We’re going to start this “Top Chef: California” review off with what may be a pretty controversial opinion to some people out there: We really don’t like Restaurant Wars nearly as much as the average person. It transforms the show into something that is almost skill-based into something more akin to “The Apprentice” where you have Project Managers, key decisions to make, and the person who gets eliminated is not always the person who deserves to. Just look back at some of the previous chefs taken down as a part of this phase of the competition (Kenny and Kristen, though the later did work her way back in and win).
Yet, at the same time rules are rules, and we’re about to go ahead and make a call on who should be losing Restaurant Wars this season pending a last-second collapse: Jeremy, Amar, Phillip, and Kwame. Not only that, but Jeremy, talented as he may be, should be sent home. He made the decision early on during lunch service that he would disregard many of the other diners in favor of getting the judges’ meal done. As a result of that, he backed up the kitchen, interrupted the flow, and probably disrespected many of the people who had come out of their way to take part in filming the show.
Maybe Jeremy’s food was fine, but a part of Restaurant Wars is the service. The episode ended with his kitchen more or less being a disaster zone, and we don’t see anyone standing up for him when the time comes. Sure, Phillip’s dish was not particular well-received by the judges, but that’s not the biggest issue with this kitchen.
Meanwhile, the only problem with the other team (Marjorie, Isaac, Carl, and Karen) is that Carl’s dish wasn’t particular great. Sure, Marjorie was slow getting to the judges, but she was solving other problems and we feel like the judges will appreciate that. Isaac ran lunch service pretty smoothly despite some concerns, and that gives us hope that they’ll continue to be a great team moving into part 2.
In the end, there was no elimination tonight, and not even really too many iconic successes / failures. The destruction of team L.A. District with Jeremy and company was slow and methodical, and they’ve got a huge hole to dig themselves out of. Grade: B-.
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