Friday, February 12, 2016

Top Chef 2/11/16--"Restaurant Wars Part 2" summary

Previously on “Top Chef”: the first part of Restaurant Wars, because this season they have to make both lunch and dinner, as well as being either FOH or executive chef for one service. Phillip was Phillip, and tried to design a salad that was too complicated and Kwame was tired of dealing with him. Marjorie and Karen decided Isaac was not a good enough chef, so they...had him be executive chef instead of front-of-house? When service actually started, Jeremy made the decision to stop all service while they made the food for the judges. So some people had to wait over half an hour between courses, and as a result they didn't serve all their tables lunch. District LA (that's Phillip, Jeremy, Kwame, and Amar) had better appetizers, while Palate (Karen, Isaac, Marjorie, and Carl) had stronger entrees. (click for more)

No Last Chance Kitchen because no one was eliminated.

I thought that maybe District LA was going turn people away hungry because they didn't serve in time, but apparently they were allowed to finish and just lost prep time. 3 hours to prep, if you are Palate and you didn't screw that up. Tom appears and everyone gets yelled at for playing it safe. Not that they can do a ton of fixing things without going shopping again, but whatever.

Phillip knows they failed and while he is FOH and Amar is executive chef for dinner they have to turn it around. Yeah, they lost 45 minutes. Phillip suddenly remembers he forgot to cut up the strawberries for his stupid elaborate salad. The strawberries. For the strawberry salad. You dummy. How could you forget something like that when you spent forever explaining exactly how to plate it because it was so critical your dumb salad be perfect? Then he whines because Kwame wants to mix the lemon and olive oil dressing now, and he says if that happens early it gets “acrid”. Does it? I've made vinaigrettes ahead of time. Whatever, Phillip. He is seriously annoying as FOH but I feel like he will also be super anal and watch the waiters closely which is probably good. Plus now he's out of the kitchen. Kwame's making an amuse bouche as an extra course.

Phillip brags that he recognizes guests? Why do the servers care about that? You aren't going to get any of them to give a shit about your reality show pop-up. Karen is FOH for dinner for Palate, and Carl is executive chef. Karen is so far in the weeds because she's overambitious, I guess? She's helping do a tripe soup, and a stuffed trout on her own. But she says she's doing two and a half dishes? So what is she talking about? I only count one and a half. Anyway, Marjorie has to go out and do Karen's damn job and explain things to the servers. Marjorie is making bread and also dessert, of course, because so far everyone has loved her desserts. She doesn't have time for that shit. I hope Karen gets called out on that. Phillip shows the servers the dishes and is now saying his dumb salad has a “gazpacho”. He tells them to tell everyone it's best to smash it together to eat it, and Amar immediately tells him “Don't tell people how to eat.” Seriously. So Phillip turns back to the servers and says “Let them know it's best when enjoyed all together” because he's a fucking moron. Kwame interviews that Phillip's dish needs salt and is generally not great but he's unwilling to mess with someone else's dish and also is not particularly inclined to care about Phillip's future on the show. Plus you know Phillip won't listen anyway. He does ask if things need salting and Phillip is like “just put things on the plate.”

Karen is still prepping. I didn't think she was this slow? Anyway, it's time to change clothes and she hasn't even started her trout. Isaac agrees to help Karen, even though his own prep is not done. This seems like a bad idea. Also you'd better recognize you shit on Isaac all day yesterday and this morning and now he's saving your ass.

Dinner service begins. Phillip gives everyone a cocktail which is called “Bangkok Dangerous” because of course it is. Some random guests think it's weak. Jeremy is almost instantly in the weeds because risotto is tough to do at the last minute and of course plenty of people are ordering it. The judges arrive at Palate. Karen's still explaining how to write tickets to the servers, but at least she greets the judges. Marjorie says her prep isn't done either. Shot of a mixer falling off a table. Oops. So Marjorie's prep is not done, because she had to do Karen's FOH job, and Isaac's prep maybe suffered too, all because Karen took on too much. This is why I hope someone mentions it. Gail thinks the menu at least looks ambitious. Marjorie's bread is parmesan parsley garlic bread. That sounds fantastic. Carl and Karen: oxtail consomme with tripe, tortellini, and mushrooms. Carl: snapper crudo with cucumber, ginger, and grapes. The tripe is cut really small and I think it makes it go over better. Good reviews. However, Tom is very irritated at having another crudo. Gail is super sarcastic about it, which is lots of fun. Over at District LA people are complaining about the steaks being under done. Phillip smarms that if HE was executive chef, this never would have happened. Whatever, Phillip. Amar is just going to focus on running the kitchen and doing his dishes. Everyone else's dishes are their problem.

