Before I begin, I'd love to get to know you a little better. After all, you're reading my writing, and I have no idea who you are. Well, I know John and Dave and Lara. Wait, that's all three of you! Never mind then....
Cheftestants do the usual scurrying/elbowing each other out of the way thing to grab ingredients. For some odd reason, everyone but two chefs grab fish as their protein. Yuk. Honestly, I've only ever eaten one fish taco that I've enjoyed, and that was the skate taco at Mission Cantina in NYC. I find them to be bland and uninteresting. If you like 'em, that's fine. I prefer pretty much any other meat (except chicken, which is usually either dry and flavorless or just flavorless). The exceptions are Kevin, who makes a spin on al pastor. Instead of pineapple, he uses bananas, no doubt inspired by Padma. He also uses store-bought tortillas, while everyone else seems to be making their own. It's all rather ambitious for a typical 30-minute Quickfire, and Kevin's no dummy. Stephanie apparently isn't either. She sees everyone else going for fish so she grabs some ground lamb. Now, she's never made a lamb taco, but how hard can it be? At least she doesn't have to mince it with her machete.
Whew. That seemed like a lot of words, huh? I'm tired of typing. I think I am going to find a snack. No! Not a liquid one! It's only 10:40am, for shit's sake! Honestly, we've been eating mostly healthy food over the last 7 weeks, and while we're drinking alcohol, we're not drinking more than 3-4 times per week and never more than one drink. I tell you, we're angels. Except for the amounts of pizza I've been putting away. Hey - I'm supporting local, non-chain, restaurants!
Ok, back from the snack. Fresh blueberries and pineapple, thank you very much. I love fruit, and it satisfies my mouth full of sweet teeth.
Padma mentions Restaurant Wars, which makes the cheftestants excited. "Restaurant Wars is...next week." Awww... This week, however, they're trying something new. The cheftestants are going to develop their own pitch for a restaurant, with mood boards and dishes to be presented to the judges.
First the chefs need to do some arts and crafts. They head back to the Top Chef Mansion where they find fabric samples, random plates and cutlery (though sadly no machetes), poster paint, stickers, and big tubs of glitter. Within a few minutes, the chefs are beadazzling all of the food in the fridge and fingerpainting the countertops. Well, in my fantasy version they are. In actuality, they are seriously considering their dream restaurant concepts. Except Stephanie, who is a personal chef with no dreams of opening her own place. Kevin, Bryan, and Malarkey are old hands at this, having opened approximately 274 restaurants between them, the vast majority of which belong to Malarkey. For some bizarre reason, many of his restaurants are named after fabrics: Searsucker (sic) was first, followed by Herringbone, Corduroy, Gingham, Burlap, Gabardine, Pleather, Doubleknit, Spandex, Quiana, Kevlar, and Chiengora.
First we see Kevin's restaurant, The Country Captain, named after the famous southern curried chicken dish. He prepared a version of the namesake dish using braised and roasted chicken. The judges all murmur appreciatively. Next up is Eric, who everyone can clearly see is in the weeds and needs help from Bryan and Lee Anne. His concept is called Middle Passage and he seeks to express the African diaspora through food. Sadly, he offers overcooked duck, oversalted broth, and just plain bad technique. Gregory's concept is Kann, after the Haitian name for sugar cane (and pronounced the same way), and he serves oxtail and a whole fish, both of which look amazing. Bryan sets up his board and I can see the concept is Thatcher and the Rye. Immediately I know that it's named after his son, Thatcher. Is it creepy that I know the name of his son? Is it worse that I know he also has two daughters, Piper and Ever? Okay then. He wants the restaurant to be everyday accessible Mid-Atlantic cuisine, but as per usual his food is on the fine dining end of the scale.
Karen's Three Black Crowes serves modern dim sum, though the judges feel her dishes skew more Italian than Asian. The judges aren't feeling the food at Lee Anne's Hanai Mama--one dish was too salty and the other not seasoned enough. Also what differentiates her concept from other Hawaiian restaurants? (Because there are Hawaiian restaurants everywhere, right?) Stephanie named Lucy C's after her dog, and serves food
Last week there were two losers, and this week there will be two winners. Malarkey makes it to the top with D2, as does Melissa with Sabrina, but the two concepts that will be going on to next week's Restaurant Week battle are Kevin's Country Captain and Gregory's Kann.
On the bottom are Stephanie, who has immunity and is therefore safe, Lee Anne, and Eric. Neither had a strong concept, and Eric's seemed confused. His food fell short as well, and he was sent to Last Chance Kitchen to battle Nini.
Next week: Considering I mentioned it a few times already in this post, you should already know that it will be Restaurant Wars!
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Posted on Minxeats.com.