Hello Trashies what is usually the pinnacle episode of every season was sort of whimper as it was obvious what was going to go down due to the previous episode.
The cheftestants head back to the stew room sad that Tanya is gone and pissed that Claudette is still in the competition. She is clearly not here to make friends and it doesn’t seem that anyone wants to be hers anymore.
The next morning Stacho is standing around the kitchen talking abut how great he is and how many times he’s been on top, no mention I notice of how many times he’s been at the bottom. The chefs are no dummies they know with only eight of them left there is a little war about to come.
Sure enough the BMW’s driving them are heading in a different direction than usual eventually arriving at the Mile High Station. Inside they find Scar and the Bromberg Brothers, renowned restaurateurs according to Non-mustachioed Joe.
IT’S TIME FOR RESTAURANT WARS
They perform the ancient Top Chef ritual of drawing knives to determine team leaders. Denver will have first choice and B.Funk second.
The teams shake out:
- Denver’s team: Uncle Brucie, Non-mustachioed Joe and Le Bernardin;
- B.Funk’s team: Stacho, Baby Bear and Little Miss Witch the later because Denver didn’t want her on her team.
Of course this year has a twist, they will serve a three course meal with three options for each course with a total of nine dishes. Since there will be so much to do they are bringing in some help.
Each team will have the help of one eliminated chef
Denver chooses Friar Bucket, reuniting the original bears and B.Funk chooses Brother. The chefs will be receiving help from a company called Craftsy to conceptualize their restaurants, which I am kind of sad about I LOVE the old seasons where they would scream at each other in restaurant stores over plates and fake trees. They have one hour to menu plan and assign roles.
From the jump B.Funk’s team aka the red team seems sort of all over the place because they all have distinct styles, they decide to call it “Common Place.” That seems like a terrible place to eat. Baby Bear is aiming to be positive but she is nervous about being on a team with the Witch since she does not come off as a team player. B.Funk is being a cool dad and doesn’t want to set rules, so Baby Bear suggests that their concept be bold flavors but Stacho doesn’t think that is enough and actually I agree with him.
On Denver’s team, aka the gray team she wants to be Colorado forward and do bold Italian/Mediterranean flavors.
Let’s call if Conifer, like the tree but also refers to a group of trees
They are not only moving along in concept but also determine that every course will have a meat, veg and fish option.
The red team is still struggling and their menu sounds weird. B.Funk quickly determines that he does not want to be Executive Chef and oddly puts Claudette in the role, Stacho on the line with Baby Bear in the front of the house. In her talking head she talks shit about B.Funk avoiding responsibility, which is too bad because he seems like the only one who doesn’t have total disdain for her right now.
On the gray team Uncle Brucie will be the Executive Chef, Non-mustachioed Joe is the front of the house with Denver and Le Bernardin working the line.
Each team has 30 minutes to meet with Craftsy. Red team wants to be informal, but hospitable with natural colors, wood, lots of light and plants like ivy or even a living wall. Stacho reveals to us that he is in fact a plant daddy.
The gray team leads with their name Conifer, lots of Mediterranean flavors with a tree leafy element and tree tones.
They head to Whole Foods with $4,000 and one hour to shop.
I know I can’t believe Bruce is making pasta too
They head to the kitchen with five hours to prep
Oh beets with chocolate I thought they were saying meat and chocolate this makes much more sense
The gray team is also humming along and then the producers give us a little Real Housewives level of shade to the mix giving Little Miss Witch an opportunity to shit talk Le Bernardin and Denver.
The other team is great minus Adrienne and Carrie, they belong on the line
OH NO GIRL WHAT ARE YOU DOING!!?!?!?! I feel like going Tyra on your ass right about now. Brother is helping on the red team for this challenge and is confused about their concept, he gets the meaning but even he thinks it’s a little all over the place. He says there are things he would have done differently but he’s just here to do prep. Claudette says her style as an Executive Chef is to let people stand on their own two feet and be creative, which sound completely opposite of what an Executive Chef does.
