Top Chef: Episode 4.7 "Improv" Recap
John Kubicek
John Kubicek
Senior Writer, BuddyTV
Tonight's episode of Top Chef gives the cheftestants two difficult tasks: desserts and improv comedy. For the improv, the contestants get help from Second City, which alongside the Groundlings is probably the most famous improv troupe in the country. Some people who got their start at Second City include Bill Murray, Joan Rivers, Dan Aykroyd, Jim Belushi, Chris Farley, Tina Fey, Stephen Colbert, Steve Carell, Andy Dick and countless others.

But comedy is easy, desserts are hard. Fans of Top Chef know that the dessert has taken down many a great cheftestant, so in this episode, it might be best to just shoot for the middle.

It's morning in the Top Chef house, and Andrew D'Ambrosi sheds a fake tear for the loss of pretty boy Ryan Scott. In the kitchen, the table is fll of sweets. The guest judge is James Beard Award-winning pastry chef Johnny Iuzzini.

Quickfire Challenge! Make a dessert, and the winner gets a recipe in the Top Chef Cookbook. Even Padma Lakshmi warns them all about the perils of pastry on this show. Dale Talde's only dessert is coconut shaved ice. Richard Blais makes banana scallops. Spike Mendelsohn showed up with a memorized recipe for a chocolate molten cake (mmmm!), but he instead chooses to chance souffle. There are a lot of chocolate cakes in the house. Andrew went for a chocolate ravioli.

The verdict? Antonia Lofaso's lemon thing was awful, as was Spike's pineapple soufflé and Mark Simmons' weird hodgepodge of New Zealand stuff. The good: Dale's ice, Lisa Fernandes' strawberries and Richard's banana scallops. Richard wins…again.

Padma lets the cheftestants know they're going to Second City. Mark is happy, then cracks a joke about Richard in that dry Kiwi way he has. At the performance, the improvisers ask for a color, an emotion and some ingredients. The cheftestants instantly realize this will be their challenge, and they're not very happy. Nor should they be, as the five courses they must cook are:

-Yellow Love Vanilla (Spike and Andrew): The pranksters have fun and decide making a perfect squash soup is the best way to go.

-Purple Depressed Bacon (Mark and Nikki Cascone): They seem to just make pork loin without much depression.

-Magenta Drunk Polish Sausage (Antonia and Lisa): Lisa hates beer and Polish sausage, so they do chorizo and sea bass marinated in tequila with purple potatoes.

-Green Perplexed Tofu (Dale and Richard): Curry is perplexed, according to Dale. They also marinate tofu in beef to make a perplexing taste, and Richard does a lame Seinfeld impression.

-Orange Turned-On Asparagus (Stephanie Izard and Jennifer Biesty): They decide to make an orange, goat cheese and asparagus ménage a trois. And yes, the asparagus will be displayed to resemble a penis.

They get back from shopping and discover there's a dining table set on the kitchen and all the electrical equipment is missing. Halfway through, Tom Colicchio arrives to tell them to pack their things and head back to the Top Chef house where they'll have one more hour to cook and serve the Second City comedians. Time to serve:

Yellow Love Vanilla: The comedians and judges all like how delicious and simple it is. Padma would lick the bowl, and one comic offers to lick her bowls.

Orange Turned-On Asparagus: There are lots of bad sex puns that everyone loves, but the food isn't all that good as there's too much going on.

Green Perplexed Tofu: The dish is quite perplexing and the judges all enjoy it. Tom is especially impressed by how they handled doing tofu.

Magenta Drunk Polish Sausage: Ted Allen thinks it tastes good, but it's not at all indicative of the words they were given. One comic loves Polish sausages, but doesn't want Ted to get the wrong idea.

Purple Depressed Bacon: The purple comes from a grape sauce, and the depression comes from being on the same plate as Brussels sprouts. Ha! Overall, it's a hit.

Judges' Table: Andrew/Spike and Dale/Richard are the two best teams. They loved Spike's seasoning on the soup. The judges also loved the teamwork between Dale and Richard, and they are deemed the best team. They each get $2,500 worth of kitchenware. The two worst teams are Antonia/Lisa and Stephanie/Jennifer.  Not to sound sexist, but note that the two all-male teams are the best, while the two all-female teams are the worst. Since this is the “Improv” challenge, I guess it proves that Jerry Lewis was right when he said that women aren't funny.

Antonia and Lisa explain how much they hate Polish sausage and beer, but the judges scold them for not doing what they were told. Similarly, Tom felt the goat cheese was the dominant part of Jennifer and Stephanie's plate, and that was the only ingredient not part of their assignment.

When the cheftestants leave, the judges have the age-old debate: what matters more, taste or following the rules?  The answer is taste, so Orange Turned-On Asparagus loses, and because she did the bad bread and the goat cheese, Jennifer is sent home. Quite the turnaround from last week, but at least now she can be with her girlfriend sooner.

Next week on Top Chef: The cheftestants get little kids as sous chefs. This is a recipe for disaster, as Andrew's kid start bleeding right away.

-John Kubicek, BuddyTV Senior Writer
(Image courtesy of Bravo)