Top Chef: Restaurant Wars!

It’s that time again! Restaurant Wars, a Top Chef favorite. If you survive Restaurant Wars, you belong with the Top Chef elites. This years challenge did not let down either. It was the classic tale of a dream team that could only get better up against a team that was plummeting towards the ground. Let’s take a closer look:

First it was time to draw knives! Katie and Melissa drew the knives for team captains, which in retrospect, seemed like the two fairest people for the job. Both of them are pretty matched up when it comes to skill and ability. Melissa had the first pick and choose Doug for the top honor. I think if I had the first pick, I would have gone with Mei or Greg. I know that Greg was in the bottom last week, but he still is a major force to be reckoned with. Doug was still a wise choice, hot off of being in the top three last week. Next, the results played out like a script leaving Keriann for the final pick.

Honestly, there was no surprise with Keriann being the last pick. In the last few episodes, she has lacked confidence in her cooking, making last-minute decisions that have left her floating around the middle. Normally the middle would not be that bad, but with the majority of the chefs hanging around the top, it is not where one wants to be with this group. The teams were finally assembled leaving Melissa with Doug, Mei, and Adam to form The Red Team. Katie, the captain of The Blue Team, finished off her roster with Greg, Katsuji, and Keriann. Restaurant Wars was officially off to start! What could be so hard about putting together a full functioning kitchen, a room full of decor, and a trained wait staff in 48 hours. No pressure right!?

Right from the start the red team seemed to be on the same page. They were able to discuss a cohesive menu, agreed on the type of cuisine they should serve, and all had confidence that Adam would rock the front of the house. The blue team however, seemed to be struggling from the start. No one was really willing to step up and be the executive chef. Katie took the

the role, which seemed to default to her because she was team captain. She was confident in taking it on, but also was hesitant to fully commit. The same goes for Keriann. She agreed to be front of the house, yet she knew it could send her home if she failed. She was the best choice for her team, but still not everyone was convinced she could pull it off! A little more confidence wouldn’t have hurt them!

Greg and Katsuji really took the back seat on this challenge. It’s easy on this kind of team challenge to just blend in. They stuck to being simple line cooks, doing what they are told to cover their own ass. Katsuji even said, “the truth is I only care about myself.” In retrospect, I don’t blame them with the lack of leadership on the team.

With the decor set and the menu in place, it was time to get cooking. The red team, now known as The Four Pigs, seemed to be off to a great start. Adam was very confident being front of the house. He seemed to be

stressing out and over planning, but over planning saved him in the long run. The Four Pigs only seemed to have a minor bump in the road when Adam’s clam dish was gone. Yes, GONE! How does one go about loosing 150 clams!? Really beats me, but in the end the over planning saved him! Buying more clams than needed, Adam was able to salvage his dish and recreate it on time!

The judges left The Four Pigs after a nice, well-rounded meal. Some dishes had some trouble on seasoning, but for restaurant wars, it was top-notch. Service was quick and clean, and attention now focused to the blue teams restaurant, Magellan

Magellan was a mess from the start. The chefs really played the cop-out card when they decided to cook a variety of cuisine. Let’s be real, calling it “a blend of cultures” is just an excuse for not creating a cohesive menu. Things did not get any better when service began. Keriann was no where in sight to greet the judges and bring them to their table. She finally arrived, only to bring the agitated judges to their seats.

The food started to arrive, but not as quickly as they would have liked. The failure of communication in the waitstaff, was now starting to show in the kitchen. Katie seemed to struggling with the execution and dishes were being brought everywhere. Confusion on this team was an understatement at this point. When it was time for dessert, more disaster struck the kitchen. Keriann’s crepe dish was stiff and unfit for the description provided. Under Katie’s decision, the dish was remade. Keriann’s only found out AS she was serving the dish. Ummm…a little heads up might have been nice, guys!

Overall, it was clear that the Four Pigs were victorious over Magellan. In my eyes, Katie or Keriann had to be on the chopping block for their lack of organization and voice in the kitchen. The judges were not easy on them either. They laid it all out on the table and told them someone should have stepped up. Keriann clearly had the worst dish of the night, but is it really her fault since she did not assemble the final product!? Should Katie be sent home for changing Keriann’s dish? In the end, Keriann fell victim to Restaurant Wars trap. She was sent home due to a poor dish and an unorganized kitchen. The classic restaurant wars demise!

Looking ahead, this season is going to be a tough one to win. Lets take a look at the new top and bottom three.

Top: Mei, Greg, Doug

I think it safe to say that these individuals will definitely be around for a while. They are a force to be reckoned with and have the strongest dishes pretty much every challenge. It’s hard to pick what order they will come in, but right now I would say these guys are here to stick around.

Bottom: Katie, Adam, Melissa

Katie, Adam, and Melissa all have super strong skills in the kitchen, I just don’t think they match the skills for what is needed to take the title. Each one of them needs to step it up with confidence, determination, and believing in their dish. If not, they will soon be packing their knives and returning home, unable to claim that Top Chef title.

Wildcard: Katsuji

Ahh, Katsuji. He is the one that could fit in either group depending on the day. Sometime he is able to pull through and cook amazing food. Other times, well, he plays it safe. If he over complicates his food, it looks like he will be hanging out around the bottom. If he is able to keep it simple and clean, the Top Chef title is in his reach.

Right now the competition is solid. The previews however, show that they are really about to mix things up! Last Chance Kitchen is back and a Sudden Death Quick Fire is on the table. It is not going to be an easy ride to rise to the top on Top Chef!

 

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