Welcome back, folks. Before we get started tonight, I'd like to take a moment to fondly remember Erica (a k a The Viceroy of Value), who recently departed the airwaves, perhaps never to return.

Erica, you may recall, is the star of a Glad bag commercial that's appeared during very episode of Top Chef and Top Chef Masters for … well, as long as I can remember. Two weeks ago, Erica went AWOL, so I put in a call yesterday to the PR folks at Clorox (Glad's parent company) to suss out what the deal was. A very nice PR person there, Vicki Haber, confirmed that the Erica commercial won't return for the rest of this TCM season, and also said that she didn't know when — or if — it would ever air again. So I don't think things sound good for Erica, folks … I assume she's history. I hope you don't mind if I take a moment to say few words in her memory:

Farewell, Erica! Chancellor of Cheese! Connoisseur of Cold! Grand Poobah of Pasta! May flights of angels sing thee to thy rest!

Ok, so … where were we? Oh right. The live blog. As always, it happens at 10 Eastern in the comments section below, and all are welcome to join. Here are a few highlights from last week:

  • There was a Swedish chef who — unlike the Swedish Chef on the Muppet Show — did not say things like: "Gersh gurndy morn deh durndy doo, bork bork bork!" Instead, he was rather disappointingly intelligible.
  • Michael Chiarello, the eventual winner, was praised for his "three perfect balls" (of swordfish). So when he returns for the finals, we can all call him "Fishballs" (thanks to commenter geckolicious, who came up with that awesome nickname).
  • Live-blogging under Gawker's new commenting system worked out OK for the most part — although Dot and dippitydoo had defective stars, which caused them to post unapproved comments, while simultaneously retaining the power to approve comments. So they wound up approving their own comments, which was kind of strange. (As dippity noted, the combination of damaged stars and self-approval was very Hollywood.)

As for tonight, we'll meet the last group of four chefs (before the final round starts next week). They are:

  • Art Smith, of Oprah fame, who — judging from the preview clip I saw — will become very excited tonight by a box (perhaps for the first time in his life).
  • Michael Cimarusti, who owns Providence Restaurant in LA. (Or is it LA Restaurant in Providence?)
  • Roy Yamaguchi, whose cooking style was once described by Bon Appetit as "California-French-Japanese-eclectic" — and that was before he moved to Hawaii. So now, presumably, it's Hawaiian-California-French-Japanese-eclectic." Suffice it to say his style is very hyphenated.
  • Jonathan Waxman, who is so famed for his poultry dishes that the Grub Street blog once said he'd "risen to stardom on the wings of chickens." So suggest we call him "Chicken Man."

All right, gang, time to get started. Let's do Erica's memory proud! (But try not to get too attached to any new commercials, OK?)