Big Daddy comes in with the Bromberg Brothers and confers with Conifer first. He asks about their name and the roles they are playing. He is surprised that Non-mustachioed Joe is doing the front of the house but Denver explains he is more charming then her or Le Bernardin. They stop and ask Uncle Brucie about their restaurant and he explains how they have chosen dishes that are prep focused to make service go faster. He also confident about Non-mustachioed Joe in the front of the house role cut to him chopping duck while singing the Ducktales theme song. Creepy!
They visit with Baby Bear on the red team first, she will be running the front of the house and has some experience from her time at a busy Midtown restaurant. Big Daddy talks to Claudette and about her role as the Executive chef and is understandably shocked. She says she was appointed by the team leader and B. Funk says they are no egos on this team. He believes she has what it takes to keep Stacho in line and keep everyone motivated. Tom is surprised that he didn’t take the role on himself but he says he is more like a coach. B.Funk says he assumes full responsibility for anything that may go wrong… Famous LAST WORDS.
Back at the house the cheftestants talk shit about the other teams and they both actually make good points. Red Team’s menu does not sound cohesive and Uncle Brucie is making meatballs and pasta…. AGAIN.
Uncle Brucie gets to Facetime his new baby and wife and it’s sweet.
It cracks me up whenever I take these pictures and occasionally catch someone starring right at the camera, I see you Stacho!
Non-Mustachioed Joe shows a real ease in his dealings with the servers and front of the house. Baby Bear seems much more frantic but to be fair she seems like she got a bunch of people from the local Barbizon who answered a casting call.
In the back they are psyching themselves out for the night getting ready to rumble.
Uncle Brucie is very on his staff to keep their tickets neat and the line chefs on their toes about their dishes. Claudette finds this behavior to be controlling and says its an old school way of working or you know organized.
The judges arrive at Conifer first and love the name, love the concept and love the menu.
They like the crudo, fish is beautiful but the sauce has no flavor. Scar loves the salad and is going to steal the beet raisined idea. The prettier Bromberg says Brucie’s polenta is ridiculously good. Big Daddy eats the meatball and says its all good, safe food but a good start. He is also impressed with Non-mustachioed Joe’s front of the house skills.
The duck dish get good marks, the pasta dish is good but Big Daddy doesn’t like the puree on the fish dish. Gail says the problem is the the plate is super hot and dried out her sauce.
Scar asks Gail what she thinks of Bruce’s cake and she tells her it is not pretty. Scar is like but its so homey and not sweet. They like Denver’s deconstructed lemon tart but Le Bernardin’s was the best. The older brother says that they start of the meal was stronger than the finish and it will all depend on how Common Place kicks it off.
Over at Common Place tables are getting backed up and Baby Bear is trying to kick people out. They are no doubt hanging out trying to catch a glimpse of the judges who are the real stars on this show. Immediately Big Daddy notes that he does not like all the high tops. Agreed, OK in a bar but not where I want to sit and eat a nice meal. Tom notes the backup to Baby Bear and she is like yes, we are working on getting everyone sat.
The judges note the décor, all the plants and that the vibe is decidedly more casual. However the menu seems more ambitious. Since the teams are cooking side-by side Uncle Brucie sees that Claudette is not tasting everything going out and he thinks that is a HUGE mistake.
Big Daddy says the tartare needs more of everything and the chips are burnt. They say the oysters are flavorless and the foam on the oysters is throwing the whole dish. Tom says his purse the filling has no flavor and the pasta is tough. Its clear to them that the restaurant has an identity crisis. Then the reminisce about the price of bone marrow in the 90’s before it became all the rage.
Scar loves the presentation on Claudette’s dish but the bone marrow has cooked away and there is nothing there. Gail likes the dumpling but they are so rich and the only flavor counterpoint is burnt mushrooms. B.Funk’s cheeks are too salty for Tom, which says a lot but Gail loves the purple mustard greens.
While waiting for the third course the judges note that Baby Bear is not quite as at ease with her front of the house position as Non-mustachioed Joe. She isn’t checking on the guests and seems frantic.
