Top Chef Recap
By Kim Hollis and David Mumpower
August 16, 2010
Right on cue, we see that Amanda is having trouble with the grill where she will cook the strip steak. She’s trying to figure out its “personality”, and struggling greatly.
You’d think that after being yelled at and berated by his teammates, that Alex would have some sympathy for the wait staff and treat them like he might hope to be treated. You would be wrong. He proudly proclaims that he is always a total douche (not exactly his words, but close enough) and then proceeds to demonstrate a tremendous level of superdickery to the servers. Like the rest of his team, Alex is disorganized at the front of the house, while Kelly is more reflective of her group’s composed cohesion.
With Alex only handling the front of the house, you’d think that things would go perfectly. Instead, when the judges show up, he’s nowhere to be found. Mr. I’m Not Cooking Today eventually gets them seated, and stumbles over his words as he describes their menu. It’s not his best day. But then again, we’re pretty sure he already had that when he won a challenge.
The first course arrives, and tough critic Frank is actually very complimentary of Angelo’s cooking. Then, the judges wait…and wait…and wait for their second course. Despite the slowness, Ed’s turbot dish receives glowing praise, including Frank’s kind words. So far, he has not been mean at all! Ripoff! Of course, we’ve gotten enough of that with Alex’s treatment of the wait staff, so it’s not so bad.
With the third dish, Alex calls the lamb chop “pork chop,” but it’s not so bad since the judges are appreciating the food. Frank throws out his first critique of the day by saying the service was hit and miss, and all the judges agree that Alex didn’t do the best job at the front of the house.
We move on to Kevin’s team, and Kelly is wearing one of the ugliest flashdance sweaters we’ve ever seen. She does get the judges seated right away, and they are excited about the menu. They are kind of blah about Kelly’s soup dish, and note that Kenny’s salad has way too many ingredients. Amanda’s steak isn’t cooked correctly, but her sauce is solid. Kevin’s fish receives high praise, as it is perfectly seasoned. Dessert comes out, and although the judges say that Kelly’s chocolate ganache is too sweet, Kenny’s goat cheese is generally viewed as the worst dish of the evening. When Padma asks who the executive chef was for the team, Tom immediately replies that it was Kenny, and you can see the disappointment in all their faces.
One other comment made by Frank is that neither team really did much to illustrate the theme of their restaurant. This truly is a problem.
Padma visits the stew room and asks to see Team Ed. Uh oh. Despite their lack of organization and their efforts to keep Alex hidden, they are the winners of Restaurant Wars. Frank says that Alex was awful at the front of the house, but most of the remaining conversation is quite complimentary. One item of note: Tom asks who was responsible for the lamb, and Alex looks over at his teammates for guidance on how to answer. Angelo says that Alex came up with it, but that he and Ed really executed it. Nonetheless, despite this seeming circumventing of the rules, Ed and Co. are top dogs of the evening, and Ed wins the big prize for his excellent turbot dish.
Of course, this means that Kevin and Friends will see one of their number going home, and we’re guessing that Kevin is the only one who is truly safe. Kenny comments that the other team had terrible communication and organization, but Gail bitchily replies that when they’re dining, they don’t really see what goes on at the back of the house. She’s been very intense this season. If we didn’t already know her and like her, she would have been creating a very bad impression these past several episodes.
Kelly’s service is complimented, and Frank tells her that she exudes a charisma; however, her soup was less successful. The judges universally pan Kenny’s beet salad, while Kevin’s fish is considered divine. Amanda is shocked to learn that her steak was overcooked, and Kenny’s cheese is horrid.
At this point, Kenny points out to the judges that Alex did not conceive of his dish, and that he was stuck in the front of the house to hide him. They flat out state that Alex deserves to go home for not playing by the rules, and the judges appear to be considering it.
In the stew room, Kevin screams at Alex, and his teammates defend him for some reason. Their team is very rightfully pissed, and there’s not much that Angelo, Ed or Tiffany can say about it.
Ultimately, though, it comes down to who had the worst dishes, and the judges have reason to send home Kelly (for her soup), Amanda (for her steak) and Kenny (for two bad dishes). If you do the math, it sounds like Kenny is the loser. Gail compliments his leadership as executive chef, which makes us wonder for half a second if it might be Amanda instead, but math wins out in the end. Two bad dishes are enough to send Kenny, the beast in the kitchen, home. We loved his personality and his guts in overcoming a lot of adversity in his life, but this is a fair choice if they’re not going to go with Alex. He’s been on the bottom a few times, and he just didn’t produce good food tonight.
Even so, he’s right to be bitter that Alex is still there. We are, too.