Top Chef S13:E9 Restaurant Wars Part 1 Recap

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Can you believe we're starting Restaurant Wars on Top Chef already?? Me either! Let's watch people make giant plates full of tiny amounts of food!!

There are only 8 chefs left! We've got Kwame, Jeremy, Karen, Marjorie, Isaac, Carl, Phillip and Amar. Woo hoo I remembered them without looking, gimme gold star!!!

Isaac really thought he was going home, but he stood behind that giant pile of sausage and said: bring it! So I can't hate on him for that. I find it so hard to believe that the judges thought his 40% bacon chicken sausage was dry. I mean, how is that possible? I SAW him loading all the bacon into the grinder!

He's starting to pull a Phillip, thinking about what is winning, what flavour profiles, and the judges palates instead of his strengths. It might be as Marjorie says, that his lack of finesse is starting to show. I have faith in my Looziana Cajun, though, he makes incredibly yummy food. Don't let them in your heed, Isaac!

Phillip is ECSTATIC with his win, he'd been doubting his grasp of the judge's palates and his focus was everywhere but being himself. He was told to just be himself so he did and he WON.

Kwame calls his equally baby-faced business partner Greg


And I'm now thinking about what he told us last time. 25 is pretty young to be opening a restaurant and his partner doesn't look any older and Kwame said he was a very successful drug dealer (with THAT Narc face? pleez) but actually, I'm wondering if Greg is a Trust Fund Baby like Phillip.

It's so cute, the chefs are all super excited about Restaurant Wars; when they show up at a warehouse to meet Padma and Bill Chait


They break into a song they practiced, just adorable. Padma psyches them out: this is not Restaurant Wars: okay it is! She so wacky. They will break into two teams of four and present a lunch and dinner menu. They draw knives and Amar wins first choice. I bet he chooses Jeremy or Kwame! Karen will be choosing for the other team, I bet she chooses Marjorie!

Amar does choose Kwame (NAILED IT), and Karen chooses Marjorie (WOO HOO NAILED IT TWICE MOHOS!). The teams are:

Orange: Amar, Kwame, Jeremy and Phillip

Grey: Karen, Marjorie, Carl and Isaac

Isaac is all butthurt by being picked last and I worry about his melon as he reels off his list of accomplishments. You ARE all those things, Isaac, you hang in there! You got this! Amar only chose Phillip because he knows Phillip wants to do Front of House and Amar doesn't. He thinks you're the better chef! For reals!

The teams get told they have to serve lunch AND supper; develop a menu in 24 hours and SURE. They get a cool 5k to set  everything up, soup bowls to nuts, and until midnight tonight to set up and prep. Wait a minute, they have to get 4 people to agree on a theme, direction AND menu AND shop by midnight tonight? This show is hardcore, yo

The other wrinkle is that every member of the team must take a turn as Executive Chef or Front of House during one service. I haven't seen this part before (such a noob), but those sound like the roles that get ALLLLs the shite.

Karen thinks Amar's team is up against it, with all those strong personalities butting heads and here I'm learning even more. This show is awesome in that there seems to be very little manipulative editing, but I had no idea Kwame was so touchy re: Phillip. He says Phillip is very adamant about things and can be abrasive, but I think Kwame saying "say yes or no as soon as we say something. Thank you. Let's just get feelings out of the fcuking way" is pretty adamant and abrasive.

They go with District LA as their restaurant name; theme is Modern American, which means? Macaroni and cheese with bacon sprinkles? They're thinking fancy for supper and relaxed for lunch and I heard ratatouille thrown in there.

Karen's team is going with a fresh, California / Mediterranean theme and that sounds a little confusing. Isaac is fighting all the Tweezifiers on his team; they want fine dining and think he lacks refinement due to his rustic plating techniques. In their defense, he DID serve a soup with an inedible tiny corn cob in the middle of it. They want to serve soup tableside and that reminds me of Chef Leon and his deconstructed soups from tea kettles! I miss Below Deck. I wonder when Below Deck Mediterranean debuts!! Focus, TTM! Sheesh

They're COMPLETELY ignoring Isaac, to the point where Marjorie is cutting him off mid-sentence and talking over top of him. They call their restaurant Earth Palate and that just may be the stupidest thing I've ever heard: they want people to associate their palates with DIRT?

The menz are trying to decide on decor, and Kwame figures their problem is their peni. No, Kwams, I'm pretty sure other people with franks and beans can decide on colour schemes and EVERYTHING.

Amar's team is setting up roles for their services; Phillip and Kwame are front of house and Jeremy and Amar will be switching Chef and cook.

Shopping time! 60 minutes and $5,000 to completely outfit and stock their restaurants. Eesh. Phillip is throwing lots out there, and getting shot down all the time by totally not abrasive or adamant Kwame.

Food shopping time! They are working in this massive Costco-type warehouse and communicating over cell phones as to what they need. I have to laugh when Marjorie starts getting pissed off about Carl listing off random ingredients; go by category, Bahstan! I'm the same way, Marjorie. Lay out the list like the store and keep it straight.

Kwame is MAD, nobody got him the bacon he asked for and he makes the mistake of yelling at Jeremy about it, who he DIDN'T ask for it, so calm down, brahs! You've not even started serving food yet! Kwame did get a tonne of pancetta as backup, anyway, so simmer!

Super crazy prep time! Lot of things going wrong; Bahstan Carl's meat for his terrine isn't cold enough so it's not grinding so much as smearing around in bits and that does NOT sound like something I wanna put in my mouth.

