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Cichonski Booted From Top Chef, But Is He Truly Done?

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We still think these two meet in the finals.
We still think these two meet in the finals.
Photo: Shola Olunloyo/Star Chefs

This post is riddled with spoilers, so if you don't want to know what happened, stop reading.

As most of Philly knows by now, sexy chef Jason Cichonski was asked to "pack his knives and go" during last night's episode of Top Chef. The Ela chef-owner was the sacrificial lamb on a team where any of the four members could have been dumped, including fellow Philadelphian Nicholas Elmi.

The Elimination Challenge pitted four teams against one another, where each group ran a food truck that were feeding Habitat For Humanity volunteers that were part of the rebuilding effort in a post-Katrina New Orleans. Cichonski and Elmi's team decided to go with a surf theme, which means lots of fishy plates and our hometown Golden Boy handing out the food and looking surfer sexy. It also meant that he needed to be front-and-center to "host," so he pre-rolled his sushi, which made it warm, squishy, and just plain nasty. Unsurprisingly, he got the boot.

Interestingly enough, even though he was the week 2 casualty, there are a few signs indicating that he might go berserker in Last Chance Kitchen and get to take on fellow Philly boy Nick Elmi for the Top Chef crown. Here's why:

· Top Chef doesn't often give people a lot of screentime just to be axed in week 2, even if you are that good looking. While in Last Chance Kitchen, we won't get to see Jason being Jason and building up a personality. And when it comes to the finals, both competitors need to have a personality and an audience rooting for them. The TC producers gave him every possible second of air time for the two weeks he was on the show, so we would know Jason when it mattered. And if you don't think that every frame of a TV show is carefully planned (especially reality shows), you don't know TV.

· During his "Exit Interview," Cichonski said that he hopes to tear through Last Chance Kitchen and have a showdown with fellow Philly guy Nicholas Elmi in the finals. There's absolutely no reason for the producers to leave that specific detail in there if it isn't somehow relevant later, as it would be completely out of context in any other situation.

· After the episode aired, fellow cheftestapant Shirley Chung tweeted this:

Maybe it's nothing, but it doesn't say we'll miss you, or that you're a talented cook, etc. It says that everyone will "know how great a guy he is." How would we do that if he was booted and never to be seen again? And what is it he does that will make the audience like him? Again, this could be absolutely nothing, but it's worth noting.

· Jason himself tweeted this sentiment:

That's pretty blatant. Could be completely throwing us off of the trail, but maybe not.

· Now for the real conspiracy theory stuff. Every season prior to this, the Finale taped a few weeks into the season being aired on Bravo. And in classic misdirection style, Bravo knows we were too busy watching the Top Chef episodes to get our snoop on and try to find out where the finals were being shot, as they never return to the city that plays host for the first 12 weeks of the show.

During last night's episode, Cichonski mentioned that he wasn't near a TV to watch the carnage, and Elmi has been completely quiet for the last week, even though he was a tweet machine prior to that. It could be that Jason just didn't want to watch the carnage and that Elmi is too busy working on his restaurant to bother with Twitter. But it could also be that they're shooting the Finale and going head-to-head. We can always hope.

· All Top Chef Coverage [~EPHI~]

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