Unlike usual episodes that start with footage of the chefs waking up in Casa de Chef, this one shows Tom Colicchio waking them up at the ass crack of dawn – quarter to six, to be precise. Turns out that he’s going to be involved with the Quickfire Challenge this week, and tells them they’ll be on the line at a breakfast hot spot in Chicago. Antonia and Steph both interview that they’ve made it this far, and they want to make it to the Final Four. Steph adds that she wants to ultimately win the competition, but that Final Four is her fundamental goal.
Once the chefs get to Lou Mitchell’s, a classic Chicago breakfast spot, Tom introduces them to Helene. She’s the owner of the restaurant and will be the guest judge for this Quickfire; she seems like a total ball breaker. Staying true to her form, she has a permanent look of disgust and disbelief as she watches all six contenders try their turns at the egg station of her rather busy restaurant. Despite her permafrown throughout the entire competition, she claims that she was thoroughly impressed with everyone’s skills. This is, of course, after Lisa burned through a styrofoam to-go container. Helene had it down to Antonia and Dale, and ended up deciding on Antonia as the winner. At this point, the editors made it seem as if this decision would determine the fate of Dale in the game. Turns out, it actually did. Shortly afterward, Tom told the crowd that he would have to attend a charity event and wouldn’t be involved in the Elimination Challenge. He then gave them an address to meet Padma and they performed their required product placement as they used their GPS phones to track down the place.
A massive place full of hardwood floors and exposed brick walls follows with Padma standing in the middle. As we soon find out, she was just fucking with us when she said there would be no Restaurant Wars this season. Since Antonia won the Quickfire Challenge, she gets to pick her team, and immediately chooses Steph and Blaise. Team Faves takes on Team fucks, or Lisa, Spike, and Dale, in what essentially comes down to a rematch of Wedding Wars minus Nikki and Andrew…for now. Each team will cook for 35 diners a piece and have $1500 for food and $5000 for decor at Pier 1, which is disgusting.
Each team gets to planning and Spike decided to take Front of the House for Team Fucks so he can avoid making any food and coast through until the next round. Steph takes Front for Team Faves and still manages to make several dishes because she’s perfect. Her team decided to call their restaurant Warehouse Kitchen with a “gastro pub” feel; basically, they’re cooking haute cuisine in a laid-back and casual atmosphere. Antonia will be executive chef, Blaise will be chef de cuisine, and Steph will, redundantly, be front of the house. On Team Fucks, which will naturally be reiterating an Asian menu, will have Dale as executive chef, Lisa as chef de cuisine, and Spike as front of the house. Antonia interview at this point that Dale uses Asian for every single dish he creates, which is a valid criticism, much like Nikki used Italian for every single dish she ever used. Yet again, Antonia is saying what I’m typing, and I love her more with every episode.
At this point, Anthony Bourdain walks in. Yes, the complete asshat who takes himself far too seriously and most likely considers himself to be Jesus in a kitchen is Tom’s replacement for the episode. The man who got rid of CJ last season after calling his broccolini “inedible” since he was forced to cook with an airplane’s oven is back. He begins to make his rounds through the kitchen as Tom would, and another douchetastic moment emerges from Spike. In his usual manner of sucking up as much as possible until he can no longer gleam any kind of merit from the person, Spike announces that he has the outmost respect for Bourdain. Not utmost, mind you, but outmost. Thanks for proving to the entire world that you’re a fucking moron, Spike. Duly noted. Bourdain tells Team Faves that he likes what they’re doing, but reminds Team Fucks that he knows Asian cuisine well, especially laksa, so they better get everything right. Most. Obvious. Foreshadowing. Ever.
He then tells the chefs that with three hours left to prepare their restaurants and menus, they will have an extra set of hands around to help out. He brings out Andrew, Nikki, Mark, and Queen Elezabeth for the teams’ selections. Team Fucks choose Optimus Lez, which she totally didn’t deserve, and Team Faves picked Nikki so that they can have her make their pasta for their first course.
