Top Chef

Season 1 Episode 7

Restaurant Wars

Aired Wednesday 10:00 PM Apr 19, 2006 on Bravo
out of 10
User Rating
27 votes

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Episode Summary


Competition for a spot on a restaurant menu transitions to competition between two faux restaurants created by the remaining six contestants, where the big prize is a chance to go to the Cannes Film Festival.

Guest Judge: Jeffrey Chodorow.

Quickfire Challenge: Craft an Original Sandwich in 30 Minutes.

Elimination Challenge: Create a New Restaurant Concept.

Round Seven.


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  • at last!!!!! peacee

    at last miguel went home!! first he confuses salt with sugar (ding! even i don't make those mistakes, and i'm horrible at cooking), then he tries to "help" another contestant and she only gets to do like 10% of the plate and gets eliminated! (i think it was andrea or sth like that)

    and he really did like to attack his friends, like when lee ann said he should be eliminated and he found out he went mad and started fighting with everyone who was in the waiting room

    but he took his elimination with a great attitude (i guess) so byeeeeeeee miguel!!!moreless
  • Very interesting episode that shows some true colors.

    This was a really diffenent episode because the Quickfire Challenge did not bring any immunity for one of the contestants, but instead a sandwhich recipie on the judge Tom's new Sandwhich restaurant. Also it was so cool how the winner of the Elimination Challenge got to go to the Cannes film festival, cuase it is like almost one of my dreams to go to that or Sundance.

    Onto what happened in the episode. Dave got a little pissy at the Judge's Table. He basically went off on Tiffani saying she wouldn't let him touch anything and then told her, and this is a quote form the show: "I'm not your Bit-h, Bit-h!"

    YEAH! Is this guy crazy or what!!!! And then he got the prize to go to Cannes. I mean I don't like Tiffani that much but she is one of the best chefs on the show and she deserved it WAY more than Dave.moreless
  • In this challenge the chefs were given challenge beyond any previous one. In teams of 3 they were asked to create a menu that would fit a new restaurant of their own design, one chef serving and the other two cooking. The top chef won a trip to Cannes.moreless

    This was my favorite challenge of the entire season. This measured every aspect of a top chef. As we saw, being a chef isn't only about great cooking. Creating a menu that entices is the first step. The ambiance has to be inviting to draw the public in or else no one will ever taste the food. A top chef creates an atmosphere in his restaurant that builds the anticipation for the meal. The service opens the guest to the experience, and all this is done before the guest ever tastes the first bite. This was the heart of this week's challenge.

    The first team of Dave, Harold, and Tiffani seemed to be the front runners from the start. They chose to welcome their guests with a family style service and a hearty, soulful menu. The guests weren't completely wowed by the food, but Dave's people skills as he served the meal won over even the harshest critics. The second team of Lee Anne, Miguel, and Stephen struggled. They chose an ambitious Spanish menu, and the food was generally well liked. But the service, provided by Stephen, was unforgivably slow and one guest discovered a fish scale in his food, since Miguel neglected to ask the fishmonger to scale it for them. They were also hampered by a lack of manpower, since Stephen spent all of his time out of the kitchen working on the restaurant's design. Dave had accomplished his task in half the time and contributed his kitchen skills as well as those of the front of the house.

    It was no surprise when Dave's team won, and he was awarded the first place and the trip to Cannes as a bonus. The losing team was a tougher desision, since all three contributed to their downfall. Lee Anne was team leader , Miguel again refused to take the role of partner, acting as a soux chef, and Stephen's terrible service were all factors of their collective failure. In the end it was Miguel who was asked to pack his knives to go.moreless
  • This episode pretty much foreshadows the fate of the remaining 6 contestants throughout. Everyone shows their true characters. Even Katie shows emotion in this episode. (Spoilers)

    This was the first episode in which the Quickfire Challenge did not guarentee immunity, though it did guarentee fame as the winning sandwich would be on the menu at \'wichCraft. Being a fan of the New York shop, it\'s a sweet deal.

    Though one can dismiss this episode as Bravo\'s answer to \"Hell\'s Kitchen\" (another cooking show I adore), it pretty much set the tone of where the remaining chefs are going in the competition and their true characters.

    The failure of Sabor in the restaurant competition marks the end of the road for Miguel, Stephen, and Lee Anne as will be respectively the next to be eliminated. For Miguel, his elimination was foreshadowed at the previous episode. His failure with the fish, including the fact that he didn\'t even check to see if it was scaled prior, cemented the deal. He has heart but he makes careless mistakes.

    As for Stephen, it was the beginning of the end for him as his \"education\" resulted in slowed service and cold dishes. His arrogance and his inability to follow judges advice will continue in the next episode. Even wooden Katie showed outrage at his performance.

    Lee Anne was considered the best of the worst. She\'s competent but not a leader. If she only had a better team, though I loved her \"stuck between the big thinker and the no thinker\" line.

    And then there were the \"winners\". It\'s in this episode that we start to root for Harold, cringe for Tiffani, and have the urge to tell Dave to shut up. Harold\'s speech when determining who deserved the Cannes trip was what made me think he deserved to be Top Chef. His cool \"I\'m a chef\" mantra works both ways, as in \"I\'m a chef, not a glory hog.\" Tiffani\'s arrogance, supported by her exceptional culinary skills was what made me start to want her NOT to win. Dave starts to make the challenges even more emotional and personal than usual, affecting his overall performance and resulting in unprofessional attitude despite his immortal \"I\'m not your **** **** quote. Ironically, during the restaurant challenge, he yielded to Tiffani\'s orders, so he was in a way...moreless
  • We now understand the extent of Stephen's big-headedness. He is not a team player, and holds himself above everyone else. Infuriating to watch, but definitely keeps the show interesting.

