Welcome to Restaurant Wars! This will be the best challenge of the season. I’m really looking forward to writing a Top Chef Recap more so than usual. Coming off a week of grown ass women whipping wine glasses at each other and pushing over tables at public dinners, ganging up on each other while wearing fugly cocktail dresses, it will be a great relief to get back to people who have earned a place on a reality TV for have discernable talent. And this is one of the most talented groups we have ever had. There was no on who went home for having a bad dish really. It was just more that others did better. And I’m enjoying this season immensely and excited even more than usual for Restaurant Wars!
We are going back to the original format of Restaurant Wars where they have to actually feed a restaurant full of guests as well as the judges. I suppose it was Covid that stopped them from doing it that way. The thing is this is a HUGE restaurant. They draw knives and six are blank. Nick has first choice in picking his team. He wants to go southern so he picks Demarr, Ashleigh, and Budda. Jae has second choice and she choses Evelyn, Jackson, and Luke. She doesn’t like Budda. And, he thinks Jae is super bossy. I would not want to be on her team. The winning team gets $10,000 each. Nick has won the most money so far so they call him the bread baker.
Planning The Menus
Matriarc is the name for Nick’s team and Evelyn will be executive chef. It will be a southern restaurant. Budda volunteers to be front of house, even though he knows as well as we do that front of the house frequently goes home. Demarr wants to do desert, probably carrot cake. This team is really working together. Unlike the other team. They are already working like a team. They are already ready to talk to the designers. Matriarc buys a ton of food at Whole Foods.
No Nem (pronouced No Name) will be the other restaurant and they will be doing southeast Asian food. Jackson volunteers to be front of house for this group. Does he know that is the kiss of death? Evelyn is executive chef and in charge of making the nem which is a type of sausage. That’s a lot of pressure on Evelyn. Luke is not familiar with the food profile and wants to make one dish that is not Asian. Jackson says it has to be all or nothing. Ut Oh, is Luke going home? #foreshadowing Shockingly, Jae isn’t happy with southeast Asian food either. Her specialty is fish. It sounds like this place might be changing over to fish. Luke tries to dissuade his team from doing family style. Family style makes no sense. Luke also has to do desert. He doesn’t want to. I’m worried for Luke.
Evelyn is making a shrimp dish with a passion fruit vinaigrette. Jae is making snapper summer rolls with papaya, citrus and avocado. Luke is making choo chee curry with black cod and cabbage. Everyone is contributing to a BBQ sausage wrap with Brussel sprouts. Jackson is making a shortbread and cake dessert. Jackson can taste salt now but that is about it. The guest begin arrive. Jackson serves a table mutters something about “we like to do family style around here” and runs off. One of the guests says to her group, “If someone could walk us through this dish that would be amazing.” That is literally the job of the FOH. He’s totally going home.
This recap is a bit out of order because they judges went to the other restaurant first. I don’t think No Nem can beat the other team. Jackson scribble on a blank sheet of paper, “Welcome Judges.” Tom pointed out that he is FOH and that is his job. This crew also decided to serve the first few courses at the same time. Once again, Jackson doesn’t explain the dishes and is laughing with other guests. Not a great start. I feel like Jackson will go home. It would be a travesty considering how great of a chef he is. But, he’s not great at FOH.
Budda is making an appetizer with Parker House Rolls, country ham butter, seafood tarts, and fried oysters with comeback sauce. WTF? That’s a lot of things. Especially for someone who isn’t southern. Ashleigh is making salmon tartar with buttermilk pearls shaved fennel and peaches. Ashleigh is also making gumbo for her second course. Nick is doing ox tail with marmalade and potatoes. Damarr’s carrot cake will be their final course. However, his oven is malfunctioning so he is in trouble. He has to change his dish. But for now the night is over. Ashleigh is a great executive chef.
Budda is doing great as the FOH. He has set up all the chairs to have a view of the open kitchen. He seats the judges at the bar. So far, the judges are very happy. The judges LOVE Budda’s appetizers. Not a bad on in the bunch. However, Damarr gets hit with 20 tartares and salad all at once and five are for the judges. Ut Oh. He’s not even done plating and the judges are already complaining about slow service. They love the gumbo and the pace has improved. They loved Nick’s oxtails and marmalade. Desert was kind of a fail due to the lack of carrot cake. The shortbread cookies were very dry. But then, suddenly the carrot cake is served to the judges. I’m confused. The judges love it.
The Judges Table
Obviously, Matriarc won. Budda’s Parker House rolls and his appetizers were fantastic. They best they have ever had. They raved about his FOH. The loved ever single course and Jackson’s carrot cake was the best Tom had ever had. They raved over the gumbo. Ashleigh won for her team.
Jackson tries to throw Luke, the only other person on the team getting a lot of heat under the bus. He said he thought Luke’s dish was under seasoned. They love Jae. Le sigh. Back in the stew room, Jackson feels like this is the time to tell his team that he has no sense of taste or smell due to Covid. Dude, you are still going to LCK! This is not the time! Luke is pissed. The judges hate family style. The menu was not cohesive. Tom is pushing for Luke to go home. Jackson is sent to LCK. I’m off to get caught up on emails while watching LCK. What did you think of this episode?