TOP CHEF RECAP: Restaurant Wars Shocker (Or Was It???)


This is a Recap of Top Chef D.C. (Season 7), Episode 9, entitled “Restaurant Wars”, originally airing August 11, 2010. Slightly shorter Recap this week, as I’m once again getting on a plane in a couple hours (I am a regular Howard Huge! The giant cartoon dog aviator.) Important episode this week, though, so let’s get to it.

Kenny opens the episode declaring he’s going to “unleash the beast,” which is sort of like the “release the kraken!” internet meme, inasmuch as he never catches on. Anyone notice that Kenny has subtlely blown past Angelo as the most arrogant competitor on the show, only he hasn’t won in like 7 weeks? I’m sure this won’t end up mattering.

For the Quickfire, the chefs partake in the “Tag Team Relay,” where two teams of chefs are blindfolded and each person takes turns suddenly taking over a dish that the previous chef worked on. This of course means Alex touches the food at some point, and he instantly oversalts his team’s fish way too early and costs his team the win:

House speaker Nancy Pelosi arrives to judge the dishes:

Oop, no photo of her, she’s gone already. Her stay on Top Chef was shorter than Chevy Chase’s voiceover session for Karate Dog. She judges Kenny, Kelly, Kevin, and Amanda the winners. Good job guys! You each win $2,500, enough to start your own restaurant meal.

After the jump, it’s time for Restaurant Wars, the most famous of all Top Chef Challenges. More famous than BI-PARTI-SANDWICH? That is debatable. In CONGRESS.

It’s Restaurant Wars week! And the Terlato Wines guys are in town from Napa and awkwardly Facebooked Padma asking to crash at her place:

The teams don’t have to actually design the decor this season, even though it sure was entertaining to watch them buy the one vase at Pier One Imports and set the vase in their restaurant and be like “I think this vase helps.” Step One of Restaurant Wars: Don’t be the team that comes up with the stupid name.


And the stupid name contest is over! That was way too quick. That’s what she said! (She was mad because I named my restaurant after an olive oil acronym and ejaculated too quickly. Ejaculated ‘OO quickly.)

Kenny’s team calls itself 2121, named after that Kevin Spacey blackjack movie no one saw, but twice. Neither team spends any time designing a restaurant or a theme in any way, and just plans a menu like any old challenge. Didn’t Restaurant Wars used to be like, a thing? They just walk into a restaurant and start cooking. It’s like a War.

Ed delivers the most backhanded quote of the season, saying “We all question Alex’s ability to, well basically, cook.” Kelly can’t quite match his tact, but shares the valuable information that “People like to be welcomed into restaurants.” True! Are you suuuuure you’ve never worked the front of the house before, Kelly? You know where else people like to be welcomed? Everywhere.

Kelly is also hostessing in her old college sweatshirt:

Alex is at maximum creepitude, yelling at the servers for no reason and demonstrating how to wipe down a table with your arms. “I cannot stress this enough – do NOT wipe the table down with your feet.” He literally grabs a wine key and says “Whose wine key is this? SUCKS.” Also, the toothpicks we’re handing out? GAY.

This week’s guest judge is ex New York Times critic Frank Bruni — dubbed the “harshest critic ever” by several contestanchefts — turns out to pretty much like everything, then randomly rips on Alex’s service, saying “My water glass is close to half empty.” This is the first time Alex actually hasn’t done a thing wrong, and he still gets ripped on. He just can’t win. Literally. Except when he steals peas.

Alex also forgets to say goodbye to the Judges:

Fortunately for Alex, Kenny’s 2121 team is cooking like 6969 (what I would have named my restaurant if I opened one in middle school), and after a bland corn soup by Kelly and a godawful cheese course by Beastmaster Kenn’ himself, EVOO ends up safe.

TOP 4: Alex, Ed, Tiffany, Angelo

Alex will be eliminated next week. Ed wins a giant wine bottle. Huzzah.

BOTTOM 4: Kenny, Kelly, Kevin, Amanda

With Kevin and Kelly clearly safe, I correctly predicted that the judges would suddenly start ripping on Amanda more harshly at Judge’s Table than they did at Actual’s Table, as she was clearly the weakest chef on the team and invited easy ridicule because she only made one dish and overcooked her meat. Kenny deserved to go home this week, though, messing up two dishes and captaining the losing squad, but the producers wouldn’t vote of Kenny, would they?

We’ll find out, after this huuhhhhhhh?

What the hell? Why is that purple kangaroo receiving a parking ticket? Wait, it’s like a hair ticket or something? I stopped my DVR to watch this and now I’m more confused.

Oh, Kenny did end up losing. He says the other team would’ve lost “If Angelo and Ed weren’t beasts in the kitchen.” He’s right – they probably would have lost if two of their four members hadn’t cooked. This result was surprising, but Kenny really did screw the cheese pooch this week, and he already used up his two Bravo Producer Get Out Of Elimination Free cards. The season is now Angelo’s to lose, though I’m sensing a Hosea-style upset in the Finale. I just hope it’s not Hosea.

Yayy!!! Slightly more open Final Four!!! Who’s it gonna be? Leave your Kenny elmination reactions and Final Four predictions in the comments.

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