last name per [ Manuel Trevino recipes] ] 33 — Hometown: Laredo, TX; Resides in New York, NY; Executive Chef at Dos Caminos
* Zoi Antonitsas, [Last name per [ Zoi Antonitsas recipes] ] 30, — Hometown: Seattle, WA; Resides in San Francisco, CA. Chef/Restaurant Consultant
* Ryan Scott, [ [ Ryan Scott's Page] on MySpace] 28 — Hometown: Los Banos, CA; Resides in San Francisco, CA; Chef/Manager at Cafe Myth
* Jennifer Biesty, [Last name per [ Jennifer Biesty recipes] ] 35 — Hometown: Brooklyn, NY; Resides in San Francisco, CA. Executive Chef at Coco500
* Mark Simmons, [Last name per [ Mark Simmons recipes] ] 29 — Hometown: Invercargill, New Zealand; Resides in New York, NY; Sous Chef at Public Restaurant
* Nikki Cascone, [Last name per [ Nikki Cascone recipes] ] 35 — Hometown/Resides in: New York, NY; Chef/Co-owner of 24 Prince
* Andrew D'Ambrosi, [ "Mystery Top Chef Contestant Sous Chef at Le Cirque"] , February 20, 2008] 30 — Hometown: Fort Lauderdale, FL; Resides in New York, NY; sous chef at Le Cirque
* Dale Talde, [ [ Metromix: "'Top Chef' Season 4: Dale Talde", by Jacqui Gal, February 29, 2008] ] 29 — Hometown: Chicago, IL; Resides in New York, NY; Sous Chef at Buddakan
* Evangelos "Spike" Mendelsohn, [Last name per [ Admiral Farragut Academy North Tribute Website, "Ex-AFA Cadet on Bravo's "Top Chef"!, April 3, 2008] ] 27 — Hometown: Clearwater Beach, FL; Resides in Washington, D.C.; owner/Good Stuff Eatery
* Antonia Lofaso, [Last name per [ Antonia Lofaso recipes] ] 31 — Hometown/Resides in: Los Angeles, CA; Executive Chef at Foxtail
* Richard Blais, [] ] [ [ March 11, 2008: "Meet 'Top Chef' Hopeful Richard Blais"] . Per same source, he was previously a competitor on "Iron Chef America"] 35 — Hometown: Uniondale, NY; Resides in Atlanta, GA. Chef, culinary designer, Trail-Blais -- "Runner-Up"
* Lisa Fernandes, [Last name per [ Lisa Fernandes recipes] ] 27 — Hometown: Toronto, Canada; Resides in New York, NY; Chef at Mai House -- "Runner-Up"
* Stephanie Izard, [Last name per [ Stephanie Izard recipes] ] 31 — Hometown: Stamford, CT; Resides in Chicago, IL; not working -- "Winner" / "Fan Favorite"

Contestant progress

*fnb|1 Episode 1's Quickfire Challenge resulted in the 16 contestants being split into two groups of 8: the Winners and the Losers. No elimination immunity was given to the Winners group. This was done for the purpose of the head-to-head cook-off in the Elimination Challenge.
*fnb|2 Although Antonia and Zoi landed in the bottom for this challenge, they were declared safe prior to Manuel's elimination (following a more concise explanation of their dish).
*fnb|3 Despite being on the winning team, Andrew had dishes which displeased the judges and was not declared a favorite. In contrast, despite being on the losing team, Lisa's wedding cake for the groom pleased the judges and she was spared from being eligible for elimination.
*fnb|4 Richard was originally awarded the win by the judges. Even though he gave the win to Stephanie and she shared the prize, he is considered the sole winner of this challenge according to the Bravo website.
*fnb|5 Stephanie was declared the Winner of Top Chef. The judges did not state a first or second runner-up.

