Top Chef

Season 4 Episode 11

Restaurant Wars

Aired Wednesday 10:00 PM May 21, 2008 on Bravo



  • Trivia

    • Elimination Challenge Dishes:

      Warehouse Kitchen - Antonia, Richard & Stephanie
      Concept: Gastro Pub

      First Course
      * Beet Salad with Goat Cheese & Ras el Hanout Spices
      * Linguine & Clams with Sausage & Horseradish Creme Fraiche

      Second Course
      * Trout with Cauliflower
      * "Lamb Squared" - Lamb Loin & Braised Lamb Shank

      Third Course
      * Gorgonzola Cheesecake with Sweet Potato Puree & Concord Grape Sauce
      * Banana "Scallops" with Banana Guacamole & Chocolate Ice Cream

      Mai Buddha - Dale, Lisa & Spike
      Concept: Asian Fusion

      First Course
      * Spicy Coconut Shrimp Laksa
      * Pork & Pickled Plum Pot Stickers

      Second Course
      * Braised Short Ribs with Pickled Red Cabbage & Apple Basil Salad
      * Butterscotch Miso Scallops, Spicy Eggplant & Pickled Long Beans

      Third Course
      * Halo-Halo with Cantaloupe, Coconut, Kiwi, Avocado & Candied Nuts
      * Mango Sticky Rice with Toasted Coconut

    • The close-up comment card read, in part:

      Asian feel, "BUT" since I am Asian – the Asian ingredients wr not paired well. Maybe less… .

    • Stephanie's pasta was called linguine, but it appeared to actually be fettucine. Linguine is a narrower version of fettucine, and is usually described as flat spaghetti. Fettucine is the same width of the common supermarket staple egg noodles.

    • Dale insists that he did not choose the rice used for Lisa's dessert. When they can't find the proper sticky rice, the footage at Whole Foods shows Spike saying "How about this?" and Dale pulling several bags off the shelf, saying, "'Exceptional for rice puddings,'" and Spike saying, "Oh, well there you go." Lisa says nothing one way or the other in the footage shown.

    • Stephanie is the winner of the elimination challenge; Dale is told to pack his knives and go.

    • Antonia is chosen as the winner of the QuickFire Challenge and wins the right to choose her team for the Elimination Challenge. She selects Richard and Stephanie as her teammates.

  • Quotes

    • Anthony Bourdain: I just wanted to let you know that Tom's away, and that I'll be filling in for him today. Bringing my warmer, sunnier, disposition to this, uh, challenge.

    • Spike: Dale, Lisa and I have all Asian backgrounds. It's time just to come together and be professional, and rise to the occasion, and come out on top on this one.

    • Lisa: (of her reaction to Dale) It's not the appropriate way to behave, but it's human nature. If everybody around me is in a sh***y mood, I'm not gonna be all like, 'Ahh! Let's go play baseball!', like, ya know?

    • Antonia: They bring in eliminated cast members, and I see Jen and Nikki, and I was like, 'They can roll out my pasta!' Honestly, that's all I saw. I, like, zoomed in on them.

    • (Commenting on Dale's reaction to Anthony Bourdain.)
      Spike: I think Dale's pissing his pants a little bit on this one.

    • Dale: Asian guy, Asian chef… Asian restaurant. I mean, it only adds credibility.

    • Anthony Bourdain: (referring to "Mai Buddha's" sticky rice) It's baby vomit with wood chips.
      Ted: But how do you really feel about it?

    • Ted: (eating at "Mai Buddha") When this landed and I saw the scallop and butterscotch sauce, I was really afraid. It's like Willie Wonka scallop.
      Padma: (horrified and glad she isn't eating one) No! Really?!

    • Anthony Bourdain: (after his walk-through) The difference between the two teams' comportment is very striking. Antonia, Richard and Stephanie's team deliberately creating modest expectations – makes it a hell of a lot easier to exceed those expectations. But nobody's reaching too far, taking any big chances with this menu. Over at Mai Buddha, things could go really, really well here, or really badly. They say they're all really comfortable with Asian food. You know, Asia's big! How good can you be at all of those things?

  • Notes

    • Tom says at his blog at the Bravo website that when he watched the episode air, he saw for the first time why viewers get riled with the Judges' decisions, because he thought that Lisa should have been sent home based on the fact that two of Lisa's dishes were failures, while Dale only failed with one, and he would have argued strongly that was more damning.

    • Elimination judge, José Andrés, is a James Beard-nominated chef and restaurateur from the Washington, D.C. area. He owns five restaurants, Oyamel, Café Atlántico, Zaytinya, Jaleo and minibar by josé andrés. He hosts two cooking/travel shows that highlight the Spanish cuisine and lifestyle.

    • QuickFire Challenge judge Heleen Thanas is a co-owner of Lou Mitchell's Restaurant & Bakery with her mother and brother.

      Lou Mitchell's Restaurant, a Chicago institution located at the starting point of the old Route 66, has been around since 1923. Heleen is the first cousin, once removed, of the original Uncle Lou Mitchell.

    • According to Lee Anne, each contestant had about 20 minutes "in the hole" cooking eggs. The hardest part was the slang, which included calling "one egg" when they meant two, and "two eggs" when they meant four. Presumably, "one egg" meant "one order of eggs", with two eggs in an order. Another real difficulty lay in the fact that there was so little room to maneuver while in "the hole".

    • Lee Anne scouted out Lou Mitchell's with production several weeks beforehand. She had to hold down the line for two hours on the egg station to see how she fared. She found the trickiest part was not the fact that there was only one burner to fry the eggs (as the rest of the grill was mostly covered by hash browns, bacon and sausage), but the fact that they used small eggs and a lot of short order lingo. She found the key to success was to have a bowl full of cracked eggs ready for use, saving her time when she began cooking each order.

  • Allusions

    • Anthony Bourdain: (referring to the napkin at "Mai Buddha") Silver and purple? I don't know, I feel like I'm in the back of Prince's van.

      Prince is a rock & roll star who became extremely popular beginning in the mid eighties, famous for his love of the color purple and Baroque ornamentation.