Disclaimer: While this is a Top Chef recap, this is also specific to OC. In other words, us Weeklings are rooting for Amar Santana!
Disclaimer #2: There are total spoilers in here. Do not read unless you want to know who won what this week, okay? Now, let’s DO this.
This is the very first season where our cheftestants are expected to cover both lunch and dinner service. In addition, they must participate in either an Executive Chef or Front of the House role. Can’t stop. Won’t stop. With the groundwork in place last episode, all that’s left is to prep, train servers, change clothes and make everything perfect. We call that easier said than done. On a positive note, it gives us less to explain. Time to jump right in.
Of all the chefs, we get the impression that Palate’s Karen may have taken on too many responsibilities. At last count, it was two and-a-half courses, as well as front of the house coverage. Marjorie steps in (after leading a pleasant lunch service) to get staff oriented, but ends up putting her prep time behind as well. Over at District LA, Amar’s executive role is questionable, “I’ll let them do what they believe, and focus on my dishes.” If that’s his mentality, well, o-kay.
Everybody is essentially in the weeds. Judges asked everyone to push themselves harder, and while they are trying, it doesn’t exactly translate on the plate. For example, a tragic, flavorless risotto reminiscent of Hell’s Kitchen catastrophes. Overplayed crudo as “the new pork belly”, per Tom. On the flip side, Marjorie again nails bread service, “savory monkey bread” according to Gail. And Issac? Well, he’s in rare form with that stew.
In the end, District LA (Amar’s team) is on the chopping block. Palate breathes a sigh of relief, while Issac whoops and hollers cries of joy for his first elimination win. We learn that it is down to Philip and Amar for knife-packing. Philip would not stop talking about his own restaurants, plus put out a soupy strawberry salad. Say that five times fast. Despite Amar’s thoughtful statement before service, “We learned exactly what not to do for dinner. Make sure we are turning tables. Let our food be the star of the whole concept.” things fell apart.
What did Amar do? He didn’t have the back of his teammates. Santana allowed Kwame to put out an amuse that wasn’t amusing. Amar then served a dish which was the equivalent of crab nachos. Despite it being the best nachos Tom had all day, they were nachos. So who left?
Is anybody surprised or relieved? Does it matter, so long as Amar remains in the competition? We suppose.
Parting words before previews indicate that they are headed up north for the next part of competition. It’s a mix of entertainers and respected chefs: Waxman, (Hubert) Keller, MC Hammer, David Copperfield and Martin Yan! It is also confirmed that the finale will take place in Vegas.
Now that we’ve officially caught you up, we’re headed over to Last Chance Kitchen. Laters.
A contributing writer for OC Weekly, Anne Marie freelances for multiple online and print publications, and guest judges for culinary competitions. A Bay Area transplant, she graduated with a degree in Hospitality Management from Cal Poly Pomona. Find her on Instagram as brekkiefan.