:colorbox|hotpink (WINNER) The chef won the series and was crowned Top Chef.:colorbox|limegreen (WIN) The chef won that episode's Elimination Challenge.:colorbox|cornflowerblue (HIGH) The chef was selected as one of the top entries in the Elimination Challenge, but did not win.:colorbox|tomato (LOW) The chef was selected as one of the bottom entries in the Elimination Challenge, but was not eliminated.:colorbox|lightgrey (OUT) The chef lost that week's Elimination Challenge and was out of the competition.:colorbox|#FBF373 (RUNNER-UP) Runner-Up of the season.:colorbox|white (IN) The chef neither won nor lost that week's Elimination Challenge. They also were not up to be eliminated.:colorbox|offwhite IN (+) The chef won a pair or team challenge but was not chosen as one of the judges' favorites.:colorbox|offwhite IN (-) The chef lost a pair or team challenge but was not selected as one of the judges' least favorites.


Each episode includes two challenges. The Quickfire Challenge is a short, simple challenge with a varying reward each week; in the initial episodes of the season, it usually guarantees the winner immunity from being sent home that week. The Elimination Challenge is a more complex challenge that determines who goes home. One or more guest judges join the show each week to evaluate both the Quickfire and Elimination challenges. Each week's elimination is announced in a segment called "Judges' Table."

Episode 1: Anything You Can Cook, I Can Cook Better

*Quickfire Challenge: The chefs must create a signature deep dish pizza and serve it to Rocco DiSpirito and Padma Lakshmi. Prize: Immunity from elimination was not awarded to the winners of this Quickfire. No other prize was noted in the broadcast airing.
** WINNER: There was no one winner for this challenge.
*** The Winners' Group: "Antonia, Dale, Erik, Jennifer, Mark, Richard, Ryan, Spike"
*** The Losers' Group: "Andrew, Lisa, Manuel, Nikki, Nimma, Stephanie, Valerie, Zoi"
*Elimination Challenge: The winners of the Quickfire must cook head-to-head against the losers, using one dish from a list of classic dishes. The winners drew numbered knives and chose one of the losers as their opponent. The opponent then selected which dish the pair will each prepare. Both dishes will be served to the judges simultaneously, with decisions to follow immediately.
**Pairs of Winners vs. Losers (in the order they chose their competitor), followed by the type of dish they were to make. The name of the winning chef for each dish is "italicized".
*** #1: "Richard" vs. Andrew (Crab Cakes)
*** #2: Mark vs. "Stephanie" (Duck à l'Orange)
*** #3: Jennifer vs. "Nikki" (Lasagna)
*** #4: "Antonia" vs. Nimma (Shrimp Scampi)
*** #5: Spike vs. "Lisa" (Eggs Benedict)
*** #6: "Dale" vs. Manuel (Steak au Poivre)
*** #7: Ryan vs. "Valerie" (Chicken Piccata)
*** #8: Erik vs. "Zoi" (Soufflé)
**Of the eight winners, Antonia, Nikki, Richard, and Stephanie were chosen as the judges' favorites.
**Of the eight losers, Erik, Mark, Nimma, and Ryan were chosen as the judges' least favorites.
* WINNER: Stephanie (Duck Breast, with Mushrooms, Bok Choy, and Duck Spring Rolls with Orange-Soy Glaze)
* ELIMINATED: Nimma (Shrimp Scampi with Cauliflower Scramble)
*Elimination Challenge Prize: None noted in the broadcast airing.
*Guest Judges: Rocco DiSpirito; Anthony Bourdain (Elimination Challenge)
*First aired March 12, 2008

