TOP CHEF RECAP – Ep 11: Restaurant Wars

John Baker recaps Restaurant Wars!

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This week is a continuation of Restaurant Wars! If you’re not familiar with this Top Chef staple, here’s how it works (at least this season): the remaining cheftestants are split into two groups and are given the opportunity to open and operate their very own restaurant for one night. The winners from last week, Sheldon and Kristen, are the leaders of their respective teams. The leader of the winning team gets a Toyota Avalon.

The stakes are set pretty high from the start. Not only are the chefs competing for a car, but they’re also serving Danny Meyer, big time CEO of the Union Square Hospitality Group. This guy owns like a majillion restaurants.

The teams are split boys vs. girls in a battle of the sexes. Since 7 chefs remain, the advantage goes to the ladies:

Girls: Kristen (leader), Lizzie, Brooke and Josie

Boys: Sheldon (leader), Stefan and Josh

Sheldon’s Filipino heritage plays a big part in his vision for the restaurant, which is a risky play since neither Stefan nor Josh is familiar with this type of cuisine.

The girls seem to have the advantage at this stage of the game not only because they have an extra member, but since they all at one point have been classically trained by French chefs.

The twist: There is no kitchen so the chefs not only need to build their restaurant from scratch, but they also have to build their own kitchens from scratch. No pressure.

The guys seem to be running like a well-oiled machine. The girls on the other hand, not so much. Josie was supposed to start on her bouillabaisse, but instead she decides last-minute to do everything on the day of the competition. Kristen even says she would prefer a dishwasher in place of Josie at this point, and I don’t blame her.

On the day of the actual restaurant opening we learn a cut little nugget about Sheldon. He actually started off as a dishwasher and eventually moved up the chain. I love stories like this.

StefanStefan and Brooke take on the role of “Front of House” for their respective teams. When the guests start coming in it’s like high-octane energy! Brooke has no problem marinating the flow, but Stefan runs into a few hiccups. Probably his biggest offense is that ne never even introduced Josh’s dish when it was served to the judges! This is a major faux pas in this competition.

This isn’t to say that the ladies don’t run into their own troubles. There is a major clash in the kitchen between Kristen and Josie over her bouillabaisse which just isn’t coming together as Kristen originally concepted.

All-in-all here is what the chefs created and are ultimately responsible for:

Lizzie: Charchuterie (rabbit picked turnips & yellow beers in chicken rabbit broth)

Josie: Boullabaisse (halibut, Dungeness crab, bay scallops with shellfish broth)

Kristen: Beef bourguignon (braised short rib, garlic puree, mushrooms and carrots) and a deconstructed macaroon

Brooke: Cheese course

Stefan: Kiawen (yellowtail with cilantro spicy chili and white) and a chocolate course

Sheldon: Miki (prawns, tapioca roll with achiote) and adobo pork (with bean puree and pea sprouts)

Josh: Balut (pouched egg, duck confit & foie gras mousse), halo halo and a coconut sorbet


The boys win despite Stefano getting slammed for his poor service.

Top Chef Elimination WomenWhen Kristen and Josie are questioned about the flaws of the bouillabaisse, Kristen does nothing to stand up for herself and essentially falls on her sword in lacking to do so. As a result Kristen goes home. I’m literally floored. However, Josie seems to be the most surprised out of everyone. Ugh, we have to bear another week listening to that screaming man voice.

Not surprisingly, Stefan plants his signature pervy kiss on Kristen’s cheek as be bid her adieu.

But this isn’t the last of Kristen. She still has a chance at redemption in Last Chance Kitchen. Can she beat CJ who is on fire with 6 wins in a row? Tune in to find out.

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