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Top Chef: New Orleans – Ep 9 – The Most Lopsided Restaurant Wars

This is the episode that every season of chefs wants badly to reach. It is the Survivor Merge of Top Chef. It is the most fun the chefs have all season – even if it is also the most work they have to do. But if you are a professional chef the one thing that you want to do the most is open a restaurant. So the challenge of doing so in a 24-hour period must be loads of fun.

Now on Top Chef, most of the time, the two sides are…how do I say this…competent when it comes to this challenge. Usually there is a small fatal flaw that decides who wins this thing and everyone goes home happy.

Not this year.

The presumed Dream Team of BB, Justin, Sara, Carlos and Chung turned into a rather bad dream. I mean, it was like Freddy-Krueger-Haunting-Your-Mind bad. It was so bad that the VIPs with Danny Meyer hadn’t even had their entrée yet when the Judging Team came over after finishing their meal with the other group. Simply put – Sara was probably the worst front of the house person in the history of Restaurant Wars. The only way it could have gone worse for her was for her to fart uncontrollably or manage to set herself, or a judge, on fire. It was really bad.

Just as bad? Justin’s management. I know that Sara did not train the staff with his revolutionary new ticketing system (patent pending), but really, why even risk things by installing a brand new ticketing system. Just do things easy – the way most waiters know how to operate. That front of house was a mess, and that kitchen was a mess. The whole thing was a mess. It was pretty embarrassing to watch. I think the chaos even reduced Carlos to a blubbering idiot as his dish clearly suffered from the madness around him.

Really, really bad.

Not really bad? The other team. Not only was the food good – mostly – but also it was the complete opposite dynamic as the other team. Nick was the model of the perfect executive chef. The team knew what they were doing, there was a plan, and they all dug his leadership. In addition, Cap probably had his best episode yet. His front of house should be used by future Top Chef contestants as the proper way of doing the job. Simply put – it was perfect. It was made even more perfect (is that possible?) in comparison to the full body vomit performance that Sara was putting on next door.

I felt that either Sara or Justin could easily get booted for the disaster. I felt that either Nick or Cap were truly worthy of the victory. It was really tough to figure out. Usually the executive chefs win or lose this challenge – but the front of the house performance was just so good and bad on each side that it could be argued the other way. The judges seemed to be having trouble too.

In the end, Nick’s delicious dish coupled with his stellar leadership gave him the win over Cap’s kick ass service. Meanwhile, the judges decided that the front of the house issues are what caused much of the terrible delays in bringing the food out to the guests. In addition, Sara’s dessert was a disaster making matters even worse for her.

To review the challenge – David Chang returned to the show to judge the contest and told them that opening a restaurant meant that you planned on everything going wrong. No kidding. Danny Meyer – the restaurant guru who helped during last season’s Restaurant Wars – was back to take part this season along with some product placement VIPs.

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