How was Turkey Time, Poolers?!
I'm sorry to say I truly experienced why stuffing is called stuffing. And I loved every spoon, fork and (in the wee hours) pinch-full of it.
I think it's time to cut bread out of my life for real though.
At least for the rest of year.
Or a couple of weeks.
Starting next week.
On with the ep!
Will.i.am (Gregory) is thankful he's still there and Generic (Adam) says they lost a good one in Born & Bred (Stacy.) Should I see you at The Regal Beagle in Coolidge Corner, Born & Bred, I will ply you with drinks until you reveal all! And make me a bread-less entree.
Someone jokes about Restaurant Wars and the next day they head to the "cinema" at the Revere Hotel. Now we all know used to be the Cinema 57 movie theater.
That’s where I saw SCARFACE! Twice!
That’s where my girl Lisa accidentally kicked the empty bottle of blackberry brandy we snuck in!
That’s where rats used to run over your feet! My bag, that was at the Pi Alley Theater downtown. But, let’s be honest, with a name like Pi Alley you’re guaranteed a rat encounter and pink eye from a black, sticky arm rest.
The chefs walk in and Pads does a Pantene commercial hair twirl to welcome-
Last time we saw her round the Top Chef Masters parts she looked like this-
Babs tells them it normally takes a year to open a restaurant and today they have one hour!
They have one day. Basically the same thing.
They must serve 100 guests. Some of them are INSERT NAME OF CO-SPONSOR/ADVERTISER FOR THE NEXT TWO COMMERCIAL BREAKS HERE.
Each chef draws a knife. First choice-
WHOA they get to pick the teams for Restaurant Wars?!
Mel King picks Aww Lil Dougie. Salad (Katie) picks will.i.am- smart, Salad!
Mexikosher (Katsuji aka Mexi) says he’s surprised with Mel King’s pick but guesses “she likes to have chefs that are shorter than her.”
Oh Mexi. Just stop it.
Mel King picks Mei Lin. Salad picks Mexi. Mel King selects her “buddy” Generic though she’s a hesitant because he’s “borderline OCD and likes to be in control.” As evidenced by this shoulder pat.
Of course 2008 (Keriann) is the last one "picked."
Pads tells them they must select their Executive Chef and Front Of House as a team. Nice new rule
In a Gray Team (To CAMERA) segment (that they really don't have time for- I mean, they have to MAKE a restaurant) Aww Lil Dougie says he wouldn’t want anyone else except Generic to be Front of House.
In the Orange Team (To CAMERA) segment-
THEN in a move that may prove to be controversial, will.i.am looks to Salad and says:
“How do you feel about being Executive Chef?”
Annnnnd- she takes what could be bait!
She’s never been an executive chef at a restaurant.
Mexi: “She has done pop up things so, she's good at”...
Mexi: “Help me to fill the blank.”
This Dood! He was made to have his own Bravo show.
Or at least a line of chef whites with snarky sayings.
Over at Team Gray, Aww Lil Dougie wants to serve casual food family style- one big veggie, one big protein and little plates.
Generic: “So they’re gonna serve themselves?”
Hm, will Pads want this so soon after eating Thanksgiving dinner with a giant wooden spoon at Plimoth Plantation?
Generic says it’s gonna be a shit show. Perhaps Mel King was correct about this OCD-ed-ness.
Salad is making a Sri Lankan style dish (huh), will.i.am - Chinese inspired, Mexi- Japanese and 2008 “Mine’s more like, French.”
will.i.am: “Regions of the world.”
Soooo like an It’s A Small World After All kinda restaurant? I can’t wait to see the animatrons!
All the team members shop for decor and plates (a first.) Mel King finds four big, rustic piggy banks and, since they have pork on the menu and there are four of them, Four Pigs becomes the name of their restaurant. (Cute and on trend.)
They split into groups of two to hit Whole Foods and Restaurant Depot where Mexi does the exact opposite of what 2008 thought they’d do (stick together) and spends a lot of time trying to intentionally fuck with Aww Lil Dougie.
There is no time for fun!
They will regret this.
Mei Lin doesn’t find pork shoulder at Whole Foods so Aww Lil Dougie grabs some at the Depot which, let’s face it, isn’t a great name for any place where you’re going to purchase a protein you will later cook for Pads. I’m sure the all PAs blacked out the logos on those receipts just in case she saw.
