Top Chef – Recap & Review – Restaurant Wars

top chef 10.11Top Chef
Restaurant Wars

Original Air Date: Jan 16, 2013

Ryan O – Associate Staff Writer
ryano@thetwocentscorp.com

Restaurant Wars! Men vs. Women! French vs. Filipino! And, eventually one teammate vs. another to determine who will go home. This was a good episode with a very deeply unsatisfying ending. You will not be pleased.

Last week set the stage for this week. Kristen and Sheldon won the right to be the executive chefs at restaurants they created and were in charge of opening. They chose teams and Kristen picked Lizzie, Brooke, and Josie. Sheldon picked Stefan and Josh (and Micah).

Sheldon is doing modern Filipino. Kristen is doing classic French with a twist. Her teammates have experience with French. His teammates don’t have experience with Filipino.

Sheldon is putting Stefan in the front of the house. Well, with the other options being him and Josh, I guess that’s your best bet but it’s not great.

The winner of Restaurant Wars will win a car.

They get to the restaurant and it turns out the kitchen has to be outside and they have to outfit it themselves. Huh.

Kristen is a bit worried about Josie and her personality, which is understandable. Kristen sticks Brooke with Josie to pick up the rental equipment, like table clothes, crystal, and tableware. Brooke tells us the restaurant they’re opening is going to have a certain level of class.

Josie is procrastinating on roasting the bones she needs to make a bouillabaisse (yes, I had to look up how to spell that). Kristen isn’t pleased. Josie tells us she doesn’t rush things when she cooks. Well, first, not doing things ahead of time will lead to you rushing and, second, you have the worst time-management skills of any chef that’s been on this show for a number of seasons.

Kristen wants to cook everything to order. Josie thinks that’s not a great idea since they’ll have 100 people. Kristen’s the boss so that’s how it’s going to get done.

Hmm. There’s a shot of the guys working in the kitchen where we can see a fourth dude doing what looks like some prep work.

Brooke will be handling the front of the house for the women. She says she has experience doing it and she seems to have the personality for it. On the other hand, that leaves Josie in the kitchen.

Stefan is working on delegating. Ah, we see Stefan assign a dishwasher some prep duties, which explains the shot we saw earlier.

Josie is falling behind on making the bouillabaisse. Big surprise. HUGE. Kristen tells us how angry she is and rightfully so.

Brooke is there to greet the judges. It doesn’t seem like a big deal but so frequently someone fails to do this.

Danny Meyer is joining Gail, Emeril, Padma, and Tom for judging.

Here’s what Kristen’s restaurant served.

Lizzie: Charcuterie: rabbit, pickled turnips and yellow beets in chicken and rabbit broth

Everyone loves the dish. Emeril loves the broth. Danny loves the surprise of it.

Josie’s bouillabaisse isn’t really ready to go. Kristen tells us she would’ve preferred a dishwasher to Josie. Lizzie very diplomatically tells us there was a clash of styles.

Josie: Bouillabaisse: halibut, Dungeness crab, bay scallops with shellfish broth

Tom got some sauce that Gail didn’t get and they can’t really figure it out. Emeril’s halibut is overcooked while his scallops are close to raw.

Meanwhile in Sheldon’s restaurant, Stefan is trying to push diners out the door, “Are you done yet?” Yikes. That’s not great.

Kristen: Beef bourguignon: braised short rib, garlic puree, mushrooms, and carrots

Padma thinks the beef is very tender and flavorful. Tom says there needs to be a
sauce since it’s a bourguignon. Gail is missing the red wine flavor, which is traditional in the dish. Tom says it’s a really good dish but it’s too close to be a real reinterpretation.

Brooke: Baked gougres, St. Agur blue cheese, roasted radish and stone fruit compote

Emeril and Danny don’t like the sticky-sweet pine nuts on the plate. Gail likes the compote. Tom says it all worked.

Kristen: Almond cake macaron with coconut custard and caramel buttercream

Danny likes the almond and coconuts flavors. Gail says it’s nothing like a macaron.

Gail says there were high moments for the restaurant but they set high standards. Danny says he would go back just for Lizzie’s charcuterie.

The judges show up at Sheldon’s restaurant. The judges notice that there’s a huge back-up at the door and that Stefan isn’t doing anything for the people, like serving them a drink.

Here’s what Sheldon’s restaurant served.

Stefan: Kilawen (a raw fish dish): yellowtail with cilantro, spicy chili and white soy sauces

Danny says there’s a nice play between acid and sour. Gail, too, enjoys the contrasts on the plate.

Josh: Balut: poached egg, duck confit and foie gras mousse

Gail didn’t think Stefan did a good job of describing the dish but she loves it anyway. Tom says there’s nothing remotely Filipino-tasting about the dish. If you look at how it’s described, it looks more like something Kristen could’ve served.

Stefan is nowhere to be found for the third dish and doesn’t introduce it to the judges.

Sheldon: Miki: prawns, tapioca roll with achiote

The dish looks beautiful. Tom loves how Sheldon used tapioca to make the pasta. Eventually, Stefan comes over and Padma asks him about the dish. Stefan tells them but does it very tersely and then leaves. It’s a bit weird. He almost seems drunk. Anyway, Tom says it feels as if they were scolded. Emeril says the way they were made to feel was worse than the bouillabaisse. Ouch.