Over on Team Fucks, Dale is in a pissy mood because his avocado mousse had a rotten avocado, so the color has turned an odd brown hue, and it doesn’t help that Lisa is screaming at everyone about her rice getting fucked up. She then actually says that Dale’s poor attitude is bringing her down and making her negative, which is obviously bullshit. I’m sorry, but it’s the eleventh episode at this point, and she’s still so oblivious as to think that it’s Dale’s fault that she’s a fucking pill to be around. Grow up, loser. On the other side of the spectrum, Antonia interviews that they need to work together to make sure every dish is working well, since they’ll be judged together. Funny how team work can work so harmoniously on one side and so disastrously on another.
At this point, Team Fucks basically goes to shit and fights for the rest of the episode. Lisa starts another fight about the mango sticky rice and how it’s not turning out right, but I’m pretty sure that there’s footage earlier in the episode of them grabbing rice pudding since they couldn’t find sticky rice at Whole Foods. Maybe that’s just my own exhaustion, but I’m pretty sure that would fuck up your entire consistency and flavor.
The guest judge for this round is José Andrés, who is largely to blame for bringing tapas to DC with his restaurant Jaleo. Thanks for that, you worthless piece of shit. Team Faves’ menu is as follows –
Team Faves (“Warehouse Kitchen”):
Dish #1 – beet salad with goat cheese and ras el hanout spices
Dish #2 – linguine & clams with sausage and horseradish crème fraîche
Dish #1 – trout with cauliflower puree and caramelized cauliflower
Dish #2 – lamb loin and braised lamb shank
Dish #1 – gorgonzola cheesecake with sweet potato puree and Concord grape sauce
Dish #2 – banana scallops with banana guacamole and chocolate ice cream
As if anyone would ever doubt, the judges are blown away with pretty much every dish. In even more predictability, they hate the menu that Team Fucks prepared, which is as follows.
Team Fucks (“Mai Buddha”):
Dish #1 – spicy coconut shrimp laksa
Dish #2 – pork and pickled plum potstickers
Dish #1 – braised short ribs with pickled red cabbage and apple basil salad
DIsh #2 – butterscotch miso scallops, spicy eggplant, and pickled long beans
Dish #1 – halo-halo with cantaloupe, coconut, kiwi, avocado, and candied nuts
Dish #2 – mango sticky rice with toasted coconut
Not only do the judges hate pretty much every single dish, but Bourdain and Ted immediately start to rip apart the decor as soon as they’re sat down, right in front of Spike. Priceless, mother fuckers, priceless. Bourdain hates all of it, but especially the mango sticky rice, which he calls “baby vomit with wood chips.”
In the most obvious conclusion ever, Team Faves won, and Steph gets the technical win with an incredible trip of four days and nights to Barcelona. Team Fucks loses and a gong is smashed with Asian-centric music played as they walk to the Judges Table. Well played, editors. Spike lies to the judges about who picked the decor, all three of them throw each other under the bus, and it’s basically down to Lisa and Dale for who would be eliminated. Here’s where the bullshit comes in. Despite Lisa constantly being in the bottom of the chefs and getting so close to elimination so many times, the judges choose Dale. The guy who saved their asses in Wedding Wars and made some decent slash mediocre food this time is sent packing when the girl who is a walking Debbie Downer and didn’t create a single edible dish in the challenge is spared. I know I go back and forth on whether or not I like Dale as a person, but it’s complete and utter bullshit that she wasn’t sent home in this situation. You can’t fault a leader for not leading when your team is hell-bent on fucking everything up and then selling you out at the end. Lisa sucks so much, in fact, that Blaise and Steph are visibly shocked when they found out that he was asked to pack his knives. Even the good chefs in the season know that he’s better than Spike and Lisa. I hate for Dale to leave on a challenge like this, but at least he never has to work with those fucktards again.
My redeeming quality of next week? Looks like everyone fucking hates Lisa and she implodes during the Elimination Challenge.