Aww Lil Dougie mentions he’s surprised that will.i.am isn’t Executive Chef. will.i.am admits he’s going to take a backseat and focus on his food. Lots of gambles gwan.
Orange Team selects Magellan as name of their restaurant. It’s inspired by the explorer who, in the words of 2008: “traveled the world to find spices.”
It could also be the name of a beer bar or a deodorant for men.
Salad makes roasted beets with coconut curry; will.i.am makes haddock and a glazed tenderloin; Mexi- a cassoulet and hamachi with salsa. 2008 does vanilla crepes with pistachio that will be “served cold so the other chefs won’t have to cook anything" since she's Front Of House.
That’s a hint and a half for your ass that the kitchen is potentially be too hot and her dish is gonna melt.
Generic makes salt baked clams; Aww Lil Dougie- pork shoulder and greens braised in PBR:
Mei Lin makes chicken liver pate and Brussels Sprouts and Mel King chefs up a scallop dish with grapefruit salad and a cobbler with buttermilk biscuits.
Mexi notes that 2008 is making crepes that are going to be frozen until the next day.
Oh man so many bites in asses are coming!!!
Next morning- 4 hours to finalize their menus!
Salad realizes their concept is loosely tied to together but thinks the chefs on the other teams are younger and they have seniority. This means...
Nothing, Salad. Please don’t say this at Judge’s Table.
…on a cruise ship.”
Coincidentally, I smell something fishy.
Because being "given the opportunity" does not mean to opened her own restaurant on a cruise ship. I mean, I was given the opportunity to bed Louis C.K. when I saw him at Somerville Theater last month but only if I somehow weaseled my way back stage with my smell good and my charm and recited lines from POOTIE TANG. (I did not bed Louis C.K. Yet. But best believe- Sa Da Tay, yo.)
Generic tells his team that the kitchen is a 27 second walk away which means-
OH a lot of walking back and forth. Thanks, Generic!
(Good is ON IT.)
Mei freezes Mel King’s butter with nitro so her biscuits can get super flaky.
Mel says she learns something from Mei every day. Mei says she and Mel are homies and she hopes it’s the two of them together in the end.
I hope that too because if a chef wins that no one picked? That's never happened in the history of The Reality Pool! And if it does, well, let’s cross that gingerbread bridge when we come to it. Hey, let’s eat that gingerbread bridge! (Oh wait, I have a no bread policy. Crap.)
HOLD UP THO!
Aww Lil Dougie is looking for Generic’s clean clam shells that he prepped to serve his clam action in and...
He pulls Generic away from instructing the staff and Generic goes nuts.
The shells are gone?!
No one's owning up to it?
This harkens back to Top Chef 2010 when The Villian (Alex Reznik) stole Ed from Boston’s pea purée!
Luckily they have more clams but now he has to shuck, clean and prep 150 of 'em! Meanwhile in 2008, there’s already confusion. They don’t have ticket booklets, Salad starts instructing the staff. Hoo boy.
Generic finishes the clams and dons a suit jacket and a tie, high fives all around, they're pumped-
Just in case 2008 needed help shitting a brick!
And here come the Judge!
Generic says there’s no way he’s “dropping the ball here” but he’s not up front to check the Judges in. He does, however, welcome them at the table and tell them everything is family style which seems to be okay. Perhaps Pads’ assistant with the tiny hands will make sure she doesn’t touch any tongs that have been touched by anyone else?
The judges toast.
Gail: “Happy to have you with us, Barbara it’s always a pleasure.”
Barbara looks grateful and says thank you.
Pads compliments the Four Pigs (Gray Team’s) decor. Gail: “There’s a deer with a doo rag.”
Gail like’s Adam’s clam. (Har.) Colicchio said the seasoning was right up to the edge.
Gail also dug Mei’s "tasty toast." Babs: “I feel like I’m eating melted peanut butter and jelly.”
Pads: “Which I didn’t mind!!!”
Guess who has the munchies!?
Over at Magellan, the waitstaff has explored at least one of the tables three times.
Then we get a rarity! Server banter! “That’s table twelve, that’s table one.”
