Top Chef

Episode Report Card
Kim: A | Grade It Now!
eady. Laurine reports to the kitchen that the servers are talking to the guests to try to stall for time. I'm not sure why Laurine isn't out there tending to the judges. Service gets screwed up and the kitchen is backed up. Meanwhile, no one is talking to the judges. Laurine finally goes out there and apologizes for the delay, but when she goes back in the kitchen the food still isn't ready and Jen claims she didn't know she was supposed to be firing the judges' food. MISCOMMUNICATION!

Finally, Laurine brings out the food and again just dumps it on the table with no introduction or explanation. Padma has to ask her to come back and explain, and even then it seems like she's basically just reading them what's on the menu and isn't that familiar with the two dishes: Idaho trout with brown butter emulsion, hazelnuts, and braised endive, cooked by Jen, and Alaskan halibut with mussels, clams, and saffron aioli in consommé, also cooked by Jen. Well, that explains why the course was so backed up; Jen was cooking both dishes. Poor planning. Tom points out that the one dish doesn't have consommé because it's not clear. And in the other dish, the brown butter emulsion broke and it's terrible. They're all disappointed, especially the regular judges because they know Jen can do better.

Meanwhile, the diners are sending back Kevin/Laurine's lamb because it's too rare. Kevin admits that he's having trouble with temperature issues and communication with Laurine. Padma has to ask again for Laurine to explain the dishes before she does. The first is her and Kevin's dish, lamb with carrot jam, green bean salad, and morel mushroom sauce. The second is Kevin's glazed pork belly, pork sausage wrapped in cabbage, cornmeal mousseline, and red-eye gravy. The judges think the lamb is a little undercooked, or at least they should have been asked if they wanted it rare. They all like Kevin's pork dish quite a bit, though. Toby says he missed dessert.

Service has ended and the diners are filling out comment cards. Over at REVolt (it hurts me to type that, but you should know that they put the E backwards, making it extra lame), they loved just about all the food, but hated the name.

Over at Mission, the kitchen is glum, with good reason. The diners complain that the food wasn't good enough to make up for the wait, and they got no explanation or education about the dishes. Jen and Kevin are both sure that they're going home, Mike I. is worried that the judges asked for more salt, and Laurine's service was sub-par, so it could be anyone, really.

Weird interstitial. Mike V. interviews about how awesome and respectful he is as a team leader, and how he stays calm. Meanwhile, the editors cut in all the examples of how he yelled at people and acted like a dick. Kind of hilarious, and it's nice to see the editors taking the piss out of someone besides Robin.

The chefs sit in the Stew Room. Kevin announces that his team did some of the worst cooking they've ever done, and the whole chain broke down. Mike I. says that they can only win if the other team really fell down on the job, because they sucked. Padma comes back and asks REVolt to come in first, so you know they won. They might want to try switching this up once in a while.

Team REVolt assembles in front of the judges and Padma tells them they won. Tom says it was the best Restaurant Wars of any season. Padma compliments the ice cream specifically. Was she pregnant yet when they filmed this? Because she is extra bitchy and also really hungry. Rick says that Eli was good in his role, and while his dish wasn't great, it was good. Is that a compliment really? Everyone loved Michael's chicken and calamari dish, and Padma adds that Robin's pear dish was great. Robin tries to throw Mike under the bus (why? No one from this team is going home) when she says that she was "offered some assistance on it" and then adds that there's help and then there's domination. No one takes her bait, though. Rick announces that Michael is the winner of the Challenge. Bryan looks a little pissed. He wins an autographed copy of Rick's book (yay?) and also the $10,000 chip that the other team put up to gamble. Michael asks if he can split it with his team, and is told he can do whatever he wants with it.

Back in the Stew Room, the Mission team argues about who's going home. They each think that they are. Laurine says that maybe she should have paid more attention to the judges (maybe?) but she had a waiting room full of people. The comment cards don't even seem to come into play in the judging, though. They all head out leaving REVolt to gloat. Bryan is all pouty and Michael calls him on it, although he denies being mad. Michael brings up how he's going to share the money, which seems a little self-serving to mention again, because Robin and Eli both fall all over themselves thanking him for his generosity. Bryan mutters that Michael should keep the money. Bryan doesn't detail his problem, but interviews that he's sick of Michael's unprofessional behavior in the kitchen. Back in the Stew Room, Bryan lies that he's happy about the whole situation, but he looks super pissed. WTF was that about?

Team Mission has to face the music. Tom asks if the planning was a bad idea, since each person had to handle two dishes per course, which caused the backlogs. Laurine says she took front-of-house because no one else wanted it (which again, isn't really what happened from what we saw -- she volunteered pretty quickly). Tom points out that there were problems with each dish. Mike I. says that his asparagus dish was good, but he realizes that his char dish might not have represented the perfect bite if the proportions got off. Jen says that she probably should have steamed her clams and mussels ahead of time instead of doing them to order. The judges are shocked that she did so. Jen agrees with the judges' criticism and is devastated to hear that her sauce was broken when it went out. Did it break because it sat too long? They move on to the lamb dish, which was too rare. Laurine says that she agreed, and Tom points out that she said beforehand that she was going to make sure the food was good when it went out. Laurine says she dropped the ball on that, and Toby points out that she also dropped the ball on service in general. Tom thinks they needed a leader and didn't have one. The team is dismissed.

The judges agree that the team knew that they had a bad night. Toby points out that Mike I. didn't have anything seriously wrong with any of his dishes, so he's safe because others made bigger mistakes. Jen was crazy to cook her food to order, and her trout dish was not good in a lot of ways. Tom thinks that Laurine conceived of the lamb dish but Kevin cooked it, so they don't know who is to blame really. They thought Kevin's other dish was good, but Laurine's other responsibility, the front-of-house, was a disaster. So the writing is on the wall.

Team Mission comes back out and Tom gives them a speech about how much everyone looks forward to Restaurant Wars. Jen had several things wrong with her dishes. Kevin did a bad job cooking the lamb, but a great job cooking the pork. Laurine didn't take the initiative in making sure the food was good and came out in a timely fashion. Michael I. didn't do anything horrible, but he didn't do anything great. So for the sins of a bad dish and poor service, Laurine is going home. Laurine interviews something about a rock, and she says rock like a million times. Jen and Kevin both seem really upset, but I'm not sure if it's because they can't believe they got to stay or because they didn't think Laurine should go home. Someone asks Kevin what happened, and Kevin says he doesn't want to talk about it because he's really angry. Angry? Huh? I hope next week, they address why Bryan and Kevin were mad, because I feel like I missed something there.

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Top Chef




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