Episode 2: Zoo Food

*Quickfire Challenge: Each chef is to create a dish using no more than five ingredients (excluding salt, pepper, sugar, oil), either purchased at Chicago's Green City Market or from the Top Chef pantry. This week's prize: Immunity from elimination.
**The Best: Mark, Ryan, Valerie
**The Worst: Erik, Richard, Spike
*** WINNER: Mark (Sirloin Steak, Turnips, Mushrooms, Peaches, and Butter)
*Elimination Challenge: Five teams of three are selected by drawing knives, each assigned a specific animal (Bear, Gorilla, Lion, Penguin, and Vulture). The teams must prepare a series of appetizers based around their animal's diet for a gathering of 200 guests at the Lincoln Park Zoo. Teams are given a half-hour and $500 to shop at the Whole Foods market, three hours to prep in the Top Chef kitchen, and a final hour to set up on-site.
**Team Bear: Dale, Nikki, Spike
**Team Gorilla: Antonia, Stephanie, Valerie
**Team Lion: Erik, Richard, Ryan
**Team Penguin: Andrew, Jennifer, Lisa
**Team Vulture: Manuel, Mark, Zoi
* WINNER: Andrew of Team Penguin (Squid Ceviche with Soy-Balsamic Tapioca; Yuzu-Mint Gelée "Glacier")
* ELIMINATED: Valerie of Team Gorilla (Black Olive Blini with Fennel Mascarpone, Rutabaga and Beets)
*Elimination Challenge Prize: None noted in the broadcast airing.
*Guest Judge: Wylie Dufresne
*First aired March 19, 2008

Episode 3: Block Party

*Quickfire Challenge: Each chef must create a taco dish that elevates the taco to fine-dining. In addition to winning immunity, the winning dish will go on the menu at Rick Bayless' restaurant Topolobampo.
**The Best: Andrew, Richard, Spike
**The Worst: Erik, Lisa, Ryan
*** WINNER: Richard (Vegetarian Tacos with a Jicama Tortilla, Avocado, Papaya and Cilantro Stems)
*Elimination Challenge: Divided into two teams of seven, the chefs must cater a Chicago neighborhood's annual Block Party. The teams must only use ingredients that they can get from the residents of the block.
**Blue Team: Antonia, Lisa, Manuel, Mark, Nikki, Richard, Stephanie
**Red Team: Andrew, Dale, Erik, Jennifer, Ryan, Spike, Zoi
* WINNER: Stephanie of Blue Team (Mixed Fruit with Oatmeal-Pine Nut Crumble, Cinnamon Whipped Cream, and Fried Wonton Dough)
* ELIMINATED: Erik of Red Team (Corn Dogs with Pomegranate Ketchup and Spicy Mustard)
*Elimination Challenge Prize: None noted in the broadcast airing.
*Guest Judge: Rick Bayless
*First aired: March 26, 2008

Episode 4: Film Food

*Quickfire Challenge: Each chef must create a vegetable platter using the various vegetables provided, in addition to all of the items from the entire "Top Chef" pantry. The chefs must utilize at least three techniques in their dish. The winner receives immunity in the next Elimination Challenge.
**The Best: Dale, Richard, Zoi
**The Worst: Lisa, Manuel, Nikki
*** WINNER: Dale (Vegan Sashimi Platter with Daikon Marinated in Tobanjan (Spicy Miso Paste) and a Tournée of Avocado and Cucumber)
*Elimination Challenge: The chefs must draw knives to pair up into six teams of two (with Dale having the privilege of selecting which pair he'll join to make one group of three). Then, create a 6-course meal, with each dish being inspired by the chefs' favorite film. The dinner will be for critic Richard Roeper, actress Aisha Tyler, and company.
**1st Course: Andrew, Dale, & Richard ("Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory")
**2nd Course: Manuel & Spike ("Good Morning, Vietnam")
**3rd Course: Jennifer & Nikki ("Il Postino")
**4th Course: Mark & Ryan ("A Christmas Story")
**5th Course: Antonia & Zoi ("Talk to Her")
**6th Course: Lisa & Stephanie ("Top Secret!")
***Best Teams: "Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory" and "Top Secret!"
***Worst Teams: "Talk to Her" and "Good Morning, Vietnam"
* WINNER: Richard of "Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory" (Smoked Salmon with Tapioca Pearls and Wasabi White Chocolate Sauce)
* ELIMINATED: Manuel of "Good Morning, Vietnam" (Summer Roll with Chili-Rubbed Chilean Sea Bass and Pickled Swiss Chard)
*Elimination Challenge Prize: None noted in the broadcast airing.
*Guest Judge: Daniel Boulud
*First aired: April 2, 2008