The judges discuss that Karen seems to be doing a good job. Well they don't know how she stuck everyone with all her work but sure. Isaac loves his dish, but he also says he has to blend with the other chefs and can't stand out as much as he might otherwise. The menu has to be cohesive. He's worried Karen's trout might easily get overcooked. Karen: stuffed trout with coconut rice and heirloom tomato. Everyone says it's a huge portion which it is maybe? Compared to the portions of all the other dishes, sure. Isaac: braised lamb shoulder with couscous, pickled fennel, and orange. They love Isaac's lamb but hate the trout. It's mushy. The judges seem to agree that the dish was poorly conceived, not necessarily poorly executed. Marjorie did both the final dishes: Rogue Creamery blue cheese, dates, pecans, & plums. Also California berry soup with buttermilk panna cotta, vanilla, and macadamia nuts. While the cheese plate is fine, panna cotta destroys another chef. Gail thinks it tastes weird. It's fizzy because she put champagne into the berry soup (which she said she's never done before) but it is not going over well.

When the judges get to District LA, the guy greeting guests says their table is ready but Phillip wants them to drink his cocktail first. Tom is weirded out that the guy just pulls a carafe from under the table. Like seriously horrified. When Phillip comes back to tell everyone the judges are there, he says he would suggest not stopping service for everyone else while they serve the judges. Hee. Meanwhile if the judges' table was ready when they got there, why didn't anyone take them directly there? Why did they have to cool their heels up front drinking their dumb cocktails? Gail doesn't think the menu is cohesive. Some Asian dishes and some Italian. Kwame: beet-cured hamachi with avocado mousse, Osetra caviar, and celery lime emulsion. The amuse bouche is terrible. Oh no. The foam is just salt and Gail calls it spittle.

Someone reading the menu lets us know Phillip's dumb salad is called “Strawberries and Champagne” so they think it's a soup. Amar: avocado gazpacho with king crab salad, lemon pudding, and fried tortilla. Phillip: strawberries, pickled cucumber, roasted beets, arugula, and strawberry champagne gazpacho. Gail says it feels stupid. Burn. Tom is literally scratching his head. Also I was right to have been calling it stupid all this time. Amar's dish is weird but Gail keeps eating it. They dub it “crab nachos”. Some waiter comes by to give them more wine except for the part where they haven't actually drunk any yet so the glass is just super full. Also Phillip is showing people his tattoos and talking about his own restaurant which, terrible. The judges are across the room and can't hear him, but predict he is over there talking about his own restaurant. Phillip's tattoos are as dumb as you would expect.

Jeremy is still in the weeds, it seems. Kwame: roasted Amish chicken thigh with cauliflower, San Marzano sauce, and Marcona almond. Jeremy: artichoke risotto with crispy shallot and Marin County olive oil. The risotto doesn't taste like anything and Kwame's chicken was kind of overcooked. Before they even taste the risotto they complain about how it isn't loose enough. Kwame's dish is also boring but I think they seem more tolerant of it.

Amar: slow-braised pork belly with BBQ sauce consomme, heirloom tomatoes, and shaved snap peas. Jeremy: dry-aged rib eye with celery root miso puree, miso butter, and summer squash. Everyone makes super dramatic faces about how sour Amar's consomme is. But then they show some random people saying the same thing about how it's vinegar so maybe it's the truth. The rib eye is not exciting, but at least it's not terrible. Padma and Tom shoo a waiter away, which I think is not a good sign. Tom says someone is going home for making bad food and they will not be sorry about it.

Padma says after lunch it was about even, but after dinner it was clear Palate won. On the one hand, District LA clearly screwed up the food, but on the other hand, it means Karen won't have consequences for her shit time management that screwed everyone else. Marjorie took on a lot, with the bread and everything. Karen's dishes were not all successful, but they don't even say which one because “you know which one”, like she'd admit her trout was bad. You know she wouldn't. Dinner service-wise was good though. Isaac and Carl both did a good job expediting. Carl praises Isaac's expediting system at lunch, and says he used some of that at dinner. Isaac pretends they all dropped their egos. Tom points out all chefs have egos. Isaac wins, which is hilarious so there. Karen is really glad for him, as if she wasn't complaining about him before. She yells and jumps on him, and then Isaac yells a lot on his own. Padma tells him all his dishes were perfect.

