Tonight's Top Chef preview: TV dinner showdown and Natalie Portman's surprise (videos)

[image-1]If you watched the brief preview for tonight's episode last week you would have seen that Natalie Portman is the guest judge for the Elimination Challenge tonight (get out your drool bibs, boys). The preview (video below) shows that the chefs are to be cooking in Tom Colicchio's Craftsteak steakhouse in Vegas - read: massive amounts of  of meat and protein (*that's what she said*). The chefs go nuts back in the kitchen pulling out every possible rack of steaks, lamb and lobster in preparation for the challenge when cute little Natalie throws them a curveball.

The preview doesn't reveal what that surprise is, but from all of the buzz on Twitter last week I hear (insert *spoiler alert* here) Nat is a big time vegan, meaning she won't eat any animal products whatsoever. Oh no! They'll actually have to cook something without meat and can't cheat by using bacon (which deserves it's own meat category)! I wonder what poor Redbeard (Kevin) will do since he won't be able to cook pork - maybe he'll grab some tofu version of it at Whole Foods.

Check out the preview videos below of the Quickfire and Elimination Challenges and read my latest Top Chef news and updates about their new spinoff series.

Tune in to Bravo tonight at 10 pm EST/9 pm C, check out our own live Tweets during the show (Jeff: @TheStew, Katie: @culinarypirate), and listen to our podcast here tomorrow! (You can now download on iTunes and check out Jeff’s Top Chef Flickr page.)

TV Dinners

It's Natalie Portman

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As we saw in last week's episode of Top Chef Las Vegas, the stakes and drama are getting higher and it's getting harder to predict who will be going home next (with the majority of the weak links now gone). We've seen some of the heavy-hitters, like Ceveech (Jen), slipping up and some of the underdogs, like Robin, excel. I'm just excited that we're finally getting to the meat of this competition, after cutting away the fat like Phranc (Preeti), Mary Kay Letourneau (Eve), and ass kissing Ash.

Tonight's episode looks entertaining because the cheftestants are getting all kinds of curve balls thrown at them. Their Quickfire Challenge is to cook a TV dinner (complete with plastic tray) inspired by a classic television show, i.e.: M*A*S*H, Gilligan's Island, etc.

After viewing the preview video below, it looks as if some of the chefs are out of their element, like Eli who claims to have never eaten a TV dinner. And why would he when he lives at home with his mother who probably waits on him hand and foot? Our one-time favorite, whom some of us had in their top three, Ceveech, looks like she's drowning in self-doubt again this week as well. Will this affect her power ranking or even her spot in the finale? (I know I'm changing my bet on the finale trifecta.)

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