TOP CHEF: 'Restaurant Wars: One Night Only' - Give Me My Remote : Give Me My Remote

TOP CHEF: ‘Restaurant Wars: One Night Only’

January 20, 2011 by  

I love Restaurant Wars. It always comes at a time when only really good chefs remain, so we see a lot of rock-star food coming out of the kitchen. Also, there is the added pressure of time and teamwork that always results in a good sh*tshow.

Dale wins the quick fire by coming the closest to Le Bernadin-standard fish butchering, and subsequently making a spectacular dish out of the head, wings, fins, bones and collar. His family was been cooking “nose-to-tail” long before it was cool. [Side note: When was it ever not cool?] He is rewarded with not only immunity, but also team captain power. He picks Marcel as the opposing team’s captain, to get as far away from him as possible.

As Marcel picks teams, Richard hides in hopes that he won’t be picked. He ends up on Dale’s team, along with Fabio, Tre and Carla. Carla is picked dead last, which I think is rude because – hello – homegirl won the elimination challenge last episode. Why this stigma of her being a weaker contestant? But as always, she doesn’t take it personally, so neither will I. (Also, she’s clearly on the better team, so I’m not complaining).

The catch of this Restaurant Wars is that the winner is solely decided on by the diners. Team Carla picks a concept: Bodega – which I thought was a Spanish word for vineyard, but have now learned that it’s what New Yorkers call a convenience store, so it’s a theme based on the junk you can find at those places – tuna in a can, bacon and eggs, potato chips, blueberry pie – but of course elevated and made to taste delicious. I think it’s a brilliant way to appeal to the ordinary eater with familiar ideas. But with diners like Food & Wine editor Dana Cowin, one can’t help but wonder how “ordinary” the palettes of these diners will be.

The other team’s “concept” is “Mediterranean-inspired,” which doesn’t sound like a concept to me at all, but a vague hint that you may or may not find an olive somewhere in one of the dishes. From the get-go, lack of communication is clear. What else can you expect from a team with Marcel at the helm?

As always with Restaurant Wars, “front of the house” becomes a huge factor in the team’s success. Fabio, the “baby-kisser” as someone called him in a previous episode, is put in his natural element in this position. I still maintain that he is lacking the sparkle and enthusiasm from his own season, but the guy’s a people person nevertheless: kissing every lady’s hand, checking up on the guests every so often, directing the servers efficiently and oozing with that European charm of his. On the other team, Tiffany is certainly not lacking in personality, but seems to forget that she has a job to do.

Meanwhile, Mike (who we are apparently now calling “Mikey” as of this episode) gets in a bit of a kerfuffle with Marcel in the kitchen and raises his voice to his “captain.” Angelo, always the mediator, tries to get him to calm down. In my opinion, anyone who successfully puts up with Marcel deserves a medal, so Mike wasn’t completely out of line. To the camera, Angelo reveals that if it were his own kitchen, he would have kicked Mike out, no question. What a betrayal of man-love!  Thankfully Fabio’s bromance with Richard (whom we are now calling “Richie” as of this episode) is still going strong. When Fabio comes into the kitchen to spread the joyful news that the judges appear to be devouring the food and enjoying themselves, Richard begs Fabio not to lie to him. Fabio calls him “Richie” and reassures him of his honesty. Aww.

At judges’ table, Richard/Richie is still worrying about their performance. Fabio tells him there’s nothing to worry about and sits on his lap.

The judges hate Mediterranean-inspired “Etch” (dumbest restaurant name ever) and love “Bodega.” The voters agree. Richard, despite putting on his poo-poo face (which is how I saw one Tweeter refer to it), wins the challenge. Marcel loses and is eliminated. Oh how hard it is to care about someone who is so unpleasant — good chef or not. “Woo hoo,” as Carla says. “Woo hoo.”

You cool with Marcel getting the boot?

Wish it was someone else this week?

Speak up in the comments section!


4 Responses to “TOP CHEF: ‘Restaurant Wars: One Night Only’”

  1. Jacob on January 20th, 2011 3:32 pm

    I still think that Fabio lacks his charm because he doesn’t have fellow European buddy Stehfen there with him.

  2. Sarah on January 20th, 2011 4:51 pm

    I agree about Fabio lacking some of his Fabio-ness, but it is interesting that twice he has developed a bromance – first with Stefan and now with Richie. I also don’t know why the impression is that Carla is not as good as the others – she’s classically trained and has won two challenges. I absolutely love her attitude! I am so glad Marcel is gone – apart from being extremely annoying, I am sure the foam machine will be glad to take a rest!

  3. Sam on January 20th, 2011 8:49 pm

    Yes the lack of Stefan can’t be the issue, because Richie is happily filling the bromantic void in his life!

  4. Ben Phelps on January 20th, 2011 11:08 pm

    Glad to see Marcel go, and I thought it was cool to see all sides of being a chef come out in the challenge — it’s really about running a restaurant successfully, not just about cooking the best food. You can check out more of my thoughts at my blog!