Top Chef

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Etched in My Mind

The cheftestants head back to the apartment and continue discussing their ideas. Dale's team is refinining their Bodega concept. They discuss how a bodega is a spot where you can get a coffee, a bagel, a bag of chips, a sixer, and a Selena CD. Carla is excited, but she knows the diners will be voting, and she hopes that the concept isn't too far out for them. To illustrate her point, Blais is talking about rednecks who win the lottery eating caviar dipped in ranch dressing. Ah, now I see where this could go wrong.

Marcel's team can't decide on a restaurant name. Marcel lobbies for "Medi" because most of their food is Mediterranean. Is it? I thought it was global. Why not "Globi"? Hire me, restaurant consultants! Their whole conversation is really confusing because at first it seems like Marcel is arguing that he's the only one who has thrown out an idea, so they should use it until someone comes up with something better. But then Angelo says that the other four all want the same thing, so majority wins. Mike's idea is Etch, which is almost as bad as Medi. He explains that they are "etching [their] food together into a tasting menu." I don't think he knows what etch means. Also, it's way too close to "sketch" which makes me think of "sketchy" and I don't want to eat somewhere sketchy. Then again, they are wasting way too much time worrying about the name, when no one cares. Call it A.S. Bistro and be done with it. People don't vote for the name; they vote for the food. And also maybe if they think Fabio wants to fuck them. I'm just saying.

The next day, the teams arrive at their restaurants, which are outside. But they have all the same equipment as always. The teams assess everything and try to figure out if they need to reconfigure anything for their needs. Marcel has another stupid bandanna tied around his head, but a different one. So that means he brought two bandannas. I mean, his hair isn't even that long that he needs something to keep it out of his face. Maybe he's really sweaty? I hate him.

They have five hours to prep. Blais explains what everyone on his team is doing. They're starting off with a bag of chips. Dale is doing a bacon, egg, and cheese play on a breakfast sandwich. Blais is doing canned tuna and also a fish fry. Tre is doing pork shoulder (how does that fit the concept?) while Carla does a blueberry pie and Fabio does a cheesecake. I love that Carla is pulling out her secret pastry weapon. That served her well during her original season.

Meanwhile, Antonia explains the concept for her team's restaurant, which is Mediterranean Inspired. I don't even know what that means. It sounds like some of them are making Mediterranean food and some aren't, and they couldn't come up with a concept to fit it all into. I'm telling you, call it Globi! It's a winner! Tiffany is doing something with eggs and chorizo (so, Spanish?), Angelo is doing a fluke crudo (Italian), Mike is doing something with octopus (Greek), Marcel is cooking monkfish (possibly Spanish), Mike and Angelo are working together to make lamb (Greek), and Antonia is making gnudi with oxtail (Italian). So I guess those are mostly Mediterranean, but it is really just more general European, right? And no dessert? Or appetizer? Interesting.

Colicchio shows up and talks to Marcel, who says he's doing a "reverse amuse." Colicchio is like "WTF?" and Marcel says it's "a little sweet treat at the end." So it's dessert. Stop being cute. Tom tries to ask Marcel if he's worried about doing two dishes himself and also being responsible for the whole team but Marcel is all jumpy and fidgety and finally basically tells Tom to get out so he can finish his dishes. Afterwards, Tom tells the camera that Marcel is all over the place and some people thrive on that energy but sometimes "it's a weird energy." I think the latter is true here. Marcel either had a dozen Jolt colas or took something or he's just a weirdo. Or some combination of those. Because he's acting bizarre.

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