leave your inhibitions at the door
To those of you who have read my recaps of Top Chef in the past, please forgive me for repeating what I always say about Restaurant Wars.
– I don’t get the big deal. These guys do it for a living and they’ve gone through challenges where they make dishes for a lot of people before. It’s like someone asking me to put together an Excel spreadsheet.
– 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.
The second-best moment of tonight’s episode was this guy’s reaction to them cooking beef tongue –
There was no Quickfire because of Restaurant Wars. The chefs drew knives and the captains were Katsuji and Shirley. They were to pick teams and create a restaurant in the same space on different days. Katsuji won a coin toss and they opted for the second night.
Southern Belle – Katsuji, Sheldon, Casey, John
– Sweet potato tamale with charred chili onion relish – Katsuji (how is that southern?)
– Crab “pimento cheese” with benne seed cracker – John
– Fried green tomato & almond gravy, beef tongue, with green olives & tomatoes – Katsuji
– Acorn squash stew with sorghum cod & eggplant crumble – Sheldon
– Blackberry cobbler with patron whipped cream – Katsuji
– Strawberry lemon sorbet with buttermilk curd, meringue, & roasted strawberry – Casey
Latitude – Shirley, Brooke, Sylva, Emily
– Cured king salmon with pickled kohlrabi, marcon almonds, and tiger milk – Brooke
– Squid ink tagliatelle with calamari, lemon bread crumbs, & shrimp butter – Emily
– Snapper with bone broth, chile de arbol, & wild mushrooms – Shirley
– Pan-roasted halibut with fennel dust, mushroom rice & tomato chutney – Sylva
– Poppy seed buttermilk cake with miso butterscotch, pistachios, & blackberries – Emily
– Plum wine panna cotta with cherries, toasted cashews, tarragon, & freeze-dried lychee – Shirley
Katsuji nominated John to be the Executive Chef as he had the most experience opening restaurants, but part of me thinks he did so as that role is in the spotlight and has more exposure for elimination. Throughout prep and service the two of them were bickering each other the entire time. Our kitchen buddy took notice –
Which was my favorite part of the episode.
Even while waiting for the judges decision, they kept at it.
Winning Team: Latitude. Of course
Losing Team: Southern Belle
– Make that kitchen guy a series regular. PLEASE
– Totally followed what I’ve been saying for years about teamwork.
– Well-played by Sheldon for just kicking back from the start. With the multiple ways to lose in this challenge, if there’s not a BMW on the line I’m going middle-of-the road and just surviving.
– Emily’s food is completely unexciting and mostly executed poorly; she should’ve been gone long ago. Even if executed perfectly, it’s not really great Top Chef-worthy food. She got lucky to be on a good team.
– Opening restaurants is hard, but they don’t have to do the toughest parts – finding investors, dealing with the health inspectors, advertising, and bribing food bloggers. (Which I still haven’t benefitted from.)
– The team opted for the name “Southern Belle” and John mentioned it was a famous strip joint in town. I fact-checked, he’s right –
– Just once I want to see someone open a “refined twist” on a Hooters. Hopefully they’ll bring back Casey and Brooke for that.