Nic_munich_judgingEpisode 4 (airing Sunday at 9 pm, food network) is by far the BEST of the series so far—just watched an early copy.  With just four chefs remaining, I felt I got to know them in a way previous eps haven’t allowed.  Alton gives us some Good Eats style info and panache.  The cooking is the most exciting so far and by far the hardest challenge.  And ultimately it’s a sad, touching conclusion—these chefs have become so close.
    Please, no whining about how this is a Top Chef ripoff with a Snacks on a Plane challenge.  It’s obvious that both shows did this to offset huge travel costs.  That said, this show is ten times better than the Top Chef episode in question with all that nasty broccoli. (I can say things like that—I’m a judge.)  And while Continental is my airline of choice here at home, I would definitely choose Lufthansa for overseas.
    The judges and Alton were joined here by Bernd Schmitt (above left) of LSG Sky Chefs, the “airline’s top culinary dog,” as Alton called him, and he brought some much needed balance to the controversial Knowlton.  Hair continues to be an issue, though, as do some head-sweating violations.  Ultimately some of the best food, under the most difficult conditions, of the competition.