'Top Chef' Recap: Restaurant #WARS

Two great Top Chef episodes in a row. Is it a Christmas miracle??? Last time, in our Top Chef recap: Louis went home because the judges got fussy about his popcorn topping, and Justin was so pissed about getting criticized it was just like all the other guys who have gotten criticized this season. It is almost as if Millennials can’t handle being told they are not perfect ever at any time! Huh. Weird. Carlos is like “yeah, winning is cool, thank you for asking, also I didn’t go to culinary school.” We will hear this some more. People always seem a little chippy on their shoulders when they learned in The Streets.

And now it is RESTAURANT WARS!!!1! GONG SOUND! CYMBAL CLASH! SHOCKED FACES WHA????? Can we bitch for the 444th time that “decorating a restaurant” should not be part of this? David Chang is there, and they have 24 hours to make a restaurant, that is just some bullshit, we would like to see David Chang try it, he would fucking cry. CRY DAVID CHANG. CRYYYYY.

This episode is a commercial for Chase Sapphire card. Danny Meyer is the “godfather of the restaurant world,” says Nina, and though we have no idea who Danny Meyer is, Nina’s always been right about people so far, so …

Travis, on the purple team, volunteers to be in charge of front of the house, because “gays belong in front of the house.” BUT THEN YOUR DAD WILL KNOW YOU ARE GAY, TRAVIS!!!

Justin volunteers to be executive chef of the green team because: “I think choosing to be an executive chef in restaurant wars is a pretty ballsy move,” if he does say so himself. And he does.

So one team is planning its menu, “we are seafood, we will all make top scallops,” and the other team is like, “I am Sara, so since I am front of the house, we will spend all our time talking about the decor of the front of the house, because why would we need to care about the food since I am front of the house?” Louis is like, “um hey, do we need to do this right now?” and Sara actually claims the decor will determine how amibitious their menu gets. It is paramount, the decor! You would never choose your decor based on the food you want to serve, but the other way around, everyone knows that, CARLOS, YOU IDIOT.

'Top Chef' Recap: Restaurant #WARS

Here is a random picture of Sara. Why? Oh no reason.

They’ve got raw spaces with no equipment, because this is Top Plumbing and Top Construction Worker.

Team Sara Is The Boss Of Front Of House is spending a lot of time looking at plates, at the plate store, and yet they HAVE NOT DISCUSSED WHAT WILL GO ON THOSE PLATES. This is some bass-ackward bullshit. Carlos tries to be like, “er, if I may, we do not know if we need crystal plates or not because we don’t know what is going in them?” This might sound reasonable to you or to me, but that is because we are A Idiot. Luckily, Justin is there to SHUT HIM DOWN. Hey, let’s have a transcript!

Justin: Do you know what you’re making?
Carlos: Yeah kind of
Justin: (hostile and suspicious, eyes narrowed) Cuz I have no idea what you’re making. Cuz I don’t want to make the same thing you’re making.
Carlos: (calmly) You know what the problem is? We didn’t sit down and discuss what dishes we can do.
Justin: (getting frantic, voice rising, not taking this shit from some peon) That’s where we’re at right now, we haven’t even discussed it yet and we’re not discussing it right now.
Woman (Sara? Let’s go with Sara): Yeah.
Justin: So drop it. Go back to plates.

Justin does not seem to be leading this team with good leadership. He has been led astray by the Plate Siren, is confused, is argumentative, contradicts himself and doesn’t know or care, and is contemptuous and bullying. Way to boss, Justin! We are sure that kind of leadership will lead to wonderful team cohesion, if you guys ever decide what you’re making for food. After you figure out what you’re buying for plates.

But whoops, then Justin says something biting to Sara, who even cares what, and now all of a sudden she is Very Concerned that they remember to “share ideas in a professional manner,” about which she was not concerned when she said YEAH (probably) while he was schooling Carlos about shutting his trap.

Team Seafood is all like, oh, watch us shop together and smile in a friendly manner like human beings instead of the human garbage piles screaming like meth moms over on the other team.

Brian is doing a Top Scallop Crudo with gelled corn.

Shirley is on Team Sara Is The Boss Of Front Of House, a team where they still have not planned their menu as they split up to shop. That is not like Shirley! Why didn’t she boss them? Especially Sara! She has never shied from bossing Sara before! Sara does not get her molds from Shirley from Restaurants R Forever R Us. Was it on purpose? Shirley has always seemed straightforward, no?

Now Nick is bossing the other team. He is acting like maybe he is a mean boss, but actually “doing the thing you ask them to do” is not really out of line. Maybe he will be milquetoasty! WATCH WHAT HAPPENS!!!1!

Team Seafood (Fin, whatever, meh) is running smoothly. They ask Nick if he would like them to get started on something, he says yes. Travis comes back and quietly and efficiently checks the menu items with everyone.

