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3-1: "Restaurant Wars" 2011.04.06 (recap)


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#1

TWoP Nikita

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Posted Apr 3, 2011 @ 10:34 AM

From Zap2it:

The program returns with a new host, a new judge, and a new format.



#2

selkie

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Posted Apr 6, 2011 @ 11:03 PM

So Mary Sue didn't go home for serving a frelling Hostess Cupcake? The other dish must have been unbearably salty.

#3

LetsGoPens

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Posted Apr 6, 2011 @ 11:04 PM

Thank goodness Kelly has been replaced with Curtis, he grates on my nerves less even though I think he might be a total douche. However, this show seems to have a gaping hole without Gael or Jay. Makes me sad.

So there's still a donation even though someone goes home? That's nice. I think I missed it, but are there other opportunities to win money? I assume there will be "high stakes quick fires" and whatnot?

Also, maybe I'm just ignorant, but I only recognized two of these chefs and one was from another show. It just seems like the caliber of chefs is lower. Please, please, please correct me if I'm wrong. I'm sure they're all amazing. but I feel like the others were more "Holy shit it's Susur Lee." And while some were recognized because they might be considered celeb chefs or have been on Top Chef, Jonathan Waxman, Susur, etc. weren't like that. I knew them because they were incredible and icons because of how amazing they are.

I hate the new format as well. I always thought they did the original format because the chefs were super successful and didn't want to be tied down to a 10 week shooting. I think it should have stayed the way it was.
A friend of mine just gave the possible explanation they may have switched from the star system because chefs felt reluctant competing on a show and getting a numerical rating analogous to how actual restaurants are rated. That it would feel better for them to get eliminated on a worse dish than someone else and have it be left at just that rather than being given a 3 for a great dish that didn't measure up to the 5 star dish. It sort of put it on a curve and chefs may have felt they looked back. Makes sense.

Edited by LetsGoPens, Apr 6, 2011 @ 11:12 PM.


#4

rhys7

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Posted Apr 6, 2011 @ 11:06 PM

So glad uni-brow is gone. Man, that was so distracting.

#5

vb68

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Posted Apr 6, 2011 @ 11:07 PM

I'm a little disappointed. He seemed like he might have a fun personalty.

#6

livefromprov

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Posted Apr 6, 2011 @ 11:10 PM

Love Suvir. He was really making me laugh. I do not like any of the new judges, including Curtis Stone. I really liked the original judges. The quickfire & the challenge just seemed odd to me though I don't think I could have watched that dude with the unibrow all season so, all in all it worked out in the end. At least for me. Lol

#7

LetsGoPens

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Posted Apr 6, 2011 @ 11:14 PM

To add on and not edit my post for the 5th time and make it too long, one last thing: I was disappointed by how many chefs didn't finish the quickfire. You'd think they'd be able to at least put something together if they're Masters.

#8

TiffanyNichelle

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Posted Apr 6, 2011 @ 11:18 PM

I kinda liked that they did Restaurant Wars right away. Loved when the judges made a point of saying they preferred the other group but the diners picked the winner.

I was disappointed by how many chefs didn't finish the quickfire. You'd think they'd be able to at least put something together if they're Masters.

That was a little shocking, especially the one chef who did get anything on the plate at all.

#9

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Posted Apr 6, 2011 @ 11:21 PM

I get why the smaller number of cheftestants necessitated an early Restaurant Wars, but I like it better when the chefs have had more than 10 minutes to get to know one another before they have to work in a team on one of the most difficult challenges on the show. I thought because of the lack of familiarity with one another, neither restaurant really seemed cohesive.

#10

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Posted Apr 6, 2011 @ 11:33 PM

Note to Bravo - I will take a critic with an English accent that I can understand over a host with an Australian accent that I can't. Even the CC people couldn't understand him, every time he (apparently) said 'chefs' the close-captioning read 'shifts'.

#11

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Posted Apr 6, 2011 @ 11:54 PM

I was sorry to see Hugh go first -- I've eaten at his restaurant Five and Ten in Athens, GA and it's very, very good with a wonderful atmosphere. Had a feeling he was going though when they showed a couple of photos of him in front of his restaurants and I didn't notice them doing that for any other chefs. I was very underwhelmed with Mary Sue's Hostess cupcake. Ridiculous that she stayed for that.