The donuts are nice and light but there is no beet flavor. Gail likes the sundae but Big Daddy says the ice cream is grainy and the financier is undercooked. The temperatures on the last dish are too strange to enjoy.
One of the brothers points out that at the last restaurant it was easy to understand the concept but at this place nothing brought the place full circle in terms of a concept.
The chefs are feeling pretty great about service as they should because there was no blaring issues like dishes that completely failed, that they know of or actual kitchen fires started.
Big Daddy starts off acknowledging this is a real tough challenge and in terms of service they all exceeded expectations. However one team shined brighter and that was….
The cohesion and concept was apparent and Uncle Brucie ran an excellent kitchen. They ask Non-mustachioed Joe how it went for him and for him it was fun but they already knew that because it showed in his service. Scar takes the moment to quote Danny Meyer, “people come to a restaurant for the food but return for the hospitality.” Gail and Big Daddy point out that actually Tom says that too. They loved the duck and praise the beet raisins. Uncle Bruce’s meatballs that he spent forever on and polenta were obviously great. The only dish they didn’t care for was the fish but they loved Le Bernardin’s cake. The stand out on their team and winner of the challenge is…..
Is this the first time someone in the front of the house has won? BUT in an added twist the winning team is granted with $40,000 furnished by Craftsy.
Now time for the red team
Scar starts out by knocking their lack of having a centralized concept. The first thing that Big Daddy knocks is their service. He did not see Baby Bear hitting every table and she is shocked, she touched every table! Scar tells Stacho today his dishes were not up to par. Tom nitpicks and says all the things that someone should have caught before the dishes went out.
Little Miss Witch says that this is B.Funk’s team and she was just here to expedite service as Executive Chef and you can almost hear an audible groan from the chefs.
MMMMHHHHHMMMMM, here we go
But Tom is not here for her excuses today and tells her that she is an Executive Chef in her own restaurant and she knows that’s not what being an Executive Chef means. He straight up asks her why she didn’t want the responsibility. But before she can answer B.Funk throws himself in front of the bus saying as Phil Jackson, this is his team and he should have been on top of things. Stacho looks like he is going to explode and Scar asks B.Funk if he wants to go home. He doesn’t but wants to be real and wants to own up to his mistakes. Baby Bear says that B.Funk has incredible integrity and that’s who he is and why he is doing this. They are dismissed.
Back in the stew room the chefs congratulate Non-mustachioed Joe but they are not even trying to hide their contempt for Claudette. Denver is the first to speak telling B.Funk that he doesn’t have to do this, he shouldn’t carry this weight. Non-mustachioed Joe asks Claudette if she didn’t want to be Executive Chef. She says coming off the Olympics she was beat and really didn’t want the added responsibility. Baby Bear is beside herself with anger at this revelation.
At the judges table the better looking brother says that he is conflicted about Claudette because her bone marrow dish was good, Tom disagrees he did not think it was good at ALL. Scar points out that Stacho made three bad dishes. Gail says not only was Baby Bear not fully into her role as front of house all she made was the bad tartare with the terrible garlic chips. Tom brings up B.Funk’s salty cheeks; however Scar liked his donut but not the chocolate sauce.
Gail asks if Claudette was excited about being Executive Chef when they walked through and they all agree she was glowing at the prospect. So, it’s obvious there were communication issues in the breakdown of delegation. The older brother calls her out on shirking as soon as mistakes were being called out but Gail points out that B.Funk was making it easy for her to do so by taking all the responsibility. Scar says they all had problems and any of them could go home on this challenge. But in the end they sent…
She storms off even though Scar encourages her to say her goodbyes and Tom finds this funny.
They knew they made the right choice and honestly had she stayed it would have been a lot of drama because the other chefs do not trust her. She is not gracious on her way out and says if they want a vanilla Top Chef that’s what they are going to get.
So I know this all happened a week ago but are you surprised? Or was this one of those eliminations you were glad happened? Almost the same thing happened last year with Katsuji and John, except Katsuji went home for taking the reins even though he pulled the captain knife. Still there is a lot more to come this season and looks like things are just warming up.
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