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  1. Worth noting that Kevin didn't actually win the QF and I'd bet money that one of the reasons was that he didn't fulfill the challenge parameters. (That said, I'd bet the bigger reason was that Melissa's was just better!) So, they really liked his dish but he not rewarded with a win. However, I wish the judges had verbalized that. If they didn't take that into consideration, it's definitely bullshit. Not sure why Malarkey didn't cut his pork thinner to begin with, rather than getting it all nice and caramelized and THEN having to cut it down. Not that anything would have saved uncuttably tough pork. (Though Champagne Padma was probably exaggerating for effect.)
  2. Everyone knows a duo is dangerous on TC, for all the reasons you list. But for me the error was knowing the duo halves wouldn't taste good together! A good duo at least complements. So when he said the fruit was clashing badly with the truffles (which, together, yuck), still deciding to put them one forkful apart was stupid. If the truffle was a required element, then he shouldn't have gotten so hung up on the fruit to begin with. So weird you said Zelig. That was an answer on Jeopardy this week and I have never heard of that character or heard it used in this way. Now I have! There were only some plates missing. I would have said maybe half? My question is, if everyone in the restaurant got plates -- which I think they did -- weren't there a few plates leftover? Did some tables get extras? Agreed. Kevin hasn't come across well at a number of points this season, but don't think his choices here were sexist. Yeah I 100% think it was a mistake. I truly do not believe they would directly sandbag a single contestant like that. Yes on the divided dish as well. My guess is the average restaurant doesn't have those, but something with a divider would at least indicate they shouldn't be mixed. However as I said, I still think it would have been dumb to have clashing dishes presented together.
  3. This may be one of the only things all night I think was a good decision. He knew that going out was what the judges wanted, but he was behind and had food to get out. I give him credit for knowing it would hurt him yet trying to do what was right for the diners instead of the judges. I cannot imagine, no. Fussy dishes, lots of dumplings, carts running out of food. I could only hope she meant her ideal restaurant would have carts, not the RW pop-up. His eyes were getting...kinda crazy at judging. The tension and emotion in his face was freaking me out. He was holding it together, but barely. Agree with everyone I flinched when he said plantation. It was all the more jarring being up against a Haitian concept, plus the presence of a Middle Passage concept.
  4. Yeah, it was a standup move to take responsibility but, dude, there was no lifeboat to jump in. He was responsible for most of what went wrong. No one sabotaged or undermined him. Kevin's always been a fav for me, but this was right. I think the worst part of having too many dishes went beyond execution -- when I saw all those little blobs of food on the judge's plates, it felt like such an uncurated experience. It would be too much to taste & take in. You can't really enjoy any one thing when you're tasting 12 all stacked together. Karen was definitely next in line for the chopping block but her contribution to their downfall was not as great as Kevin's. Especially since he made a point in a talking head to say he wanted his team to feel like they owned part of the concept and had a hand in developing the food! But then I don't think he really listened. As a counterpoint, when the judges said the winning restaurant showed the team came together cohesively to create a menu...I thought nah, that was all Gregory. He created that menu top to bottom and they backed his play. It almost has to be deliberate. The most generous read is they are indifferent. It's not like you can't find waiters with SAG cards. As many of us say every year, I wish they'd just give them a little more time to prep and train FOH.
  5. I was getting weighed down by the drumbeat narrative of selling your body to get ahead, so I was glad to see the story shift and have it be rejected by people on both sides of the power dynamic. It's obviously going to continue being a big part of this story, but at least there are some characters pushing back now. Poor Roy/Rock. Henry treats him like crap. Such an abusive situation. (That said, Roy doesn't own Archie. Roy needs to learn about boundaries all around.)
  6. I did see the sting coming -- as soon as she started pushing the cash I was like NOOOO DON'T TAKE IT -- but I totally did not get why he was at the theater. Took me forever to figure out. The sting was predictable, though. The operation was incredibly un-subtle, it's not surprising someone noticed a gas station where service guys hop in the car and drive away. And a never-changing password? Not sure what I think yet. The cast is interesting enough to give it a couple rounds.
