They say pride goeth before a fall, so I am trying to not get too pleased with myself for guessing correctly the past two Top Chef 4
eliminated cheftestants, Dale Talde
and Andrew D'Ambrosi
. I would love to continue my streak, but I am afraid that emotion might cloud my judgment.
At this stage, there are five remaining cheftestants: Stephanie Izard
, Richard Blais
, Antonia Lofaso
, Spike Mendelsohn
and Lisa Fernandes
. And I'll admit it: as much as I'd love to just be an impartial handicapper, coldly assessing the strengths and weaknesses of each chef while keeping in mind the little clues dropped by the editing and story arc creation, I can't help but want certain chefs to stay and others to go. So will I get my wish?
My ideal top three would be Stephanie Izard, Richard Blais and Antonia Lofaso. Caveat – that's my ideal three of the remaining five. While I like Antonia, I was rooting for prickly Dale to make it to the final three. Without him, I'd have to pick Antonia over Spike and Lisa.
While Lisa has clung on to the competition, she has done so mainly by several times narrowly scraping by. She's been called out in the bottom four out of the past five eliminations. Her wedding cake might have been the saving grace in Wedding Wars, but otherwise it's been a while since she has distinguished herself with her performance. And while no one can know how they would behave under similar circumstances, her attitude in the kitchen and stubborn-appearing stance in judging have not won her many fans among the viewers.
Spike finally got a Quickfire win in Top Chef Episode 4.10, but otherwise he has never won an elimination challenge. He's been called out in the bottom for two of the past three challenges, and only avoided being in the absolute bottom in Restaurant Wars partially by avoiding conflict altogether.
Due to that, personally, I wouldn't mind seeing either of them not make it to the final four. But is it possible that one of the more positively-portrayed contestants could be going home instead? I'm hoping the twist quota for this block of episodes was fulfilled by the ouster of Dale and we can keep Stephanie, Richard and Antonia around for a bit longer.
I take heart in the fact that in the preview for this week's episode, when Padma Lakshmi is shown delivering this week's “Pack your knives and go,” she seems remarkably aloof about it. I just can't imagine that she wouldn't give one of her patented sad-crinkle-face “I'm so sorry to have to do this” deliveries of that line if it were one of the favorites like Richard. The judges have noted in the past that Lisa's defiant posture is off-putting to the panel. I could easily see Padma's cool delivery being in response to another panel in which Lisa stands defensive with folded arms as her dish is critique.
But then again, maybe that's just all wishful thinking. We'll find out on Wednesday's Top Chef.
- Leslie Seaton, BuddyTV Staff Columnist
(Image courtesy of Bravo)