#12

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Posted Apr 7, 2011 @ 12:13 AM

I was very underwhelmed with Mary Sue's Hostess cupcake. Ridiculous that she stayed for that.


Super salty, and under cooked proteins, usually gets cut before out over super sweet and mediocre.

#13

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Posted Apr 7, 2011 @ 12:42 AM

Astounded that the diners got so much power, but it does go to prove that the palates the chefs are feeding are not nearly as sophisticated than those who criticize their food every year or so. The girl with the bug eyes on Leela was scaring my poor husband to death.

Go Tracy! She's all I've got from San Francisco. Wish I could afford to nosh on a couple of appetizers at Jardiniere. *le sigh*

#14

dancingdoc

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Posted Apr 7, 2011 @ 12:42 AM

great chefs. Sorry to see Hugh go. Thought Mary Sue would go for making albeit her signature cupcake, a dry cake. Suvir is hilarious.

#15

strengththroughpeace

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Posted Apr 7, 2011 @ 1:00 AM

I thought both of the chefs doing front-of-house were incredibly annoying. I can't stand it when a server orders me to "Please enjoy!" when I get my food. Just a pet peeve of mine...it also grated on me the way the other maitre d was describing the dishes and then adding that she had tasted them herself and they were unbelievably delicious. It seemed like both of them were telling the judges what to think too much, instead of letting the food speak for itself.

#16

aemilia

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Posted Apr 7, 2011 @ 1:25 AM

I don't like the format change. By making it as arduous as Top Chef, they're taking away from the caliber of chefs, IMO. I only recognized 3 of the chefs.

I miss Gael and Jay.

I don't mind Curtis Stone though. He's better than Katie Choi (was that her name?).

Oh well. I'm not totally thrilled but it fill the void.

#17

greyhorse

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Posted Apr 7, 2011 @ 1:54 AM

Also, maybe I'm just ignorant, but I only recognized two of these chefs and one was from another show. It just seems like the caliber of chefs is lower.

I don't recognize anyone. I'm actually so disappointed that I'm considering not watching. Where are the bad-ass top notch chefs that everybody knows? I am telling myself that in every season of Top Chef (except of course for All Stars), the show always starts with cheftestants that I don't know, who I then start pulling for and keep watching. But this older group? With nobody hot or attractive to look at? Not sure they're going to keep my interests.

I don't mind the traditional Top Chef format. I hated the old Masters format with your ability to move on to the next round in part influenced by the caliber of the chefs you happened to be randomly selected to compete against.

Curtis Stone is so much better than Kelly BigHeadLittleBody Choi.

#18

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Posted Apr 7, 2011 @ 2:06 AM

Go Tracy! She's all I've got from San Francisco. Wish I could afford to nosh on a couple of appetizers at Jardiniere. *le sigh*


I'd say go to Mijita, but even that isn't that cheap... two fish tacos, one order of chicken taquitos, and an agua fresca ran me $22

#19

biakbiak

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Posted Apr 7, 2011 @ 2:25 AM

I don't recognize anyone. I'm actually so disappointed that I'm considering not watching. Where are the bad-ass top notch chefs that everybody knows?


I don't mind the traditional Top Chef format. I hated the old Masters format with your ability to move on to the next round in part influenced by the caliber of the chefs you happened to be randomly selected to compete against.


But these two things directly relate to one another, the reason the first two seasons attracted better known chefs was because it required less of a commitment. I am surprised that Traci Des Jardins who was in the middle of a restaurant opening and a scraping a restaurant and redoing the spaces with a different concept near the time of the filming of this participated.

I also saw Susan Feniger in the previews so I wonder how she would be able to participate if Mary Sue was still in the running.

Edited by biakbiak, Apr 7, 2011 @ 2:26 AM.


#20

Borpoh

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Posted Apr 7, 2011 @ 5:48 AM

So, why is Curtis Stone hosting this? Even Padma would be better, and she's terrible.

#21

RescueMom

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Posted Apr 7, 2011 @ 6:15 AM

I'm actually so disappointed that I'm considering not watching.


