Top Chef S9-10: Restaurant Wars
Top Chef Texas is on its 10th episode and we have 8 cheftestants battling it out for the title of Top Chef.
Remember, there’s still The Last Chance Kitchen, which can only be seen online, but you want to be spoiled about that, check out my review of that online episode.
Don’t forget, if you don’t want to be spoiled about this episode, get out of the kitchen now!
- Top Chef: Last Chance Kitchen 8
This review features Top Chef's Last Chance Kitchen featuring Nyesha vs Malibu Chris.
Oh yes, it’s finally time for the mother-lode of all Top Chef episodes: Restaurant Wars. So, let’s skip the Quickfire and call a battle of the sexes. This is a momentous event since this is the first time women have stood their ground with the men on Top Chef. Girl power indeed.
Padma explains that each team will take over the Pink Avocado for one night and flips a coin to see who’s going first. Hugh is beside her and calls it: boys first.
Each team must create a 3 course menu with 2 choices for each course for 100 guests and the opposing team. One cheftestant must be front of house and each member must have at least one dish on the menu. They’ll have 5 hours to cook and decorate and $7,500 to spend on their restaurant.
Judging this masterpiece is Tom, Hugh, Padma and Emeril. Yay for Emeril, boo for no Gail.
The Men’s Team
Ed is in the front since he owns his own restaurant and it used to it. I wonder if his customers are used his jaw doing that weird thing it does. The men decide on the name Canteen, because people eat at a canteen together. They could have also called in cafeteria, mess hall or refectory, which are also places where people eat, but don’t get you any idea what you’re eating.
There are a lot of problems on the Men’s Team, starting off with Ed’s servers. It’s not Ed himself, who seems to have instructed his servers on how to do things, but the servers who appear to not know what they’re doing. Not only are they getting tickets confused, but their confusing table numbers.
What makes it all worse is that the back of house has no expediter. The tickets come up and Ty-Lor or Paul shouts something out and maybe a dish follows. Their system really broke down.
Ty made a Thai style crab and shrimp salad with caramel fish sauce. Tom thought the caramel sauce was good. Padma thought the shrimp was cooked perfectly. Hugh thought Ty’s appetizer really fell flat. There was nothing there.
Paul made a ham and pork pate with mushroom, mustard seed and duck fat crostini. Hugh liked Paul’s dish and so did Emeril, except for the fact that his brioche was grease.
Paul is finally tired of the chaos and steps up to expedite. It’s around this time that Paul realizes that he forgot to put mushrooms on the plate sent out to the judges. D’oh.
Ty and Paul teamed together to make a poached salmon in warm tomato water with clams, salmon skin and tomatillo jam. Tom liked the salmon and salsa. This is where I’ll note that not much was said here. Ouch.
Paul made a crispy skin pork belly with green apple and sweet potato puree. Emeril liked the porkbelly and Padma chewed and did an “mmmm” sound.
Ed made what he called an Almond Joy, which was an almond joy cake with malted chocolate mousse and banana coconut puree. Tom really liked the dessert, but he wonders where the hell’s the coconut? If you call something an Almond Joy, there better be coconut somewhere you can taste it. Everyone else agrees.
Moto Chis made a homemade cracker jack with cherries and peanut butter ice cream. Emeril is not crazy about the dessert. Something’s really off with the cherries in his opinion. Tom kinda likes it and Padma agrees. They are drawn to desserts that are salty and sweet.
Overall, Tom felt that the meal was good overall, but the men needed to work on the dishes to refine them. Emeril liked the meal, but thought it fell flat in a lot of areas. They all felt there was something missing overall.
One thing was obvious coming from someone who couldn’t taste the food. How about something that tied it all together? We have three chefs that do modernized Asian fusion cuisine and instead of embracing it, they throw some dishes around without any sort of unity. There’s Canteen, but come on! What does that even mean to a customer? The men broke down badly and even they knew it.
The Women’s Team
The ladies vote Lindsay as the front of house since was responsible for opening many restaurants and also because stays calm under pressure. I couldn’t help but bold and underline that last bit.
The women decide on a rustic, organic and homey feel to their restaurant. They call it Half Bushel, since Lindsay and her family used to sell peaches by the half bushel as a child.
Since Sarah and Lindsay take charge, it’s an immediate smack down on Bev. Do they not know most people don’t miss Heather? I guess not. Grayson feels bad for Bev, because it’s obvious that Sarah and Lindsay are shutting her ideas down, giving her a hard time and just don’t like her. Talk about catty city.
Bev finally suggests that she make short ribs, but Sarah doesn’t want her to do shorts ribs again. Grayson argues that they love Bev’s short ribs and she’s good at making it. Just let her make it!