Jeremy claims at lunch he fired everything as soon as he could. Tom says a waiter bending down at the podium and producing a cocktail is amateurish. Phillip is like “Well thank God you aren't judging the cocktail!” Immediately all the judges start asking him why he thinks they wouldn't judge the cocktail. Oops. Also the look on his face was priceless. All his smug laughing and it wiped the smile off his face and it was extremely satisfying. The servers were not subtle. Kwame's foam amuse was a failure. The avocado gazpacho was heavy and not really a gazpacho. Phillip's dumb salad came off as a dessert. When Gail says she didn't get it he tells her the gazpacho was supposed to be like a dressing. You put that much dressing on salad? Whatever, Phillip. Also it was supposed to have onion, but he's totally not saying it was done wrong. But it shouldn't have been too sweet because there was supposed to be onion. Kwame admits he didn't think the dish was perfect, but Phillip didn't want to change it. I don't think he ever told Phillip that, and Phillip says that very point, but it's not like he would have listened, plus the dish concept was poor, I think. Jeremy cooked the risotto in water and that's why it was tasteless. Tom declares it the worst risotto on the show ever. Amar didn't think he was in a position to tell someone to change a dish, but Tom tells all of them that they weren't trying to win, but instead were letting their teammates fail. Yeah, I think a lot of them did that.

Jeremy had a great lunch dish, and Kwame was great at FOH at lunch. Both of them did well enough at lunch to counteract the dinner failures. Padma says she thinks it's between Amar and Phillip to go home. Amar was really passive as the executive chef, but Tom doesn't want to give Phillip a pass. Phillip is in the Stew Room asking if he was in a different room? Is he saying the judges didn't eat the same dishes as everyone else? Or does he think he's in Bizzaroland where everyone loves his dumb bullshit?

Phillip is sent home. Finally. He of course is surprised, because after they told him to be himself he clearly felt as long as he did that he would never be sent home. Plus Jeremy had terrible risotto. The judges can't tell him he did it wrong. He's so tedious. Now they're all headed north to San Francisco.

Next week: or...”this season”: Kwame makes frozen waffles, Marjorie burns her tongue and can't taste, Hubert Keller, some magic, MARTIN YAN, Carl raps. A million people seem to be in the finals.

Last Chance Kitchen: oh God, it's Jason and Phillip together. Can they both go home? Ugghhhh. Phillip still thinks he can win, because his dumb salad supposedly impressed some food critic one time. NO ONE CARES, PHILLIP. Listen, in the grand scheme of reality show villains, his delusion is entertaining. That doesn't mean I want to listen to him. Jason reminds us he called Phillip out on his nonsense. Tom tells Phillip he's always blaming someone else (true) so for this challenge he can pick the time and the ingredient both of them have to use. Phillip picks sweetbreads and 20 minutes. Jason claims sweetbreads are his most favorite food.

The peanut gallery is doing a live play-by-play. Phillip is doing roasted sweetbreads with raw fish. As he's cutting an onion he calls for a medic, but the camera stays on his hands and I don't see any blood. Grayson asks if it's a hangnail. Hee. OK now that the glove is on I see blood all in the glove. Jason cuts himself too but I don't think as bad. Tom, I hope you have your tetanus shot! Hee! Jason tells us you have to go slowly with sweetbreads, so he hopes it turns out. Wesley is on fire, joking with Tom and saying Phillip could be dying and he'd probably tell everyone he was fine.

Tom Time! Phillip is seriously saying Jason purposely cut himself to even the playing field. Tom also already does raw fish with sweetbreads. Phillip burns some potatoes and pretends he totally wasn't going to serve that. Jason is poaching the sweetbreads and then pan-frying, I think. Tom interviews that poaching is an old-fashioned way to cook sweetbreads, and that Phillip is out there but sometimes it all works. As Phillip plugs in a blender, it's already on, and he's like “Who left that on?” The peanut gallery gives him shit for STILL blaming everyone else for stuff. Chad says it was on when he cooked too but he didn't blame anyone. Wesley's like, “Yeah he blamed himself for not checking it first”. HA! Phillip takes off his glove and then bitches about how someone took his box of gloves from his station. Uh huh. Jason waits until the very last minute to plate because he's worried about the toughness.

Phillip: roasted sweetbreads, salmon belly, sweet potato chips, shaved apple, and radish with yogurt, ginger and carrot sauce. It looks like baby vomit. Like the sauce is not a sauce but the consistency of baby food and so trying to smear it did not work at all and it's chunky. He also tells Tom to eat it all together and I can't imagine Tom will take kindly to being told how to eat it. The puree is chunky and all the textures are mushy if you actually do eat it all together. Phillip claims he meant to leave the puree chunky but Tom says don't bullshit the bullshitter. Jason: fricassee of poached and pan roasted sweetbreads, artichoke and saffron. The sweetbreads are cooked well, but maybe too much saffron. Tom does appreciate they didn't take the easy way out, at least. Jason wins, so at least Phillip is gone. Still not a big fan of Jason though.

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