We open on the rooftop with guest judge Ludo Lefebvre, which she pronounces Le-Fev but is really Le-FAVE, he's clearly French, Padma! His restaurant is called Trois Mec! Get your head in the game; you have ONE JOB!! Okay, two, she has to sample food too.
Anyway, the challenge is to open 4 Pop Ups across the city and that probably doesn't mean what it sounds like: they're Yorkshire Pudding dunkin all over town? Ludo makes sure they know it will be a NIGHTMARE by repeating that several times and he is DONE with that.
Kwame fills me in, a pop up is when you create a restaurant environment in an unconventional space. Imma do my best to keep an open mind, but I have the LA Health Inspector on speed dial KNOW THAT Top Chef!!
He did a 19 city pop up tour, so maybe it's NOT Phillip's challenge to lose after all. Phillip's from LA, did you know that? He knows some bloggers.
The teams are split up thusly: Isaac, Amar, Marjorie and Angelina are the Grey Team. Phillip, Grayson, Renee and Frances are the Orange Team. Karen, Carl, Jason and Giselle are the Purple Team and Jeremy, Kwame, Wesley and Chad are Blue Team. That last one is a power team and I wonder if everyone's noticed that yet.
Ludo and his subtitles tell us each pop up must reflect each neighborhood's uniqueness and how is it not racist when Bravo does subtitles for English speaking heavily accented peeps, but everyone screams bigotry when Princess Blakey from Project Runway asks Swappy for a little clarity? ANYWAY
They will be shopping and prepping for two hours, I'm 'cited! Phillip is also ecstatic, he knows the area they're going to and he's just confused because there is no defined ethnicity there, he calls it "white people town". Mayo and white bread for everyone, DONE!
The Grey Team drives by Phillip's restaurant Scratch, and HAHAHAHAHA his face is ALL over it!! Too funny. Marjorie thinks Angelina has a spark and well. She's young! I'll give her that. So far she's not standing out in a good way for me. They figure out right skippy that they will be cooking Persian food in Tehangelos and yay!! Isaac is confused. He cooks Cajun, son! The chef/owner of Taste Of Tehran helps them plan with some tips about how to Terahasize Rex their food: ground meat and stews. SO HELPFUL. Sweet and sour? Sure! All sooo soo specific. There is a grill for the inevitable meat logs and I have to say: I love persian and middle eastern and Greek food and this is gonna be AWESOME! Majorie worked in a Lebanese place and she feels she's got this. Isaac will be doing meat (forming meat logs?), Angelina fish, Amar veggies and I guess whatever's left will be Majorie. I sure hope she's a strong plater. Shopping time!
Team Purple has Koreatown / Chinatown and Jason is excited about Thai food. Can someone get Jason a globe? Thanks! Giselle is actually living in LA but knows not where she is. They end up in Koreatown at Lukshon where the owner was on Top Chef Masters and Superfan Carl swoons. Karen owns an Asian restaurant, so figures she has this firmly in hand: this is what she DO. The chef warns them that fruit, tea and honey play important roles in Korean cooking and I'm trying to think of the last time I had Korean food. Was it last month, or maybe just before that or maybe was it oh right, never. I've never had Korean food so I will be smiling and nodding a lot for this part. I live in a small town! Gimme a break! They split up the menu and Giselle doesn't know how to make chicken wings. Um
Team Orange pulls up to Seed Kitchen in Venice, it looks very leafy. It's Vegan and Phillip jumps up and down and kisses himself; his restaurant is partially Vegan to accommodate his wholly Vegan actress wife and everyone just waits for him to shut up so they can hear the person with the information talk, PLEEZ. Venice is all about Veganism and surfing and we get to see a whole bunch of inappropriate pictures of Renee and her belleh as she talks about her conversion to Season Eating and subsequent 40 pound weight loss. None of that has anything to do with the challenge EITHER, Renee, so take your sultry selfies elsewhere! Reddit is always open. I'm just saying. Grayson is trying herbs and spitting them out immediately. She a meatatarian and will make your stoopid vegan dish, Top Chef, but she is NOT happy.
