A classic theme runs through tonight's round that begins with introductions to the 16 new contestants, a QuickFire that takes on a Chicago signature dish, and an Elimination that's nothing but tradition.
Guest Judge: Rocco DiSpirito
Guest Judge: Anthony Bourdain, Elimination Challenge
QuickFire Challenge: Create a Signature Deep Dish Pizza
Elimination Challenge: Head-to-Head Classic Dish Cook-off
Cooking with limited ingredients is the challenge in this episode which features a QuickFire set at a farmers' market, and an Elimination round in a real zoo.
Guest Judge: Wylie Dufresne
QuickFire Challenge: Create a Dish Using Only Five Ingredients.
Elimination Challenge: Cater a Cocktail Party for 200 at the Lincoln Park Zoo using Foods in Five Animals' Diets.
The contestants mix it up with Rick Bayless tonight as they dress up street food, and then take to the streets themselves to cater a community event.
Guest Judge: Rick Bayless
QuickFire Challenge: Create an Upscale Taco.
Elimination Challenge: Mealstogether.com Block Party Challenge.
The remaining chefs demonstrate their aptitude with knives, and then help Richard Roeper throw a film-themed dinner.
Guest Judge: Daniel Boulud.
QuickFire Challenge: Demonstrate Culinary Techniques.
Elimination Challenge: Create a Six Course Film Inspired Dinner.
The dreaded taste test is back to go along with the round's theme: good taste. Once the QuickFire is complete, the chefs apply their palates to executing a perfect dish as part of a charity event.
Guest Judge: Ming Tsai
QuickFire Challenge: Identify the Higher Quality Ingredients
Elimination Challenge: Create a First Course Inspired by One of Nature's Four Elements
Simple pleasures is the theme for tonight's round as the chefs must create a dish that complements beer, and then throw a tailgate extravaganza for fans of the local team.
Guest Judge: Paul Kahan Elimination Challenge
Guest Judge: Koren Grieveson QuickFire Challenge
QuickFire Challenge: Create a Dish that Pairs Perfectly with Beer
Elimination Challenge: Cater a Tailgating Party for Chicago Bears Fans
Tonight's challenges juxtapose the organization and preparation required for pastries with the flair and innovation that improvisation can bring to a dish. First, a dessert for a premier pastry chef, and then an improvised menu when the contestants get to visit the historic Second City. But seat-of-pants will involve more than the menu as the chefs encounter a couple nasty surprises back in the kitchen.
Guest Judge: Johnny Iuzzini
Top Chef: The Cookbook Quickfire Challenge: Create a Delicious Dessert
Elimination Challenge: Prepare Five-course Meal Using Inspirations from the Second City
The microwaves are back, and this time the contestants are to make a healthy meal using a single main ingredient. Chef Art Smith, owner of Table 52 in Chicago performs guest judge duties.
Last season's relay race is back as the eight remaining chefs show off their speed and skills in set up, then they cater a wedding that takes sides.
Guest Judge: Gale Gand Elimination Challenge
QuickFire Challenge: Mise en Place Relay Race
Elimination Challenge: Cater a Wedding
Salad, one of the least respected dishes by chefs, takes center stage tonight as the contestants are challenged to reformulate it, then they continue with the healthy kick by trimming calories and all things bad from a classic entrée.
Guest Judge: Sam Talbot, Finalist from Top Chef Season Two.
QuickFire Challenge: Create a Modern "Sexy" Salad
Elimination Challenge: Create Gourmet and Healthy Boxed Lunches
It's all about service tonight as the chefs work the line during a breakfast rush at a diner, and then team up to create their own restaurants from scratch.
Guest Head Judge: Anthony Bourdain
Guest Judge: José Andrés Elimination Challenge
Guest Judge: Heleen Thanas QuickFire Challenge
QuickFire Challenge: Work a Short Order Egg Station
Elimination Challenge: Restaurant Wars
The remaining chefs' butchering skills are tested when they are challenged to cut and then cook the perfect steak. Guest Judge Rick Tramonto then trusts his new restaurant, Tramonto Steak and Seafood, to the Top Chefs for one evening.
Guest Judge: Rick Tramonto
QuickFire Challenge: Butcher and Cook a Perfect Steak
Elimination Challenge: Prepare an Appetizer and Entreé
There are four chefs and only three spots for the final round, and the contestants know it as they travel to Puerto Rico for the next two challenges.
Guest Judge - Wilo Benet
QuickFire Challenge: Make Two Frituras featuring Plantains
Elimination Challenge: Use a Whole Pig to create Dishes for a Governor's Mansion Event
The finalists cook "the most important meal of their lives" for the judges to determine which will be crowned Top Chef.
Guest Judges/Sous Chefs: April Bloomfield of The Spotted Pig Dan Barber of Blue Hill and Eric Ripert of Lebernardin Restaurant
Special Guest Judges: Alfredo Ayala and Tim Zagat
Final Challenge: Create a traditional four course tasting menu