leave your inhibitions at the door
At the end of the last episode the previews said, “later this season…” I thought for sure that the show would be taking a break for a few weeks. And this week’s episode was their annual restaurant wars which, based on previous years, has occurred in the 9th or 10th week.
I’ll still recap this week’s episode in this post but, since I wasn’t prepared to write a new introduction to this week’s episode, here’s what I wrote about Restaurant Wars from last year:
– Talent doesn’t always lead to a win. Strong leadership, teamwork, and people understanding their roles is key.
– I like to think that having a good working team is a lot like the Three Stooges.
– They worked because there was one Moe (the bossy one), one Curly (the charming goofball), and one Larry (the one that’s not noticeable, but does a lot of gruntwork). And they still were good even when Shemp took Curly’s role as the charming goofball. He knew his role and he executed.
That formula clearly worked last year for the winning team. By the way – being caught off-guard with this week’s episode wasn’t a big deal. It’s not like I actually plan about what I write anyway…
The contestants were split into two teams of four and were serving 100 people. They had to come up with the concept and menu, as well as decide who was going to be the Executive Chef, and who would manage the front of the house.
The special guest was a very stone-faced Barbara Lynch who said, “You have to be on-point as a team.” It’s as if she read my post from last year.
Adam’s Salt-baked clams, ramps, bacon, & sunflower seeds
Mei’s Chicken liver toast with plum puree
Doug’s braised pork shoulder, pickled red onion, & mustard seeds
Melissa’s seared scallops, radish salad, & grapefruit
Mei’s Fried Brussels sprouts with anchovy-olive vinaigrette
Melissa’s buttermilk biscuit cobber, apples, mixed berries & cardamom cream
Katie’s roasted beats, Sri Lankan curry, toasted coconut, & pickled cauliflower
Katsuji’s hamachi sashimi, roasted poblano, blistered tomato, citrus-habanero salsa & garlic chips
Katsjuji’s dry pozole, chili, Dungeness crab & chicharrones
Gregory’s seared haddock, spiced tomato, garam masala, & pickled mushrooms
Gregory’s hoisin-glazed pork tenderloin, bay scallops, broccolini & XO sauce
KeriAnn’s vanilla crepe, burnt banana mousse, macerated cherries with ginger & pistachio
Winning Restaurant – Four Pigs, easily. The comments were “unified vision, respected each other, worked towards the mission.” While the losing team didn’t come together as a team. Sound familiar?
Winner – Doug. For the dish, the concept, and the organization.
Gone – KerriAnn. Disorganized service plus worst dish on the team.
– I love it when I’m right. The winning team was constantly high-fiving and worked together to come up with a cohesive menu. Dougie was a great Moe, Mei and Melissa were strong Larry’s, and Adam was a perfect Curly.
– The losers didn’t work as a team at all. Gregory is a superior chef with a lot of experience, he opted to do grunt work. Katsuji mentioned that he had more than enough time to help out KerriAnn but didn’t because, after all, this is a competition. Definitely well-played.
– Another reason the Magellan team lost: Their dishes were inspired by Sri Lanka, Mexico, Japan, and France. I just looked it up – Magellan didn’t go to any of those on his famous expeditions.
– Adam’s clams were served on the cleaned shells. The first batch of shells mysteriously disappeared and there was drama with having to get more. I fully expected to see Katsuji admit to stealing them.
– I thought Mei’s chicken liver toasts and Melissa’s cobbler were pretty damn amateurish. Any fool can look at the back of a Betty Crocker box and make cobbler.
– One of the stops they made was to Arhaus for décor. I’m a big fan of Arhaus, but that’s a pretty weak link to the competition. There’s no way they bought chairs for the restaurant there because they would’ve blown their budget in about 2 minutes. I know this because that’s where I got my chairs:
– So far, not surprises in terms of who’s been sent packing. If the trend continues, it’s bye-bye Katie.