  7. You're probably right. They would have had a hard time discussing it without it being really awkward. OTOH, they said one had food issues and one had concept issues. (And Stephanie had both.) It wasn't clear to me exactly which was which...but given how bad they said Eric's food was I inferred that his concept was actually not that bad in their eyes.
  8. Not sure about that...both his dishes sounded awful, an opinion shared unanimously by the judges. Tom immediately "pushed away" the lamb and they all agreed it was way overcooked. His other one was deemed extremely salty. Virtually every comment was negative. From the judge's comments we heard, inedible food did him in way more than the concept.
  9. While they were working on mood boards, Lee Anne acknowledged winning was a double edged sword. Totally agree. I'd never want to be EC in this challenge. I think it's great that the concept is formed/pitched in advance because it eliminates the hodgepodge we usually get, where they all figure out their lowest common denominator and muddle through. This way it's defined and clear. However, not all of the concepts translate equally well to team execution and frenzy. In the real world, you hire chefs who can support your concept. Not so in RW! You get a team made up of peer competitors, and your authority and control are weak. As another poster noted, Gregory may have a harder time because the chefs won't be as familiar off the bat with Haitian flavors.
  10. Recently I was at a local German restaurant and the specials menu had snapper -- "schnapper schnitzel". Based on the wordplay alone I could not resist getting that. It was delicious! I love shnitzel, prepared and seasoned properly. But...is schnitzel a good dish to represent modern American? She thought it was a good concept because it hadn't been done in RW before. True! And I love dim sum. But creating lots of fiddly little dishes, some dumplings presumably, also sounds like a lot to ask of your RW team. Also thought it was odd that of her two representative dishes, one was a small plate and one was a large plate. While it's normal at a dim sum place to have both, a big plate doesn't feel like it embodies the concept. I'm nitpicking though. When Lee Anne gushed that she was a huge fan and watched "all his movies"...I thought that was a bit odd. Trejo has appeared in a million things, I don't think of "Danny Trejo movies" as in he was the star. Or am I off base? The machetes were delightful. Loved Brian using if for fine knife work. As dleighd said, he sells them. Tom confirmed that at the judges table, linking Malarkey's pitch to his success opening and selling 15 restaurants. That was really helpful for me to understand it -- they are opening but not running some or all of them. I definitely wondered how many of their 5/10/19 restaurants are operating and thriving. That's a much better measure of success than "how many have you opened?"
  11. That's the only thing that makes sense to me. Mo gave Eddie a key, which is a big step. Then Eddie is excited about being away for 8 months, leaving Mo behind. Mo isn't having it. So Mo burns it down. Because if that's not the motive, it doesn't make sense to break up before you know if it's even necessary. Eddie hadn't gotten the part yet. But Mo doesn't care -- Eddie's willingness to go is the break-up-worthy sin. Bringing the stuff to end it AT the audition? That was beyond bitchy. It could have thrown Eddie off and tanked his chances. Mo made sure to burn it good.
  12. This completely flummoxes me! I am from Ohio, my family goes back countless generations there, and I've never heard of it being considered anything but the Midwest! As an adult I've gone on to live in 4 other states (Midwest and West) and same in all those places. The only other label is "back East", but that's not a region, it's just "anything east of here". What do you consider Ohio, then? A state I consider to be hard to classify is Pennsylvania. It straddles regions -- Philadelphia fits best with east coast, Pittsburgh is more midwestern/rust belt. It's its own thing. Maybe West Virginia, too.
  13. For sure, there are always some teams with a leg up when they bring in family members. This time it didn't seem like anyone was stuck with a *bad* partner at least! I thought the playing field seemed more even than usual. (Except mistaking fish for chicken...) My partner agreed if I'm ever on Top Chef he'll make sure the show recruits my mom or brother instead of him, because he would be terrible.
  14. Their stash didn't blow up. The police had already impounded everything -- in an earlier conversation they said the house was empty when it blew up. Well, he does have black ears. Which are super gross.
  15. Lots of people would choose the baby, though, just like Grace did. (I would not, just saying.) I definitely see why Ben felt guilty and torn up. Grace told him explicitly to save the baby over her, and he went against her wishes. If she'd lived and the baby had died, Grace may have found that unforgivable.
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