Top Chef Recap: Restaurant Wars And The Aftermath


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Did you miss me? Maybe you were just too busy eating leftovers or participating in a die-in? Well, if you’ve gotten that white guilt out of your system, maybe now we can return to our normal lives of complaining about things like bagel places that give you a tiny little tub of cream cheese instead of spreading it on your bagel for you. More importantly, we can talk about Top Chef.

Here in our little foodie bubble, we witnessed the most lopsided Restaurant Wars in Top Chef history. It was so incredibly boring that we even neglected to write about it. But here’s a super-quick version for all of you with short attention spans or no basic cable.

Doug, Skrillex, Mei, and Adam squared off against Katsuji, Katie, Hipster Urkel, and Best New Young Person Who’s Now a Mom and Can Do it All So There. The first team picks Doug as executive chef and Adam as front of house. The second team picks Katie as executive chef (because she owns a pop-up restaurant business in Salt Lake City, natch) and Keriann (aka BNYPWNAMACDIAST) as front of house because Katsuji thinks she looks good in a dress. He and Hipster Urkel are just happy that they can avoid the spotlight. Doug’s team pulls together a cohesive menu and Adam kills it as front of house (because his real primary goal is to be the next Guy Fieri). Surprisingly (by which we mean TOTALLY UNSURPRISINGLY) Katie’s team completely shits the bed. Everyone on that team suddenly forgets how to walk and breathe at the same time. Katie’s dish is bland, her ticket system doesn’t work, she fucks with Keriann’s dessert, and Keriann herself also happens to be TERRIBLE at running the front of house. Needless to say, the offsides dish interference and her complete incompetence at being a hostess/server sends Keriann packing. Doug gets the win. There’s back-slapping, hugs and sighs of relief, and then we’re onto last night’s episode.

First thing’s first, the Quickfire. This week, the cheftestants are making chowder–the lowest of the low-hanging Boston-themed fruits. Jasper White, the guy who literally wrote the book on chowder, is in attendance to decide who can make the tastiest version. Whoever succeeds will get immunity, and the loser will be subject to sudden death. Adam and Melissa steal Mei’s littlenecks. Seems they’re no longer interested in playing nice. Katsuji makes a green chowder, and Katie takes a real stupid risk by making a chowder with tea and sourdough–the latter of which made her dish gummy. She winds up having to fight for her spot against one of the previously eliminated cheftestants, while Gregory wins immunity. That’s right, it’s the old “eliminated cheftestant gets back in the competition” twist. Like you weren’t expecting that.

Because they all felt sorry for him (and this thing’s not scripted at all), Mike Isabella’s business bro, George Kapnos, gets voted in to face off against Katie. Then Colicchio shows up and announces that their fate rests on who can make the best rabbit dish. I told you he was raised by wolves.

Kapnos barely gets his dish plated, but it’s no matter. He crushes Katie (because this thing’s not scripted at all) and is back in the running. The cheftestants are immediately much more nervous. The devil you know, right? They also announce that the rest of the eliminated chefs can weasel their way in via Last Chance Kitchen, something I never watch but probably should now that both Boardwalk Empire and Sons of Anarchy are over.

Next up, the Elimination Challenge. Top Chef wouldn’t be Top Chef without dumb jerks like us, so they decide to throw a tasting event for 75 superfans in the Top Chef kitchen. To make things interesting, the judges get to shop for the cheftestants, and they don’t get to see the ingredients until just before service. For the most part, they try to play to the cheftestants’ strengths. The only real issue is that Padma probably has personal shoppers, so she’s not too savvy with a grocery cart. She also tries to mess with Richard Blais and winds up spilling his fish. Attractive rich people are seriously the worst.

Kapnos definitely brings his A-game, but he’s got to get past the likes of Gregory, who, even though he’s sitting on immunity, still manages to make a perfectly cooked chicken curry dish. The superfans assure us all that they’re superfoodies by discussing ingredients and talking past seasons. Blais gets bummed when a group tells him that their favorite season wasn’t his. There’s some more milling about and then we’re at Judges’ Table. Along with Gregory’s chicken curry, they really like Kapnos’ lamb kebab and lentils. Whether he’s going on adrenaline here and this won’t last much longer is what keeps us watching. Li’l Doug–who Gail has decided to call Dougie even though we have yet to hear him beat box–is proving to be a real contender, and he takes a second win in as many weeks with the simple combination of mussels and chorizo.

The bad news for Dougie is that his buddy Adam is on the bottom for using some technique where you pour hot oil over shrimp and barely cook it. The judges weren’t into it, and he’s up for elimination alongside Skrillex, who played it too safe with a sautéed shrimp over salad, and Mei, whose lamb was undercooked. Three completely different issues at this juncture, but the worst offender is Adam’s squeaky shrimp. I guess that’s the downside of taking a risk, which appears to be the recurring theme of this episode. Next week, a Patriot that plays football instead of trying to have people murdered challenges the cheftestants to a sausage battle.

Until then, I’ll be thinking of as many off-color jokes related to sausage as I can.

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