Team Sara Is The Boss Of Front Of House is falling apart as Justin insists the only way to be an exec chef is to never second-guess yourself, including second-guessing whether you have enough ingredients, and second-guessing whether you are yelling at people too much.

That guy is gonna be a fucking massively successful global restaurant chain owner. I bet you.

They have a fight about whether the coffeemaker is big enough. Sara is right, she is allowed to question him without getting a dissertation on how his food is beautiful so why can’t they all just focus on how beautiful his food is and why do they have to bum him out with their NEEDS.

Brian fucked up his gel because he sucks and is lame.

Team Fin is Stephanie, Nicholas, Travis, Carrie and Brian. I probably should have been able to tell without them putting them all in a chyron in this one shot, but I am high. Lots of moving parts.

Oh, guess who is mad about the bowls, did you guess Justin, and that he would start yelling about the bowls? You are very smart.

And here we must give mad fucking props to Travis. He’s GREAT with the servers, smiling, friendly, calm, and organized. He’s great with the chefs. He needs to give up his dream of cooking and go be a wonderfully successful front-of-house manager for a wonderfully successful restaurant. Danny Meyer, hire him. Hire him now. Let him have a wonderful bourgeouis happy life running one of your restaurants, with his secret Asian boyfriend, and he can have his mom and dad come to visit and his dad will be silent in that Midwestern (Southern?) phlegmatic way, and at the end he will lay one meaty paw on Travis’s shoulder and he will say, “I am proud of you, son.” Do that, Danny Meyer, please.

(Oh, PS I forgot to tell you, Sara went more for the “mean trigonometry teacher” style of training the waiters, because of course she did. She is all like WHICH TABLE IS THIS. BOOM. INCORRECT.)

Hahaha, Justin is trying to win the contest by giving the best blowjob to the commercial sponsors, as he explains they’re nervous to serve food to this group of people who own Chase Sapphire credit cards. It’s so much “pressure.” Cooking for “Chase Sapphire Preferred Diners.” Sara is more discreet, as she crawls under the table to personally lathe with her tongue the turgid member of Danny Meyer, THE MASTER OF THE ENTIRE IDEA OF HOSPITALITY.

Service is starting. Was it all a BIG TRICK OF EDITING and the calm easy team will have shit the bed? While Justin’s freakout would prove to be a sign of his genius? WE SHALL SEE.

The purple corn on brian’s dish “could use some fixing.” Cause it ain’t got Mojo Nixon??? Oh, no, because the consistency is “too snotty.” Not the right amount of snotty. Too snotty. 🙁

Stephanie says Nick is like a PERFECT expediting exec chef, like he has created the platonic ideal of expediting. So this is obviously all going too well, and the first dish tasted too much like snot, so which awful things will make him lose next?

Sara did not make sure Danny Meyer got a menu. She was busy. Oh, whoops, apparently her servers did not love being mean-trig-teachered, and have failed to learn the lesson bullets she fired at them. Is Sara on top of it? No, no, she is not. Oooh, Sara is not going to like watching herself walk away from Danny Meyer as his table shouts after her “uh, one more thing?”

As people get their wrong dishes, and half of a table is served while the other half hasn’t been fired yet, Justin exclaims, “Just do what I say please and everything will be all right!” Haha, classic Justin!

Travis, meanwhile, has already been asked to officiate at one couple’s wedding and be the godfather of the child of another. Glasses clink. Guests laugh. Everone is so very happy.

BUT CARRIE’S SHRIMP IS AN OVERCOOKED OIL SLICK. Show, what are you trying to trick me into thinking???

Nick’s drum is beautiful, the sauce “deep,” it is the most delicious they’ve had.

Screen Shot 2013-12-05 at 10.45.29 AM

The judges are not pleased with Sara’s disastrous front of house, and it is because they have been sitting around forever but she TOLD Justin to make all the plates for the judges, but then justin TOLD her to write a ticket, and she didn’t so he didn’t, and what is wrong with both of you my God. SARA, write the ticket, JUSTIN don’t be so fucking ADD that you can’t start the judges’ ticket anyway and then forget about it, THEY’RE THE JUDGES. “A VERBAL FIRE?” The very idea. Fetch our smelling salts at once!

Sara walks away without a word about the dishes.

And as the judges taste the dishes, it is finally clear the editors are not trying to fuck with us by showing perfect calm service and a perfect calm kitchen on one side, and a frantic sloppy clusterfuck on the other. IT JUST IS THAT WAY.

Team Seafood:
Brian: Scallop Crudo, Corn, and Squash Relish with Purple Corn Gel.
Carrie: Sauteed Gulf Shrimp, Chickpea Puree, Oregano, and Lemon.
Stephanie: Linguini with Caviar, Oyster Cream, and Fennel.
Nicholas: Black Drum, King Trumpet Mushrooms, Oxtail, Kale, Hibiscus Reduction.
Travis: Olive Oil Cake with Greek Yogurt, Cherries, and Pistachios.

