Previously on Top Chef: salty grits, Padma eats ribs, and cookware gets thrown!

The chefs walk into a completely empty space, followed by Padma Lakshmi and Hugh Acheson who tell them that their elimination challenge this week will be to open and manage an Olive Garden location. Whoever can make the Tour of Italy the fastest will win access to the coveted breadsticks recipe. Finally, a challenge for us normal folks!

Actually, that never happened, but it was kinda close. Padma tells us it’s that time of the season again — for the restaurant wars challenge. Yay! This time, they will be separated by gender, which means we are in for some wonderful talking head commentary on girls ruling and boys drooling. Or, the opposite as Edward kicks off the trash talking by saying that the men are stronger chefs. You’ll want to remember that statement, folks.


The teams split up with 45 minutes to menu plan. This time around, every chef will be responsible for a dish and the chefs will also be responsible for decor. The women decide on organic, rustic, homey food and name their creation Every Damn Restaurant You’ve Ever Been To In The Past Two Years, or as they call it, Bushel for short. The men plan out some kind of Asian-inspired menu and name their baby Canteen. They’re off to Sur La Table and Whole Foods to spend their $7,500 budget.

When we return, Chris compares the restaurant wars competition to some Star Trek thing but his glasses are too distracting and I stopped listening. The men go about preparing for their restaurant opening in a mostly non-dramatic fashion, except they decide on some complex notation system for the tickets because it’s good to make a challenging situation harder on yourself.

Other than a random woman complaining that her wine is warmer than her meal nothing really goes wrong until the pesky judges arrive. The salmon is served without mushrooms (oops!) and Padma notices that things seem to be going awry at the chef’s station. The boys decide to switch it up since the kitchen is slowing down and the ticketing system isn’t working out. Eventually service ends and the boys return home to debrief and soak in a vat of Shiner Bock.

Coming back from commercial, we are transported to the women’s preparation, which involves a fight over simple syrup. The ladies are kind of a mess. Bushel opens and the judges are quicker to arrive this time. Hugh notes that the women did not have an open kitchen and Tom notes that there is a huge line, with Lindsay, who is serving as front of the house nowhere to be found. She is dealing with a diner who sends her halibut back, a dish she conceived, but Beverly prepared. She gets yelled at for the umpteenth time this episode because everything bad is Beverly’s fault.

The women do not have it together at all with Lindsay running around. The judges clearly love Beverly‘s spare ribs the most. At the end of service, Grayson and Sarah actually mention that perhaps it wasn’t Beverly’s cooking that ruined the halibut, but Lindsay’s techniques. Meanwhile, the judges decide their fate: while the guys are better at service, the food was better at the ladies’ restaurant.

The judges see the women first. After making them sweat for a while with comments about the long wait for seating and Lindsay’s disappearance, Padma tells the ladies they were the favored restaurant which makes them squeal, like women do. Hooray!!!

Everyone loved the food, and in the end, Beverly wins the challenge much to the chagrin of sour puss Sarah, who’s head promptly explodes. Beverly is the winner of a big ass bottle of wine and a tour and visit to their Napa winery. Afterwards, Sarah says Lindsay was the one who deserved more praise because she’s in love with her.

The boys are called in and it was everyone’s least favorite, even amongst the diners. The judges question all the mistakes in the boys’ food from the missing Italian flavors, the use of powdered coconut in the almond joy and the flat pork belly. The boys all mumble some answers but don’t really have anything substantive to say for themselves. We all know it won’t really matter.

In deliberation, the judges decide the almond joy was the best dish, despite the coconut flub while universally hating Ty’s crab and shrimp salad. The boys march back in, and Tom, in his paternal style tells the boys they are disappointing failures. Unsurprisingly, Ty is asked to pack his knives and go. But, his parents are still proud of him. Everyone hugs, says their love-yous, and Ty fades away.

Next week: Charlize Theron demands a heart on a silver platter. Sarah rips her own out and hands it over.


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