Top Design
Chef's Choice

Episode Report Card
Mr. Sobell: B- | Grade It Now!
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Tom's Diner

It is at this point that the designers notice a letter from Todd on their kitchen table, which they find bothersome. That they didn't notice anyone delivering this letter would, I think, be more troubling, but apparently they accept Todd Oldham's ability to transport through walls, drop off correspondence, and vanish again without anyone every noticing as an article of faith. Not that they're too thrilled about getting this letter -- "Oh shit," Carisa exclaims when she's told of the letter's existence. Now wait a minute, Carisa -- maybe he's just dropping y'all a word of encouragement or passing along a funny newspaper clipping he saw in his local circular last week. Don't you think Todd is going to be the least bit hurt when he tunes into this episode -- now airing in perpetuity on Bravo -- and learns that his thoughtful correspondence is greeted with curses and kvetching? Besides, it's the letters from Adler you really have to worry about. Goil seems to realize that, as he picks up the boys' copy of the letter and starts reading: "Matt -- it's time to go home." "See you later, decorator," Michael adds derisively. Ah, but they keed, they keed -- here's what the letter actually says: "Interior designers, it's time to celebrate all of your hard work. So, as they say here in Hollywood, 'Let's do lunch.' A car is waiting for you downstairs. See you in an hour. Todd." An hour? That's an awful long way to drive for In-N-Out. "What does that mean?" Goil wonders. "That's there's lunch, and that there's a car waiting downstairs," Michael says, not altogether uncleverly. Seriously, Goil, if you're looking for unsatisfying mysteries to unravel, you're on the wrong Wednesday evening show.

The Top Designers head out to Norman's on Sunset Blvd. Just a glance at the menu of the Florida-based version suggests that this is just a skosh out of my price range. Then again, Bravo's footing the bill for this outing, aren't they? Then, a plate of the crab-stuffed sui mei dumplings, and keep 'em coming. Todd is waiting inside Norman's -- "One of L.A.'s premier eateries," Todd says; while at Norman's, enjoy the Seattle's Best Coffee with your new GMC Acadia! -- where the Top Designers take their seats at Norman's chef's table. Y'all know what a chef's room is, don't you? Then allow Carisa to lay some knowledge on you: "It's a private dining room for chef's guests and people who can pay a lot of money to eat." So... sycophants and spendthrifts. Got it. But before the Top Designers can enjoy their hazelnut-crusted mahi-mahi, served alongside collard greens and mashed sweet potatoes with a smoky bacon-scallion sauce, Todd needs to go over this week's challenge: create a private chef's table, not unlike the one they're sitting at, for their mystery client, an internationally known chef who's opening a new restaurant. This would seem to be right up Andrea's alley; she teaches restaurant design at a local design college. Then again, if she should lose, oh the ribbing in the faculty lounge, huh? Michael muses on the identity of the mystery client: It could be Wolfgang Puck! Or Bobby Flay! Or Mario Batali. "Julia Child is dead, so we know it's not her," Michael says, just a little bit creepily. Or maybe it's Dan Aykroyd dressed as Julia Child. You ever consider that possibility, Michael? Mr. Sobell's guess? Sandra Lee. You'll need to include lots of hooks and clasps to hold all her seasoning packets, a storage cabinet for tablescapes that have fallen out of favor, and a clever mechanism that allows the stomach pumps to descend from the ceiling gracefully just as the crippling intestinal cramping begins.

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Top Design

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