It's a new spin on Restaurant Wars starting this week! But first, we've got to get through the Quickfire.
The ep starts back at the suite. Josh talks about not having John in the competition. Stefan is shown sitting outside without his "morning friend, John." Brooke said she's good with those left in the competition. Josie says to those in the kitchen "Asians represent, Asians represent!" Stefan sort of wrinkles his nose. Josie says in the camera aside that everyone left is impressive, and that to underestimate anyone is stupid. "I didn't come back as a stupid chef!" Ummm......
They arrive back at the TC Kitchen, and Wolfgang Puck is there with Padma. The challenge is to work with ginger (YAY! I love ginger!). Turns out it's sponsored by Canada Dry ginger ale and it seems to require the use of ginger ale, although I'm not sure if everyone uses it. They only get 15 minutes. The winner will receive immunity in the next Elimination challenge.
The cheftestants are going crazy running around trying to finish their dishes in 15 minutes. Josie and Josh collide in a full-on run but both remain standing.
Josh - White Chocolate & Ginger Soup with Peaches & Tarragon - Wolfgang Puck said very restrained on the ginger.
Josie - Seared Scallop with Ginger-Honey Yogurt & Miso-Ginger Sauce - Puck said the scallops were nicely cooked.
Brooke - Ginger-Caramel Squid with Fresh Lime & Chili Powder - Puck says it sounds inventive and it works well together.
Lizzie - Watermelon & Ginger Soup with Fresh Mint - Puck says it would be a nice cold soup to serve on a warm day.
Micah - Ginger Shrimp Salad with Radish, Plum, Ponzu Vinaigrette & Fried Crispy Ginger - Padma likes the plum - it's refreshing.
Kristen - Fennel-Ginger Salad with Brie & Tomatoes - Puck said infusing the ginger flavor via the CO2 cartridge was a new idea. (I think that's what he said.)
Sheldon - Wok-Fried Ginger Skirt Steak with Ginger & Oranges - Puck said it could use a bit more sweetness but it was good.
Stefan - Ahi Tuna with Lemongrass & Ginger Vinaigrette - Puck said nice and delicate. Stefan adds some charm by speaking to Wolfgang in German.
The bottom group - Sheldon and Josh
The top group - Brooke, Stefan, and Lizzie
And the winner is Brooke!
For the Elimination Challenge, Danny Meyer, CEO of Union Square Hospitality Group, arrives in the TC Kitchen. And Padma announces it's time for Restaurant Wars! But a new twist - each cheftestant must come up with a complete restaurant concept along with a dish that represents the concept - all to be presented at The Bite of Seattle. They will need to prepare 200 portions, and they will have 4 sous chefs to help them. There will be 2 winners chosen at the Bite of Seattle, and those winners will serve as Executive Chefs and create their restaurant from the ground up in the second part of Restaurant Wars. The 2 winners will receive $10,000 for this part of the challenge.
They head out to get ingredients - Josie, Micah and Sheldon head to Uwajimaya Asian Food Market and the others head over to Central Market.
They arrive back in the TC Kitchen and Kuniko, Carla, Chrissy, and Eliza are there as sous chefs. Micah and Josie share Kuniko, and Sheldon asks Chrissy to help him. Stefan gets Carla to help him, and Eliza is helping Lizzie. Tom comes into the kitchen to see what everyone is working on.
There is a *lot* of camera time for Josie....so - do we speculate? Is it her time to go? PaLEEZ?
Back at the suite, they show Stefan sticking a frozen Healthy Choice into the microwave. (REALLY? Does anyone think that chefs are actually eating these things?) It's also Sheldon's 30th birthday. The other chefs bring out a cake for him.
The next day, they rush to their stations at Bite of Seattle. The sous chefs show up and start helping where needed. An element of Josie's dish isn't done, and she begins to freak out - which means an incessant amount of talking and honking laughter. The judges show up, and Danny notes when he first met Tom C. was at another food festival such as Bite of Seattle. Tom said "I had hair then!" and they show a picture of Tom with a full head of hair. He just doesn't look right with hair! LOL Danny said Tom made a sea urchin and crabmeat mashed potatoes dish that stood out, and made him want to work with Tom. Tom said he *still* makes that dish. Meanwhile, Brian Canlis is at Stefan's station, and when Stefan starts up a blender, the top isn't on and he sprays Canlis, who starts laughing.
JOSH - "Bistro George" - Seared Eye of Rib Eye with Cauliflower Puree & Mushroom Red Wine Sauce. Gail likes his dish, Danny thinks the mushrooms are seasoned, but the steak isn't.
LIZZIE - "Mia Filino" - Mustard Green Canederli with Fonduta & Crispy Speck. Danny says her dish is classic northeastern Italian near Austria. Tom says the flavor is great, but it's a bit heavy.
