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Top Chef Recap

By Kim Hollis and David Mumpower

August 16, 2010

He is a sad panda.

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Tonight’s Elimination Challenge is, of course, Restaurant Wars. It’s the episode that everyone waits for. The chefs stay with the same teams they had for the Quickfire, which does mean that Ed, Tiffany and Angelo are stuck with Alex…and they are not happy about it, especially since each chef is required to conceive and create a dish. The contestants are also told that the guest judge will be critic Frank Bruni, former chief restaurant critic for The New York Times, and a guy with a super tough reputation.

As the chefs are driving in one van to Whole Foods and the other to Restaurant Depot, Kevin overhears Angelo and Ed talking about how they can keep Alex from truly contributing to the night’s festivities. Kevin is offended by these comments and succinctly says that they should be working together as a team. We agree, and have to say that we’re always confused by the rules of Restaurant Wars and how they frequently allow certain chefs to circumvent the entire process. The show is Top Chef, not Top Maitre d’.

From the very beginning, Ed and Co. seem like the trainwreck team. It’s very rare that the team that loses the Quickfire comes back and wins Restaurant Wars, because they allow the loss in the first round to fester and it continues to affect them throughout the elimination.

Team Ed is creating tomato confit soup, a crudo of black bass and yellowtail snapper, striped bass and clams, a slow baked turbo, a sautéed rib eye and a lamb chop and pea puree (this season officially sponsored by peas).




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Kevin’s group is making chilled corn soup with crab salad, warm beet salad, strip steak, halibut, chocolate ganache torte and crispy goat cheese.

Problems abound for Ed’s team, as Angelo berates Alex for his butchering (literally) of the ribs. He takes them away from Ed and simply does it himself. Even Tiffany comments on how organized Kevin and his team are. It makes her very nervous. To be fair, any team with Alex should be nervous.

Of course, the name Ed, Angelo, Alex and Tiffany choose isn’t great, either. It’s EVOO, which foodies will know means “extra virgin olive oil,” but even so, it’s awkward and unattractive.

Working the front of the house for their teams are Kelly (for her professionalism) and Alex (because his team imagines he will do the least damage there). Since we now also know that Alex left a bunch of bones in the striped bass, causing Tiffany to have to do all his work again, this is probably the right call. However, he is literally contributing nothing to his team’s success or failure. They’re cleaning up behind him and re-doing everything he touches.

2121 is the name of Team Kevin’s restaurant, named after the address of the Top Chef house. Things continue to move smoothly for them, with Kenny seeming to do a fine job in the executive chef role. They’re feeling very good about things, but Angelo notes that it’s never good to be overconfident on Top Chef.


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