Blue Team is doing Mexican, yay!! Chad has a restaurant IN Mexico and another in San Diego, both Mexican restaurants. He mentions a lot of other places in Mexico but I couldn't understand because he was doing that tongue-rolly thing white people do when they wanna sound extry authentic. Tee-jew-WANNA! They meet the chef from Broken Spanish and they have these super long grills that make me wanna touch 'em. The chef asks if they have any questions and that's a big NO. These guys know Mexican cuisine. Well, except Kwame, who has never cooked it previously. They are handicapped by having The Slob that Walks Like A Man, though, so we'll see.
Whole Foods shopping time! Jeremy is pretty confident, he also cooks a lot of Mexican food at his day job. Wesley, on the other hand...not so much. Bama is all about southern and maybe French.
Isaac knows just zero about Persian food, he's spice shopping and has no clue whatsoever. He figures if it's in the Persian section, it's all gotta be good, but he chooses bleached Cardamom over whole Cardamom and that will not be okay. Mark my words.
Apparently there is no fish in the entire Whole Foods and Angelina switches her dish to chicken. Hmm.
Orange Team is buying produce like mofos, lots of f-bombs from Grayson and she's kind of just a pouty ahole. I need to find out from JSierra what her backstory is. J knows!
Frances knows nothing about middle eastern cuisine, but has served the Royal Family Indian food in Dubai so she's rolling that way. I LOVE INDIAN FOOD!!
Purple Team is Koreaing that shite right up, but Giselle is basically me and Vietnamese food! She ate a lot of Korean takeout, but is not comfortable making anything in it. Testify, sister. She's literally never fried a Korean chicken wing so starts polling Asian-looking customers in the grocery store and that's actually pretty smart.
Karen invokes the horoscope! She's a Virgo and used to order and blah blah why chicken wings blah mercury rising blah getting hotter and blah I may have made that last part up.
Marjorie is setting an ordering system for Team Persia, I'm hoping they knock it right out of the park: I love Persian food! Don't make it weird! Please excuse how awful my screencaps are. Their menu:
Marjorie, your dessert is making it weird!! She worked under a pastry chef, though, so she figures the Top Chef Dessert Kiss Of Death will be ducked. Hmm
Purple Team is making
And nectarine kimchi sounds GROSSSSS. Karen is already having issue with her short ribs, the marinade hasn't set enough yet (Cook's Illustrated would add baking soda) so she grabs
Which was important enough to show, so I guess it will be a factor later. It's Korean fermented red pepper paste, so okay! It's Korean Vegemite! *herk*
Grayson is STILL complaining about the damn yellow wax beans and having to cook Vegan and let it go, lady! NOBODY likes wax beans anyway and you know you couldn't just make meatballs alla time, right? That's why it's called a CHALLENGE. Otherwise, we'd just call it Grayson Has to Find Something To Complain About. Renee is being positive enough for all of them, their choices:
Phillip suggests a cleanup 15 minutes prior to serving and he isn't wrong, but Frances bristles a tiny bit. Go peel the potatoes and prep onions, Prepper!
The judges are upping the ante by inviting a bunch of Twitter-ers to follow them to these restaurants, how come that never happens in BumPump Nowhere, Canada? Where's Challenge Alberta? ? Lessee how many of these "diners" treat it like an audition! Moar makeup pleez!
Taste of Tehran and the Grey Team are first, big lineup! Holy shite. They have to serve the judges AND several hundred randos walking the streets looking for cameras. Dis show is no joke.
As usual, Amar's food is highly praised
and I have my fingers crossed for Angelina's chicken. Just needs a little salt and maybe saffron.
Isaac's meat and eggplant combo does well, but the eggplant is the standout
Weird dessert looks weird, and I HATE candied nuts, but the judges LOVE it
Team Blue is doing this
and ahhhhhhhh how can I get this all in mah face?? Making me hongray! Kwame is all excited about being in a pop up, Wesley. ..not so much. Another huge lineup for them, and the owner of the restaurant tattles about the no questions, sooo.