Episode 5: The Elements

*Quickfire Challenge: The chefs must participate in a taste test, consisting of series of 15 comparisons. For every comparison, each chef is blindfolded and tastes two variations of a certain food, one of which is of a lesser quality than the other. The chefs are scored for each high-end ingredient they correctly identify.
**The Best: Antonia (12/15); Jen (11/15), Ryan (11/15)
**The Worst: Stephanie (6/15)
*** WINNER: Antonia (Prize: Immunity in the next Elimination Challenge.)
*Elimination Challenge: The chefs are split into four groups of three by drawing knives, each assigned to one of the classical elements: Earth, Water, Fire, or Air. Each team is to create a first-course meal based on that element for 80 people of Chicago's Celebrity Chef-Meals on Wheels Fundraiser, held at the old Marshall Field & Co. Building. Survey cards were filled out by the patrons of the dinner that evening and used as part of the judging process.
**Team Air: Jennifer, Nikki, Ryan
**Team Earth: Antonia, Spike, Zoi
**Team Fire: Dale, Lisa, Stephanie
**Team Water: Andrew, Mark, Richard
* WINNER: Lisa of "Team Fire" (Grilled Shrimp with Pickled Chili Salad, Deviled Aioli, and Miso-Smoked Bacon)
* ELIMINATED: Zoi of "Team Earth" (Beef Carpaccio with Mushroom Salad and Sunchoke Aioli)
*Elimination Challenge Prize: A five-day trip for two (the winning chef and a guest) to Italy.
*Guest Judge: Ming Tsai
*First aired: April 9, 2008

Episode 6: Tailgating

*Quickfire Challenge: Each contestant is allowed to taste three beers from several different brands prior to selecting one. With that beer, each contestant is then challenged to create a matching dish that works with the beer. Prize: Immunity from the next Elimination Challenge.
**The Best: Jennifer, Richard, Stephanie
**The Worst: Dale, Nikki, Spike
*** WINNER: Jennifer (Landshark Lager — Shrimp and Scallop Beignets with Fennel Avocado & Pepper Pureés)
*Elimination Challenge: The contestants are asked to create meals for a tailgating party at Soldier Field prior to a Chicago Bears football game (). The chefs are given preparation time both at the Top Chef kitchen and at the field, prior to serving, on grills. The top and bottom three dishes were selected from the crowd participating in the tailgating party, including former Bears players Richard Dent, Gale Sayers and William "The Refrigerator" Perry, though the final decision of the winner and eliminated chef was left to the judges.
* WINNER: Dale (Baby Back Ribs Marinated in Tandoori and Potato Salad with Raisins & Mango)
* ELIMINATED: Ryan (Bread Salad and Marinated Chicken with Poached Pears and Brandy Cocoa)
*Elimination Challenge Prize: A Weber Summit 650 Gas Grill (as used in the elimination challenge) and a Chicago Bears jersey labeled "Top Chef".
*Guest Judges: Koren Grieveson (Quickfire Challenge); Paul Kahan (Elimination Challenge)
*First aired: April 16, 2008