Lindsay is at the front of the house and because of that she decides to make the entrée. They decide that since Bev is only doing one dish, Bev would execute Lindsay’s complicated dish. Match made in heaven, no?
So what does Lindsay do as Bev cooks her dish? She keeps walking away from the front of house to verbally assault Bev. She does this so often that she’s not there to greet the judges and keeps the Men’s Team waiting. Well, the Men’s Team aren’t the only ones waiting, since there is eventually a line all the way out of the front door.
That would be because no ones getting their food and when the orders do come out they are often sent to the wrong table. What’s even worse is that there is no expediter and the food is sitting all willy-nilly on a counter and when a server comes in the cheftestants just bark, “if what you want is on the counter, just grab it.” Nice.
Tom immediately notices there’s no energy in the room and Padma is resorting to asking the server for food, because they’ve been waiting for a while. When the judges think they spot Lindsay, the chef is off to the back of the house to yell at Bev some more. Somehow Lindsay is acting like the expediter, so no food it going out and no one’s being seated.
It’s around this time that Grayson is finally realizing that Lindsay wasn’t the best choice for front of house and that she’s being really bitchy. I’m glad she’s finally noticed.
Women’s Team Appetizer
Grayson made a peach salad with picked shallots, bacon vinaigrette and candied pistachios. Tom really liked the salad and everyone agreed the dish tasted clean and fresh.
Sarah made a mozzarella filled arancion, sweet and sour eggplant and celery salad. Emeril liked that Sarah’s was piping hot when served.
After their appetizers, it’s time for the judges to wait some more.
Bev made braised short ribs with Thai basil over a potato puree and apple slaw with kimchee. Hugh thinks that Bev’s shortribs was the best he’s had both nights. Tom normally doesn’t like flavored potatoes, but really liked what Bev did. Emeril thought it was really tasty. Everyone thought the dish was really flavorful.
Lindsay’s dish that Bev executed was grilled halibut with Spanish chorizo, fennel and sherry salad. Tom thinks the dish needs more flavor. Hugh thought his fish was a little dry.
Behind the scenes, Lindsay’s upset because Bev is overcooking the halibut. Grayson tells Lindsay that it’s not Bev’s fault. Lindsay made an overcomplicated dish with too many steps and she should just back off Bev. It’s about time.
Women’s Team Desserts
Grayson made a shaum torte with vanilla meringue and champagne berries. Hugh doesn’t like the liquid at the bottom of the dish. Tom loves the stuff at the bottom and wished he had a spoon to eat it all. Padma gives him hers and he’s in heaven.
Sarah made a hazelnut crème Italian doughnut with banana sugar glaze. Tom thought they were heavy and couldn’t taste any banana. Hugh thought the flavors were too rich and the doughnut was like lead.
Overall they enjoyed the ladies’ dishes the best, however the service and experience was best overall on the men’s side.
The Judging Table
The ladies are up first and are told they win. When it all comes down to it, their food tasted the best.
They give a shot in the arm to Sarah, who made one good dish and one really bad one. Lindsay’s dish was subpar and when she tries to lay the blame on Bev, she’s told the slight overcooking wasn’t the issue, it was the lack of flavor, which should never happen when you use chorizo. Grayson’s dishes were really good as was Bev’s short ribs.
The winner of a trip and a fancy bottle of wine goes to Bev and the looks of anger and resentment from Sarah and Lindsay are obvious to the world.
When they go to the backroom, Sarah starts saying that Lindsay deserves part of the win on that for reasons that make little sense to me. My guess is if the women had lost, Lindsay would be hanging out in the Last Chance Kitchen since she had a deplorable front of the house and her dish lacked flavor. Just sayin’.
It was clear that there was no wow factor on the Men’s Team. Their food wasn’t cohesive at all.
Both of Ty’s dishes needed more spice. When you eat Thai food, it should be spicier. The seasonings were off. Paul’s pork belly was nice, but needed something else and Emerill was really annoyed about the soggy croutons. They lambasted Ed for selling his dish as an Almond Joy without having more coconut, but had he not called it that, it was really good. Moto Chris only did a dessert, which left the bulk of the work to Paul. They wonder why he didn’t do more. Emerill didn’t like Moto Chris’ presentation and thought the dish was bad overall. Hugh wondered why Moto Chris didn’t do more since all he did was pop some corn.
Whose team should have won?
It’s at this time I closed my eyes, unable to bear the thought of another favorite out the door during Restaurant Wars. Memories of Tre and Dale come flooding back and I’m going back thinking about Paul’s dishes. Ack!
Padma finally ends the wait and it is Ty-Lor who is asked to PYKaG. Darn. I liked him too.
Last Chance Kitchen
The next duel is the Current Last Chance Kitchen Champion, Nyesha versus the nice guy Ty. Whose food will rise above the drama?