‘Top Chef: New Orleans’ Recap: Restaurant Wars

padma and crew

Last time, on Top Chef: Dr. John stopped by and undid all sorts of goodwill by insisting on saying “hip tang” every thirty seconds, then they ripped off a pig’s head. Carlos won for his pozole, while Louis packed his knives and returned by whence he came.

This week, on Top Chef: Restaurant wars! But first, Restaurant Sanctions. Then a formal declaration of Restaurant War. Then a Restaurant Non-Binding Resolution. And finally, Restaurant Wars. There will be nine survivors. What follows are the random thoughts that came to mind last night as I watched the show.

-For those who aren’t familiar, Restaurant Wars is an annual episode in which the chefs split into two teams to create distinctive pop-up restaurants. It’s a highly anticipated part of the season for a few reasons. One, it generates plenty of opportunities for drama. Two, it means that the show finally down to a manageable number of cheftestants. And three, you might actually get to see things like creativity and skill rewarded. On a reality show that isn’t dominated by 13 year olds singing the hits of Motown. Crazy, right?

-The Top Chef kitchen is empty. No Quickfire. Right to Restaurant Wars. But first, we meet our guest judge.



-Sure, he charges a lot for Mexican Coke, but have you had that bo ssam pork shoulder? I mean are you f*cking kidding me with that thing? Stephanie knows what I’m talking about.

-The teams are set. The green team has the winning pedigree of Nina, Carlos, Justin and Shirley, but they also have Sara. The purple team is made up of Nicholas, Brian, Stephanie, Carrie and Travis. I’ll take the purple team, if only because the green team will murder and spit-roast Sara. Not good eats.

-The cheftestants are extra concerned, because they’ll be cooking for a table of Visa Sapphire preferred cardholders or some such crap. David Chang is making a face that says, “I just this minute realized how hard I sold out.”

-And if that wasn’t enough pressure, Danny Meyer will be dining with these VIP types. This is Meyer’s second year crashing Restaurant Wars. It’s great, because nothing makes you more nervous than launching a pop-up in one day and serving the most successful restaurateur in New York. All this episode is missing is Tom telling one of the chefs that their significant other died, just as they are plating their dishes.

-“Gays belong in front of the house. Duh.” Travis is allowed to say that. If you work in a restaurant and say that then you will probably get slapped.

-The as of yet unnamed purple team is compromising with a modern american motif. It’s a compromise because it’s something that none of them specialize in. The green team is going full-seafood, which is a terrible idea. Meat should be chewed, not eschewed. I’ll leave now.

-Sara is happy to take front of the house duties, knowing that it could limit her exposure during elimination.  The rest of the green team is thrilled with this turn of events, because anything that keeps her out of the kitchen is for the best. Justin and Nicholas are your executive chefs. Both are eager to prove themselves and blah blah blah. Taking the lead on Restaurant Wars is never a good idea. All of the risk without any actual reward. But hey, egos gonna ego.

-For the second straight season the chefs will go into Restaurant Wars without a kitchen. That just adds to the fun, said no one.


-And as always, the best part of Restaurant Wars is the battle over the chairs. Why do they keep trying to make this a big deal? Nobody is going home because of a chair selection, you f*cking idiots. Go make a stock, that might actually be useful in a few hours.

-They’re arguing about plates now. They have no idea what they are serving at this stupid unnamed restaurant, but they’re arguing over the plates. I hope they all decide to make soup.

-Brian’s team is cooking an all-seafood menu. And he just bought nine bottles of zinfandel. Maybe they’re for personal use?

-And that’s not Brian’s only odd purchase. He also grabbed xantham instead of agar agar. Classic modernist blunder, Brian. Good luck gelling your stupid purple corn thing now.

-The purple team is now Fin. Because seafood. The green team will be known as Found. Because we have officially run out of restaurant names. All this does is set Tom up for a hilarious “lost and found” joke later in the episode.

-Justin is all pissed off because he has huge bowls, and they’re making the dish’s star look pretty small if you know what I mean. Penis.

-There is a 99% chance of Justin totally melting down during service. He might literally stab somebody.

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