Top Chef 1/10 Recap: A Tale of Two Crappy Restaurants
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Welcome back everyone. I am back from my intensive secret training from the FORT boot camp. I am now rested and refreshed and ready for my recap. Last week we had to say goodbye to Betty and frankly I hope the door did not hit her on the way out. If you missed any part of last week’s episode, make sure you check out Phonegrrrl’s wonderful recap. This week it looks like we have another team challenge and that means lots of drama. So let’s throw on our aprons and get ready to dive in.
As all the chefs prepare for the competition ahead of them Elia is sad that Betty is gone. Mike is happy that he won the Quickfire and Elimination challenge in the last episode. Marcel is on the roof writing one of the worst raps I have ever heard. It’s almost as bad as the one recorded on the Apprentice a couple of seasons ago. He should really stick with cooking from now on.
Fat Ass Snackmaster Challenge Part II
The chefs gather in the Kenmore™ Kitchen and are greeted by our bubbly host Padma and guest judge Mike Yakura. He is sporting one heck of a Mohawk and I think he should really evaluate his hair choices in the future. For the Quickfire the chefs will be doing the Kraft™ Gourmet Snack Challenge. They need to create a quick gourmet snack using mayo, Italian dressing, or BBQ sauce. Everyone gets to work and the site of huge globs of Mayo makes me slightly ill for some reason.
Marcel is up first with lamb kebabs with curried Kraft mayo, endives and tomatoes. Marcel thinks it’s a winner because everyone loves meat on a stick. It looks good so he might be onto something. Cliff has prepared steak tartar made with Kraft mayo, cornichons and plums. It looks weird and not like my kind of snack. Sam presents a southern Kraft sandwich with tempura shrimp, pickled peaches and BBQ aioli. It looks great and it’s pretty hard to go wrong with a toasted sandwich.
Mike has mad a brie and crab quesadilla with chipotle & mayo salad. I love brie so that dish has to be awesome. Elia presents a fig raisin toast with yogurt, honey, almonds, grapes, and BBQ sauce. The dish sounds great until it gets to the BBQ sauce. It just does not seem to fit together to me. Up last is Ilan, he has made smoked salmon Napoleon with zesty Italian dressing. He tried to foam the dressing in honor of Marcel but was unable to execute it.
Guest judge Mike did not care for Mike and Ilan’s dishes. This challenge will have two winners and they are Sam and Marcel. They will each win a special prize to be announced at a later time.
School Yard Picking
It’s officially a later time and time to find out what Sam and Marcel have won. They get to select teams for the Elimination challenge. Each team will take half of a restaurant to open and run. Marcel picks first and he chooses Elia. Sam selects Ilan and Marcel chooses Cliff leaving Sam with Mike. Each team needs to come up with a concept and a menu for the challenge.
Marcel’s team starts planning and Cliff wants to be at the front of the house. Elia is surprised because she kind of wants to be at the front of the house and does not see Cliff doing a good job with it. Sam’s team starts talking and they plan to do a rustic Tuscan restaurant named LaLaLina. The name comes from their girlfriends/wives. Both teams arrive at the restaurant to see that it’s in need of lots of work in order for it to open the next day.
For this challenge each team needs to make a 3 course meal for up to 24 diners. They receive a $500 food budget, $500 restaurant supply budget, and $700 design budget. They will receive 1 designer and 1 server. Each team sits down with their designer to go over their ideas.
After meeting with the designers the teams head home to start planning their menus. Marcel’s team changes their concept from Mediterranean to a Gourmet Diner. They contact their designer and notify her of all the changes. They want to do an upscale Diner and their whole team is very excited about the changes.
Preparing to Fail
Its challenge day and each team heads out to purchase their supplies. For Sam’s team, Mike heads to the restaurant supply store while Sam and Ilan do all the food shopping. LaLaLina is going to be serving a fried meatball, spaghetti with parsley walnut pesto, roasted pork loin with Sofrito sauce, and watermelon ‘gnocchi.’ For Marcel’s team Cliff heads to the restaurant supply store while Elia and Marcel head to buy all the food. M.E.C. is serving a barbecue coffee chicken wings, tempura vegetables, “The Best Burger Ever,” and Oreo lemon pie. Both menus sound interesting but not spectacular.
