It’s the reason for the season – no, not Christmas, Restaurant Wars on Top Chef! Whose restaurant triumphed and who went home?
We open with some shots of the North End this week, and Gregory is regretting attempting to make goose last week. Everyone misses Stacy, the only Boston native in the competition, but they’re ready for restaurant wars – they know with only 8 chefs remaining, the time has to be here for them to prove who can best create and run a restaurant.
The next morning at a large open space in the Revere Hotel, it’s Barbara Lynch! She has a bunch of restaurants in the area that are all highly reviewed and I’ve eaten at none of them. In addition to Barbara, Chase Sapphire card members will be amongst the diners and will have a say with the judges. Each chef is responsible for one dish in their respective restaurant.
Melissa and Katie are allowed to choose the teams thanks to grabbing the right knives from the block. Melissa selects Doug, Mei, and Adam; Katie picks Gregory, Katsuji, and Keriann. As teams, they’ll each have to choose an executive chef and front of house – Doug steps up as executive chef for the Grey team, while Katie decides to lead her Orange team. There’s some rumblings from Katsuji about Katie’s lack of restaurant-running experience as a culinary instructor, but Gregory is happy to have a challenge where he can just focus on doing his best work rather than have the target of executive chef on his back. Adam and Keriann will be front of house for their respective teams.
During menu planning, the grey team talks about serving things family style, but Adam rightly brings up that from a front of house perspective, it’s hard to see how this will run smoothly. The orange team’s backgrounds are varied, so they decide to play on this with a globally-inspired menu. With this decided, everyone heads out to pick the decor for their restaurants. The grey team finds a collection of 4 ceramic pigs that inspire them to name the restaurant 4 Pigs, but later when selecting plates and chairs, they start to worry Adam’s being a little too picky about the look of their space. The orange team picks a more global decor to go along with their menu and name, Magellan.
In the prep kitchen, everyone sets to work on their dishes. Doug is braising pork shoulder and beans in PBR, which feels very Portland. Melissa is planning a mixed-berry cobbler with a buttermilk biscuit on top and if you’ll excuse me I have to go make that now. Over on the Magellan side of the kitchen, KeriAnn is pre-making her crepes for the next day. Katsuji mentions in a confessional that he’d make them to order (and has the time to make them to order), but doesn’t offer to Keri since it’s every chef for themselves when it comes to restaurant wars.
The day of the restaurant showdown, Adam and Doug meet in the morning to make sure they’re on the same page when it comes to the kitchen and service so they’ll be able to work better together. Team Magellan feels like they have maturity on their side that will aid them in the day’s challenge.
At the kitchen, Adam notes that there’s a loooooooong walk from the kitchen to the dining area. There’s lots of cooking, chopping, and prepwork going on in the kitchen. KeriAnn goes over service with her team, but it seems like she isn’t doing the best job of delineating the serving areas and tables and prepping the servers with the info they’ll need on the dishes. Adam is cleaning the clamshells for his dish in the kitchen’s dishwasher, but has to leave in the middle of this process to go train his staff. He’s having way more of a meeting with them than Keriann did with hers, but that gets interrupted when Doug can’t find the clams and Adam has to search the kitchen for where his hotel pan full of the shells went. It’s nowhere to be found, but the Grey team smartly thought ahead and bought enough extra clams to allow them to re-clean and shell everything again. Mei and Melissa are working really well together as line cooks – Melissa is learning how using nitro on the butter in her biscuits will make sure they’re super flaky1.
As diners (including past contestants Kirsten Kish and Stephanie Cmar2 leading a pack of the Chase Sapphire members) begin to file into the dining rooms, both teams ramp up for service.