Top Chef

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Etched in My Mind

Padma adds that this time, the diners will choose the winning restaurant. Ludo gives them this sage advice: "Focus on the food." Wow, thanks. And here I was going to focus on everything but the food in a competition about cooking food. Shut up, Ludo. Anyway, remember in the early seasons, when they had to go to Pier One and buy shitty bamboo trays and candles and stuff? I miss those days. It had nothing to do with cooking, and was probably a big waste of time, but I enjoyed seeing how tacky the restaurants would turn out.

The teams split up to discuss their strategies and food. Marcel tells us in an interview that he's all about assembling a team with the most talent. Let's look at his team: him, Angelo, Mike, Antonia, and Tiffany. Let's look at the other team: Dale, Blais, Tre, Fabio, and Carla. Which team do you think has more talent? This is why we ignore everything Marcel says. He's either delusional, or a liar, or both. Anyway, they all pressure Tiffany into being the front-of-house person, because she's charming. Tiffany isn't really happy about it, but she does it for the team.

Dale's team gathers, and Blais introduces his concept: the bodega. He starts throwing out ideas, and the others listen closely and seem excited. In contrast, over on Marcel's team, he throws out the idea of "modern, global cuisine." Wow, that's incredibly non-specific. What kind of food do you serve at your restaurant, Marcel? "Oh, we serve food that people make now in every part of the world." Oh, I like food that is made now from all parts of the world! I can't get that anywhere else. Ugh. He is the worst.

Then Mike utters my other least favorite saying, explaining that he likes bold flavors and spices. Do you? Do you really? Because I like bland food with no flavor. I like white bread with nothing on it, not even salt. Do you have that on your menu? Shut up, Mike. Anyway, Marcel quickly loses control of his team because everyone starts talking about what they want to make and Marcel keeps insisting that they're just brainstorming and he won't listen to anyone and won't write anything down or commit to anything, even though his teammates are like, "This is what I'm making. Period." Look, they've decided. Why not let them? And then once everyone has a dish, you can say, "You know, I don't think your white bread with no salt fits into our menu, since we're focusing on food that is made now in all parts of the world with flavor." See how that works? Anyway, Marcel throws a hissy fit and everyone ignores him because clearly they have traveled into the future and read my recap and taken my advice. Yay!

The other team is like, "We are going to fuse our minds together and create a superbaby, and that baby will be named Bodega." And then they all experience mindmeld and it's awesome. Fabio is practically giddy with excitement.

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Top Chef

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