Thursday, January 12, 2012

Top Chef 1/11/12--"Restaurant Wars" summary

Previously on “Top Chef”: the Quickfire involved “modernist cuisine”, which everyone took to mean “molecular gastronomy”. I don’t know what it means either. Sadly MotoChris did not win, but Ty-Lor was the victor. Then everyone had to make BBQ for 300 people. This involved teams, staying up all night, and various people not wanting to be with various other people, and grilling things which is not the same as barbeque so getting in trouble for that. It also involved Sarah avoiding passing out by going to the hospital, and Ed bitching about it. Then he bitched when she came back. Ed’s not a happy person. The team of Paul, Lindsay, and Grayson won with some Asian flavors, and while everyone else seemed to suck at some level, Chris C. goes home for making the rubs for his team. Salty rubs. Yeah. (click for more)

At Last Chance Kitchen Chris and Nyesha go to a gas station to buy things, and they seem to do fairly well, but in the end Nyesha remains victorious.

Didn’t the promo say this Restaurant Wars was men vs. women? Did they just come up with that? As in, they saw that it was even and said “Let’s divide them that way instead of drawing knives or whatever”? Because otherwise that means they had to plan to have even numbers by making sure to get rid of certain people, and while I would totally assume that of Project Runway, I would like to think this show is better than that.

No Quickfire today. Padma and Hugh get right to it and declare Restaurant Wars: Girls vs. Boys. Ed of course thinks the boys are better, and decides to get in a jab at Sarah by saying her weakness is “barbequing in the sun”. I’m pretty sure with three other people she’s going to be able to avoid that, if their restaurant even has barbeque. Sarah is worried about Beverly. It sounds like this season they’ll be taking over the same restaurant, so one team will serve one night and the other team the night after. Plus you get to eat in the other team’s restaurant. Interesting. The team that goes second gets a whole day to adjust and analyze the other team’s problems. They flip a coin to decide who goes first, and the boys win (lose?) so they go first. Three course menu, two choices per course, for 100 guests. One person must be front-of-house, and each person has to make at least one dish. 5 hours to cook and decorate.

45 minutes to plan. Ed says he can do front-of-house. Right. He claims to have some experience because he owns his restaurant, but he’s been acting like a jerk for a while. Maybe he’ll be nice to customers? Let’s hope so. Lindsay sort of gets volunteered to be in the front, because as Grayson says, she’s opened restaurants and can keep her cool. They seem to be going for rustic and homey, with the name “Half Bushel”. That’s not a bad name. The boys want to go for “Canteen”, which doesn’t suck. I think they are collaborating on their food, except I can’t tell what the theme is. Who knows. Someone tells Beverly she has to take over a dish, and Sarah shoots down all her ideas. Then she volunteers short ribs, and Sarah is all, do you want to do short ribs AGAIN? And someone says “Why not? She’s fucking good at it.” Exactly. Beverly says “I gotta have a dish. I’m sorry” to Sarah, and Sarah condescends, “That’s not what I’m saying, Bev”. What are you saying, then? Did Sarah decide someone has to bully Beverly?

People shop for decorations, but that never matters. You know, based on EVERY PREVIOUS SEASON. Food shopping involves $4000. Grayson says she feels bad for Beverly, because “the girls” don’t like her, but everyone is here to win. Does Grayson include herself in “the girls”? Really it seems Sarah is nitpicking everything Beverly does while Grayson and Lindsay stand around. MotoChris (hey! I can just call him Chris now!) thinks the girls are self destructing. “Boys rule, girls are gonna lose.” Oh, you can’t even get THAT right? GOD.

In the morning Chris says this whole thing is the Kobayashi Maru. So…it’s an impossible test that everyone fails because the test is rigged, and the only way not to fail is to cheat. Oh, I paused too soon. He explains what the Kobayashi Maru is. Actually he explains it as an impossible test but leaves out the part about cheating. And William Shatner. Lots of prep and cooking, and Ed setting up the dining room by himself. I think Ty-Lor says something about fish caramel sauce. Ed’s making a dessert, but Chris is helping him out. I think their decorations are “rustic” or at least playful. Amusingly Ed says he has to clean the bathrooms too. But I am glad to see he gives good directions to the wait staff.

