Top Chef
Unhappy Customers

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Foaming at the Mouth

Padmadala tells them they will have time to discuss their restaurant concept ideas as they drive over the space "in [their] Rav 4s." God, come ON! Rav 4s, Kraft, uWink, Westfield? This episode is so full of product placement it's an infomercial. Team Marcel has their confab where Cliff announces he'll do front of the house. "Really?" Elia asks him. Cliff nods. "I wanted to do eeet," Elia moans to herself. Elia asks Cliff if there's any particular reason why he wants to be FOH. "It's me, it's what I do in my restaurant," Cliff says. Remind me never to go to Cliff's restaurant. Have we seen this guy smile once on this show? Elia drops the subject and concedes that she'll cook. Team Sam talk about doing rustic Tuscan as their concept. Sam is happy with his team, "[Ted] Ilan is a great cook and Mikey's a good guy -- he's crude, he's outrageous." Mike suggests "Tugboats" as a name. Is that supposed to mean something sexual? Because I don't get it. They decide to name the restaurant after all their girlfriends: Lalalina. Sam's girlfriend's name is Lauren, Mike's wife is Lacy -- remember the Tasty Lacy? -- and Ted Ilan's girlfriend is Carolina. Should I be more surprised that Ted Ilan has a girlfriend? Because I'm not. I feel sorry for her, but I'm not surprised. Team Sam talks about Hawaii. "I hope all three of us are gonna be there," Mike says. "We'll be there, dude," Son of Sam says. "Marcel's gotta go," Mike says. Ted Ilan echoes this.

The teams arrive at the restaurant space and boggle at the unpainted walls, the taped floors, and the general messiness of construction. Marcel pulls the lid clean off an ice bin and tells us, "We definitely have our work cut out for us." And he signs it. Like "cut" is scissors, "out" is jerking his thumb backwards, "for" is four fingers, and "us" is jamming his thumb at his chest. Oh, Marcel -- how can I defend you when you do such cringey things? Actually, his "rap" and his Helen Kellerisms just show what a harmless dork he is. And harmless dorks get bullied. Playground, classroom, kitchen -- it's all the same.

After the commercial, we learn that each team has five hundred dollars for food, five hundred dollars for dishes and glasses and stuff, and seven hundred dollars in their "design budget." They also get to work with one server and one designer. The teams meet with their designers and explain their individual visions. Team Sam is sticking with their rustic Tuscan theme, and Team Marcel has settled on a Mediterranean restaurant that they want to call Medi. On the way home, Elia starts talking about how they should have done an upscale diner with really good burgers. Cliff says nothing as Marcel and Elia get excited about the idea, but he makes a weird face. Cliff calls Team Marcel's designer to inform her they've changed their entire concept. At first she's totally thrown but when she hears the theme, she gets totally on board with it and thinks it's a great idea. The restaurant will be called "M.E.C." For their names, I assume.

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