Me too, and that upsets me to no end. I love everything Top Chef, and thought the first two seasons of Masters were the best part of the whole franchise. Maybe I was just crabby from watching it an hour later than usual, knowing I had to get up in 5 hours. But there were several things that really disappointed me:

- Using the regular Top Chef format on Masters. Before, I felt I got a better chance to know each of the four chefs during the hour they were on, as well as something about the charity each was playing for. I liked that. (I know this is odd, but one of the stand-out moments for me from Season 1 was Hubert Keller talking about the Make-A-Wish foundation - I fell in love a little more with him after that. They should hire him to be their spokesperson . He'd probably do it for free.)

- They seem to be using the same new weird editing that they used from the last season of regular Top Chef - the opening shots of the empty judges' table with the dramatic music. All that managed to do to me was put me in a worse mood because I hated the lousy editing they did on All Stars. Ugh.

- Speaking of the judges' table, what the hell is up with the judges just casually hanging out around their dinner table and doing the judging there? It was weird and informal and I didn't care for it. And why show an opening shot of an empty judges' table that they aren't going to use?

- I didn't know a single one of these masters. I didn't know many of them in the previous two seasons either, but they should have thrown in at least a few from regular Top Chef judging. And since they are all in there from the beginning now, I guess what we have is... a new season of Top Chef. Top Chef format + a whole cast of people I don't know = Regular Top Chef - Padma and Tom.

- BOO, BOO, BOO for sacking Jay and no Gael. I thought Jay, Gael, and James made a perfect judging team. What would possess them to change 3 of the 4 personalities at one time?

- Giving away the winner. When only 2 of your chefs even mention their charities during the course of the episode, it's pretty obvious that the one who didn't win the quickfire was going to win the elimination challenge. I'm notoriously bad at figuring stuff like that out and even I got it. I'm going to assume whoever is running the editing team has no credentials but plenty of incriminating evidence against someone big at Bravo.

Edited by RescueMom, Apr 7, 2011 @ 6:19 AM.


#22

UpDawg

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Posted Apr 7, 2011 @ 6:39 AM

So glad uni-brow is gone. Man, that was so distracting.

This!!! Oh my gosh, I just could not. look. away.

The only chef I recognized was Celine Tio who competed on season 3 of The Next Iron Chef. She was the last woman standing (but eventually got eliminated) so I had high hopes for her! A little disappointed that she didn't finish plating for the quickfire... I guess I'll chalk it up to nerves for now and hopefully she can step up her game come the following challenges. Makes me wish Ming Tsai were somehow thrown into the mix... *sigh*

Traci Des Jardins seriously looks like she came straight out of a Tim Burton movie. But that woman obviously has skills! I hope she goes far. Her buddy Mary Sue seems like she has the *potential* (don't really want to use this word for a Top Chef Master, but it will have to do for now) to go far if she rethinks her dishes and brings them up to a Master-worthy caliber.

The girl with the bug eyes on Leela was scaring my poor husband to death.

Haha! Chef Zemanick reminds me of the actress Riki Lindhome... those EYES. O_O

Agreed with everyone who finds Zen Master Suvir Saran hilarious. I hope he sticks around for a while as well.

So the front of the house at Leela, Naomi Pomeroy, was seriously not doing her fellow chefmates any favors by bombarding them with the multitude of simultaneous diners. I was a little annoyed her chocolate torte tasted so damn delicious because had their team NOT won, I would've want her to go home first. I don't know why but something about her just doesn't seem very "Top Chef Master-esque", if I may. Meh. Also, Chef John Sedlar was soooo lucky he was on the winning team. Practically raw lamb and stickers still present on the food of multiple judges' plates? SO lucky. Oh well, I guess uni-brow getting eliminated was for the best anyway.

BOO, BOO, BOO for sacking Jay

I concur! So sad Jay is no longer around to rain on sour face James Oseland's whine party. Grr.

Edited by UpDawg, Apr 7, 2011 @ 6:45 AM.


#23

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Posted Apr 7, 2011 @ 8:52 AM

Extremely disappointing and perhaps the most uninteresting episode of a Top Chef franchise I've seen.