First up is Chad's dish and it is hella undercooked, even after being boiled AND roasted
Kwame's shrimp is lauded for it's authenticity (suck it, Chad!)
The beef skirt steak by Jeremy is delish, but also deemed not Mexican enough
Wesley's soup, I mean stew falls flat as well.
When they say Hamburger Helper, we all wince but we all know what the real problem is: they didn't show respect by asking the chef / owner questions. They found that out before they walked the line and it affected everything they tasted. I don't know if Chad's carrots would have been any better cooked, but I just bet all those "not authentic enough" comments wouldn't have been so strong.
Team Orange is ready for your vegan arses, yay!
Phillip's Cauliflower Cubed dish is up first and I have to ask: how does one pick an appetizer at a Vegan restaurant? Judges think the puree is ehhh
Frances made Chana Masala and I LOVE CHANA MASALA! I'll take 8 servings, pleez. Judges love it too!
Renee's stuffed beets are called dry, bland and no bueno
Grayson's salad looks like shite and tastes disjointed. They call it the vegan equivalent of her meatballs, which sounds tricky, but they mean plain and Already Available. Grayson mourns the lack of pork fat.
Let's just say Team Orange did not do well. Like. At all.
Purple Korean Team up next! They seem confident and Karen has forgiven Giselle for her wang confusion (heh), but the music turns ominous and my belleh drops.
Jason serves Carl's fish dish and that's a little odd, no? Ah, he's introducing them all. Carl's fish is called tasty but a little basic.
Jason's cold noodles are "typical" and I can't tell if that's good or not!
Karen's short ribs win Most Korean. Thank you unpronounceable Korean Vegemite!
Giselle's wangs are praised for their moistness and someone please tell me that is not a word.
The chefs meet up back at the hotel to discuss, awww, they're all so clueless and optimistic! Judging time!
And GreyTeamPersian wins, yay! That Amar, he may look silly with that teeny tiny 1982chokernecklace, but he is a legit competitor and he's one to watch. The judges ask how much they used their ambassador and Chad and Blue Team Mexico are suddenly frightened. Majorie's lovely dessert is the winner even! Kiss of death, pfft!
Remember last episode where I was worried about Marjorie and her plump hunchiness and lack of confidence? It's come up again a I must pontificate. Clearly I haven't written nearly enough yet. It is SUCH a killer for women, and I'm betting not just in reality show competition TV. How many women didn't even try out because of lack of confidence? And it's not from lack of talent, Majorie has worked every style of cooking out there and even has a secret pastry weapon! It's the same exact thing Ashley battled all season on Project Runway and I would bet money that it's somewhat associated with their weight in a way that you do not see with men. Done with my soap box, just GET OUT THERE LADIES!! YOU CAN DO IT!!
The losing team is Team Orange Vegan and Team Blue is on notice, Kwame's delish and authentic shrimp dish saved their collective ass.
Team Orange gets called out for lack of creativity and Grayson is kind of an ahole, hey? Frances explains her Chana Masala dish and Tom looks like he's having a stroke when he hears that she used canned chickpeas. In her defense, she went with what she knew, and dried chickpeas take forever to soften. Grayson's simple Sunday afternoon salad (none of that is good) gets panned. Renee's poorly cooked beets are lauded for her creativity, but the execution was awful. Phillip calls the challenge unfair and blah blah. N1curr. In the back Grayson FLIPS out on Renee for her comment about "not wanting to just make a salad" when there Grayson was: with a salad. HAHAHAHAHAHHA
Wow. Renee is sent home. Bye super sassy chef from Kansas! She interviews that cooking under pressure isn't her thing, and um. D'ya think she watched the show any of the OTHER TWELVE SEASONS?
Last Chance Kitchen is up and running, so she just might be back, if she can defeat Garret and absolutely everyone else sent packing. Huh. I may need another download!
What did everyone think? I think it is interesting that Garret was sent home for having too much going on to execute properly (and burning the garlic!) but Renee was eliminated for execution on a much simpler dish and the REAL problem was disrespecting the chef ambassadors.