Last night was the second part of the two-night opener for Top Chef, after Barrel chef Garret Fleming flamed out in the premiere. Here’s what you need to know (SPOILER ALERT):

Episode in one paragraph: The cheftestants, now down to 16, were divided into four groups and sent off to four different pop-ups (Persian, Mexican, vegan, and Korean) in some notable L.A. chefs’ restaurants as part of an episode-long elimination challenge. Think of it as a mini-Restaurant Wars. The judges, joined by white-hot L.A. chef Ludo Lefebvre, crisscrossed the city to try the dishes. In general, the teams that asked questions of the home restaurants’ chefs did well, particularly Team Persia and Team Korea. In the end, “super sassy” Renee Kelly from Kansas City was told to pack her knives.

D.C. Performances: Ripple‘s Marjorie Meek-Bradley totally made up for Fleming’s mistake the night before (burned garlic) by thumbing her nose at 12 seasons of bad desserts. Her rosewater orange yogurt mousse with saffron on sponge cake was so good that the restaurant, Taste of Tehran, put it on the menu. Team Persia finished on top and MM-B picked up the win. Meanwhile, head judge Tom Colicchio told Team Mexico that the only reason they weren’t on the bottom was because of The Shaw Bijou‘s Kwame Onwuachi. His shrimp a la plancha saved their bacon. After a dismal part one, when none of the D.C. crew even made the top half of the mise en place relay race, it was very comforting. And Fleming even won in Last Chance Kitchen, starting what would be a VERY long road back to the actual competition:

What Mike Isabella said: 

(Note: MM-B used to work for Isabella)

D.C. Wins: Quickfires, zero. Elimination challenges, one (Meek-Bradley). Last Chance Kitchen wins, one (Fleming).

Confidence Rating (out of 10): 10. We’re sky high on MM-B and feeling good about Onwuachi.

Photo courtesy NBC Universal