Episode 7: Improv

*Quickfire Challenge: Each chef is to make a dessert that will please the judges. The winner will receive immunity in the next challenge and have his or her Quickfire recipe placed in the Top Chef cookbook.
**The Best: Dale, Lisa, Richard
**The Worst: Antonia, Mark, Spike
*** WINNER: Richard (Banana "Scallops" with Banana Guacamole and Chocolate Ice Cream)
*Elimination Challenge: The chefs attend a performance of the improvisational comedy troupe, Second City. During the performance, the Second City actors obtain combinations of a color, emotion, and ingredient from the audience, creating five descriptions for meals that the chefs are then to prepare. The chefs freely split into teams and select the order for the courses, and, as they discover during cooking, are unable to use electric mixers or food processors as they have been removed from the Top Chef kitchen for this challenge. The chefs also discover as they cook that — while an elaborate table was present in the kitchen — they will be serving their meals at the Top Chef house, and that they only have 20 minutes to move to the house from this announcement.
**First Course: "Yellow Love Vanilla" (Andrew & Spike)
**Second Course: "Orange Turned-On Asparagus" (Jennifer & Stephanie)
**Third Course: "Green Perplexed Tofu" (Dale & Richard)
**Fourth Course: "Magenta Drunk Polish Sausage" (Antonia & Lisa)
**Fifth Course: "Purple Depressed Bacon" (Mark & Nikki)
* WINNERS: Dale & Richard (Tofu "Steak" Marinated in Beef Fat with Green Curry)
* ELIMINATED: Jennifer (Ménage à Trois of Orange with Goat Cheese, Asparagus Salad and Olive Tapenade)
*Guest Judge: Johnny Iuzzini (Executive Pastry Chef, Jean-Georges Restaurant, New York City)
*First aired: April 23, 2008
* Elimination Challenge Prize: Each team member receives $2,500 worth of Calphalon kitchenware.

Episode 8: Common Threads

*Quickfire Challenge: Each chef is to create an entree in only 15 minutes, using Uncle Ben's Rice as a primary ingredient. The winner receives immunity in the next challenge.
**The Best: Antonia, Dale, Richard
**The Worst: Lisa, Mark, Stephanie
*** WINNER: Antonia (Rice Salad with Skirt Steak, Arugula, Cherry Tomatoes)
*Elimination Challenge: The contestants are told to make a healthy, simple and flavorful meal for a family of four, using only $10. Meal preparation would take place at the Washburn Culinary Institute. There, each chef is then paired with a child from the Common Threads program who will participate in preparing the dish and will be responsible for explaining the dish to fellow children from the program during the tasting.
* WINNER: Antonia (Stir Fry Whole Wheat Noodles with Bok Choy, Chicken, Edamame & Cilantro)
* ELIMINATED: Mark (Roasted Vegetables in Red Curry with Cucumber Salad & Garlic Naan)
* Guest Judge: Art Smith
* First aired: April 30, 2008

Episode 9: Wedding Wars

*Quickfire Challenge: The chefs draw knives to split into two teams of four, Team Fork and Team Spoon. The teams are:
**Team Fork: Andrew, Antonia, Richard, Stephanie
**Team Spoon: Dale, Lisa, Nikki, Spike In these teams, the chefs compete in a mis en place relay race. One person from each team must perform a basic kitchen task, and then receive approval from Tom before the next person on their team can begin the next chore. The first team to complete all the tasks wins. The tasks are:::1. Supreme 3 oranges (Antonia vs. Lisa) Done first: Lisa ::2. Turn 2 artichokes (Andrew vs. Spike) Done first: Andrew and Spike (Tie) ::3. Fillet a monkfish (Richard vs. Dale) Done first: Richard and Dale (Tie)::4. Create mayonnaise from scratch (Stephanie vs. Nikki) Done first: Stephanie:*Winner: Team Fork:*From this point on, the winner(s) of the Quickfire Challenge will no longer receive immunity from elimination.
*Elimination Challenge: Instead of the usual "Restaurant Wars" challenge, the teams are challenged to "Wedding Wars". In the teams used for the Quickfire, the chefs must cater a 250-guest wedding (125 guests to be served per team) for a couple who own a restaurant and wedding facility. Each team will prepare a different menu, one team responsible for meeting the bride's requests, while the other for the groom. Team Fork, as the winner of the Quickfire, decides to cater for the bride. The wedding is to take place the next day, and the teams are given 30 minutes to discuss the menu with the bride or groom, 30 minutes to plan, $3000 to shop at a large food warehouse and $2000 at Whole Foods Market, and 14 hours (through the night) of preparation time in the Top Chef kitchen followed by additional preparation time at the banquet.
*WINNER: Richard & Stephanie, of Team Fork
*ELIMINATED: Nikki, of Team Spoon
*Elimination challenge prize: A $2000 gift certificate to Crate & Barrel (Stephanie and Richard decided to split the prize)
*Guest Judge: Gale Gand, pastry chef at Tru (Elimination Challenge only)
*First aired: May 7, 2008
*NOTE: Richard was awarded the win by the judges, but chose to give the prize to Stephanie for her work on the bride's wedding cake in the challenge. In turn, she offered to split the prize with him. However, according to, Richard is the sole winner of this challenge. [ [ : Top Chef : Season 4 : burning ] ]

