Commercial Interruption: We're Writing This Post With a Lot of Love
Malavika: First of all, how can I get Fabio to be my friend? Seriously. I waaaant to beeee freeeinds weeeeth heeeem! Also, I want a "Team Fabio" T-Shirt for my birthday.
The loser of the Restaurant Wars challenge almost always goes home, so Radhika's departure wasn't shocking, but it was troubling. Leah's team barely made it to the winner's table, thanks mostly to Stefan's desserts, and she served the guests INEDIBLE fish. Yet, because of Fabio's charming service (he was right -- they could have served "monkey ass in empty clam shells" and still won) and Stefan's apparent dessert skills, Leah's leadership skills weren't on the line, although her cooking skills should have been. In fact, on a whole, the judges preferred Team Sahana's food -- save Carla's fro-yo soup-- so it begs the question of what makes a good restaurant: food or service?
Then, of course, there was the great "Real World" moment between Ho-Leah that made me want to barf-fait all over my jicama. I'm glad they feel "guilty" about it -- maybe they should have thought about that before they starting playing tonsil hockey on the couch -- and that it had miserable consequences in the kitchen. I'm still holding out for Hosea, but Leah should have gone last week as far as I'm concerned.
Also, props to the random diner who said, "It amused my bouche" about Fabio's egg-roll. (That's what she said?).
What happened to the Restaurant Wars challenge? This is the one challenge that is intended to bring out the best in the chefs -- put them directly into their element and show the world that once this competition is over, they are capable of opening their own restaurant. Most of them already work in their own restaurants -- like Dilido Beach Club, woop, woop -- so what happened? In this case, I think it really came down to service. If you have friendly service -- attentive service -- you can get away with more in the restaurant biz. And well, Radhika was about as non-existent in her restaurant as common sense is in Carla's big ol' ostrich brain. Fabio charmed the pants off everyone and it made the judges excuse the fact that post-Ho'ed Leah served them raw fish.
And speaking of post-Ho'ed Leah, thank you Bravo Gods for not overplaying the fact that Leah and Hosea inadvertently screwed themselves -- pun intended -- in this challenge. Had this been Fox, or MTV, I guarantee producers would've swarmed on that little piece of drama and done something like invite Leah and Hosea's sig others to the restaurant opening. Hmm ... on second thought, that ... would've ruled.
But more so than the integrity of the show, the important thing to remember here is ... I got points in the Power Ranking! Ye-aaaaah! OK, I'm done.
Also, Mimbo Jeff is magic? Please discuss.
Seriously, what was up with Radhika? Was it "Night of the Living Dead" out there? She was an expressionless zombie! Must have been a hangover from that hour-long corn-a-thon from the farm fresh challenge.
Anyway, you'll hear no gripes from me on this episode. "Restaurant Wars" always delivers, and in two seasons of watching "Top Chef," this was probably my all-time favorite episode. That's mainly because there were serious consequences for everyone's actions. Ho-Leah kissy face wasn't just gratuitous reality TV skankage (could it have been any more perfect that the skanky chef picked the skanky snapper?). It had repercussions in the kitchen and put both off their game, leading to Leah's cod disaster. AWKWARD. Nice timing, hormones. Also, would have it been too much to ask for a real time camera at Leah and Hosea's separate "Top Chef" viewing parties with sig others? Heart being ripped out of chest .... now!
Employing the buddy system cost Radhika, who should've picked Fabio first because of his charm, and Stefan second because of his, oh I don't know, cooking skills. Leah lucked into getting last pick, and I think the judges made the right choice in giving Team Sunset the victory. Two shining stars are better than a slight difference in food quality. And what poetic justice for Stefan. His arrogance scares the other contestants: it's that simple. But the guy always delivers. This isn't playground kickball, folks. We're not trying to avoid the uncoordinated kid with coke-bottle glasses and leg braces. Stefan. Is. The. Man.
So everyone who made a bad choice got their just desserts in the end. (Get it? Desserts?) And an editorial comment on new judge Toby Young. This guy is trying WAY too hard. Bravo better sign Fabio -- the clear people's choice favorite -- to a long term judging deal after this season. He's too Fabio-lous!
Look for more power rankings next week!
-- Malavika Jagannathan, firstname.lastname@example.org, Sara Boyd, sboyd2@greenbaypressgazette and Thomas Rozwadowski, email@example.com