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'Top Chef: Texas' recap: Episode 9, 'Restaurant Wars'

Everyone, sing with me: It’s the most wonderful time of the year!

No, I’m not talking about Christmas or St. Patrick’s Day (65 days away and counting)! Finally, Restaurant Wars is upon us!

Some of the all-time greatest “Top Chef” meltdowns and kitchen battles have happened during Restaurant Wars. This season’s episode is no different, so let the cat fights begin!

Elimination Challenge

You know that there is no messing around tonight because the cheftestants bypass the usual Quickfire Challenge and go full speed ahead into Restaurant Wars.

This year’s edition of Restaurant Wars is the battle of the sexes. This might be the first time that there is actually an even male-female ratio between the chefs in order to allow a battle of the sexes.

Restaurant Wars automatically causes agita for the cheftestants because they must:

  • Plan a theme for a restaurant in less than 24 hours.
  • Shop for décor and food and prep their meals in five hours.
  • Cook three courses with two options in each course.
  • Train a wait staff of five people in about an hour.
  • Serve 100 people, including the four judges and the other team

So when you throw all that in a blender you basically get an anti-smoothie. (Wow, sorry, but I laughed).

Canteen

The men lose the coin flip and have to cook the first night of service. Their restaurant, Canteen, is laid back and embraces mess hall-chic. Clearly their restaurant needs a woman’s touch, but, alas, they do the best that they can.

The biggest question for each team is: Who will work the front of the house?

Usually the poor chef who gets placed at the front of the house has a mild panic attack in the kitchen while forcing a smile in front of the customers. Ed volunteers, takes the whole thing in stride and kicks some major maître d' ass.

Though the service seems to run well, there is no doubt that the kitchen is quickly falling apart.

The men earlier gave themselves pats on the back for not bickering and having a friendly atmosphere in the kitchen, but they were so friendly that they never elected a leader. The men have no plan for execution, and it is obvious to everyone. Word to the wise: if you want to keep hidden the insanity behind the scenes, close the window into the kitchen.

The men were unable to smoothly execute their food, and Ty and Paul had to leave the kitchen at certain points during service to help get the food sent out correctly.

The judges noticed that the two of them were standing in the dinning area in their chef’s coats trying to pull in the reins of service. Besides that, the judges had issues with every dish that the men sent out.

Ty and Paul’s salmon is bland. Paul’s crab doesn’t have any qualities that stand out. Ty’s Thai food lacks Thai spice as well as flavor in general. Chris’ Cracker Jack dessert gets a divided reaction from the judges. The judges like Ed’s Almond Joy dessert, but it is missing coconut, which everyone knows is the best part of an Almond Joy.

Basically the boys hope that the girls fail, because they need a miracle to win.

Team Half Bushel

I want to first say that I love the fact that the women in the season are doing so well. These four women cook creatively, take no crap and earn respect. Now, that being said, it seems impossible for four women to work together without them turning into catty bitches.

Lindsay and Sarah automatically gang up on Beverly as if they made a pact with Heather to destroy this woman’s self-confidence by the end of the season. Grayson tries to stay out of the nonsense, but you can tell that even she cringes when Lindsay and Sarah talk down to Bev like she is a 5-year-old.

The women start bickering even before the service, which cannot be a good way to begin.

The women elect Lindsay to be the front of the house because she has a lot of experience working at Michelle Bernstein’s restaurants.

Lindsay does not handle the front of the house well. She wants to be in the kitchen. Even though she has to greet, seat and be a constant on the floor of the dining room, she obviously worries about her halibut, which  she entrusts to Bev to cook. Since Lindsay doesn’t trust Bev as far as she can throw her, she abandons her post a lot to check on things in the kitchen.

The saving grace of the women’s team is that their décor includes Chinese screens that block the view of the kitchen. No one, including the judges, can see the s--- hit the fan in the kitchen. All the fighting is kept out of sight and therefore out of mind. The judges know that they are having troubles because service is taking a while, but they are unable to pinpoint who is having the most troubles.

The women may have more spats in the kitchen than the men, but they have much better dishes. The chefs like most of the women’s food, and they absolutely love Bev’s.

Judges Table

After the women close up Half Bushel, the judges must choose between the two teams. It comes down to whether the better service at Canteen can beat out the better food at Half Bushel.

In the end, this is a cooking competition and women come out with a big W. When opening a restaurant, there are going to be a lot of kinks in the service that will eventually get ironed out, but if you don’t have the basis of a great menu, none of the other stuff is going to matter.

And look at that. Which lucky lady is the winner of the challenge? Bev! Yep, despite everyone trying to bring her down, the judges absolutely loved her short ribs. That little underdog is still going strong. I really want her to have one moment of insane courage, stand on a chair and just tell every one to suck it.

The men go in with their heads hung low because they know one of their bros is going home. While the judges basically rip everyone apart, they can’t get past “Ty’s not-so Thai” dish (clever one Tom).

Ty-Lör Boring gets the boot from the show and we are left with a mustache-less rest of the season.

So, Top Cheffers, what did you think? Are you going to miss Ty or his mustache more? Do you want Bev to grow a pair and tell everyone to back off? Let me know in the comments below!

Follow me @AwesomeAMT

 

Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun
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