Instead of going upstairs and working it through with the kitchen, 2008 goes to the person who sat the diners (???) and says: “There’s a lot of confusion.”
YOU’RE confused. And you’re not helping. At. all.
Salad actually has to step away from the kitchen to see what’s going on.
You know that saying if you’re not part of the solution you’re part of the problem?
Can you repeat that saying on the bus to Logan Airport until it sinks in, 2008?
No, no cab for you! You take Mass Transit!!
At the pig pen, Colicchio says Generic is doing a great job with the front of the house, the servers look happy, “there’s a good pace to the dining room.” In fact everyone’s pretty happy except, you know.
Gail likes the acid on the Brussels but “then you eat more and…” Pads: “Too much.”
Gail: “A little over done.”
The pork with beans gets a big thumbs up all around.
In the kitchen, Mei thinks Aww Lil Dougie is doing a great job. “We’re communicating, that’s why service is going so well.”
Colicchio likes Mel King’s scallop dish but the scallop itself?
Gail: “Mine wasn’t that salty.”
Maybe dessert will make up for it?
Overall Colicchio says there were some mistakes but from start to finish “it was really well done.” Babs says Generic did such a great job she’d come back. That's the equivalent of getting an Oscar from the Stern Faced One!
But let's think of this for a minute- service at Four Pigs was good but some of it looked better than it tasted. So if the Orange Team has horrible service but their food is better...see what I'm saying???
In the kitchen-
A server tries to give The Gray Team a ticket for the Orange Team. Aww Lil Dougie: "Dooooon't give me those tickets man."
Then there's this:
Mexi blames Salad for not knowing how to expedite but doesn’t care because he has extra fish so he can make whatever she needs.
Mexi is Mexican and Jewish for: 'always covering his own ass.'
2008 says things are coming out of the kitchen slower than she’d like. Hm, whose fault could that possibly be?
Then she doesn’t notice the Judge’s are waiting to be seated!
Here Colicchio is feeling the Teralto wines and plays maître d’ for the group.
When 2008 finally gets there to greet them she doesn’t make a joke or (more important) apologize causing Babs to burn a hole in the center of her forehead with her laser beam eyes.
In the kitchen-
Salad and will.i.am gather around as Mexi tries to spread 2008’s spread on to the crepes. No bueno. Mexikosher offers up a solution.
will.i.am heats the crepes in the oven aka Heating Disaster.
When it’s time to serve the Judge’s their first course, Salad says she doesn’t want to overwhelm them with three dishes at once, suggesting they hold Mexi’s hamachi. Mexi: “Why?”
Salad: “Okay you want to do it? Fine.”
Folding like a chair!
At Magellan’s, Pads: “I don’t see her” (2008) “at all.”
Only one table has food.
Also- Pads: 2008 “doesn’t look like she can walk very fast in those heels.”
Front Of House Tried To Look Cute And Should Have Worn Flats Or Sneakers Like Generic (Oh Maybe THAT'S Why You Barely Go Upstairs To The Kitchens Cause Your Feet Hurt) BURN!
When 2008 finally gets to the table she describes the food lifelessly.
Gail is excited to taste Salad’s beet dish but it didn’t come together. The spices don't go with the beets. Babs like’s the hamachi but thought the onion was overwhelming. Before they can even comment on Mexi’s other dish-
Salad made the final decision to heat 2008’s dessert instead of serving it at room temperature. Mexi knew this but “hey, I’m just a cook.”
Mind you, she never told 2008 and 2008 never really checked in with the kitchen, certainly not about her dish, resulting in:
“I prepared the dessert for you guys.”
Colicchio: I have no idea what this even is but...you could play hockey with this thing.”
Babs: “I’m not paying for dinner.”
Service is still going on but now this is happening.
2008: “Did you have to make more crepes? They were hot for the Judges.”
Mexi: “It wasn’t my decision.”
2008: “Maybe I should have explained to you…”
Maybe you should have made sure all the servers knew what the tables were?
Maybe you should taken the crepe filling out of the fridge earlier so it wasn’t hard as a rock?
Maybe you should have just been Reese Witherspoon’s stand in.
There’s still time.
In the middle of this- Pads saunters in and asks to see…
The Judge's stroke Generic on his service and the happiness of the waitstaff. They compliment his clams. They basically want to bed everyone.
