RESTAURANT WARS, BITCHES.
Eight cheftestants left means Restaurant Wars time, and as ever, it brings out massively unpleasant aspects of people’s personalities (or rather emphasises them. Hi, Sarah and Lindsay.) The producers must have been giddy with delight at the prospect of boys versus girls once they realised there were four of each left. I think only Donald Trump is more invested in dividing stuff along gender lines. Alan Sugar starts off that way but then gets more entertained by shuffling everyone around like the line-up of the Sugababes until nobody knows team Spark from team Innovate or up from down.
Interesting that they’re serving on consecutive nights, as opposed to two places on the same night. It seems like the girls, going on the second night, would have the advantage – more time to rest and think through things, even if they were banned from actually discussing stuff, as the ’45 minutes to plan’ suggests. At Palm Door. Like palme d’or! It’s funny because it sounds like another word! Even if that’s associated with films and this is a restaurant! I dunno. Maybe they’ve got a photo of Gina Lollobrigida on the wall or something.
The boys go for Canteen, which they seem to think is a really original name for a restaurant, as opposed to really derivative. The girls go for Half Bushel, because ‘the word bushel has meant a great deal’ to Linday all her life. Which: what? The abject chaos that both teams descend into is indicative of the fact that five hours really isn’t enough time to furnish a restaurant and do the prep and pre-cooking for three coures for 100 people. I’m all for pushing the chefs and difficult challenges, but that’s kind of absurd.
Even though the guys got a bit short with each other, it’s Lindsay that turns into a hissing, spitting ball of unpleasantness, most of it aimed, quelle surprise, at Bev. She, of course, criticises Bev for ruining her fish, despite Bev following her instructions. Loved Bev’s passive-agressive interview (while dressed as Punky Brewster), ‘Well, that’s not how I’d do it’ and Grayson’s much more forthright ‘Yeah, well, that’s probably just the cooking technique’. Grayson kind of rocked the whole challenge. She wasn’t a shrieking cow but she wasn’t letting herself get rolled over.
Things I’d eat: Beverly’s ribs, Sarah’s risotto balls, Grayson’s peach salad and her dessert, Chris and Ed’s desserts. The phrase ‘tomato water’ just puts me off immensely whenever I hear it. The rest have blurred into one.
Lindsay lets about 20 people queue up and ignores the judges. Padma screams ‘I’M GETTING LEMONADE’, clearly hoping it’s got gin in it. (The lemonade jug was a really nice touch, to be fair.) Nonetheless, the guys lose because the girls’ food outweighs their appalling service. As usual, Tom follows the tactic of something being a minor quibble at tasting and gradually blowing it up to being the worst thing in the history of food by the time they hit Judges’ Table. (In this case, the lack of coconut in Ed’s Almond Joy.)
Best of all, Beverly wins. She gets a three-litre bottle of wine (stay classy, Top Chef. Wine is best judged by volume) and a trip to the vineyard. Lindsay and Sarah get all snitty. The stew room scene of Sarah telling Lindsay ‘we wouldn’t have won without you and you deserve even more praise’ (wow, subtle) was great, if only because it led to the image of Grayson and Bev cackling and climbing all over each other with delight, while Sarah and Lindsay sit and sullenly pick at bottle labels.
Ed was clearly safe, having made pretty much the only dish from Canteen that the judges didn’t whip themselves into hating by the end. It’s a shame that Ty went, but that’s mostly cos he’s kind of hot. I’m sure he’ll continue to be successful, with a nice sideline in pin-up shots.