Top Chef Season 16 Restaurant Wars winner: Communication is key


Top Chef Season 16 Restaurant Wars winner proved that communication is key to any successful restaurant; especially a Top Chef restaurant.

The Top Chef Season 16 Restaurant Wars winner wasn’t necessarily the power team that thought the competition was in the bag. While over confidence can sometimes help a chef in the kitchen, bravado caused a potential favorite to go home. Did you see this week’s double elimination coming?

In part one of Top Chef Season 16 Restaurant Wars, the ground work was laid for potential disaster. It seemed that this season’s fan favorite episodes would focus on front of house. In this week’s episode, that concept came to fruition. When the front of the house and the back of the house don’t communicate, the restaurant is set up for failure.

Unlike previous seasons, this season’s Restaurant Wars had three restaurants competing. Additionally, two chefs would be packing their knives by the end of the evening. All the chefs, except Michelle who had immunity, were feeling the pressure to perform. Some chefs rose to the occasion while others went up in flames.

TOP CHEF — “Restaurant Wars Part 2” Episode 1605 — Pictured: (l-r) Tom Colicchio, Adrienne Wright — (Photo by: Michael Hickey/Bravo)

While the judges did pick a winning team, all the restaurants had both ups and downs. Still, the winning team was North East. This team’s communication and preparation earned their win. It was clear that their planning was key to their success.

Although some fans might have thought that Brian’s front of house manual and training was overkill, it was genius. That organization saved the restaurant. More importantly, it added the smooth communication to create a viable service.

Additional, North East took a smart approach to their dishes. While each dish stood on its own, the service had a flow. The prep heavy dishes helped to make service slightly less over whelming. Even though everyone seemed to be in the weeds, it was manageable.

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Brian’s ballotine was very ambitious but excelled on so many levels. It was beautifully cooked and perfectly moist. Pairing that successful dish with his front of house performance and Brian definitely earned the Restaurant Wars win.

The other dishes from North East were equally well done. From the NY Strip to the cheese course, all the chefs deserved their win. Each chef earned a $10,000 prize for this week’s win.

Unfortunately, both Thistle and Third Coast were up for elimination. Thistle was a little off its game but it wasn’t as disastrous as Third Coast. Sarah’s ability to communicate well with the front of the house helped to keep service running smoothly. Although sometimes wordy and bossy, she kept the restaurant running relatively smoothly.

Third Coast was a complete disaster. From the beginning of service to the final plate served, the whole evening was a disaster. The only reason why the judges were served good and timely dishes is because the chefs focused on that table over the other diners.

TOP CHEF — “Restaurant Wars Part 2” Episode 1605 — Pictured: (l-r) Caroline Styne, Tom Colicchio, Brandon Rosen — (Photo by: Michael Hickey/Bravo)

Since these restaurants were on the bottom, it logically flowed that someone from one or both teams would be going home. With Michelle having immunity, she was safe. Brandon’s desserts were good enough to push him through. His custard, while it needed a little more sweetness, was liked by the judges. Sarah did a good job as front of house and her soup, although the crystalized ginger was overpowering, kept her safe

Pablo was definitely on the bottom. He was in the weeds for the entire service. He knew that his short ribs weren’t right, but there was nothing that he could do late in service. Tough short ribs are the kiss of death.

TOP CHEF — “Restaurant Wars Part 2” Episode 1605 — Pictured: Pablo Lamon — (Photo by: Michael Hickey/Bravo)

His other entrée, the scallops, wasn’t balanced. The apple puree was sweet and overpowered the delicate scallops. Even though each component was good, the dish wasn’t well balanced as a composed bite. Pablo had to pack his knives.

For Third Coast, the disasters were many. It was clear that Nini’s front of house role was an utter disaster. She didn’t train the staff, she didn’t keep service on pace (an hour behind) and she confused the back of house.

Additionally, her dessert was a misstep. While the idea sounded good, executing an ice cream in those conditions was troublesome. Labeled a chocolate dessert, the chocolate flavors weren’t chocolatey enough. The deconstructed dish was more an abstract confusion than a smartly designed dessert.

TOP CHEF — “Restaurant Wars Part 2” Episode 1605 — Pictured: (l-r) Padma Lakshmi, Nilou Motamed, Nini Nguyen — (Photo by: Michael Hickey/Bravo)

But, Nini wasn’t the only chef with issues. Although Kelsey’s dessert was delicious and David’s duck was praised, the dishes didn’t meld with the menu/restaurant’s theme. Still, these two chefs were safe.
Justin struggled with the executive chef role. He was a little hot headed in his role and didn’t seem to take charge enough.

More importantly, Justin’s bisque was described as swampy. That term should never be used when describing a soup. The overly thick soup was more vegetable forward than a robust seafood soup with a depth of flavor.

Still, with two big issues, Nini was sent home. It is another example that Top Chef Season 16 can see highs followed by elimination. Winning two challenges didn’t keep Nini safe and it won’t keep other chefs safe either.

Could Nini or Pablo earn back their spot in Top Chef through Last Chance Kitchen? Only time will tell.

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Did you enjoy Restaurant Wars coming earlier in the Top Chef season? Do you think that the judges got the Top Chef Season 16 Restaurant Wars winner right? Has a front runner emerged yet?

Check back next week for another Top Chef recap and commentary.