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'Top Chef: Las Vegas' - Restaurant Wars

'Top Chef: Las Vegas' - Restaurant Wars

The gays may be gone from this season of Top Chef: Las Vegas, but the drama still reached epic heights in this week's episode. The 'restaurant wars' episode of Top Chef is always a riot to watch, but this was even more entertaining than usual. While one team managed to wow the socks off the judges during the competition, the other suffered a shocking meltdown in the kitchen - landing one of the best chefs on the show on the chopping block.

The 'restaurant wars' episode of Top Chef is always a riot to watch, but this season's was even more entertaining than usual. While one team managed to wow the socks off the judges during the competition, the other suffered a shocking meltdown in the kitchen - landing one of the best chefs on the show on the chopping block.

The gays may be gone from this season of Top Chef, but the drama still reached epic heights in this week's episode. In possibly the most difficult Quickfire challenge ever, the contestants were tasked with creating a 'relay' dish for guest judge Rick Moonen. The chefs were split into two teams for the challenge and luckily both teams ended up with a split of the top talent. The Voltaggio brothers, Eli and Robin make up the red team, while Jennifer, Kevin, Laurine and Mike Isabella end up on the blue team.

For the Quickfire, the two teams are forced to cook a dish by 'relay'. Each member of the team has to complete part of the same dish, while the others wait blindfolded for their turn. Plus, they aren't allowed to talk to each other as they switch off. This challenge truly showed off the high level of skill possessed by this season's chefs. In some previous seasons, I think this challenge would have been a major disaster. This time around, both teams delivered a fabulous dish and guest judge Moonen actually seemed quite torn about picking a winner.

In the end, it's the blue team who wins the prize in the high stakes Quickfire - a $10,000 chip from the M Resort to split between them. There's a catch though. They can take the $10,000, or they can 'let it ride' for the Elimination challenge - restaurant wars. If they win,  all of the team members will get $10,000 each. With Jennifer, Mike and Kevin on the team, it doesn't seem a bad idea to let it ride and that's what they choose.

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Unfortunately, they'll soon discover it was the wrong decision. Right from the start, it seemed an unwise choice to put Laurine in the front of the house, despite her claims of experience in the task. The girl has the personality of a stick and rarely seems to do well under pressure. She manages to royally annoy the judges, especially Padma, by acting like a zombie and not even bothering to explain the dishes she's throwing on their table. Even worse though, the food is bland and not well cooked. Kevin and Jennifer's dishes receive the worst criticism, which is very harsh considering they are both usually in the top of the pack.

Over on the team, the drama has an entirely different flavor. First off, the team decides to name their restaurant 'Revolt' - which Robin is quick to note brings to mind the word 'revolting'. As usual, the rest of the team completely ignores her. The sad thing is, Robin has been a losing whiner so often this season that no one has any respect left for her, even when she does happen to have a good idea. The judges, of course, hate the name of the restaurant for exactly the reason Robin pointed out. Luckily, however, Eli does a passably good job in the front of the house, even if he is dressed like a wino. The team also delivers a slew of dishes the judges are delightfully pleased with. It's pretty obvious who is going to land on the top this week. How they managed to pull this off with Robin and Mike V. fighting like rabid dogs and the Voltaggio brothers sniping at each other every minute is anyone's guess.

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Waiting to step in front of the judging panel, Mike Isabella sums up the restaurant war competition by telling the opposing team that if they don't win, they must have sucked hard. Indeed, it's Mike I., Kevin, Jennifer and Laurine who end up with the pleasure of being tongue-lashed by the judges. For a few tense minutes, it seems Jennifer might be packing her knives, which would truly be a shame, but she was totally off her game in this episode. Happily, however, the judges likely gave some weight to Jennifer's past performances and decided to send Laurine home instead. Laurine has spent most of the season barely sliding through in the middle of the pack, so I wasn't sorry to see her go. Now if we could just get rid of Robin next episode, the rest of the season should be an awesome battle between the best contestants of the show - with any one of them deserving of the top spot.

Unfortunately, Robin landed on the winning side this week with her pear dessert, which means she'll be even more indecently smug next week. The judges are so pleased by the 'Revolt' team that Tom tells them their restaurant was the best they've ever had on the show. All of the chefs receive glowing compliments, but it's Mike V. who lands another Elimination win - much to the annoyance of his brother. When Mike V. announces he'll split his $10,000 prize for the win with the team, brother Bryan basically tells him to shove it because he's "tired of unprofessional behavior being rewarded."

Ouch. I'm betting these two brothers are probably going to spend at least a year after Top Chef in a personal pissing match, whether one of them wins or not. Personally, I'm still rooting for Jennifer to blast them both, because both of them need a little lesson in humility. Having their ass handed to them by a masterful female chef would be a nasty kick in the teeth to both of these overly macho boys.

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Ann Turner