When it's time to announce the winner, Curtis doesn't waste a moment in calling out Naomi and Celina for failing to plate their dishes. Too bad, so sad. Reichl and Oseland announce their favorite dishes included Mary Sue's fried cottage cheese and Traci's salads. And the $5,000 winner is Traci! Cheaters do prosper! Traci tells us she is competing for La Cocina, which provides commercial kitchen space and technical assistance to low-income entrepreneurs who are launching, growing and formalizing food businesses.
Curtis prefaces this week's elimination challenge by saying that not only is it one of the most anticipated and dreaded challenges on Top Chef but it's never been done before on Top Chef Masters. It's restaurant wars! Celina acknowledges that this should be an easy challenge for these cooks, who each have at least one restaurant launch under their respective belts. But, she says, coordinating this many people's visions (and egos) is going to be the real challenge. Curtis tells the chefs that won today they will make up the Red Team, while the losing chefs will comprise Team Blue. Currence worries the losers are going to be kicked while they're down. Curtis adds that each chef must be responsible for a dish, and the diners will decide the winner.
Blue Team. Naomi thinks her experience as a single mom and restaurant owner will make her a good team leader. She thinks the team can overcome the influx of diners by adopting a communal eating style like the one she uses at her own restaurant. Over on the Red Team, Hugh proposes a New American restaurant named Mosaic because their group is culturally and culinarily diverse. Traci volunteers herself to work front of house since she has immunity and immediately wishes that Manhattan-based chef George Mendes of ALDEA would chill out.
Each team splits into groups of three for 45 minutes, with one group spending up to $2,000 at Restaurant Depot and the other visiting Whole Foods with a $1,500 budget. Traci immediately aligns herself with teammate Mary Sue. Meanwhile, Hugh sets his sights on some scallops that he knows are too big, but he chooses them anyway. Can somebody say anvil?