Bravo TV
Did you miss Top Chef ? Here's what you need to know for tomorrow's water cooler conversation:

The setting: Bite of Seattle



Top Chef Warms Up for Restaurant Wars

Bravo TV
Did you miss Top Chef? Here's what you need to know for tomorrow's water cooler conversation:

The setting: Bite of Seattle

The elimination challenge: Create a dish which encapsulates the restaurant you'd enter in Restaurant Wars.

The guest stars: Restaurateur extraordinaire Danny Meyer, along with tasting cameos from Seattle chefs including Maria Hines, Jason Franey and Tom Douglas.

The drama: Very little, since the episode was primarily a setup for next week's eagerly awaited Restaurant Wars. The show's biggest pop came from the Canada Dry featured in the Quickfire Challenge, another sad example of painfully contrived product placement (although front-runner Brooke managed to restore a bit of dignity to the proceedings with her graceful ginger ale-caramel squid.)

The triumphs: After a rough Quickfire start in which he produces a ginger ale skirt steak that Wolfgang Puck likens to "cheap Chinese food," Sheldon has perhaps his best showing of the season, wowing the judges with his interpretation of classic Filipino food. "There was not an extra thing on there," Tom Colicchio says of Sheldon's sour tamarind soup with pork belly.

And Kristen remained in top form, earning the other Restaurant Wars' captain's jersey for her onsen egg with camembert-mustard sauce and buttered radishes, designed to demonstrate the elegance she envisions for her Restaurant Wars entry. "Ther's nothing wrong with cheese and butter and salt and a good old runny egg," says Colicchio, trotting out a line he rarely uses when advocating for improved school lunches.

The debacles: Josie again fails to keep up with the demands of a tasting event, aggravating guests and fellow chef with her patter - and disappointing the judges with her Cuban pork dish, variously described as "flavorless", "greasy" and "mushy." And Lizzie and Brooke struggle with Old World classics, serving up overcooked dumplings an embarrassing matzoh balls, which probably isn't what Brooke meant when she described her concept as "Jewish food gone awry."

The losers: It turns out cheffin g involves more cooking than cutting, or so say the judges who fault Micah for serving up a massive plate of pre-sliced fish. Micah helpfully explains, "If you're a chef from Beverly Hills, you have to please ladies who like to watch their figures," but his excuse might have made more sense back when people talked that way about healthy eating. Now that eaters are familiar with sushi, "who needs it?," Meyer says of Micah's contribution. Turns out the show doesn't need Micah either.

The future: It's the guys versus the gals in Restaurant Wars. And, per tradition, at least one of the restaurants is plagued by front-of-the-house awfulness.

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