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Fantasy Top Chef Recap: Lunch Lady Land [SPOILER ALERT]

Drum(stick) Major Questlove and Padma Lakshmi

Drum(stick) Major Questlove and Padma Lakshmi © David Moir/ Bravo

Just as kids are going on Christmas break, Top Chef cheftestants were sent back to school. But first: a Quickfire challenge judged by The Roots drummer and drumstick aficionado, Questlove. The chefs were presented with a tableful of drumsticks from a variety of birds, ranging from the standard chicken to the minuscule quail to the massive turkey. There was a mad scramble for the best legs, then the chefs got to cooking. The prize: immunity and a Toyota Rav4.

The Elimination Challenge found the chef at Louisiana State University, the only college to house a live tiger, Mike. After spending a night in the dorms, the chefs had to cook for 500 incoming freshman using the school’s impressive cafeteria. Some took to being a lunch lady like a crawfish to water, others failed out of school. For those playing F&W’s Fantasy Top Chef, here are the points earned and lost by chefs last night.

Shirley Chung: +10 for winning the Elimination Challenge with her roast beef and fire-roasted tomatoes. Total points: 56

Nicholas Elmi: +2 for being a gentleman by helping Shirley up when she fell running for the drumsticks, thereby losing his chance to get the drumsticks he wanted. Total points: 54

Nina Compton: -3 for being on the bottom on the Elimination Challenge for her watery corn puree and not-fried-enough chicken. Total points: 51

Carrie Mashaney: +3 for winning the Quickfire Challenge with her perfectly cooked “squabbies” (squab drumsticks). -2 for her terrible broccoli salad, which the judges said would have gotten her sent home had she not had immunity. Total points: 47

Carlos Gaytan: -1 for attempting to hack the bone off of his goose drumstick, which led to Padma biting down on a shard. -1 for whining about how he really needed to work on the plancha and essentially forcing Shirley to give up that station. -2 for telling the judges that Nick stole his ovens—not true—when his fish took 15 minutes to get to them. +3 for being on the top of the Elimination Challenge with his simple, focused fish. Total points: 46

Stephanie Cmar: +1 for referring to the Terlato wine as a “safety blanket.” -3 for being on the bottom of the Elimination Challenge with her soggy, curdy grilled cheese sandwich and tomato soup. Total points: 38

Brian Huskey: +1 for using the chicken drumsticks to make chicken soup during the Quickfire. +3 for being on the top of the Elimination Challenge with his shrimp cakes, a favorite of the freshmen. Total points: 24

Justin Devillier: -10 for being told to pack his knives and go for his bland, overly “cheffy” shrimp. Total points: 22

Louis Maldonado:+2 for continuing his winning streak on Last Chance Kitchen. Total points: 16

Keep up to date with the current standings with F&W’s updated roster.

Related: Recipes for Chicken Drumsticks
School Lunch, Reinvented
Top Chef Dishes

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