Top Chef 5/21/08


We start off this week with Tom coming in to the house and waking every one up. The he takes them to a breakfast joint for their quickfire challenge to cook eggs. Helene who owns this historic restaurant will be the guest judge for the quickfire. They watched the egg cook and then each took a turn on the line. I just love that people were ordering over hard. That is how I like my eggs and not many restaurants know what those even are. Antonia and Dale were on the top with Antonia winning.
Tom wasn’t going to be at the elimination and then they were given an address to go meet Padma.


Restaurant Wars is on! Each team has an end of this huge raw space but they will share a kitchen. Then they will be serving about 35 customers. They get $1500 in food and $5000 at Pier One Imports. Antonia’s reward is picking her team so she chooses Stephanie and Richard.

Antonia’s Team “Warehouse Kitchen”: They are going fine dining in a casual environment. Stephanie is front of house manager. They have confidence since they won wedding wars together. Antonia is executive chef and Richard is her chef de cuisine.

First Course: Beet and Goat Cheese Salad, Linguine and Clams
Second Course: Trout with Cauliflower, Lamb Leg and Loin
Third Course: Gorgonzola Cheesecake, Banana “Scallops”

Dale’s Team “Mai Buddha”: Both Lisa and Dale wanted to be the executive chef but Dale won the coin toss. They are going with an Asian, family style theme. Spike is taking front of house responsibility.

First Course: Shrimp Laksa, Pork and Pickled Plum Potstickers
Second Course: Butterscotch Miso Scallops, Braised Short Ribs
Third Course: Halo-Halo, Mango Sticky Rice

Anthony Bourdain is filling in for Tom. Warehouse Kitchen says that they are putting Stephanie up front because she has opened up her own restaurant. Mai Buddha were telling Bourdain about their menu and he says how much he loves Laksa so their are a little nervous. Each team got to pick an eliminated contestant to help them. Mai Buddha picked Jen and Warehouse picked Nikki so she could make their pasta. Dale puts a bad avocado in his dessert and then Lisa’s rice got taken off the burner before it was done. Dale is shaken badly. The Warehouse Kitchen seemed to be having a hard time getting the grit out of their clams. Then they waiters come in an hour before service. Stephanie wants to keep everything light and fun. Spike sets one table the way he wants it and leaves the waiters for 20 minutes to set the rest. There seems to be issues with Lisa’s Mango Sticky Rice.

And then the restaurants open……..

Warehouse Kitchen Service: Antonia says that she has seen all the previous season’s Restaurant Wars and it never goes well so she is nervous. The judges show up in the Warehouse Kitchen first. We find out that Jose Andres will be this week’s guest judge. Bourdain says that it is better than he thought it would be. Bourdain likes the lamb and Ted likes that they left the skin on the trout. Bourdain and Ted are not fans of the smear look. Padma was surprised to like the Gorgonzola cheesecake.

Mai Buddha Service: Spike feels the other team are the favorites so he hopes his team wins to send home a true competitor. Bourdain and Ted can’t figure out if it feels more like the back of Prince’s van or Aerosmith’s mike stand. Lisa sees her Laksa as her first big mistake of the show. Bourdain didn’t like the Laksa but Padma liked the Potstickers. Spike is telling the back to make the short rib course bigger. Bourdain disliked the butterscotch sauce. Dale is about to lose it at any point. Lisa is saying that Dale failed to make sure the food was right even though some of it were her mistakes. Padma didn’t like the Mango Sticky Rice and Bourdain said the Halo Halo was baby vomit. Ted said there were bad knife skills. The diners didn’t like dessert either.

Judging Table:

Not surprisingly Stephanie, Antonia and Richard were called back first. They were the winning team. They liked Stephanie’s Gorgonzola cheesecake with concord grape sauce and her pasta. They also like Richard’s Beet Salad. Stephanie was the individual winner and won a trip for a culinary tour in Spain. Then the next group headed in. This is going to get ugly. The front of the house raised the expectations and the kitchen didn’t deliver. They hated Dale’s Butterscotch Scallops. There was to much smoke in the Laksa. Spike came up with the idea of a Laksa but they used Lisa’s recipe. It cam out that Dale had to trust the other 2 because he didn’t know about Laksa. The braised rib was the apparent favorite. It was Spike’s recipe but the other 2 made it. One diner commented that the Mango Sticky Rice was baby food garnished with potpourri. Then Lisa and Dale fought and blamed each other as the person who found the rice. Then Jose called them on not being a team. Jose said he felt Spike took the front to get away from the Dale/Lisa conflict. Spike says that he had plenty to do and that communication failed back there. Spike seemed very self assured that he was safe. They were saying that Dale failed as a manager, conceptualizer and the Butterscotch Scallops. But Lisa had made both of her dishes before and then failed for the competition. The judges felt Lisa couldn’t take anyone’s critic even the judges table. Padma seemed to be disgusted with the lot of them.

In the end Dale was out.

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