Service starts, and the food looks interesting, and Ed is running around seating people and reminding the waiters to put table numbers on things. Ty-Lor is realizing they never agreed on who was going to expedite, so they’re kind of standing around in the kitchen talking about it. Ed is asking people to wait. Someone says her wine is warmer than her meal. Ouch. Of course this is when the judges show up. Emeril is here, and Hugh and Tom and Padma. No guest judge today? However, between the four of them (well, three aside from Padma) they own or operate 39 restaurants. Wow. Ed says “Canteen” is about a community dining place, and all their menu items started out simple but are elevated. Chris tells us the servers don’t seem to understand where to take food or what is going on. Not sure if that’s due to dumb servers, or no one expediting, or Ed not doing things, or what. The judges notice that Ty-Lor is outside the kitchen, in his apron. They don’t quite know what he is doing, although we can see he’s trying to figure out who gets the entrees that are cooling in front of him. I think they were fired too early. The girls show up too, but I’m guessing no one will care what they think.

Ty-Lor: Thai style crab and shrimp salad, caramel fish sauce and peanuts. Paul: ham and pork pate with mushrooms, braised mustard seeds and duck fat crostini. Ty-Lor’s dish looks like a wedge salad, like a wedge of endive and sauce. Paul has served a jar for some reason. Is the pate in the jar? Why is his dish called “ham and eggs” when there are no eggs? The crab and shrimp are kind of flat, but cooked well, and I guess the duck fat and mustard sort of looks like an egg. The brioche is greasy. Now Paul is outside the window. Why can’t they expedite inside the kitchen instead of at the window where they block the waiters from picking up plates? Ty-Lor: poached salmon in warm tomato water, clams, salmon skin, and tomatillo jam. Paul: crispy skin pork belly with green apple and sweet potato puree. Yum. Hugh immediately notices none of the salmon has mushrooms. Not good. It’s OK anyway, as is Paul’s, although Tom thinks he could have done more. The girls talk about how intense this will be tomorrow. Ed: Almond Joy cake with malted chocolate mousse, and banana coconut puree. Chris: homemade Cracker Jack, cherries, and peanut butter ice cream. Ed’s Almond Joy has no coconut. How do you have Almond Joy with no coconut? This seems to be that thing where you promise something you don’t deliver. Chris’s dish is weird but Tom likes it, for reasons he doesn’t quite understand. Sarah and Lindsay say they have to stay calm tomorrow and support each other. Paul tells us that the salmon dish needs salt, and that he and Ty-Lor split the dish up but it was Ty-Lor that was supposed to season it. Overall for an opening night it was good, and the desserts were clever. Somehow the diners are voting too. The men know they could have been better.

Back home everyone hangs around and self-flagellates. Paul is especially hard on himself. Ed says the best they can hope for is the women completely screw up.

Time for the girls to cook. Lindsay tells us in high school she was an overachiever and will not quit. People talk about the things they are making, which sound pretty good. Lindsay tells us that Beverly only has one dish, as if she didn’t throw out several options and got shot down every time. Sarah asks someone to help her do part of one of her dishes, and Lindsay says that Beverly is just searing short ribs and has plenty of time to help her. Beverly is also going to execute Lindsay’s dish for her. I guess since Bev is helping, Sarah turns on Grayson and asks her if she really needs to cut blueberries in half. Grayson is like, yes, because I’m working on my dishes. They complain at each other, and Sarah claims they’re all simplifying their dishes, and Grayson says she should ask in a nicer way. Lindsay races into the kitchen to show Beverly how to execute her dish, and Bev says in confessional that it’s very rushed, and not how she would do the dish, but it’s not her dish.