Sheldon: Adobo: pork belly with mung bean puree and pea shoots salad

Tom calls it the best dish he’s had all day. The pork is cooked perfectly and the sweet and sour flavors work well together. Danny just wanted to keep eating it.

Josh: Halo-halo: Coconut sorbet, avocado mousse, banana and shredded coconut

Stefan: Dark chocolate with macadamia nuts, ginger and peppermint oil

Gail likes the dessert and calls the flavors pure and strong. Emeril likes the caramelized banana.

Danny thought the food in the restaurant overall was food he’d want to come back and eat but there were serious service issues. Gail thought it was inconsistent in its concept. Padma says that Stefan should go home for the job he did. Tom says Josie should go home for the bouillabaisse. Emeril says the bouillabaisse wasn’t awful but Stefan’s service was.

Judges Table

Everyone is in front of the judges.

Gail says Kristen’s beef dish was excellent but she missed the red wine. The dessert was less successful.

Brooke gets praised for her front of the house work.

Tom tells Lizzie she did a good job and Gail was pleased and surprised by her dish.

Josie immediately tries to pass responsibility for her dish to Kristen. She says she thought there should’ve been more sauce on the plate. Tom asks if she told Kristen there needed to be more sauce on the plate. Josie pauses and says no, she didn’t because it was Kristen’s dish and execution and Kristen showed her how she wanted it plated. Kristen says there were a lot of things that should’ve been done differently. The judges remind Josie that she’s the one that’s at risk here.

Tom says Sheldon’s concept was really good.

Emeril was blown away by how bad the service was. Tom says there were several dishes where they received no explanation about the dish. Tom gets Stefan to agree that was poor service but Stefan says he’s a chef not a server.

Gail thought Sheldon’s prawn dish was outrageous with flavor and Tom thought his pork dish was the best thing he ate all night.

Tom liked Josh’s dish even though it wasn’t Filipino.

Sheldon’s restaurant wins!

Padma tells Stefan he’s really lucky.

Tom says Lizzie and Brooke are obviously safe. It was good to see Lizzie back to cooking well again.

Tom wants to know what happened with the bouillabaisse sauce. He asks about the gel. Kristen says they ran out of time and they hadn’t tested it. Josie talks about how she didn’t know where anything was and she was just doing what she was told. Kristen actually mutters, “bite my tongue, bite my tongue.”

Kristen takes responsibility for the dish. She says she saw it last, she conceived it.

If Kristen goes home for this, it will be a travesty.

The chefs leaves. The judges argue back and forth about who was ultimately responsible for the dish.

The chefs come back. Kristen is out.

Let me repeat that: Kristen is out. Horse turds. Kristen essentially got no credit for doing her beef dish at all.

Kristen leaves. Josie says that other people thought she was pointing fingers. Well, that’s because she WAS pointing fingers. Brooke tells us this was the most frustrating elimination yet. No need to tell us, Brooke, we know.

Yeah, Josie is in and Kristen is out.

I’ll have to look at the numbers but, statistically speaking, Josie might be the worst top 6 chef. She’s been in the bottom six times and never in the top.

Last Chance Kitchen

Kristen vs. CJ.

There are four components that will define the challenge and the chefs will pick them. CJ picks the time they’ll have to cook: 30 minutes. Kristen picks snapper, so they’ll both be cooking snapper dishes. CJ picks the smoking gun as the cooking technique. Kristen picks French cuisine.

So, the challenge is to make a French dish using snapper and involving something cooked with a smoking gun in 30 minutes.

Kristen decides to make a bouillabaisse. She’s a little frantic. Kristen is struggling with the smoking gun.

CJ just seems a lot calmer as he works on his dish that involves potatoes and mushrooms and smoking the cream.

Here’s what they made.

CJ: Brown butter snapper with creamed morels and smoked mashed potatoes and ratatouille

Kristen: Bouillabaisse of snapper, crème fraiche, smoked butter, fennel, and radish

Tom says CJ’s potato puree was smooth and rich. His fish was nicely cooked and the brown butter flavor was good. Tom does say the dish was a bit dry.

Kristen’s dish was nicely cooked and flavorful but there was a bit too much saffron.

Kristen wins.

I can’t wait for Kristen vs. Josie.

What did you find to be tasty in this episode? Did you think anything was overdone? Give us your Two Cents below!

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5 Responses to Top Chef – Recap & Review – Restaurant Wars

  1. ph0t0ch1ck says:

    I’ll tell you what I think was overdone, Padma’s desire to get Kristen off the show!

  2. Tammy says:

    Josie sucks! She is full of excuses! Hopefully Kristen will come back..it reminds me of last year’s situation with Beverly when she was unfairly eliminated.

  3. Anu says:

    I could not believe they kept Josie on. WTF? It always seems like they want to keep the assholes on because of some stupid reason? Ratings? And I just don’t get why Padma supports her so much? Since I am watching the Wolfgang clucks right now, and see the same thing with Padma sticking up for her. I mean if this was people just picking on Josie be one thing, she’s proven herself to be a not good chef and a complete fingerpointing ass.
    Phew now that’s off my chest. :p But happy that Kristen makes it to the next round in the Last kitchen. I still haven’t got around to recording that and rely on your updates :p

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