Top Chef Masters – Recap & Review – Restaurant Wars

photo: bravo

photo: bravo

Top Chef Masters
Restaurant Wars

Original Air Date: Aug 21, 2013

Ryan O – Associate Editor
ryano@thetwocentscorp.com

Restaurant Wars! This is always a good competition and this episode doesn’t disappoint. People have their ideas ignored. Chefs shout and belittle other people!

Also this episode: Busy Philipps! I enjoy Busy Philipps a lot. Also, she’s pregnant and looks like she’s having the time of her life being pregnant. But, then, she always looks like she’s having the time of her life.

Quickfire

There is no Quickfire. So, moving on.

Elimination Challenge

Restaurant wars! WOO!

Sue, Sang, Douglas, and David are put at a disadvantage because their sous chefs lost in the sous chef battle. Man, Sang’s sous chef just keeps losing, doesn’t he?

Neal, Jennifer, Bryan, and Lynn had winning sous chefs. They’re a team and the other four are the other team. Neal’s sous chef won immunity for him.

Each team is charged with making the restaurant of Busy Philipps’s dreams. (You might recognize Busy Philipps from Cougar Town or Dawson’s Creek but, please, really, know her from the excellent Freaks and Geeks. You should go watch that show right now ahead of everything else you’re watching. It’s that good.

Oh, yes. Busy’s dream restaurant. She wants a restaurant that unifies everything that’s great about eating in Los Angeles.

The team with winning sous chefs gets two hours of sous chef help. The other team gets no help.

To sum up what happens during the prep:

No one listens to Bryan’s ideas.

One team is calling their restaurant “Artisan,” which is just an awful name at this point since the word has been overused into meaninglessness.

The rest of her team doesn’t seem to understand that just because her name is “Sue,” that doesn’t make her a “sous chef.”

Sang yells at the waiters about being prepared and communicating. Always great to yell at someone about making sure they communicate well. IRONY!

Busy and the critics show up at Artisan, including Gail, Ruth, Francis Lam and also Dana Cowin from Food and Wine. Artisan is Jennifer, Neal, Bryan, and Lynn’s restaurant.

Here’s what Artisan served.

Jennifer: Cauliflower-tahini soup

Jennifer: Citrus salad with avocado, chevre, endive, radicchio, and orange vinaigrette

Everyone agrees the cauliflower soup is very thick, almost like a sauce. The tahini is deemed not to make the soup smooth but rather like a cat’s tongue. (Cat lovers, you might think that is a compliment. It is not.)

Gail thought the salad looked beautiful but the dressing was too sweet. Busy and Dana agree that salad has the opposite of synergy: they like the individual items but it isn’t successful as a whole.

Bryan: Cobb salad-inspired salmon with dehydrated bacon and horseradish snow

Neal: New York strip steak with cavolo nero and twice-baked fingerling potatoes (No one seems to notice the irony of presenting New York strip steak at a restaurant focused on LA.)

People cannot rave enough about Bryan’s salad. It made Ruth fall in love with LA. I think it also wrote the screenplay to Shawshank Redemption.

Francis thinks Neal’s steak is perfectly fine. Damning with faint praise! It’s called “expected.”

Lynn: Chocolate brownie sundae with roasted banana ice cream and peanut caramel sauce

Neal: California olive oil cake with marscapone ice cream

Ruth says Neal’s cake felt lackluster.

Busy says the brownie is quite rich and the banana ice cream has a strange flavor. Gail agrees and says it almost tastes like yogurt. Good grief. How do you screw up ice cream so much it tastes like yogurt?! Ice cream is like the easiest thing to make.

By the way, how much would you want to hang out with Gail and Busy? That should be a prize viewers of the show win. You get a night with the two of them and a limo in LA.

72 and Sunny is Sang, Sue, David, and Doug’s restaurant. 72 and Sunny is a great name for a restaurant that’s about LA. It’s a Pacific Ocean better than Artisan.

Douglas: Barely cooked salmon with ginger shiso, dashi gelee, and salmon caviar

Sue: Quinoa, arugula, and feta salad with radishes, mint, and lemon vinaigrette

Doug’s dish worked for Ruth. Someone else likes the cool, giggly thing it has going on.

Dana thinks Sue’s salad “doesn’t have the mark of a chef.” Ouch.

David and Doug: Snapper with sweet corn puree, garlic chorizo, and roasted tomato vinaigrette

Sang: Strip loin with broccoli two ways, puffed tendon, and black bean ghee

Gail wanted something other than raw scallions on top of the snapper. That’s about all that gets said about that dish.

Everyone loves Sang’s take on beef and broccoli. LOVES. I think it might’ve come up with the idea for taking a movie and then making a second movie based on the first one.

David: Tangerine and spiced honey panna cotta with strawberry champagne gelee

Sue: Chocolate malt semifreddo (think: “ice cream”) with fudge, marshmallow, and graham crackers

Francis loves the panna cotta to the point where he might need to be alone with it for a while. Curtis thinks the serving is way too big. I don’t understand the concept of a dessert being too big. You don’t have to clean your plate.

Busy loved Sue’s dessert and immediately rains down the chef-show fire, “What we have here, people, is a deconstructed s’more.” Nailed it.

Critics Table

The critics want to see Team 72 and Sunny first. They win! Just as a reminder, this is the team that did not have sous chefs helping them.

They praise the dishes. Sang is declared the winner.

Time for Artisan.

Criticisms:

Jenn: soup was too thick; mushroom out of place in her salad

Neal: no personal spin on his steak

Lynn: brownie was too big and too sweet (again, to me, “too big” isn’t a criticism — just stop eating it if you want less); didn’t feel like a sundae but rather brownie a la mode (this is a good point)

Bryan: no, there’s no criticism here. He’s not going home. (By the way, remember whose ideas were ignored when they were menu planning?)

The chefs leave. The critics talk. Neal can’t go home because he has immunity. Bryan isn’t going home since his dish was amazing. So, it’s either Lynn or Jenn. Which was the worse offender, the soup or the brownie?

The chefs return. Lynn is going home.

Doug is told he has to call his sous chef right away. He does and finds out his sous chef has to go home immediately and won’t be competing for Doug any more. Doug isn’t sure what he’s going to do.

Next week: MINDY KALING! (Please add her to the limo with Gail and Busy. Thank you.)

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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2 Responses to Top Chef Masters – Recap & Review – Restaurant Wars

  1. Katie says:

    Oh, no! What will happen to Doug? Will he get a new sous? Will he be able to try out new assistants — kind of a new sous review? Can their audition include dancing and singing — for a new sous revue?😉
    Also, I would like to win that night out with Gail, Busy, and Mindy. I would take you with me.🙂

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