Top Chef 9.10 Restaurant Wars

I’m your guest recapper this week. My apologies that I don’t know Texas, I don’t eat beef, and I don’t cook. What was Laura thinking?

She was thinking I’m just crazy enough to enjoy this anyway. And I did.

There are 8 chefs remaining this week. And I have to say, as bitchy as I thought pastry chefs are? They’ve got nothing on these guys. If I were Beverly I’d be giving some people a beat-down.

They open in an empty restaurant. And when I say empty, I mean no tables or anything. It’s straight to elimination. No Quickfire this week. And the teams? Battle of the Sexes.

It’s restaurant wars and they’ve got to build the complete restaurant. And then each team will dine in the other team’s restaurant. They have a coin toss to see who goes first and it’s the boys. They have to design a three-course menu with two choices in each course. And each team member must be responsible for a dish. And they’ve got to design the place too.

The boys choose Edward for front of house since he’s used to it from his own restaurant. They decide to name the place Canteen. The women choose Lindsay for front of house.  The ladies are going for rustic so it’s not overly complicated and come up with Half Bushel for their name.

Men are working on their menu and rolling along pretty well. For the ladies, Beverly is getting shot down on all her menu ideas.

Shopping for stuff is insane. They have $7500 each team to decorate their place. And then they’re off to Whole Foods. $4000 to feed 100 people. And even the guys’ team notices that the ladies are getting catty. Beverly needs to smack a bitch.

Chris actually dares to compare this challenge to the “Kobarashi” Maru  (uh… Chris? It’s Kobayashi. Just sayin’. Don’t embarrass the geeks by getting this shit wrong, okay? Thanks.).

The guys get to the restaurant and get started. They only have five hours for all the prep and I have to say that’s kind of crazy. They have to actually set up tables and chairs and clean the bathrooms, not just decorate and cook. Edward shows the waitstaff exactly what he wants for service. And it’s time for service. The first people come in as their timer goes off.

Presentation is looking good up front. But there’s problems with servers not putting table numbers. And as service starts, there’s no expeditor in the kitchen. There’s no plan on how to plate. Edward has to have people wait. Food is going out cold.

And then the judges arrive. They’ve got Hugh Acheson and Emeril Lagasse and Tom Colicchio along with Padma. Edward explains to them that they started with simple and humble beginnings and “elevated” the food. The kitchen seems to be getting more confused and having problems with the servers. Edward is helping expo, but then they have to send Ty-Lor out to expedite, which then leaves only two people in the kitchen. Not good.

Food’s dying in the window. And then the ladies arrive. The judges get their first dishes:


Ty-Lor – Thai style crab & shrimp salad, caramel fish sauce & peanuts. It looks yummy.

Paul – Ham & pork pate with mushrooms, braised mustard seeds, and duck fat crostini which is plated really nicely on a wood plank.

Now Paul has taken over expediting and Ty-Lor’s back in the kitchen. Main courses are served to the judges:

Ty-Lor & Paul — Poached salmon in warm tomato water, clams, salmon skin & tomatillo jam

Paul – Crispy skin pork belly with green apple & sweet potato puree

At this point I’m thinking Paul made everything with a little help from Ty-Lor. Everything is cooked well, but the judges don’t seem blown away by the flavors.

And finally dessert:

Edward – Almond Joy cake with malted chocolate mousse & banana coconut puree (which looks divine and I totally want some)

Chris J. – Homemade Cracker Jack, cherries  & peanut butter ice cream (which looks like a mess in a bowl. I’m sorry, but dessert is all about presentation at this level of cooking.)

There’s no coconut in the Almond Joy. Ooops. They’re divided on Chris’s dessert combining sweet and salty. I have to agree with Emeril — peanut butter and cherries? Not my combo of choice.

The men aren’t that pleased with how it went and know that it wasn’t their best service or best kitchen. Next up the ladies…

Lindsay manages the decoration and set-up. Did you know she was prom queen in high school? Did you care? No? Me neither.

Prep work is going gangbusters in the kitchen. Lindsay has to show Beverly how to prepare her halibut dish and I predict problems. Sarah and Grayson are arguing. They’re off to a great start.

Lindsay gets the waitstaff to help set up the tables and chairs. And then she gives Beverly a quick lesson on prepping her dish that doesn’t fit with Beverly’s way of cooking. And I further predict problems.