Episode 10: Serve and Protect

*Quickfire Challenge: The chefs are given 45 minutes to create a modern take on a salad using fresh produce and items from the Top Chef pantry.
**The Best: Antonia, Dale, Spike
**The Worst: Lisa, Richard, Stephanie
***WINNER: Spike ("Sensual Beef Salad" with Pineapple, Radish, Cucumber and Skirt Steak)
*Elimination Challenge: Chefs are challenged to create a healthy, delicious, and filling box lunch meal for the members of the Chicago Police Academy. The meal must contain at least one ingredient from each of the the following categories: whole grain, lean protein, fruit and vegetable. Any final preparation step (such as microwaving) must be completed by the diners. Spike, as the Quickfire winner, is given ten additional minutes to shop, and the first choice of each of the four required ingredients, which the other chefs are then not permitted to use. He chose bread, chicken, tomato, and lettuce as his exclusive ingredients.
*WINNER: Dale (Lemongrass Mango Bison with Brown Rice, Cucumbers, Radish and Herb Salad)
*ELIMINATED: Andrew (Salmon Roll with Parsnip-Pine Nut "Rice" and Pickled Ginger Wasabi)
*Elimination challenge prize: A bottle of wine from a Napa Valley winery and a trip to visit their vineyards.
*Guest Judge: Sam Talbot
*First aired: May 14, 2008

Episode 11: Restaurant Wars

*Quickfire Challenge: Taking turns, each chef would spend the same amount of time manning the egg station during the busy breakfast hours at Lou Mitchell's Restaurant and Bakery. The chef's performance would be judged by both Tom Colicchio and the restaurant's owner, Heleen Thanas, based on who she'd be most likely to hire.
**The Best: Antonia and Dale
**The Worst: No worst chefs were named.
***WINNER: Antonia
*Elimination Challenge: For the standard "Restaurant Wars" challenge, the chefs had to open up a restaurant in teams of three for a dinner service, consisting of three courses with two selections for each for approximately 35 guests the next day. The winner would be judged based on both the normal judges and comment cards filled out by the patrons. Each team had $1,500 to spend on food, and $5,000 from Pier 1 Imports for decor. The winner of the Quickfire would be able to select his or her teammates for the challenge. One chef from each team was to assist in front of the house duties along with additional waitstaff. Midway through the challenge, each team's executive chef was allowed to select one additional assisting chef from the last four that were eliminated from the show; Antonia chose Nikki and Dale chose Jennifer.
**"Warehouse Kitchen": Antonia, Richard, Stephanie; Nikki
**1st Course: Beet Salad with Goat Cheese and Ras el Hanout Spices "or" Linguine and Clams with Sausage and Horseradish Crème Fraîche
**2nd Course: Trout with Cauliflower "or" "Lamb Squared": Lamb Loin and Braised Lamb Shank
**3rd Course: Gorgonzola Cheesecake with Sweet Potato Purée and Concord Grape Sauce "or" Banana “Scallops” with Banana Guacamole and Chocolate Ice Cream
**"Mai Buddha": Dale, Lisa, Spike; Jennifer
**1st Course: Spicy Coconut Shrimp Laksa "or" Pork and Pickled Plum Pot-stickers
**2nd Course: Braised Short Ribs with Pickled Red Cabbage and Apple Basil Salad "or" Butterscotch Miso Scallops with Spicy Eggplant and Pickled Long Beans
**3rd Course: Halo-halo with Cantaloupe, Coconut, Kiwi, Avocado and Candied Nuts "or" Mango Sticky Rice with Toasted Coconut
*WINNER: Stephanie of "Warehouse Kitchen"
*ELIMINATED: Dale of "Mai Buddha"
*Elimination challenge prize: A trip for two to Barcelona, Spain, including a guided wine tour
*Guest Judges: Heleen Thanas (Owner of Lou Mitchell's) (Quickfire Challenge); Anthony Bourdain (temporarily taking over head judge duties during the Elimination Challenge from Tom Colicchio who was invited to a charity event); José Andrés (Elimination Challenge)
*First aired: May 21, 2008

