Top Chef: 'It's a Perfect Storm of F***ing Awfulness'
Ah, restaurant wars. As inevitable as income taxes and that incredulous look Tom gets on his face whenever Marcel opens his mouth. And last night's didn't disappoint, bringing with it a spectacle of meaty, man-sized proportions and more bitch-fighting than an entire season of The Real Housewives of Atlanta.
But first, a somewhat unnecessary Quickfire Challenge, held on this occasion at Le Bernardin. But instead of Eric Ripert we got Anthony Bourdain, looking disconcertingly impeccable as he used the challenge to plug Medium Raw. His book, he reminded us, contained a chapter about Justo Thomas, the superhuman fish butcher at Le Bernardin who is able to slice and dice basically half the Atlantic Ocean's inhabitants before lunchtime. After watching Thomas dispatch a cod and a flounder in eight minutes, the chefs, of course, had to do the same, but with an extra two minutes.
Dale, Richard, Mike, and Marcel came out on top. While Fabio, Carla, Tiffany, and Antonia got to cool their heels in the dining room, they completed the second part of the challenge, making dishes out of the fish heads, racks, wings, fins, and collars. Richard used the occasion to tell viewers that his first job was as the fish cook at McDonald's, flexing his avant-garde muscles by forgetting to put the bun on the fish, while Marcel and Mike argued over a chinois.
Bourdain and Thomas were most impressed by overachiever Dale's two dishes, fluke back fins sashimi and bacon dashi with salt-roasted cod, and rewarded him with immunity.
And then it was back to the Top Chef kitchen, where Padma and loony Ludo Lefebvre announced it was time for restaurant wars, with the caveat that, this time, the diners would pick the winner. Dale, a team captain thanks to his Quickfire win, wisely chose Marcel as the other team captain. "I want him to be as far away from me as possible," Dale explained, as Marcel grinned cluelessly and gushed over how "honored" he was.
Dale chose Richard, Tre, Fabio, and Carla for his team, while Marcel picked Angelo, Antonia, Tiffany, and Mike. Everyone grinned through clenched teeth, making it clear that if this were an actual war, Marcel would be shot by his own troops.
Team Dale decided to call their restaurant "Bodega" and set about creating riffs on convenience foods like potato chips and canned tuna. Team Marcel argued, first over their lame "Mediterranean-inspired" concept and then over their captain's even lamer choice of name, "Medi." Eventually, the name was changed to the even more perplexing "Etch," as in "sketch," or more accurately, "sketchy," but Marcel's remarkable inability to earn his team's respect remained the same.
The next day, the teams gathered at the Foundry to prep. Fabio assumed FOH duties for Bodega, and duly showcased his true talents as both a manager and a world-class schmoozer. Over at Etch, Tiffany unwillingly assumed the same duties after arguing with Marcel over how to cook an egg. After she left the kitchen, Marcel further alienated his teammates by making foam.