Finally I get to return to some sanity after my week with the Real Housewives of OC. In cased you missed it and you watch Bravo for the competitive, entertaining, and almost classy Top Chef (except for the Hosea and Leah hook-up) you probably did, but if you love all things Bravo you know I was in the middle of the "Naked Drunk" episode last week. I really wasn't and am still not much of a fan of the Housewives of OC but I had a great time watching my team and I cook our own menu on our own time in our own way. Minus the tequila frenzy of emotionally unstable plastic ladies the show was a blast. Ouch!
WANTED: The Real Housewives of Orange County or Southern California who are interested in a phenomenal dinner party paired with great wines, look me up and let's plan it: www.brianmalarkey.com Had to put it out there ...
Restaurant Wars has always been one of my favorite episodes every season and this season delivers on several levels. You can't get a better judge for a restaurant challenge than Stephen Starr who has some of the best concepts on the planet. I remember this as being the longest of several long days. It's impossible to open a restaurant from concept, to menu, to service, ambiance, timing, and most importantly personality in this short of a time period and be proud of it. You always know that everyone is going to go down in some way or another and we had no exceptions. Oh yes we did -- the "Sarcastic Cooking European Stefan" pulled it off again and won it for his team. Stefan had it right when he said Leah should pick her team for business and not friendship or clustered emotional isolated confusion.
The Quickfire looked like a good time. How often to you get to design an entire concept around a dish? Leah and Radhika put out some food that Stephen Starr saw potential in and that was the biggest compliment either of them have probably had thus far in their careers. Take note future restaurateurs when he said that global cuisine was emerging as the concept of tomorrow. I did. Lets break it down:
Team Sahana: Radhika wins and selects Jamie first because she can't stand Stefan, a great choice and definitely one of the better chefs. Then she takes Jeff who is easy to work with and has some good ideas. She fails with Carla who has been melting like her yogurt soup for several episodes. Picking Carla over Stefan only highlights her own insecurities and the clouds darken over Team Sahana. You saw me go down on Restaurant Wars when I was in the front of the house in Miami, but the difference is I helped with the menu and I went down sweating and screaming for my life, literally. Radhika was hiding in the kitchen rather then expediting and motivating her team and when she was on the floor her position was just as passive and confused. I have enjoyed her success with her Indian inspired cuisine. Was she the right choice? I don't know -- she sure could have taken Carla with her and I wouldn't have cared. I know I'm not sending that out with any love but I am sending out a good dish!
Team Sunset: Leah put together a team with her cuddle buddy Hosea who if he were focused is as good a choice as any and better than most. Picking Fabio only guarantees they could serve "monkey ass" as long as he's in the front of the house charming the guest and still win. Nice suit! Getting Stefan off the bench last was a goldmine and won the challenge for the team. I loved how he named the team without Leah even being involved. The desserts looked so polished and he handled the element of a broken refrigerator in stride. Malarkey Power Ranking:
1. Stefan: Cut to the chase: He is going to win this thing pulling away. What a COCK! - Reference to last week's hen house episode ... Love IT! ou don't have to be the most likable guy to be the best cook but Stefan is not really unlikable -- he's just what is needed to be a great chef: demanding, perfectionist, confident, talented, and a bit of a pain in the ass.
2. Fabio: "Monkey Ass" charm goes a long way on this competition and in life, plus he has shown that he can cook some nice food, maybe not this week with his "frozen - second-rate egg roll." He was hilarious in the front of the house!
3. Jamie: True leader, Queen of Scallops and in the top consistently. I have to give her some grief for calling her Quickfire concept dish "sustainable and organic" and then serving Chilean Sea bass, one of the most depleted fish stock on the planet. She almost carried Team Sahana to victory.
4. Jeff: "A hummingbird on cocaine" Whoa! You don't get sound bites like that every day. I see him going to the finals but out-of-the-box thinking is going to keep him from winning. 5. Hosea: I really enjoyed his cooking and his personality on the show except for the Leah hook-up. This is a competition and you both are in relationships AND this is on national TV. I think he is going to feel so awful knowing that he is going to have to explain his actions to his girlfriend back in the mountain of Colorado that it going to ruin his game. I had a friend text me in the middle of this episode and say "That's why you don't hook up on Top Chef!"
6. Leah: The guilt is going to get to her and I foresee an exit very soon. She can definitely make some good dishes but the finals and the title is not hers.
7. Carla: I feel the LOVE; I just don't feel the skills!
I missed last week's Top Chef blog so I just wanted to say that I thought Ariane got set up and went down for the couch kissing contestants. She had a great run and I give her great respect for her victories.
Next week's episode looks to be entertaining with the "New York All-Stars" taking on the contestants but if they were really the "All-Stars" then why are Hung and Harold missing? I have a challenge: New York vs. California ... Let's get it on! Myself, Stefan, CJ, Antonia, Fabio and our new transplants, Ilan and Casey, are ready to bring it! Gather your best from all seasons and let's see who comes out on Top State!
Cheers! Would love to read your opinions...