    Although Stephen is the epitome of "jerk," he is definitely a staple to the show. He is extremely narcissistic, does not listen to anyone (including the judges, to an extent), and openly criticizes people. This is most apparent when the chefs are required to work with each other, as is the case in this episode. He thinks he is too good to bring himself down to someone else's level, and that almost no one would be able to raise themselves to his.

    His attitude extends to his clients, as well. We see in every episode that when it comes to presenting his dish, Stephen is not happy with simply outlining the ingredients--he has to give a history lesson, droning on and on about where the ingredients come from and their traditional uses, blah, blah, blah. There is no doubt, though, that Stephen helps to keep us watching. Even though his attitude is annoying and infuriating, it is the reason why alot of people watch the show; people like drama in reality shows, and he's one that viewers love to hate, in a sense.

    As far as the competition goes, Stephen's "self confident" behavior will probably lead to his downfall. It most certainly lost for his entire team in this episode. If he cannot listen to people and learn to grow, he will not be able to keep up with the competition. If he can't work in a group, his excuses and finger-pointing might turn the tables right back onto him. The judges continuously stress the importance of demographics and pleasing clients--if Stephen keeps up his method of downtalking his audience, he'll be packing his knives real soon. I'm interested to see how the competition unfolds in regard to Stephen.


Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


  • TRIVIA (7)

    • The winner of the QuickFire Challenge didn't receive immunity. Instead, the winning sandwich will be featured on the 'wichcraft menu when it opens in San Francisco.

    • Harold was the winner of the QuickFire Challenge. He could be considered to have a leg up on the other competitors, since he had eaten in Tom's New York 'wichcraft restaurant many times and was familiar with what was on, and more importantly, what was not on the menu already.

    • QuickFire Challenge Dishes

      • Stephen – Brunch Brioche Sandwich: Eggs, plaintains, brioche.
      • Dave – Grape Ape Sandwich: Ham, arugula, grape jelly.
      • Tiffani – French Toast Toad-in-the-Hole: Roast beef, arugula, eggs.
      • Lee Anne – Egg, Salami and Sunchoke Sandwich: Sunchokes, eggs, focaccia bread.
      • Harold – Mortadella Dandelion Sandwich: Mortadella, red grapes, sunchokes.
      • Miguel – Deconstructed Falafel: Chick peas, zucchini, sprouts.

    • Elimination Challenge Dishes

      Red Team – Harold, Tiffani and Dave
      Concept – American Workshop, New American cuisine.

      Tuna Tartare with Pita Chips
      Roasted Chicken with Fall Vegetables and Natural Jus
      Fruit Crisp

      Blue Team – Lee Anne, Stephen and Miguel
      Concept – Sabor, Modern Spanish cuisine.

      Tapas Trio: White Gazpacho, Bocarones, Proscuitto Wrapped Stuffed Fig
      Red Snapper on Paella Cake
      Olive Oil Ice Cream

    • "Sabor" is Spanish for taste or flavor.

    • Miguel was eliminated.

    • The Red Team, which consisted of Dave, Tiffani, and Harold was the winner of the Elimination Challenge, and Dave was picked to go to Cannes for his work in the front of the house.

  • QUOTES (12)

    • Dave Martin: I'm not your bitch, bitch!

    • Tom: (referring to Miguel) Lee Anne, sometimes you fire your sous-chef. Is it time to fire your sous-chef?
      Lee Anne: I'll be honest with you. I have yet to be, like, wowed by one of your dishes. So, uh, I'll buy you a beer when we get back to New York. Sorry, dude.

    • Lee Anne: (referring to Stephen's shopping trip) But Stephen's got champagne tastes on a beer budget.

    • Stephen: (about his plans for service) I'm going to be out here yapping the whole entire time, talking about the wines and stuff like that.

    • Miguel: Chunk LeFunk has left the building. Thank you.

    • Stephen: I could've got the food out on time if I wasn't at the table explaining about where Rueda is in location to Rioja.

    • Stephen: The other team's concept is totally a style that I would never engage in, you know it was very warming, welcoming, very comfortable.

    • Katie Lee: So the winning chef will be going to Cannes, and somebody else will be getting canned.

    • Tiffani: I wanted to help decorate the room – it's something I enjoy doing, and it feeds who I am – but I was happy to sort of have Dave out of the kitchen.

    • Tiffani: If Dave gets in a bad head space, it's over. But it could have been a whole lot worse: we could have had Stephen.

    • Harold: (to Tom after being told his sandwich will be featured at 'wichcraft) Does that mean we're partners now?

    • Lee Anne: (of working with Stephen and Miguel) My initial thoughts about my teammates is, 'Oh God, I'm !%$&ed.' (later) I got put on the team with the big thinker and the no thinker and it was tough to balance the two.

  • NOTES (1)

    • Jeffrey Chodorow is a restaurateur who runs China Grill Management, the parent company of such restaurants as Asia de Cuba, China Grill, Kobe Club, etc. He also starred in The Restaurant, a reality show on NBC.