Top Chef: Chicago...and so it begins

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Lisa admits to getting through by the skin of her teeth, but still thinks she’s going to beat both Richard and Stephanie. Oy, the ego!

The final challenge: Prepare a four course meal using the traditional progression: fish, poultry, red meat and dessert.

Stephanie says dessert isn’t her forte.

Since Richard and Stephanie are tied in elimination challenges, they have to draw knives to see who gets to pick their meats and sous chefs first. Stephanie wins and picks chef Eric Ripert , co-owner of New York’s acclaimed Le Bernardin restaurant.

Dinner is a black tie affair for nine guests.

Richard’s requested ingredient is liquid nitrogen. Big surprise.

“I’m not into the molecular at all,” Lisa says. “I cook simple food and keep minimal ingredients instead of over thinking things.”

“At this point, I’m just going to do the best I can and we’ll see what happens,” Stephanie says.

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