October 25, 2009

Laurine’s at the Back of the Line When It Comes To Gettin’ Ahead

Filed under: Top Chef — Chris @ 6:13 pm

Let’s get this out of the way right up front: this week didn’t go well for me. After two consecutive front-of-the-house Restaurant Wars eliminations, I am going to have to retract my claims about the front-of-the-house advantage. While Radhika may have been the exception that proves the rule (she went home because she was the team leader and the team failed), Laurine finished the rule off once and for all. She went home instead of Michael, who under-seasoned his char and made bland asparagus. She went home instead of Jennifer, who made two bad dishes, one of which Tom said was “a disaster.” And she went home instead of Kevin, who sent out unevenly cooked, too-rare lamb. (Granted, the lamb dish was technically Laurine’s, and Tom tried to make a lot of the fact that Laurine had promised she would keep an eye on the dish and make sure it passed muster. But still it’s hard to fault Laurine for a poorly cooked dish when it was Kevin who was working the grill.) The reason that Laurine went home this week, instead of any of her teammates, is that she did a terrible job working the front of the house, failing to expedite dishes, forgetting to explain dishes as they arrived, and just generally being frazzled and unhelpful in a too-obvious way. I didn’t think it was possible, but there you have it.

Predictions: Damn you, Laurine, for not going home last week or the week before. And damn you, Robin, for pulling your act together and putting out a delightful pear pithivier. My record has sunk to a pitiful 3 for 9. I’m going to stick with Robin for next week, but I wouldn’t be surprised if Eli finally shoots himself in the foot.

"I am very happy about this whole situation."

"I am very happy about this whole situation."

Random observations

  • The tag-team Quickfire was by far the coolest challenge Top Chef has ever done.
  • Was Padma being a bitch or what? Was there any point in asking for salt for her asparagus except to mess with the Laurine and Mike’s heads?
  • I love that Toby Young is a man who can’t do without dessert.
  • Robin couldn’t help but complain about Mike V. at Judge’s Table, even as the Judges were complimenting her dish. Can’t she see how big his heart is?
  • Since Jennifer was the obvious second choice for elimination, and Kevin the third, one might be tempted to speculate the producers put a thumb on the scale in favor of the top contenders. Far be it from me to suggest such a thing. But one might be tempted.


  1. Some uninteresting questions:
    1. Do you still believe each elimination is a “results of this week only” decision, or is there a cumulative performance factor? (I am in favor of taking prior performance into account.)

    2. In this article ( , Toby Young indicates a lot of cheftestant argument over who should go home. Would you guess that Kevin and Jen were arguing for Laurine going home or staying?

    3. Did you dislike the Revolt name as much as every other person on the planet appeared to? I liked it.

    Also, Tom C. argues the judges’ case here:
    “Laurine’s performance contributed the most to the overall failure of the restaurant, to our overall poor experience there, and so it was she whom we asked to leave.”

    My predicted exits, in order:
    Mike I.
    Micheal V.

    Winner: Kevin

    Comment by Andy — October 26, 2009 @ 12:31 am

  2. 1. I believe that is generally true. It helps explain a lot of oddball results, including Hosea’s win last year. It’s also probably the right policy, at least in the interest of keeping the show lively.

    2. I’d like to think that Jennifer offered to fall on her sword. I can’t imagine any of those team members turning on each other. I also can’t imagine Bravo leaving that footage out if it existed.

    3. Revolt was an obviously terrible name for a restaurant. That’s just common sense. What wasn’t clear to me is whether the four of them together were so dumb that it never occurred to them or if they all thought it was kind of funny.

    Comment by Chris — October 26, 2009 @ 7:44 am

  3. #2 – you nailed my cognitive dissonance. I think that both Kevin and Jennifer offered to leave, but why would Bravo not show it?

    Getting to the point in the season where variance matters more than mean.

    Comment by Andy — October 26, 2009 @ 9:21 am

  4. I’m still ultra-curious about the judges’ table. Laurine posted this in her blog:
    “I’m not sure I was the weakest part of that team, or that I deserved to go home.”

    Show the footage, Bravo!

    Comment by Andy — October 27, 2009 @ 5:13 pm

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