home Archive Top Chef: DC, Episode 8 – Restaurant Wars Shocker!

Top Chef: DC, Episode 8 – Restaurant Wars Shocker!

First things first – kudos to reader Brian who made his case to me on the virtues of Spenny, but also questioned my assertion that Kenny was one of the favorites.  I stand by my thoughts based on Kenny from the early rounds, but it is true, his last few weeks have not been stellar.  Just average.

I say this not only to give a shout-out to a reader, but also as a precursor to what I still believe is a stunning result this week.  

Also, I am on my way to Texas this week for some out-of-town baseball so this week’s column is coming in fast and furious before I pass out from exhaustion tonight.  So here we go…

We have Restaurant Wars!  And the blindfolded tag team Quickfire!  Hooray – fun stuff!!  What did the episode come down to – execution.  Plain and simple.  Clearly in preparation, Team Kenny blew away Team Spenny.  The absolute worst chef remaining – the clear weak link was on Team Spenny.  However, Spenny and Ed seriously stepped up their game and cooked the hell out of this challenge.  They were able to overcome the dead weight that is Moby.  Team Kenny probably made the better business with their restaurant, thanks in a large part to Kelly’s front of house performance, but they did not deliver the food.  And as Tom often reminds us, “This is a cooking competition.”

Moby was just God-awful this week.  He did not actually cook anything, as Spenny and Ed essentially made his dish.  He screwed up the Quickfire.  He badly cut up Tiffany’s fish, leaving scales and bones.  He bullied the wait staff and failed to either greet or say goodbye to the judges.  I agree with the members of Team Kenny – while they may have lost, Moby should have gone home.

But in the end it was the unexpected ouster of Kenny.  I must say, when the season started I did not see Kenny as an eighth place finisher.  Perhaps  I overrated him – well, no, I did overate him – after his early run.  Clearly, I was wrong to put him in the elite level.  On Top Chef, one bad day can send you home, and a little bit of luck can keep you around.  For all of his failures, Moby is in the Top Seven, and for all of his wins, Kenny is out.

Quickfire – The blindfolded tag team.  Love.  This.  Challenge.  Chefs draw knives to do a schoolyard pick, in which Spenny is a surprising fifth pick.  The surprise judge to come in try to match Padma pants suit for pants suit is none other than the first female Speaker of the House – Nancy Pelosi.  I have stood next to the Speaker and in order to have her in the same shot as
Padma, she was either wearing gigantic high heels or Padma was standing in a hole.  (In the spirit of fairness, I will say I have also stood next to Minority Leader John Boehner, and that tan looks even worse up close.

Sbarro gets the first pick and builds up what I will call Team Kenny – Sbarro, Kenny, Kelly and Hot Amanda.  Ed selects the roster for Team Spenny – Ed, Tiffany, Spenny and Moby.  Ed getting Spenny after Sbarro selected Kenny and Kelly over him was a coup and saved this team from defeat and Moby’s ouster.   However, Ed is visibly bummed to be stuck with Moby.

The Relay
Round 1 – Tiffany vs. Kenny – Tiffany feels the pressure but is solid as she heats up the pans, starts some sauce bases, chops ingredients and starts to pan sear some snapper, leaving the head on so the others know what kind of fish they are making.  Kenny starts his sauce up as well.

Round 2 – Hot Amanda vs. Moby – She follows up on Kenny nicely, making him very happy.  She finishes the sauce, cooks the mushrooms and blanches the pasta.  Meanwhile, Tiffany wonders why Moby is cooking the fish early and why, oh why is he seasoning it.

Round 3 – Sbarro vs. Ed – Ed poaches the fish and Moby is hoping Ed can see the salt on the fish.  Sbarro does lots of tasting, dresses the tomatoes, adds basil and crisps parmesan.

– Spenny finds a disastrous work station and is envious of the neat space left for Kelly.  He salts the fish much to the dismay of the team.  Kelly sears her prawns and closes the deal.