Top Chef S14:E8 Restaurant Wars Recap

Woo hoot, it's Restaurant Wars time on Top Chef, this year I even know what that means!

I miss Chef Marjorie

ANYWAY, let's see what the Charleston gang gets up to this time! Rolling after the break

So last week, we lost two chefs: Jim Smith FOR NO REASON and Jamie Lynch because his pride was bigger than his desire to be Top Chef. Oh but there's good news, though; Emily's still here! RIGHT??

And taking mucho shite from Katsuji Tanabe, who starts riding her the moment they get back to the house. Now, Katsjui is an arsehole and I won't miss him when he goes home if he doesn't win (MAD kitchen skills, except for with pork) but Emily has GOT to grow a thicker skin. She talked about her tough attitude in the beginning and as I said a couple of recaps ago... the tougher they seem, the harder it is for them to regroup after a fall. You wanna stick with marshmallows like me (seriously, I am SO SOFT) because we cry all the time up front but we never stop either. Lookit, I just made Top Chef about me. See what I mean? Implacable.

The rest of the cheftestants not crying in their rooms are discussing the crazy elimination. Top Chef isn't prone to gimmicks (save the stupid treasure hunt) and artful editing, so a contestant flipping out and then another one giving up immunity and going home? T'was a big farking deal.

It's down to 8 chefs and that means RESTAURANT WARS!! No more immunity (Padma Lakshi snarks that people are just throwing it away right and left anyway...ooooh burn) and our guests today are Daniel Humm

And Will Guidara

Who already looks disappointed in their food. Daniel works Back of the House (Kitchen) and Will runs the Front of House (service, ambiance) and they just need to achieve that exact same harmony. NO PRESSURE

Time to draw knives! Katsuji gets first blood for the blue team, here are the two teams, in order chosen

Blue Team: Katsuji, Sheldon, Casey, John

Red Team: Shirley, Brooke, Sylva (surprised he didn't go right away, almost as surprised as he is, arrogant sjsdbvjbfdsk) and Emily is last because of course she is

The teams will be serving on consecutive days, which is unusual. Katsuji wins the coin toss, he chooses to serve the second night. Daniel reminds everyone that this is a Team challenge, so check your egos, yo. I will say the veterans were much better at becoming a unit than the newbs, let's see how that shakes out.

Over on Blue Team during the restaurant design stage, John jumps right into one of the most sexist things I've heard yet on the show "I like a woman at the front of the house." That's right, little lady, stay up there and look purty so the customers are happy, smile big! And then follows it up with "I'm not being sexist" and how is that not sexist, you unshaven neanderthal?? Should Casey chop up your lobster tails on her way to checking on your breadcrumbs?? Grr

Sorry sorry

Sheldon is Executive Chef, John will expedite, looks like Katsuji is...serving? John suggests a Low Country theme and after some discussion, they have a name. Southern Belle. Also the most popular strip club in North Carolina, so... cross promotion opportunities abound!

Over on Red Team, it's a much more collaborative vibe, with Shirley asking for and getting the Executive Chef position. They're doing a seafood-driven menu. Sylva suggests the name Latitude and done! Woot! I do think all the blue decor for a seafood restaurant is kinda obvious

All this swatch perusal and everything is making Sylva reminisce; he was at this point years ago with his very first restaurant Maison 208 when it burned to the ground. It almost destroyed him.

Whole Foods shopping time! There's a problem with Emily's dish. She wants to do squid with a smoky tomato and chorizo but Executive Chef Shirley is like "no way". She doesn't want too much meat in the first couple of courses, Sylva backs her up and Emily is too timid to fight back.

Prep montage! Lookit, Brooke is making a dish AND being front of house, awww, and she's even a woman! Cold-cured King Salmon with Tiger Milk sounds delish. Line cook Sylva is making habanero honey, honey! Emily is making two dishes (???) the first course of Squid Ink Pasta (which I just read about with kiddos in the Who Would Win? Sperm Whale / Giant Squid Showdown!) and the third course: buttermilk cake.

You guys know she can't season stuff, right? You're gonna taste everything?

Shirley is also making two courses, the second: Snapper with Bone Broth and the third course: Panna Cotta.

Wait. You guys know you have the Dessert Queen on your team, right? WHY wouldn't you have Brooke make something sweet?

Shirley is giving Emily tips. I feel as though three weeks ago Emily would have shut her down hard but now she's had her confidence shaken. Look. Emily is on Top Chef, so there MUST be something there. She MUST be able to cook amazing food, but I'm not enjoying watching her long, slow flameout any more than she can be digging it, so.

Now it's Southern Belle's chance to dance at Whole Foods! Sweet baby jeebus, line cook Katsuji is making THREE dishes:

1st: Sweet Potato Tamale

2nd: Beef Tongue

3rd: Blackberry Cobbler

AND roasted nuts

Executive Chef John is doing another first course: Crab "Pimento Cheese" but he and Sheldon are having sourcing issues. Not the right seafood, no okra in the building, what's Whole Foods coming to??

