Pre-apologies if this is more abbreviated or not as complete as I usually try to be. It was a pretty tough, emotional day today for me, and my mind is not all there. But I'll give it the ol' college try.
The pre-bit before the show starts goes over Antonia's "black widow" jinx of her teammates always going home...and when asked, both Carla and Tiffany say they "No!" to being on her team! In Dale's confessional he says "It's true about Antonia! 'Here, drink this Kool-Aid; everything will be OK!' " LOL!
It looks like it's a fish-filleting contest at an "elite seafood restaurant". Don't suppose we might see Chef Eric Ripert, might we? (I couldn't be that lucky.) Well, it's at Le Bernardin, at least, with Anthony Bourdain introducing the Quickfire Challenge! Justo Thomas of Le Bernardin prepares 700 to 1,000 lbs. of fish EVERY DAY (AB *did* say "every day", didn't he?) in the hours before they open at noon. He can filet and portion 2 fish in 8 minutes. The cheftestants have 10 minutes to do the same with 1 cod and 1 fluke.
Bottom group - Fabio, Tiffany, Antonia, and Carla
Top Group - Dale, Richard, Mike and Marcel
Those in the top group now have to make the best dish in 45 minutes that they can using the heads, racks, fins and collars of their butchered fish. Judges are Anthony Bourdain and Justo Thomas.
Richard and Mike get very good reviews, Marcel's dish is called monochromatic by Bourdain, and Dale's dish seems to be the most praised....and he wins the Quickfire!
They head back to the TC Kitchen, where Padma is standing there with Ludo Lefebvre. Padma lets them know it's time for RESTAURANT WARS! Ludo explains about his "pop-up restaurant"...a restaurant that exists often for one day only, or up to 2 months - it depends on what he wants to do. And that's what's happening with on this All-Stars Restaurant Wars. The judges will be Anthony Bourdain, Dana Cowin from Food & Wine Magazine, and Ludo Lefebvre. And Padma says for the first time the DINERS get to choose the winning team!
Dale is one captain, and he gets to choose the other team captain - and he chooses Marcel, because he doesn't want to work with him.
Team 1 - BODEGA - Dale, Richard, Tre, Fabio, and Carla (Fabio is FOH)
Team 2 - ETCH - Marcel, Mike, Antonia, and Tiffany (Tiffany is FOH, even though she doesn't want to be)
As they break into their teams, it is obvious that no one wants to listen to Marcel as he tries to organize his team. He's *way* controlling and really doesn't know how to talk to his team. This is going ot be interesting.
They arrive at where they're cooking, and it's outside. Tom notices while talking to Marcel that he's bouncing off the walls. And Tom's not sure how Team Bodega's food is considered bodega-ish, but he'll give them poetic license. He tells everyone there will be ONE winner, and that winner will get $10,000.
Marcel actually instructs Tiffany on how to cook a 6-minute eggs. Their entire team seems so disorganized! Finally Tiffany gets out front, and Angelo says he'll make sure her egg dish is taken care of. And in plating it looks like he helped it a lot! Marcel said he wasn't going to do a foam for his dish - and what a surprise, he does a foam for his dish. Pissed off Angelo a LOT.
Carla hollers to the other team "you guys have a good service!" and throws kisses to Antonia. She cracks me up!
Dale gets cranky as service begins, and takes it out on the servers. Fabio's not happy with the way he's treating the servers and asks him to back off - Dale's realizing that being the expediter is not the easiest job in the restaurant! And Tiffany comes back with plates from her team's service - way undercooked lamb. She listens as they re-serve some plates, and the diners at this one table are pretty critical about the food being too salty, unbalanced with the egg, undercooked meat. Yowza.
At BODEGA, Richard's and Dale's first courses get favorable reviews, and Tom notices that Fabio is managing his staff. He says it's the 1st time he's ever seen that. Tre's pork and Richard's cod dish get rave reviews, and Fabio's dessert dish gets superb comments from Bourdain. The judges seemed very pleased overall with BODEGA.
They head over to ETCH. Padma notices that Tiffany seems to think that being FOH is schmoozing with the diners. When Tiffany finally gets over to their table, she says "we're hungry!" and Tiffany rushes back to get the judges' dishes.
Meanwhile, back in the kitchen, Mike and Marcel are griping at each other, and Angelo is trying to get them to focus on just cooking.
The judges seem to like the lamb dish from Mike and Angelo, but Antonia's gnudi are too salty for Padma. When desserts come out, what a surprise - Marcel's had a hand in one of them, which Bourdain calls "a perfect shit storm of awfulness!"
But again - the DINERS are the ones picking the winners, so what the judges are saying could be totally different from what they think!
Padma asks Team ETCH to come into Judges Table....PLEASE don't tell me they won? Nope, they show a preview, and Mike and Marcel are arguing at JT - so I'm assuming they're on the bottom! Does this mean bye-bye, Marcel? ;-)
Yup - the Diners picked Team Etch as their least favorite restaurant. Only 17 out of 76 diners favored ETCH! Wow, that's a HUGE differential! Discussion about the lack of organization in Etch's kitchen, and when Tom asked who was in charge of organizing the kitchen, no one spoke up. As Tom said "The silence is deafening."
Marcel takes a beating for his dishes, and no one at JT liked his "surprise dessert". Bourdain said it was like a "thumb in the eye". And then the arguing of Mike and Marcel in front of the judges REALLY tells all about Marcel - he goes all ghetto in his arguing yet again. Antonia tries to say "as Team Captain, Marcel should have stepped up" and he still argues.
Team Bodega goes in, and when asked, Dale said he was EC, and Richard said he was "Technical Advisor". Richard gets raves for the initial bag of potato chips, and his food was highly praised as well, as well as Carla's dish. And Richard wins!
Back to Etch - Concept, Teamwork, Service, Food - all of them were just plain bad. Ludo said being an EC (Marcel) is not just about cooking - it's about managing. Tiffany's bad dish and bad FOH was noted. Bourdain said that he thinks Angelo realized the problem early on and just kept his head down. His fish dish wasn't great, but I don't think it was the worst dish. Bourdain said "prison breaks are organized with more teamwork than this restaurant!" LOL
This is a tough one to call - I'm thinking it's either Marcel or Tiffany. I hope the former! And when Tom reviews each cheftestant's issues, there's not one of them that had something good about their dish.
YES! It's Marcel who's outta there! Interesting - Marcel says he's a nice guy and a likeable person. If you have to say that as often as he seems to, perhaps you're trying to convince people of something that isn't as true as you think it is?
And the next episode has Lorraine Bracco as a guest judge. I *think* next week (January 26th) is actually a repeat, according to TV Guide, so this new episode won't be until February 2nd.