Restaurants take a long time to open. I just opened one called Flip in Atlanta. Not my first or last. It's a process that can take more than a year, even with secure funding. At a minimum, with a team of people who have done it many times, it will take three to four months to do it correctly.
On Top Chef, in Restaurant Wars, you get 36 hours. And only a few of those are dedicated to cooking and preparing the dining room. It's the sickest challenge of them all. It's a recipe for disaster. Big disasters.
By winning the Quickfire, Radhika, and Leah get to choose teams. This should have been a big advantage. Stefan gets left out. Most people probably watched that and felt like he must be the most miserable person to work around. But, I watched it and realized again, what a lack of leadership and enthusiasm some in this group show.
Why wouldn't you pick one of, if not, THE, best chef in the lot? If you're not a leader, you don't pick leaders to be on your team. There is a fear factor there.
A chef should always try to surround him/herself with the most talented people. Although, in real life, attitude and social skills play a big role in forming a team. This is not the case in a competitive cooking contest.
Ever wonder why Terrell Owens always has a starting position even though he might be a nightmare of a person? Because he's talented and for those moments when you are in an intense competition, you deal with the other stuff.
Stefan, Marcel, Hung, Dale Talde, Tiffani Faison ... talented.
I'll pick those chefs on my team any day. Now, onto the restaurants. Sunset Lounge is the worst name I've ever heard of, for even a fake restaurant. I imagine giant fish bowls of spiked punch garnished with paper umbrellas. Cigarette smoke. Bill Murray singing the theme to Star Wars. And a few pirates in the kitchen, worrying more about their bet on the game, then the character of their food.
Fabio, actually fits this theme well as the slick host and it was a wise choice to have him at the door. Just please don't ask for spaghetti as a side with your risotto tonight!
Team Sahana had a great idea. A globally influenced restaurant, focusing on spices and comfort. It's right up Steven Starr's alley. But the most experienced chef with spices, Rhadika, opts for the front of the house? Her fate was sealed back in the Top Chef kitchen when she made that choice. The Indian girl, who didn't want to cook the Indian food.
I'm sure someone will raise the question of why it matters for a chef to know anything about their dining room. It's crucial. In a day and age of such competition, as Mr. Starr stated earlier in the episode, it's not just about the food. A chef needs to know how to have random conversation. Be hospitable, smile, and say hello and goodbye. The wallpaper, soundtrack, and valet have just as much to do with if a customer will return.
For what it's worth, Carla would have been my choice for the front on that team. She's energetic, spirited, and automatically makes you feel at ease. Oh well.
I'd be dishonest if I didn't say at this point the Leah and Hosea thing makes me feel icky. I'm not in the camp that thinks this makes it less of a cooking show, though. I actually think it makes it more realistic and has brought an emotion to the series that hasn't been there before. It's raising the issues of morality and it's appropriate IMHO. These things happen in the real world. They happen in kitchens. I met my wife in a kitchen. There were times I had trouble concentrating because I was falling in love. These two seemed so uncomfortable it was creepy. And it affected their work. Leah doesn't seem to care anymore. She's rattled and tired. And it's a shame because up until this point she's been one of the chefs with the most focused cuisine.
Down to seven with a few more to go until the finals. And since we know each other quite well by this point, friend me on Facebook or follow my updates on www.twitter.com (richardblais)!