Top Chef Chicago – Week 2: Lions, Tigers, and….Penguins? by phattyjboy

Tom Colicchio

Now on to my favorite show on television. And since I’m fat as can be, I am a licensed authority on food and watching people cook on TV. I burn more calories sitting here thinking about eating the food than jogging. Trust me. This week’s show started off with an Quick Fire challenge at a Chicago Farmers Market. The challenge was that the chef’s could only use five ingredients from the market or the kitchen (along with salt, pepper, butter, and oil). Last week, it looked like my sleeper pick, Mark, would be headed back down under, but he redeemed himself with a win in the Quick Fire despite leaving ingredients behind. One of my top picks, Richard, failed to impress one of his molecular gastronomy idols, Wylie Dufresne, with a eucalyptus-scented chicken leg.

There seemed to be a focus on both Chicagoans, Stephanie and Valerie, as they headed into the Elimination Challenge. They end up on the same team for the Zoo Challenge, which consisted of six teams of three. Each team had a different animal named assigned to them – Bear, Vulture, Penguin, Gorilla, – and they had to cook using the diet of their animals. They were to make four courses and cater a cocktail reception at the Lincoln Park Zoo.

Andrew from Team Penguin won the Elimination Challenge with his yuzu glacier gelee and squid dish (which impressed Mr. Dufresne). Team Vulture also stepped it up as we saw Mark shine once again. His anchovie dish was easily the second favorite among the judges. The hometown girls failed to impress on Team Gorilla except for Antonia’s dish. Team Bear also suffered with another one of my favorites, Dale, on the team; however, his dish was the only good thing to come out of that team.

The judges decided to send Valerie home for her horrendous blini dish. So now with the total down to 14 contestants, here are how my favorites stack up:

– Mark
– Andrew
– Antonia
– Manuel
– Dale
– Richard
– Stephanie (even though she had a bad week)

During next week’s preview, we learn the contestants will go on a field trip. And yes, Tom Colicchio does resemble a bear. A bald bear. Like in “The Great Outdoors”.