Episode 12: High Steaks

*Quickfire Challenge: At a meat packing warehouse, each chef is given twenty minutes to butcher and clean seven "tomahawk chops" from an aged side of beef. Then, at the Top Chef kitchen, they are given an additional thirty minutes to prepare two of the chops to the guest judge's preference - medium-rare.
**The Best: Antonia, Lisa, Spike
**The Worst: Richard and Stephanie
***WINNER: Spike
*Elimination Challenge: Each chef had to create an appetizer and an entrée and work the line at Rick Tramonto's Steak & Seafood restaurant. Spike, as the Quickfire winner, was able to select two proteins to use for his dishes, disallowing the other chefs to use those proteins. He chose scallops to use for his appetizer, and tomahawk chops for his entrée.
*WINNER: Stephanie (Sweetbreads with Golden Raisins, Fennel and Pine Nuts; Beef Tenderloin with Wild Mushrooms and Apple Sauce)
*ELIMINATED: Spike (Seared Scallops with Hearts of Palm and Oyster Mushrooms; Grilled Tomahawk Chop with Sweet Potato Purée, Brussels Sprouts, and Cipollinis)
*Elimination challenge prize: Cook book by Rick Tramonto and a suite of GE Monogram appliances.
*Guest Judges: Rick Tramonto, Harold Dieterle, Ilan Hall, and Hung Huynh
*Note: Spike Mendelsohn was the first contestant in the show's history to win the Quickfire Challenge and be eliminated in the same episode.
*First aired: May 28, 2008

Episode 13: Puerto Rico Finale, Part 1

*Quickfire Challenge: Each chef is to make "frituras" (fritters) with the primary ingredient being plantains.
**The Best: Stephanie and Lisa
**The Worst: Antonia and Richard
***WINNER: Stephanie (Pork and Shrimp Fritter with Brown Butter, Lime and Basil; Tostones Topped with Seared Tuna)
*Elimination Challenge: The chefs are asked to prepare three dishes each for a reception held at La Fortaleza, the official residence of the Governor of Puerto Rico. Each chef is given a pig to butcher, and must use at least two different parts of it in two of three dishes. The last four previously eliminated chefs are brought back as sous chefs to assist, with Stephanie, as the Quickfire winner, selecting which sous chef works with which chef. She assigns Spike to Richard, Nikki to Antonia, Andrew to Lisa, and Dale to herself. While the chefs butcher the pig, the sous chefs shop for ingredients at a local market. Then, the chefs have 2 hours of prep time on the day before the reception, followed by five hours of cooking time just prior to the reception.
*WINNER: Richard (BBQ Pork Shoulder with Braised Greens, Coffee and Local Mango; "Costillas De Cerdo": Pork Ribs with "Malta" and Soy Glaze; Pressure Cooked Pork Belly with Pickled Watermelon; Fresh Pernal "Ham" with Local Beans)
*ELIMINATED: Antonia (Pigeon Peas with Homemade Pork Sausage; Ham Hock and Curried Pork with Yucca and Pumpkin; Honey Pork Belly with Pickled Sweet Peppers, Papaya and Chayote)
*Elimination Challenge Prize: 2009 Toyota Corolla S
*Guest Judge: Wilo Benet
*This episode took place six months after the previous episode in Chicago, and took place in Puerto Rico.
*First aired: June 4, 2008