Jeremy is making California artichoke risotto with crispy shallots and ...okay. I'm trying not to freak out about the fact that he's putting the wooden spoon he just licked back in the food. I mean, now it looks like he's putting the risotto on a cookie sheet to bake (?), so those germs will totally be taken care of! *I'm not eating it* Amar and I are confused as to why Jeremy is pre-cooking something so finicky yet easy the night before?

Phillip is making a Strawberry and Champagne salad, which is another recipe from his restaurant. Do you think he is just unable to come up with ideas on the fly, or he's promoting his menu? Either way, ehhh

Oh man, I LOVE watching prep. I was a prep cook a few times (always a bridesmaid) and I cook a LOT, there is something so soothing about chopping a metric tonne of food into orderly pieces and creating sustenance. BACK OFF FREUD!

Surprise, surprise, Kwame has a problem with Phillip's dish and sure, there's a lot of steps, but he needs to calm down. They can't not make his dish the way he wants it, and I think Kwame needs to realise this competition is his to lose and he needs to not let this pettiness with Phillip mess with his brain.

I feel like I need to talk a bit about the contestants in general: Jeremy has been on my mind, but I don't think he has "it", you know? Serviceable workhorse, but no Arabian. Isaac is a good bet, he has vision, if not tweezers, and he makes the kind of food people actually want to eat, not just look at. Marjorie is amazing, but she has a hard fcuking head and I wonder if that will stop her down the road. Nobody else seems to hold a grudge (save Kwame, see above ^^^) but she gets mad and holds onto it for ages. That could affect her concentration, but her food and skills are top notch. Karen and her Korean food have to be considered front runners, as is Amar, who started strong out of the gate and has yet to falter. He's been flying under the radar lately, I can't wait to see what he comes up with for Restaurant Wars. Bahstan Carl, snooooorrrreeee.

Restaurant Wars day! Isaac starts it off with a call to the missus, he lurves her so much and it's beautiful to see. It's all about lub, y'all!

Restaurant equipment is arriving, they only have 3 hours and I dunno, man...Isaac is in is element and I'm starting to be a little concerned about how much we are seeing our ragin' Cajun. He says we will like him and we will fear him in the kitchen, but like him first. I can see that, I bet he would be a good person to learn from; he's very generous, save a couple of incidents in the beginning where he was all ME ME I DID IT!! I DID THE GOOD STUFF!! MEEEEEE!!

Palate's menu:


District LA's menu:


The servers all arrive and this reminds me so much of Project Runway when all the models show up! Yay!

Game time! Doors are open and Marjorie is working the room. She likes being the General Manager (or Front of House,as Orange Team is calling it) becuz: allls the controls. First ticket up! Then two more! I'm worried about Karen not backing up Isaac in a way that seems clear...

Over in District LA, Kwame was talking but he lost me when Padma walked in. Dat dress!


Holleee shite and Jeremy jumps the judges plates ahead of the other 6 tickets he has up. That's not okay. It seems like there are eleventy thousand servers in the back and it's really complicated to get this food out all of a sudden and they maybe should have gotten whatever servers usually work on this show. They don't have any trouble.

Orange Team Grub:

Jeremy's salad does very well


Kwame's soup gets mixed reviews; some think it's under-seasoned, others love


Marjorie is losing her mind; people are staying at their tables and chatting and finishing their wine, not clearing the eff oot after 45 minutes as called for in her plan. I guess that's what she gets for creating a lovely, restive atmosphere, damnit!

Tom has noticed that only one of the other tables has gotten food since they've been there; Jeremy is bound and determined to not feed anyone else until the judges have tasted all four dishes. Worst.Executive.Chef.EVER. You can't do that, dude! These people will ALSO be judging you, and remember ol Garrett from the first episode with all the fancy words? He was sent home because of inconsistency of food during service. I weep for the Orange team right now. Why not feed other people in between courses?

The judges talk about how good the service is over on the Orange side, except for no silverware, and I think it's safe to say that no other diner in the restaurant agrees about the service.

Phillip's salmon is lovely, but the ratatouille is ehhh


Amar's chicken does well, but it's called one dimensional


Essentially, Orange is called on lack of creativity but given kudos for execution.Over in Palate, Marjorie has come up with a plan to get those pesky relaxed diners off their tables; free wine! Woot! She literally leads them away with glasses of free sparkling wine (not too full) but the hostess has disappeared when the judges arrive.

Isaac does NOT dump all the other tickets when the judges arrive, yay! He just says the need a balls haul and that can't be right, can it? They need to work fast! I'm sure that's what he meant. The judges are excited about the different menu items, albeit skeptical of Carl's terrine; lessee if they like to eat it.

Carl's terrine *herk* is NOT liked:


Lookit how beautiful Marjorie's salad is! The judges dig it, but thought it lacked substance


Jeremy is losing his mind; he is just not a good manager, yo. He's losing it and being all herky-jerky.

The Grey Team at Palate has kept their shoulder to the wheel, turned over tables AND are in the home stretch. No way they aren't taking this, bar some unforeseen execution error. Last two dishes:

Karen's steak salad (whut?) is very well received:


Isaac's seafood stew is solid, but no umph:


Grey Team is packing up and Orange Team is still seating people...that is some piss-poor time management, Kwame and Jeremy. Maybe all of Marjorie's fussing is a good thing. The boys will be working for a least they're still pissy!

And we oot! Next week we getta see how they did for dinner! Cheers, fellow chefchasers!

  • I have an app called Grocery IQ on my phone. I use it for my shopping lists. I mayyyyyyyy have organized the various categories to align with the the store aisles from back to front.