Tickets come in and Lindsay is back in the kitchen. Sarah is condescending to Beverly and I want to smack her. Lindsay is again in the kitchen. And the judges arrive and are left to wait while Lindsay’s telling people what to do … in the kitchen.

Judges get seated and Lindsay’s whining about how hard it is to have to seat everyone. Okay. Well… if you weren’t in the kitchen, seating your guests wouldn’t be so difficult. Do your job and let the others do theirs.

The guys arrive and surprise… they’re left waiting because again, Lindsay’s not at the hostess stand.

The judges comment on people waiting up front for seating. Customers complain about the halibut being overcooked. Lindsay bitches Beverly out a bit.  The judges comment more about the people waiting to be seated while Lindsay’s not there as she goes to the kitchen again.

Finally the judges’ appetizers come out:

Grayson – Peach salad with pickled shallots, bacon vinaigrette & candied pistachios. Crumbled goat cheese too. Yum.

Sarah – Mozzarella filled arancino (that’s a risotto ball, basically), sweet & sour eggplant, and celery salad (which I don’t really see, but whatever)

The judges seem to like both apps. So do the guests. The salad is the winner of the two though.

Lindsay’s in the kitchen again. And then Padma grabs a server to ask where their main course is. The server says the kitchen is backed up and then Lindsay’s bitching again. And Sarah’s bitching back because she’s behind on her tickets. Lindsay then steps in to tell Beverly how to do her job, when she needs to do her own job in the dining room.

Main course finally comes out:

Beverly – Braised short rib with Thai basil potato puree, apple slaw & kimchi (I don’t even eat beef or kimchi, but would be all over this)

Lindsay – Grilled halibut with Spanish chorizo, fennel & sherry salad (lovely plating)

Servers are grabbing the wrong food. Nice. They’ve got problems with ice cream ending up in the trash because desserts are prepped but not taken. Grayson’s questioning Lindsay being front of house. I’m questioning everything.

Beverly’s dish is a hit with the chefs. The guys seem to like the meal too. Finally dessert comes out. Lindsay feels the need to explain what Grayson’s dish is, which is (in my opinion) insulting to the judges, but whatever.

Grayson – Schaum torte with vanilla meringue & champagne-macerated berries.

Sarah – Hazelnut cream Italian doughnuts with banana sugar glaze (and chocolate drizzle)

The doughnuts are heavy and lacking in the banana. The macerated berry liquid is divisive, but the torte good.

In the kitchen Lindsay’s pissed because her fish is overcooked. Grayson thinks it’s not Beverly’s fault and backs her, which is nice to see.

Now it’s time to decide which restaurant was better. Guys had better service, ladies had better food. So who will win? And who will go home?

In the stew room the chefs chat about how difficult it was. It seems to be right after the ladies’ service. The ladies have their own argument about who is to blame for the bad fish.

Padma comes back and asks for the ladies first. They talk about the “pile up” at the door and Lindsay being absent. The women believe they did better than the men and it turns out they’ve won. This is great because it means they can’t beat down on Beverly anymore. For two or three minutes anyway. The judges were big fans of both appetizers and the short ribs. The fish was a little overcooked, but it’s not slammed as terrible.

The winning chef? Beverly! She wins wine and a trip to a Napa Valley vineyard. Lindsay looks bitter. The ladies return to the stew room and the men are sent out

Sarah feels they wouldn’t be there without Lindsay. Wow. Lindsay should pull down her pants so Sarah can not simply kiss her ass, but rim her if she’s that in love. Good grief.

The men… There was no “wow factor” with the food. Their restaurant was least favorite with the guests as well as the judges. They were slammed for not having enough flavor in the Thai dishes. The food was considered to be bland overall. They asked Chris why he did so little when Paul did so much. They agree with me that the Cracker Jack dessert was a mess. And they slam the absence of coconut in the Almond Joy.

Time to decide who goes home. The judges feel it could be any of the men. They give all of them an F. So who will it be?

Ty-Lor. Pack your knives.

I’m surprised. I thought it was going to be Chris. I still think it should have been Chris. Why am I not a judge on this show?

Next week: Charlize Theron as a guest. A seven-course tasting dinner. Each chef responsible for a course.