After all the shopping is completed each team heads over to the restaurant to start preparing the food. The teams are busy working and the front of the restaurant for both teams seems to be going really slowly. Both teams are getting a little nervous about the pace its moving at. Chef Tom stops in for a visit to see how everything is progressing. He notices that LaLaLina has burned bacon and yells at Ilan to pay attention to what he is doing. He stops by M.E.C. and seems very intrigued but skeptical of their idea.
In the last couple of minutes before opening the fronts of the restaurants finally come together and the food prep is moving along. The restaurants officially open and diners chose which side they want to eat on. After they are finished eating they will fill out comment cards on their meal.
Greasy Spoons to Tuscany
Both restaurants open up and the judges visit M.E.C. Diner first. Cliff is working the front of the house but seems very awkward and not very friendly. He never goes and greets the judges, he lets the server wait on them. The judges are disappointed that they are waiting so long for some food to arrive. After 18 minutes of waiting they are finally served the chicken wing. It is less then satisfactory. The tempura they do enjoy. The burgers finally come out and since Cliff did not get them out right away they are a little overdone. The dessert is served and they are not really impressed with it.
After they are finished at the Diner they head over to LaLaLina. Ilan explains to them the origin of the name of the restaurant and the judges sit down and find an olive pit on the table. The judges are disappointed that there is no wine list for them to order from. They are served the meatball and really enjoy it. They are eating bread and olives at the table and discover there are no plates for them to put their leftovers on. The pesto spaghetti comes out and they are not really impressed with it. The pork loin comes out and once again the judges are not super impressed. The watermelon gnocchi is up and most of the patrons are disgusted by it. The judges are not super impressed with either restaurant.
A Bunch of LaLaLosers
The judges gather to discuss the restaurants and determine who is going home. They are not really impressed with either restaurant. Both teams fell flat and neither team really went out to impress. They are also very confused by the selection of Cliff and Ilan at the front of the house. Gail did not like the watermelon dish, it actually made her nauseous. The diners on their comment cards made very similar critiques to the judges.
The Italian team is called in first. They are informed that they have not won the challenge, someone is going home and they are going to try and determine who that person it. They read some of the comment cards and people wanted a wine list and thought the watermelon dish was bad. They want to know who bought the table supplies and Mike takes that responsibility. They want to know why he did not buy other plates for the table. Mike says that he followed the list. They were not very happy with Ilan’s job of working the house, he could have been friendlier. They also thought dessert was bad. Sam thinks if he was a well known chef it would have worked but the judges disagree.
The M.E.C. crew is called in. They want to know whose idea the diner was. Elia takes responsibility for it. Marcel claims responsibility for the chicken wing and the tempura. The judges did not think the burger was that great. They next want to know why Cliff decided to be at the front of the house. He wanted the challenge and to keep everything together for his team. They did not think he was very good with the service or very friendly. Their team is excused while the judges deliberate.
Get the Hell Out of My Trattoria
The judges discuss who they think needs to go home this week and Cliff’s name is the first thrown out. All the judges agree that he is not a front of the house guy and he definitely fell short. Sam also messed up big time with his odd watermelon dish that most people did not like. Mike’s name is the last one mentioned. They felt he did not do anything but shop for his team. In shopping for the team he should have recognized the missing dishes and purchased them. At this point I really have no idea who is going to be leaving us this week.
All the chefs are called to the judges table. Elia is safe for having the diner concept and putting herself out there. Ilan is safe for stepping up and working the front of the house. Marcel is the last one who is safe for doing the bulk of the work and making the tempura. It’s down to Cliff, Sam and Mike for elimination. Ultimately, Mike is the one they feel is out and he has to pack up his knives. All the chefs say their goodbyes and I am not really sad to see him go.
Bring On the Hardcore Drama
Make sure to tune in next week to see the final 5 chefs compete to see who makes it to Hawaii. A practical joke goes too far and one chef is eliminated over it. All the chefs are sporting a shocking look that they can’t even show on the previews.
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