'Top Chef' Recap: 'The Hardest Thing for a Chef'
'Top Chef' Recap: 'The Hardest Thing for a Chef'
Every season of Top Chef needs to have Restaurant Wars, and this season it happened this week. This time it was a battle of the sexes. Or to say it less pathetically: girls vs. boys.

Each team needs to prepare a three-course menu with two choices in each course for 100 guests. They have five hours to cook and decorate their restaurant. As everyone keeps pointing out, it normally takes months or even years to open up a restaurant, so this challenge really is very hard.

Girls vs. Boys

The guys' restaurant is called "Canteen" and is supposed to have a quirky mess hall look with "elegant touches." The dishes are supposed to feature "simple ingredients, elevated." The girls' restaurant is called "Half Bushel" and is supposed to be "ingredient-driven organic with a homey feel."

As far as I could see, neither of the restaurants had a veritably distinctive feel to them, the chefs simply sticking to cooking what they know how to do and the decor being ... nondescript for the most part.

Competing Dishes

But that's totally fine. As Ed says, they're chefs, not waiters. And the food looks pretty good. The Canteen crew offers plays on ham and eggs, Thai-style shrimp, poached salmon, roast pork belly and homemade Crackerjack. The girls offer peach salad, halibut, aranchino with sweet and sour eggplant, as well as short ribs with quinchi and donuts with banana sauce. Both crews have some conflicts among themselves and some difficulties in the front of the house, but ultimately we mere mortals would have been lucky to eat at either of those restaurants.

Created by Committee

But this being reality TV, there has to be conflict. Let's start with the girls. Sara is pretty much obnoxious all day long and immediately clashes with Grayson, who seems to be the most competent of the bunch.

Lindsay works the front of the house and gives Beverly the responsibility to cook her halibut. And because that's the case, she wants to make sure that Beverly cooks her fish exactly like she wants. But as expected, diners complain about the dry halibut, which prompts Lindsay to lash out at Beverly until Grayson dares to remark that Beverly simply prepared the fish after Lindsay's instructions. Maybe Lindsay didn't devise the right cooking method?

The guys have other problems. Ed is working front of the house, but they forgot to agree on someone expediting the food. So during service, Ty and Paul alternate expediting, which is confusing for the kitchen and the dining room. Plus, Ed is surprisingly anal about how he wants his servers to write their tickets, which leads to even more confusion.

More organized In the end, the girls won and it is not undeserved. The guys were just less put together and less convincing overall. It is a big disappointment that Ty had to bite the dust this week when doofus Chris is consistently making the worst culinary choices and had to be eliminated at least two weeks ago. Ty is a far more superior chef who presented consistently exciting dishes and surely still had a lot of tricks up his sleeves. But that's how the magical elves work. It's inscrutable.

Jan Cee
Contributing Writer

(Image courtesy of Bravo)


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