Come on, fish-related challenges for two weeks in a row? Yet no Eric Ripert?
Despite not being a pussy, when time is called, he's on the bottom along with Carla, Tiffany, and Antonia, the three remaining female chefs in this competition. On the flip side, Dale, Blais, Mike, and Marcel have done a much better job and must now compete for the win by making a dish out of fish trimmings (collars, cheeks, etc.)
Blais tells us he once held the prestigious position of fish chef at McDonald's and I half expect him to whip up a Filet-O-Fish for us, but of course with liquid nitrogen "cheese" and frozen, deep-fried, tartar sauce. Instead he makes cod belly schnitzel, which maybe isn't all that different, considering schnitzel is breaded. Dale is ambitious and creates two dishes, because he grew up eating fish scraps and is familiar with interesting preparations. I tell ya, I'm liking Dale more and more this season. He's really grown up since Season 4, from cocky crotch-grabber to confident chef.
Overall, Bourdain prefers Dale's dish(es), and awards him the win and immunity in the next challenge.
Later, back at the TC Kitchen, the recheftestants find Padma standing with Ludo Lefebvre, the wackadoo Frenchy two-time Top Chef Masters loser and supreme annoyer of Rick Moonen. Padma notes that Ludo's just completed the latest in his series of "pop-up" restaurants, Ludo Bites 5. (Not only is he annoying, but he bites, too?) And what does this have to do with the price of melamine-tainted tea in China? Well, it's time for Restaurant Wars! Whee! (whee.) This season, our recheftestants must create their own Pop-up restaurants at The Foundry...in 24 hours. Welcome to the original 24 Hour Restaurant Battle, without the douchey Scott Conant! But first - picking teams.
Because Dale won the Quickfire, he's automatically a team captain and has the benefit of picking the other team's leader.
After alternating picks, we end up with Team
How about "Revolt?" No, guess that was used already....
The next day, the recheftestants go to The Foundary where they find that their restaurants and kitchens will both be outdoors. And there's a raging hurricane storming its way up the East Coast and making landfall at Long Island City. Wait, what? That's not the case? Oh darn - I was hoping for a little more interest and excitement than the usual "I hate Marcel" bickering. Honestly, that shit is more tired than his Wolverine hairdo.
With five hours to prep, Marcel's team is, predictably, a battle of egos with nobody wanting to play nice with him. Granted, he's no great communicator, and his "I know best" approach is never going to win him any fans.
Eventually we see the guests start to arrive, including Food & Wine's Dana Cowin. She and the rest of the diners will be eating at both restaurants. The regular judges - Padma, Tom, Tony, and Ludo - arrive and head to Bodega first. There they are enchanted by Fabio, who is running the front of the house like the swayve European he is. They order two of everything and just about rave over every morsel.
Meanwhile, over at Etch....
Back at Judges Table, Etch gets called out first. They are the worst team of the night, with only 17 of 76 diners favoring them over Bodega. Immediately upon hearing that, the individual chefs start squabbling and throwing Marcel under the bus. Mike calls him a time bomb, and Angelo opines that the entire evening was a "shit show." Unlike the last two times she ended up on the bottom, Antonia contributed a less-than-stellar dish to the team and was just as likely to get eliminated this week as Tiffany for her egg dish and front-of-house performance or Angelo for his lackluster crudo. Marcel presented mushy monkfish and his "reverse amuse" which was called a "perfect storm of fucking awfulness" and a "thumb in the eye at the end of the meal" by resident wordsmith Bourdain the Magnificent was probably enough to get him eliminated even if he wasn't the Captain of the rapidly sinking ship.
Team Loser is brought out for another browbeating. Bourdain tells them that prison breaks are organized with more efficiency and teamwork than Etch. Eventually the Black Hammer comes down on Marcel, whom we knew was the loser of this episode from pretty much the first ten minutes.
Next week: cooking for Wise Guys?