Food is going out. Sarah asks for some containers of olives, from Beverly, who I guess doesn’t find them and then says “if you wanted them earlier, you should have done something”. There’s a weird silence, and then Bev starts apologizing while Sarah is going “Beverly” in that Mom voice. The one that says, “I can’t yell at you because we’re in public, but you are in deep shit later”. It makes me feel uncomfortable. Then Bev says they’re treating her like a child, which is true. Sarah condescends to her that this is not how they’re going to start service and she has to support the team. I don’t see you doing anything to support the team, SARAH. Naturally the judges appear when Lindsay is in the kitchen telling Bev and I guess everyone what to do. Lindsay just says it’s hard to seat everyone. The guys get the same treatment. Some guy says the halibut was overcooked, so Lindsay goes back and tells Beverly not to overcook her fish. There is a serious line at the door, and people seem to be waiting for food. Finally. Grayson: grilled peach salad with pickled shallots, bacon vinaigrette and candied pistachios. Sarah: arancini (a risotto ball stuffed with cheese and fried), sweet and sour eggplant, and celery salad. The arancini are hot, and the peach salad is also great. Back in the kitchen, there is a slight freakout because no one has plated dishes for the judges, even though they’ve been fired and someone should be cooking them. Hugh knows that if the judges are frustrated, the contestants must be too. Lindsay appears in the kitchen again, saying the judges are fucking pissed, and all the short ribs in the window are dead. Sarah snaps that she’ll go out and talk to everyone if Lindsay can’t face them. Sarah says she’s behind because she has three courses to fire (three? She’s only making two, I thought). And now Lindsay is micromanaging Beverly, down to what spoon she’s using. Sigh. Hugh’s blog points out that Beverly was responsible for both entrees, which is probably why it took so long. You know no one helped her. Beverly: braised short rib with Thai basil potato puree, apple slaw, and kimchi. Lindsay: grilled halibut with Spanish chorizo, fennel and sherry salad. The halibut is overcooked and the chorizo doesn’t have enough flavor. Of course they love Beverly’s dish, because as much as the girls hate Beverly, she’s proven she can cook, and cook well. Some table gets the wrong dishes. Grayson is flipping out because her dessert has ice cream and has to be served immediately, but Lindsay tells her they don’t know where they are right now. So I guess Lindsay just wants her to shut up about it. Then the next time Lindsay is in the kitchen she says to hurry up with dessert because she has to move tables. Grayson: schaum torte (like a pavlova) with vanilla meringue and champagne berries. Sarah: hazelnut cream Italian doughnuts with banana sugar glaze. Sarah’s doughnuts are heavy, and just OK on taste. Grayson’s food goes over well. Yeah, Sarah, I only count two things.

I guess now that the judges are served, Lindsay feels she doesn’t have to do anything, so she comes into the kitchen to stand around and complain to Grayson that no one is eating her halibut, and it’s all Beverly’s fault because it’s overcooked. 1. She’s standing right in front of you and can probably hear you, so maybe not be a bitch within earshot, 2. Way to “support everyone” like you and Sarah were ordering everyone to do, and 3. Even Grayson admits that it might not be all Beverly’s fault because she’s only doing what Lindsay tells her. Grayson then earns points because she tells Lindsay exactly that: Beverly didn’t do it on purpose and it was probably because of bad cooking instructions. The judges think the food is better here but the guys were better at service.

Commercial interlude: everyone sits around and talks about how they screwed up this challenge. Can we please have more interesting commercial interludes?

In the “Stew Room”, Beverly brings up how everyone was talking about her, and Sarah shakes her head as if she never does that. I hope you watch this show and feel horrible. Lindsay says that Beverly screwed up her dish, which is basically what she was saying behind her back, so I guess that’s something, that she was honest. Sarah gets back into Mom mode and says that Lindsay spent a lot of time with Beverly “helping conceptualize” her dish. So Beverly starts pointing out all the parts of the short ribs that were her own idea, and Sarah is shouting that’s not what she meant, except that it totally is. What else to you mean by “conceptualizing”? Sarah just keeps insisting that’s not what she’s saying, which is what people do when they know they’ve lost but can’t admit it because then they’d have to admit to lying. Trust me, I know people who have done it to me. Padma appears to collect the women. The men wish them luck, because they all know the judges will talk to everyone so it’s impossible to tell who is winning. They nail Lindsay for making everyone wait, and she says it’s because they had a “big build-up” in the kitchen. The women all think they did better than the boys, and luckily they did. They scream and hug each other, even Beverly, because of course now that they’ve won everyone loves her. Grayson’s peach salad was perfect, Sarah’s arancini was hot and the perfect temperature. Beverly’s short ribs and kimchi get high praise (so of course there is a shot of Sarah and Lindsay looking annoyed, along with the single kettle drum beat they always put in). The judges also say the fish was slightly overcooked. Lindsay nods sagely. Hugh says the winner is Beverly. Grayson hugs her, while the other two can’t even bring themselves to clap. Bev wins 3 liters of wine and a weekend trip to Napa. She’s so thrilled I can’t help feel glad for her. She interviews that she can’t believe she won against “such amazing chefs”. No gloating, you will notice. And no sarcasm! She’s a better person than me.

