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Top Chef: Restaurant Wars Is Hell

We’re down to just eight contestants from the original 17, which Hosea points out is more than halfway through the competition, and Carla confirms that it is halfway, so we are halfway through the competition. I like to say that we’re half-full! (Sorry.)There is a lot of speculation about last week’s elimination of Ariane and whether or not Hosea and Leah are responsible for throwing Ariane under the bus. What? If anything, Ariane is responsible for not having crawled under the bus sooner. Get under that bus! I’m not a professional chef, or whatever, but I am a professional fan of Top Chef, and that’s what gives me the authority to say that Ariane was not very good at cooking. In any case, Fabio ends the conversation with some sort of weird Italian hand-slap gesture that I think means “whoever slay the dragon must move on about this whole Ariane thing.”

The celebrity guest judge this week is Stephen Starr, whoever that is, and he is here for RESTAURANT WARS. Ugh. I do not care about Restaurant Wars. If ever there was a challenge designed to ensure terrible food is made to be eaten in a miserable setting, it is this challenge. Let us be clear: everyone loses during Restaurant Wars. Stefan says that Restaurant Wars are a big deal in the restaurant world? That can’t possibly be true. You know what is a big deal in the restaurant world? Actual restaurants! Fabio says that it’s going to be a “hot, bloody, nasty war,” which seems a little over the top, but let’s be real, Fabio could call the phonebook a “hot, bloody, nasty” and the ladies would love it. Ladiiiieeees! For the quickfire challenge, everyone has half an hour to present a showcase dish for the type of restaurant they would like to open. The two winning dishes will decide the team captains. As Stephen Starr delivers his judgments on the dishes he keeps saying “I don’t think I’m going to be going into business with you buddy,” and “it didn’t inspire me to invest,” as if this was a real thing and they didn’t just give him a handful of Disney Dollars and tell him to make pretend. In the end, Radhika and Leah win, so they will be in charge of the restaurants.

Team Radhika: Jamie, Carla, Jeff
Team Leah: Hosea, Fabio, Stefan

The teams go shopping for decor at Pier One Imports, which is always my favorite part of Restaurant Wars because it’s like watching a dad going shopping for decor for the den. “Oh, that $250 gold-plated tiger sculpture will go great with this Santa Fe-style baying wolf rug. Are there any candle-holders shaped like eagle talons?” They’d be better off going to Jones’s Big Ass Truck Rental and Storage. Although I will say that the contestants all have a clear advantage this season over previous years with the show’s decision to host Restaurant Wars at Bridgewater, an actual restaurant, because creating a makeshift you-can’t-possibly-think-this-is-what-a-restaurant-actually-looks-like-Restaurant-Wars-style-restaurant looks way better in a finished dining room than, as in seasons past, in a rape garage out on the edge of town.

Speaking of rape garages, Leah and Hosea have been flirting all season, and this week their flirting went to a whole new level:

So the next morning, they are both in foul moods because of how comfy they were the night before. Aw. BOO HOO. They’re both thrown off their game, when what they should be thrown off of is the Bridgewater roof. CHEATERS GO TO JAIL.

It’s the big day! Jeff interviews that they have six hours to get ready, but that opening a restaurant is no joke. That is true. You know what else is true: YOU’RE NOT OPENING A RESTAURANT. Fabio is running the front of the house for Team Sunset Lounge (nice name, guys), and it’s the first time that he fully acknowledges his charm, and it’s gross. “We can serve a monkey ass in a empty clam shell and we a gonna win.” He is so full of himself! But the ladies love it! Laaadiiiiieees!

The judges seem to like the food at Team Sahana, but they are NOT IMPRESSED with Radhika’s flustered inability to provide good service. She doesn’t even say goodbye to them! They’re more critical of the food at Team Sunset Lounge (still such a great name and not weird and cheesy and like something out of Leisure Suit Larry at all, you guys really did it!) but they think that Fabio’s service is FAB-O-LESS! Well, maybe he was right. Maybe they could have all saved themselves a lot of trouble and just served monkey ass in open clam shell. It probably would have been better than Leah’s undercooked cod (if you can’t take the zing get out of the, OH FORGET IT).

But it is so close. If you put a gun to Stephen Starr’s head, “Sophie’s Choice, I’d choose Sahana.” THERE WE GO. That’s how you craft an expert analogy, Toby Young. “If someone put a gun to my head and forced me to make an impossible decision BECAUSE THEY WERE A NAZI AT THE GATES OF AUSCHWITZ, I would choose this reality show challenge bullshit restaurant.” Someone put a gun to Stephen Starr’s head, please.

In the end, Team Sunset Lounge somehow manages a win. Stefan is awarded a collection of GE appliances just like they use in the Top Chef kitchens! Although, Bravo is a subsidiary of NBC which is itself owned by GE, so actually Stefan is awarded a tax write-off! Congratulations! Radhika is sent home for her failure to lead. :(

Chefs to watch: let’s stop playing games, it’s Stefan and Fabio.