Prep time! Casey is making a sweet dish for the third course too, Strawberry Lemon Sorbet sounds very refreshing. Line cook Sheldon is making a second course: Acorn Squash Stew and hold on: I thought he was Executive Chef since he won Restaurant Wars previously?

It's Latitude's time to shine! 4 hours until service! Shirley gets at her panna cotta right away; why wouldn't she have done that during prep? It's gotta set and she hasn't given herself a lot of leeway, time-wise. Brooke didn't have a great time at Restaurant Wars during her season, her teammate was eliminated and then came back to knock her out after winning Last Chance Kitchen.

Shirley's Panna Cotta didn't set, so she adds some gelatin sheets and sends a small prayer up to the gods as Brooke prepares to open Latitude for it's one-night show.

The kitchen goes crazy right away, a 16-top starting the night, followed by hordes of others and in the middle: the judges. Gail Simmons is there, hay gurl, hay! Along with Tom Colicchio, Padma Lakshmi, Daniel Humm and the other dude. They'll have one of everything!

*still disappoint*

The judges like the laid-back decor and casual vibe, let's getta the food! Brooke is up first and gets rave reviews.


I hope Emily's tastes great, given that it looks like rubber! It does not. The texture is not great, no flavour and the butter sauce is too heavy. Sigh. Who wants to bet me $10 that she'll still be here at the end of this episode?

Shirley's snapper is called nice, pretty good, okay, not a lot of flavour

Goes against Sylava's halibut showing his personality, which they think is good

The dessert course is up next, errrp, Shirley's Panna Cotta has now over-firmed, which is not good. Everybody hates it.

The guests even make faces, after pointing out that it tastes like gelatin

Emily's Buttermilk Cake: fairly successful

And that's it! That's all the food tasted and Emily feels as though she's proven herself as a cook.

I'll just leave that right there.

The Blue Team is very confident, they've opened a LOT of restaurants collectively, but that's a LOT of egos over there *coughKatsujiJohncough*

Jeebus but Katsuji is making a LOT of food. He needs help from everyone, which he will surely get, AFTER John does his far in advance of when it will be needed. Katsuji yelps and yelps about his beef tongue prep, me and one of the servers

They are DESTROYING that kitchen, Casey is freaking out about the chaos and you know Sheldon has to want to be cleaning everything. I CAN'T WORK LIKE THIS! Casey is front of house, so she needs to give really specific directions for how her dish is plated. She does not give specific directions.

Casey as General Manager is slightly more micro-managing than I would have thought, she wants to greet and seat every single customer, how will that work when the judges are there? Hmm. She needs someone to do that so she can float.

John and Katsuji fight and in the background, I LOVE these servers kicking around, they're practically popping popcorn

Sheldon has had enough; "you cannot cook with hate in your heart" and true dat. Unless you have to cook supper for someone you broke up with two months ago, THEN you can. Just not very well. Things continue to go poorly in the kitchen between John and Katsuji. Those are two old bulls going head to head.

Padma and the judges are much fancier tonight, I guess it could be considered a night at the Ballet! They love the decor, let's see how they like the menu

You see, John's set up a complicated expediting scheme, which doesn't take into account the fact that the servers only had 15 minutes to learn it. For whatever reason, Casey is the kitchen, get back out there! Nothing has been fired for the judges, who are getting testy.

They do get food, but they have to share small plates, which makes them now confused on top of irritated. Katsuji's tamale has a burnt taste

And John's crab dip is not doing it for Gail: slimy and bad. Padma wants to set it on fire.

On to the next course, which is Katsuji's beef tongue (herk) which tastes great

But Sheldon's dish is too soft, the texture is off

Tom is pinning all his hopes on dessert, which Front of House Casey is scooping IN THE KITCHEN. Oy

Katsuji's cobbler has undercooked pastry

They like Casey's sorbet slightly better, but not much. They didn't think ANY of the menu was the least bit southern

Casey is worried the judges didn't get the concept, while still standing IN THE KITCHEN.

The Red Team won of course, let's see who pulls the crown!


I just realised that means Emily is here for another week, somebody owes me $10!!

The winner is: Brooke! Yay!

Now time for the Blue Team's post mortem! Everybody sucked. ESPECIALLY John, who was a miserable expediter. Now, I strongly disliked how last year's winner Jeremy ran his kitchen, he was a horrible expediter and sunk his kitchen with a complicated expediting system as well, but he fed the damn judges.

Daniel braces Katsuji: why did he give up the leadership of the kitchen? Especially since John wasn't cooking or plating anything in the kitchen, just calling tickets. It devolves into mudslinging; Padma calls it to an end with a raised voice. She and Tom are so the parents.

In deliberations, Casey is taken off the table right away, whew. Now take off Sheldon and I'll really relax.

Why are they at Katsuji for everything? They're blaming him for not taking the Executive Chef role (which I thought was Sheldon's, so I was WAY off base) and trying to cook too much and not lead. I'm confused. Katsuji slow-claps for a full minute

And is then sent to pack his knives. As god and the wee fishies intended.

Until next time! When we STILL KEEP EMILY I BET. Cheers!