When the guys have gone, Sarah finishes her takeover of Heather’s top villain spot by telling everyone that they wouldn’t have won without Lindsay and she deserves just as much “if not more” praise. Lindsay is like, scraping a bottle with her fingernail or something. Grayson hides her head in her hands. Seriously, you didn’t win, but you’re not going home. Do you hate Beverly so much you can’t let her enjoy winning? She’s not gloating or rubbing it in your face like she could be. And Lindsay’s shitty service is what kept you from winning in a landslide. But no, can’t let anyone you don’t like get praise without saying “I think Lindsay should have won, she did more than everyone else.” Gah.

The judges weren’t wowed by the food. Neither were the diners. Ty-Lor’s crab and shrimp appetizer wasn’t spicy enough, at least for Tom, who expected more Thai flavor. The salmon dish had good components but there was no seasoning and the components didn’t go together. The brioche in the “ham and eggs” was greasy. Then Tom nails Chris for only doing one dish, while Paul did way more than him. Chris helped everyone, but Tom wanted him to claim a dish. Hugh thinks maybe he should have spent some prep time organizing the expediter. Ed says the coconut in the Almond Joy was some powdered stuff on the side of the plate, but Tom is like, that’s the best part! Not enough coconut!

The girls were nice and got beers for the boys, and left them on their chairs. Ed jokingly asks if they’re for sitting on. Heh. At least Bev and Grayson are giggling when they come in. Padma could make a case for any of them going home. If Ed had named his dish something else, they would have loved it because it was the best dish out of that team. Chris’s dish was weird, but Tom can’t explain why he likes it. Also Chris didn’t appear out of the kitchen expediting like the others. Tom points out that the other three didn’t expedite properly, so why should they get points? Ty-Lor didn’t season anything enough.

Ty-Lor is sent home for not seasoning any of his dishes. He seems to be in good spirits, and proud of himself. Let’s see if he can survive Last Chance Kitchen.

Next week: Charlize Theron, Eric Ripert, and a lot of blood and things of that nature.

Last Chance Kitchen: some time between elimination and Last Chance Kitchen Ty-Lor has shaved his beard but kept his mustache. Nyesha claims that she wanted to battle two people: Heather and Ty-Lor. Apparently these two were the worst to her. Today’s challenge is to make dessert. Ha! They have 30 minutes. Double HA! And then just for fun, they have to pick a sous chef out of the eliminated contestants. Nyesha picks Heather solely because she knows Ty-Lor and Heather have cooked together and she wants to break them up. Love her. Ty-Lor takes Malibu. There’s a lot of random things going on. Chocolate. Mascarpone. Nyesha has to remind Heather who is in charge. Malibu is fine. Actually I guess she’s listening to some of Heather’s suggestions. Malibu burns some caramel. Lots of claims to be the best. Nyesha: coconut and lime tart, with coconut crème fraiche mousse and caramel sauce. Ty-Lor: puff pastry with dark chocolate mascarpone cream, vanilla bean rum cherries and caramel sauce. That sounds fantastic. Tom is very impressed with both desserts, actually. However, the one that he would have again is Nyesha’s. Woo girl! She’s also pleased to have beaten the two chefs she had personal grudges against.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I missed the last 4 episodes due to finals week and holidays, and had to catch up with you ! (Watching an episode while reading other people comments is always fun ^_^).

I must say I never was that happy to see someone getting boot before heather's packing.
Tom's smackdown was awesome on top of that.

Beverly is getting bullied over and over and quite frankly I don't understand why.

Anyways, karma is strong with her, I can't wait to see Lindsey and Sarah getting booted.
Nor I can't wait the reunion special episode and all the hypocritical bullshit coming from them.
I mean, even if they're displayed as "mean persons" by magical elves, they kinda asked for it.

Nyesha is on a spree right now, good for her as she was sent home too early imo :).