Episode 14: Puerto Rico Finale, Part 2

*Final Challenge: As the final challenge, each chef was asked to create a four-course meal for nine guests, consisting of a fish course, a poultry course, a red meat course, and a dessert, in order. Before they started to cook, the chefs had to select one of three famous New York chefs to have as their sous chef for the challenge. Additionally, each famous chef came paired with an array of proteins, for the contestant to use in their first three dishes. The order for picking the sous chefs (and proteins) was determined by the number of previous elimination round wins, with ties broken by knife pulling.::Stephanie chose celebrity chef, author, and restaurateur Eric Ripert, of Le Bernardin.::Richard chose chef and restauranteur Dan Barber, of Blue Hill.::Lisa chose April Bloomfield, also a chef and restauranteur, from [ The Spotted Pig] . :On the second and final day of cooking, the chefs had to finish the meal preparation alone. The final menus for each one of them were:

::Lisa: ::*Fish Course: Prawns with Chili Basil Sauce, Crab, Potato Chips and Pea Tendrils ::*Poultry Course: Tom Kha Gai Soup Dumplings with Organic Chicken, Golden Threads, Toasted Chilies and Cilantro ::*Red Meat Course: Coriander and Soy Glazed Wagyu Strip Steak over Chayote and Cucumber Salad with Garlic Chips and Chili ::*Dessert Course: Black Thai Rice with Caramelized Coconut, Mango Cream and Crispy Taro

::Richard: ::*Fish Course: "The Beginning": Grilled Scallop with Pineapple Vinegar and Mango ::*Poultry Course: "Which Came First?": Guinea Hen, Duck, Foie Gras, and Chicken Egg with Spring Vegetables ::*Red Meat Course: "Be the Bacon": Pork Belly with Pickled Radish and Mirin Broth ::*Dessert Course: "The End": Banana Scallop with Bacon Ice Cream and Cilantro Stem ::Stephanie: ::*Fish Course: Sauteed Red Snapper Filet with Truffled White Asparagus and Clam Broth ::*Poultry Course: Seared Quail Breast with Butter Poached Lobster Ravioli and Mango ::*Red Meat Course: Roasted Lamb Medallions with Maitake Mushrooms, Braised Pistachios, and Blackberry ::*Dessert Course: Ricotta Pound Cake with Lime Glaze, Pineapple, and Salted Banana Cream:In the stew room, Lisa said she thought she made the best poultry and dessert courses, and that Stephanie prepared the best fish and red meat courses. At Judges' Table, most of the judges generally agreed, but thought that Richard tied with Lisa for the dessert course.
*ELIMINATED: Richard and Lisa
*WINNER of "Top Chef 4": Stephanie Izard
*Note: There was no Quickfire Challenge in this episode.
*First aired: June 11, 2008

Episode 15: Reunion

*In this reunion special, all of the chefs from Season Four were reunited to discuss the season, along with Judges Padma Lakshmi, Tom Colicchio, Gail Simmons, and Ted Allen, and Bravo Vice President and blogger Andy Cohen. During the program, participants were asked questions drawn from viewer emails, and were shown video segments highlighting the season. They also joked about such topics as the "bro-mance" that went on between the male chefs this season, Antonia's identity as "The Black Hammer", Ryan's extremely long dish explanations, and the contestants' heavy cursing. As well as this, the top four fights of the season were recapped, with the post-elimination fight in Episode 5 revealed to be the top one. Additionally, Spike revealed this year's "Top Chef" t-shirt, which read, "I have a culinary boner," a phrase said by Andrew during Episode 9, Wedding Wars. However, some more serious topics were also discussed, like the internet rumors that Jen and Zoi had split up, and that Lisa was getting dirty looks on the street. Near the end of the show, Richard was able to join the other contestants via satellite from Atlanta, GA, waiting for the impending birth of his baby daughter. He spoke about how he "choked" in the finale, and also revealed that the people from Bravo sent him a onesie reading "Top Chef" for his daughter. Lastly, the fan favorite was revealed to be Stephanie Izard, who became the first Fan Favorite and also Top Chef.
*First aired: June 18, 2008



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