Team Sara Is The Boss Of Front Of House:
Carlos: Red Snapper Crudo, Avocado Mousse, Pickled Baby Carrots, Fried Platano.
Justin: Roasted Parsnip Agnolotti, Mississippi Rabbit, and Collard Greens Broth.
Shirley: Olive Oil Poached Cobia, Blanched Ong Choy, and Salsa Verde
Nina: Pork Tenderloin with Sunchokes and Trumpet Royale Mushrooms
Sara: Summer Nectarine Brown Butter Cake with Moscato Nectarine Salsa

They do not at all care for Carlos’s snapper crudo, cut fucked-uply. But Justin’s? “This is really bad.” “This is SO BAD.” “This is overcooked and undercooked at the same time.” David Chang and Colicchio are cracking up at the awfulness.

Screen Shot 2013-12-05 at 10.44.04 AM

The judges love Shirley’s shrimp paste and other delicious things that someone should probably make for me right now. They also love the look of Nina’s pork tenderloin with sunchokes, though for the third time Sara walks away without introducing them to their food, even though they asked her to last time. Is she trying to show them she’s busy, quick and efficient? What on earth is she going for here? I thought she walked away so fast the first time because she was going to cry, but then she didn’t? And now she is just WHAT IS SHE TRYING TO DO?

Sara’s dessert is missing its mascarpone, because it broke, and Justin said not to put it on, and the question as we go to commercial is who is going home Justin or Sara?

Sara remembers to boss every waiter who follows her out “big smile dollface!” but can’t remember to talk to the judges. Oh wait, it is her course, so she probably will. Oh yes, she reads them a whole novel about her dessert, then explicates both subplot and subtext. Gayle: “It’s like a weird greasy cookie.”

Some guy: “it’s so sour. And not in a good way.”

Things not looking good for Team Sara Is The Boss Of The Front Of House

WHAT? Team Seafood won, who could have ever imagined.

Oh, Nicholas won, that’s a disappointment because has anyone ever won for being BADASS front of house? It is important, as we learned tonight, thanks to the massive shitdump that was front of house at Team Sara Is The Boss Of Front Of House.

Now it is time for some Olympic Bus Throwing Trials, like the Olympic Dumpster Throwing Trials at 5:30 every morning in my alley. Those are fun. You guys would like them.

But first, we shall have Padma launch some hate bullets at Sara for not introducing any dishes but her own. Sara is all like who me? I only introduced my own dish? Then golly gee, it must have been because you must have asked! And Padma is all like AHA! I did NOT ask, because I was already filled with hates for you after you declined to introduce us to our food the first three times and I delivered a pop quiz! ABOUT TRIG!

The others are not pleased to hear Sara threw their plates at the judges’s heads and said “here eat some shit” and then disappeared in a cloud of pink smoke.

Sara is sooooo pissed she is shaking her head in disdain when the judges like Nina’s dish. They move to her. (Gently) “Sara, you made dessert? You want to tell us about it?” “Apparently it’s the one thing I did tell you about already.” She sniffs and looks away, pure poison. Gayle is laughing at the gall on this one. Colicchio is perturbed. She kiss Wolfgang Puck with that mouth?

Bye Sara. You don’t not give Danny Meyer a menu, or fail to introduce Padma to her food. Also, you were definitely very much responsible for making Team Sara Is The Boss Of Front Of House spend all their time talking about crystal bowls instead of what they were going to make for food, because you are a total dick.

sara-johannes-full

TV Show: Top Chef

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  • Farb

    Slice boiled potatoes, dump in cast iron skillet with heated olive oil (virgin, slut, matters nada), add chopped bell peppers and sweet onion, salt and pepper to taste, add a shake of hot sauce toward the end of the fry. Get ’em brown and a mite crusty. Scoop onto plates and shovel it in. Think about truffles and such. Laugh out loud with yer mouth full.

  • zb77

    Goodbye forever, Sara, about 5 episodes too late.

  • ladiesbane

    Problem: you wrote, “to personally lathe with her tongue the turgid member of Danny Meyer”, but I think you mean “lave”. (Maybe not; I’m asking.) I was already laughing but this is two startling mental images for the price of one.

    • rebecca

      Oh my, you are correct! I think I will leave it as is anyway, because fuck it why not.

      • ladiesbane

        It’s just as awesome but in a different way. I just enjoyed re-typing the sentence, honestly.

  • Homestar

    God, thank god she didn’t win the Last Chance Kitchen. The faces she made when being criticized were those of a petulant child. Justin, man, he was not on his game. Thankfully Shirley and Nina did awesome food, as usual.

  • Enfant Terrible

    It’s a requirement: with Restaurant Wars, you get at least one epic meltdown. Marcel and Dale delivered up some beauts. We didn’t get that. Instead we got Sara imploding herself into a neutron star of steaming passive-aggressiveness. We are *not* entertained!