SHELDON - "Urbano" - Sour Tamarind Soup with Pork Belly, Shrimp & Snapper. Danny said the flavor makes you sit up straight - in a good way, and it's clear he's cooking from his heart. Padma notes that traditionally, this soup is not a pretty dish to look at, but he managed to keep it authentic.
STEFAN - "Bangkok via Munich" - Thai Lobster Bisque with Shrimp Dumplings, Potatoes & Radishes *and* another dish - Bavarian Cream Mango Lollipop. Gail likes the coconut milk and the broth in the soup, but wants some herbs in the dish. Danny Meyer said the lollipop doesn't hold up to the soup, and the last bite makes him forget the soup.
MICAH - "Raw" - Salmon, Snapper, Himachi, Squid, Scallop & Mackerel with Raw Vegetables. While he's describing the dish to the judges, Gail asks if he's thought of this concept for a long time, and he says yes. If you're in a chef in Beverly Hills, you have to please a lot of ladies who watch their figure. Tom and Gail both look at each other with puzzled faces. After trying the dish, Tom didn't like the presentation - he didn't like that the seafood wasn't cut to order. Gail liked the egg yolk vinaigrette. Danny said everyone there has a good context for raw fish - it's called really good sushi. And if this isn't adding something to the dialogue on really good sushi, who needs it?
KRISTEN - "Atelier Kwan" - Onsen Egg with Camembert-Mustard Sauce & Buttered Radishes. Danny Meyer liked the butter-poached radishes and said they were wonderful. Gail loves the egg. Tom said there's always a risk cooking an egg like this, as some don't set, but her eggs are perfect.
BROOKE - "Unkosher" - Matzo Ball Soup with Duck Confit & Toasted Black Rye Bread. Gail liked the duck broth, but she doesn't like the matzoh ball - "It's offensive to my people!" But she loves the Black Rye Bread. Tom said it would have been better if she had made the matzoh ball out of the rye bread.
JOSIE - "Home 305" - Puerco Asado, Black Bean Chorizo Croquette, Pickles & Mojo Sauce. Prior to the judges coming up to her station, guests are shown standing at Josie's table waiting for food to be served, and she's still cooking it and trying to plate it, all the while talking and doing her song-and-dance Josie Show. Sure enough, she does the same with the judges, and she says "You can't get any closer to my heart with the dishes I'm cooking!" Tom says "hopefully you can get it closer to the plate." Gail said the pork is dried out and flavorless. Tom agrees.
The judges discuss who could go home. Stefan and Micah both didn't do well, as well as Josie.
Back at the Stew Room, Padma comes in and asks to see Kristen, Sheldon, and Josh. They're obviously in the top group! From concept to execution, Tom said the one dish showed what the concept could be for each cheftestant. The two winners? Kristen and Sheldon! What a great birthday present for Sheldon - $10,000! :-) And Kristen is now up to $45,000 for her monetary total so far. Josh is disappointed.
But Kristen and Sheldon will face off in less than 48 hours. They are given dossiers as to the details they'll need to know. They will each receive completely empty spaces to be built up from scratch. They can staff the restaurants now when they go back to meet the other chefs, but Padma tells them to choose wisely, as someone will *still* be eliminated tonight. Danny urges them to make sure to staff their restaurants with those they feel they can teach and who can execute their food as well as they would. The winner of Restaurant Wars will get a new Toyota Avalon.
They head back to Stew Room and they choose their staff members.
Kristen chooses Brooke, Lizzie, Josie.
Sheldon chooses Josh, Stefan, Micah.
Padma comes in asking to see Micah, Lizzie, and Josie. Kristen realizes her odds are *not* good with two women in the bottom group.
Gail tells Micah there were so many pieces of fish that you couldn't differentiate between them. Tom said he'd rather have 1 piece of fish sliced in front of them vs. the Pu-Pu platter of fish.
Lizzie is asked how she came up with the concept. Lizzie said she was aiming for northeastern Italian, but perhaps she wasn't gracious enough to explain it to them when they were at the table. Tom tells her the dumpling wasn't cooked enough. Gail said if you're going to get that specific, "God is in the details."
Padma asks Josie how she thinks she did. She said she got good feedback and gave everyone the option of crispy pork or fattier pork. Danny said when he tried to put his fork in the pork and the pork fought back, he knew it was going to be a problem. Gail said the pork was so bland, all she tasted was grease. Tom said "The Josie Show, time and time again - it seems that in an effort to put that show on, you're forgetting some basic things."
And after commercial break, Padma tells Micah to PYKAG! Wow. I really really REALLY thought it was going to be Josie, dammit! But if anyone can beat CJ in LCK, it might be Micah.
They show previews for Restaurant Wars - it's Girls vs. Guys. It'll be interesting!