Then Pads asks to see Team Fuck Up.
Colicchio asks if they thought they were going to get tickets that were difficult to keep track of.
2008: “Dishes kept coming out when they weren’t being ordered and I don’t know if they were re-fired…”
2008: “No we absolutely educated the servers on the system.”
Pads: “Where were you, because you weren’t on the floor.”
Then in an odd twist, when Gail asks if she was worried about the disparate dishes on the menu 2008 answers: she wanted all the chefs to feel comfortable with what they were making.
Huh? Salad? Silent.
Gail tells Salad the beets were beautiful but the seasoning didn’t come together.
Babs tears 2008’s dish apart but then Mexi admits he warmed up the crepes.
Gail: “…how would you feel if someone totally changed your dish that way.”
Mexi said it wasn’t his call.
Who’s call was it?
Mexi: “Executive Chef.”
At no time does Salad say anything really until about now.
Earlier she had plenty of opportunities to be all- Oh, 2008 only came to the kitchen three times and the tickets were all wrong OR I had to leave the kitchen once to find out what was going on OR we fired 47 hamachis and only needed three.
I mean- the ship is sinking, Salad, and 2008 opened a restaurant on that ship! Do something!!!
Salad: “I guess at the end of the day when you see a product called white chocolate banana mousse and I’m picturing like a mousse texture and this was not mousse in my opinion...”
2008: “Yeah, maybe, okay, yes…”
See what you’ve done now, Salad? You know what’s coming, right?
Colicchio asks if at any point Salad consulted with 2008 to say the crepes are tearing, the filling is too thick?
Now this is happening-
2008 is playing victim:
Salad: “Thats when we had started service, no, did not.”
You lost them, Salad!
Colicchio asks 2008 when she saw the dish she thought to say- Oh, this isn't my dish and run back there and tell them to fix it.
2008: “Absolutely but at that point they were being walked out to you guys.”
Colicchio: “We weren’t the first person to be served that dish. BUSTED!
Pads: “We were the last.”
2008 says she didn’t get around to see every dessert and that was her mistake.
She didn't get around to doing anything! I swear to JC if there were a bunch of decent clothing stores near the Revere Hotel I’d accuse 2008 of going shopping instead. In other news- there should really be a bunch of decent clothing stores near the Revere Hotel.
After they're dismissed everyone agrees Generic was amazing, Aww Lil Dougie did a great dish and held the team together. 2008 had no urgency in the dining room and didn’t train the staff well but-
Gail: “Clearly her dish was hijacked.”
Strong words, Gail. Come on, don't fall for her face!
Colicchio didn’t think Salad did it on purpose. Gail thinks Salad was clearly in over her head. Babs: “I have a problem with her.”
Oh man. That means Salad is gonna wake up with a horse head in her bed! I'm sure it will come with steamed ramps and a purple potato rosemary mash though.
No surprise who gets the nod:
The Orange Team didn’t come together and...
2008 to pack her knives and go.
Colicchio rubs salt in the crepe by saying her dish was the worst.
People pretend they care and give her hugs that don’t last very long.
2008 is “disappointed” that she’s “going out for Front Of the House but it’s just not what I do.”
Also, what DO you do?
She says she shouldn’t trust her dish with people that “obviously didn’t respect my food.”
Oh Lord Today.
“I’m a Mom, a wife, a Chef, so I’ve got a great family to go home to.”
A family that has been really enjoying take out since she's been gone.
Next week! A Sudden Death Quickfire! TWO Last Chance Kitchens in a row! AND….
Until next time, Poolers...
Splitz- Mei Lin
Kyle- wil.i.am and Mei Lin
LB- Mei Lin
Meriden- will.i.am and Mel King
Rich E.- Aww Lil Dougie and Mei Lin
Colucci- Aww Lil Dougie
Jenna- Mei Lin
Mari- Mei Lin
Keith- Aww Lil Dougie and will.i.am
Martha- will.i.am and Mei Lin
Karen Logue- Aww Lil Dougie and Mei Lin
Jet- will.i.am and Mei Lin
Brownie- Mel King
Lucy- Aww Lil Dougie and Mel King
Holly- Generic and Mei Lin
Q- Mei Lin
KK- Mei Lin
Ed Kearns- Aww Lil Dougie and Mel King