Top Chef Episode 10 – Restaurant Wars!

Yay!  Restaurant Wars!  This is always my favorite episode on each Top Chef season.  It’s the halfway point.  Everyone who makes it past this show is in the top half and we’re getting down to the nitty gritty.  Restaurant Wars is also a very risky episode.  Many a chef who’s taken the reins to run the kitchen has been sent home when their team comes up short, usually because they didn’t take charge, or were working the front of the house.  Also, someone usually ends up staying who should go home but they end up on the winning team and can’t be voted out.  So historically, there’s usually some good drama on this particular episode.  No quickfire, just Restaurant Wars!

And they started off by dividing up the chefs into two teams, men vs women.  You all know they’re killing me this season with their gimmicks so I won’t go into it.  The chefs are also instructed to make three courses and everyone has to make one dish.  Oh and they won’t be cooking on the same night.  One team goes one night, the other team goes the second night, and they both get to eat at the other’s restaurant.  I don’t recall this happening before but I could be wrong.  The men lose the coin flip so they have to go first.  I didn’t like this new twist, I thought it would give an advantage to the second team which kind of goes against the whole competition thing but the way this season has been it fits perfectly.  So the teams meet, figure out their menus, and go shopping.  Let me just say here that there was very little drama up to this point.  The men were all getting along fine and the women (except Grayson) were all picking on Bev.  I have no idea why people don’t like Bev.  She seems really nice and makes some good food.

So Paul, Chris and Ty-Lor stay in the kitchen and Ed takes on the front of the house.  Front of the house is tricky, you have to make sure things run smoothly but also put faith in the others to make your dish.  I will say Ed was smart and made a dessert dish which looked like it just needed to be cut and served.  Smart.  Things were running fairly smoothly but the servers were having problems and the guys forgot to designate someone to expedite the orders.  Not so good.  The more serious problem was the judges weren’t too impressed with the food they put out.  Didn’t seem too bad though, they did a good job and the customers seemed like they were having a good time.

Next night.  The women take over the kitchen and the fireworks start.  Ok, maybe not fireworks.  Lady fingers perhaps (sorry, too easy).  The picking on Bev is getting old.  If everyone just focused on their stuff it wouldn’t matter if Bev takes too long to clean shrimp.  She’s going to be hearing about that for the rest of the show.  Anyway, Lindsay takes the front of the house and since she won’t be able to cook her own dish, she instructs Bev on how to prepare it for the judges.  Bev cooks it exactly the way she’s told…and it comes out horribly.  Lindsay has also lost control of the front of the house, lines at the entrance, food not coming out, etc.  Big problems.  When the judges finally got their food they all thought it was pretty good.  So they had a dilemma, service was good and food was ok in one restaurant, and service was poor but food was really good in the other.  Which way to go?

They went with the food.  As they should have!  Like Tom has said many times, it’s a cooking competition and should be about the food.  They give the win to the ladies, which saves Lindsay’s butt, and to make things worse for the Bev haters, the judges name Bev’s short ribs their favorite.  Fantastic!  Lindsay and Sarah were so pissed off about this.  So the guys are all up for elimination and for a moment it looks like there could be a shock send off with Paul.  The judges are not impressed with the lack of flavor in his dishes.  Moto Chris made a dessert they didn’t like the look of and he didn’t pitch in enough (weak demerit from the judges), Ty-Lor’s dishes were underseasoned, and Ed’s “Almond Joy” dessert didn’t have enough coconut for them.  I did get a kick out of Hugh.  He is such a male version of Gail.  (Btw, really enjoying her hiatus from the show).  He was doing his whole “this really is bad” thing and Tom kept beating him back with “no, it’s fine I like it.”  Heh heh.  Hugh.  Shave that uni-brow Hugh.  Underseasoning claims yet another victim though and they send Ty-Lor home.  Whew.  Paul dodged a bullet there and with that slick dodge kept me looking like I know what I’m talking about with last week’s statement about how this is his to lose.  Good episode, looking forward to the home stretch!

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