“Top Chef” Recap: Episode 4.11 “Restaurant Wars”

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Dale is less than thrilled with his team. But he says he feels better about his team now than at Wedding Wars.

Dale: Not to say that Nikki’s personality was horrible, but it’s one less to deal with.

Gosh, and he says he isn’t in Top Chef to make friends.

We’ve got spirit, yes we do — The teams have an hour to plan their food and concept. I have a few seconds to give each a team nickname. Since I’m still working on the Padma GPS, I go for the easy initials route. Say hello to Team ARS (Antonia, Richard, Stephanie) and Team LSD (Lisa, Spike, Dale). The irony of Team ARS’ name is not lost on me, considering Team LSD is the one with all the arses on it.

Team ARS feel like they have an advantage because Richard has opened a restaurant before (called Blaise Up — the man loves his puns). They decide to go with a gastro pub and serve fine-dining food in a relaxed atmosphere.

The duties are divided easily: Antonia is executive chef, Richard is chef de cuisine and Stephanie is front of the house. They name their restaurant Castro Bistro.

East meets stereotypes — Team LSD isn’t having quite as easy a time. They decide to do what Lisa calls “a really fun, good vibe, good energy, Asian feel with just amazing Asian food.” The three chefs who have worked in Asian restaurants have decided to make Asian food. Now that’s thinking outside the box.

Also, how can those three open anything that has a “good vibe, good energy” when together they are the very definition of “bad vibe, bad energy”? Dale is actually drumming his fingers on the table as Lisa speaks. I fear Team LSD is in for a very bad trip indeed.

Lisa wants to be the executive chef. Dale wants to be the executive chef. They decide by coin flip, and Dale wins.

Dale: Asian guy, Asian chef, Asian restaurant. I mean, it only adds credibility.

So, Dale, does that mean Asians are only credible when they cook Asian food? And Mexicans when they cook Mexican food? And Africans when they cook African food? And Caucasians when they cook baloney sandwiches? Somewhere a diversity trainer is weeping softly.

Lisa: Dale has pissed off a lot of people, and two of the people that he has pissed off the most are on his team. So it is making me feel really nervous.

Spike in the meantime thinks they should come together and rise above it. But his sudden team spirit isn’t for the sake of unity but to get one of the “top contenders” from Team ARS kicked off. They name their restaurant Mai Buddha, but from the look on Lisa’s face, they’re anything but Zen.

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