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Top Chef 3.8 - Restaurant Wars Recap

Just when I was about to give Top Chef's editors some kudos, I discover that the whole thing was a trick! Warning, if you haven't watched last night's episode — which I liked despite it being a trick — I'm about to lay down some spoilers.

Let's start things off with the quickfire challenge. When the cheftestants head down to the kitchen they are greeted by Padma and high-profile Daniel Boulud — or as Dale said, "Holy S*it it's Daniel Boulud." This time around the company they're promoting is Red Robin, and they're asked to create a new burger inspired by their line of "Adventurer Burgers." Surprisingly, most of the chefs create seafood burgers, and thankfully, Bravo decides to show us each creation. To watch find out what happens,

Tre and Sara (no need for the M. since there is only one left) find themselves in the bottom. Boulud felt that both burgers were more like sandwiches, although he did love that Tre's felt the most French. When asked to pick his favorites, Boulud chooses half of the cast: Howie, Dale, Hung and CJ. Ultimately it is the texture of CJ's scallop and shrimp burger that wins Boulud over. As victor CJ doesn't receive immunity - we're far too far along in the competition for that — he does however, get to choose three teammates, because we have finally reached that pinnacle Top Chef moment: Restaurant Wars!
CJ chooses Tre, Brian and Casey, meaning that the other team consists of Dale, Hung, Sara and Howie. The cheftestants have 24 hours to plan, design and run a restaurant of their choice. With 30 minutes to plan, $700 for food, $2500 for decorations and 45 minutes to shop, the contestants are determined to create winning places.

First up is CJ's team. Their restaurant is called "Restaurant April" — which I personally think is quite a boring name — and they're going for a new American cuisine. Their planning is quite smart and diplomatic, roles are passed around easily with Brian being the front of the house. Their restaurant is declared good, but definitely not flawless — Tre's potatoes were beyond smoky and the plates are dusty. Casey even has to come out to the front of the house to calm things down after Brian freaks out just a bit.

On the other side of the wall, the other team is running a restaurant called "The Garage." It's a contemporary take on an American Bistro — well maybe one that got stuck in the 80s, the black and white decor was a bit hated upon — and their food is deemed too heavy and rich for a hot Miami evening. They also made a very amateur mistake of doing scented candles in their restaurant, everyone knows you don't want to smell candles when you eat, you want to smell food!

At judge's panel no one is declared a victor, and just when I think Bravo's editing is finally starting to make for a riveting show — I could not figure out who was going home — we found it's because no one is going home. That's right, no one. It's a tie. In fact, it's a do-over, the challenge is going to happen again next week. It had come down to Dale and Brian, both who were front of the house and I think they couldn't justify sending someone because they weren't good hosts.

Personally I found it a bit interesting and I can't wait for next week. But until then, a few questions.

  • Did Padma get a new hairdo?
  • Why on earth would anybody put scented candles in a restaurant?
  • Which restaurant did you want to eat at?
  • What did you think of the presence of food blogger Andrea Strong?
  • Are you glad they're having a re-match?

Image Source

Padma Lakshmi Bikini Photo in Colorado 2017
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