This is not Top Chef Masters. By eliminating the star ratings, removing the best Critics (I miss you, Jay!), and essentially aping the traditional Top Chef format this simply feels like a pale imitation of the original Top Chef without Padma or Tom.

Again, I will chime in and say forgive my ignorance because while I am sure many of the Chefs are excellent they are not particularly recognizable and do not strike me as masters. Part of what I loved about Season 2 was that chefs from season 1 who did not make the final round were able to come back for another chance. The first two seasons of masters seemed so respectful and elegant and this seemed to be a mess. None of the contestants have anything close to a personality and none of them, at least yet, really struck me as masters.

Curtis is fine but not a great host and again I really miss both the star ratings and Jay. I may not even tune in next week which would be huge for me and a Top Chef show. This may be a complete failure. Hopefully the Elves will see their mistakes and revert back graciously if they do a Masters season 4.

Boo.

#24

Stanley

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Posted Apr 7, 2011 @ 8:57 AM

maybe I'm just ignorant, but I only recognized two of these chefs and one was from another show. It just seems like the caliber of chefs is lower.


I only recognized a few, too, (and only recognized a few of their restaurant names too) and I follow the food world relatively closely. Like some others, I don't like the change in format because I think it lowers the caliber of chefs willing to compete, due to the time commitment. It's now just another season of Top Chef, and as much as I like Top Chef Original Flavor, I flove(d) Masters. The previews seemed to show a lot of interpersonal friction, which...no. I loved Masters because of the respect and camraderie the chefs showed each other. I'm not watching for bullshit drama.

Never had a problem with Kelly and I don't like Curtis Stone. I don't know what his qualifications are other than being on other reality shows and he's a dickwad on America's Next Great Restaurant. Annoying.

And bring back Jay! He was by far my favorite judge on Masters.

#25

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Posted Apr 7, 2011 @ 9:18 AM

None of the contestants have anything close to a personality and none of them, at least yet, really struck me as masters.


Tio had moments on ICA where she was wonderfully snarky,('It's a buffet. Oh joy.') but I suspect her Daria-like deadpan sense of humor is a little too subtle for Magical Elves.

#26

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Posted Apr 7, 2011 @ 10:00 AM

But these two things directly relate to one another, the reason the first two seasons attracted better known chefs was because it required less of a commitment


This is true, but I also think there's also a limited number of "masters" who were willing to appear on this show in the first place, and they've run through a lot of them in the first two seasons. It's pretty much a given that you're going to have to move down to lesser known chefs as the seasons go on. It's a flaw in the concept. I think it's similar on Iron Chef America as that show has gone on.

Edited by Rickster, Apr 7, 2011 @ 10:00 AM.


#27

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Posted Apr 7, 2011 @ 10:32 AM

The first two seasons of masters seemed so respectful and elegant and this seemed to be a mess.


It's now just another season of Top Chef, and as much as I like Top Chef Original Flavor, I flove(d) Masters. The previews seemed to show a lot of interpersonal friction, which...no. I loved Masters because of the respect and camraderie the chefs showed each other. I'm not watching for bullshit drama.


So much this.

I deeply loved the Miniaturize Me from Season 1. For me, that epitomized everything Masters should be, and already it feels like there is no way I will see anything approaching that this season. Bugs? Really?

Edited by BooRad0859, Apr 7, 2011 @ 10:33 AM.


#28

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Posted Apr 7, 2011 @ 10:34 AM

Season 2 of TCM showed that they were willing to bring back Master Cheftestants for a second chance. I wouldn't have minded if they did that again, though I wouldn't have wanted to see anyone for a third time. (As delightful as the Wylie and Graham show was.)

Time will tell if this does better in the ratings than the first two seasons. For now I don't like that they changed the format.

#29

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Posted Apr 7, 2011 @ 11:01 AM

As some critic pointed out somewhere, you're also beginning to blur the line between contestants on TCM vs. regular Top Chef. How much difference is there really between some of the lesser known contestants on TCM this year vs. some of the more successful regular Top Chef contestants (Voltaggios, Blais, for example)?

#30

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Posted Apr 7, 2011 @ 11:48 AM

Well, this is my review - I fell asleep during the first half of the show, then woke up during the second half a couple hours later. That says it all.