Miami Beach 411
Like what you see? Let's talk about how
we can help your vacation --> Contact Us
  • Homepage
  • Plan Your Trip
  • Travel Forum
  • News & Events
  • Maps
  • Transportation
  • Tours
  • Hotels
  • Travel Tips
  • Reader's Reviews
  • News Archives
  • Need help? Call us! - 1-305-754-2206

Top Chef 3 Miami: Episode 8 - Nobody Goes Home

August 27, 2007 By Maria de los Angeles in

“I’LL BE BACK!”  Chefs get a second chance to fix their screw ups.  Nobody packed their knives but they better sharpen their wits for the next challenge. Looking for show updates? Read our coverage about Top Chef 3: Miami.

Episode 308:  “Restaurant Wars”

Quickfire Challenge:  CJ
Elimination Challenge: No one! 
Eliminated: No one!


In Dale’s words: “Holy shit, it’s Daniel Boulud!”

The eight remaining chefs marched into the kitchen to see Chef Daniel Boulud, whom CJ described as “kinda a big deal.”  Well, yeah, he’s only one of the best chefs in the world!  You could just see the pride in each of their faces; they all wanted to impress the heck out of him. 

A few chefs raised their eyebrows when they heard the challenge consisted of coming up with America’s best-loved meal, the burger.  As it turns out, Boulud is responsible for a mucho-expensive and famous $125 Truffle Burger, which combines the best of American and French cuisine.

And guess what famous corporate food company Bravo plugged this time?  That classy burger joint, Red Robin!  Chefs had 30 minutes to come up with a new burger based on the chain’s adventuresome burgers.  (Note:  the closest Red Robin to Miami is in Fort Myers, all the way across the state!)

Also, Padma announced that there’d be no more immunity.  The “steaks” were high!

Behold, I am the king of burgers!

Most of the chefs decided to go for seafood and fish, which as Boulud accurately pointed out, were really warm sandwiches instead of burgers.  But surf won over turf with CJ’s Scallop Mousse and Shrimp Burger, described as fiery and fruity.

For me, a burger isn’t a burger unless it comes from an animal that moos.  But actually, CJ’s glorified fish sandwich does sound delicious!


Finally!  The highly anticipated open-a-restaurant-in-like-two-minutes Top Chef episode!  This challenge had chefs split up in two teams, with only 24 hours to get a restaurant up and running.  Boulud said:  “Stay cool, stay together, communicate a lot.  This is real teamwork.” 

As winner, CJ picked Tre, Brian and Casey.  The other team, well, was history:  Hung, Dale and everyone’s favorite ***hole, Howie, along with his arch-nemesis, Sarah M.

Uh-oh!  Howie and Sarah M together again? Looks like a sticky situation to me!

Responsibilities for turning the raw space into a restaurant were designated as follows:  executive chef, sous chef, designer and general manager, who would also be responsible for front of house.  They had $700 to shop for food and $2500 to shop for tableware and décor for thirty guests that would show up to dine at each restaurant.  One of those guests would be food blogger Andrea Strong serving as mystery judge.

The challenge was insane!  After shopping, they had four hours before service to cook and set up shop!

The raw space looked like they fixed up the parking lot at the Fountainbleau with a few potted palm trees.

Sweep, sweep, sweep is all I do!  And my evil stepsisters get to go to the royal ball!

My taters are smokin’ and I’m goin’ nuts!

Team 1

Restaurant name:  April
Style:  New American Contemporary

Tre - Head Chef
CJ - Sous Chef
Brian – General Manager
Casey – Décor

Two desserts were the biggest hit here, but judges were not impressed with the main dishes.  Worst of all, Tre’s potatoes were over-smoked.  The flavor was not only awful, but also so aggressive that it overwhelmed his otherwise good tenderloin dish.

Brian had decided he’d look slick in a suit.  But in the Miami heat? Boy, he didn’t know how much that would cost him!

At the front of the house, Brian lost his cool, running around like a chicken with his head cut off when he couldn’t find enough silverware.  At one point, Casey had to come out and present the last savory course.  She definitely had better sweet-talk for front of house.

Judges table wasn’t kind on Brian’s service.  Tom said he did a lousy job and all agreed he appeared flustered.  Andrea Strong, who wasn’t even present—the judges read a script from her blog—added the final insult by pointing out he had a sweating problem!

But the team stuck together in the end.  No one wanted to blame Brian if they lost.  CJ admitted:  “there’s no such thing as a perfect restaurant.”

Team 2

Restaurant name:  The Garage
Style: Contemporary American Bistro

Sarah M- Head Chef
Howie-Sous Chef
Dale- General Manager

Dale was smooth in the front but a bitch in the back ... I mean, he was nice to customers and a tyrant to waiters.  But it worked.  He definitely had better control of the service than Brian.  “I served tables for eight years. You’re half prostitute, half performer.”  By the way, that’s blogger Andrea Strong sitting undercover on the left hand corner.

Dessert was also a big hit here, but the judges complained about the main courses being too rich for a summer night.  Risotto followed by lamb shank certainly isn’t your typically Miami fare!  But Hung’s first course, a tuna tartare with a play on salad nicoise, was a favorite.

Howie’s risotto was critiqued for being too heavy and gooey.  Andrea Strong called it “mac and cheese with rice.”  Ouch!  Tom pointed out that you should never finish risotto with cream, but Howie defended himself by saying that risotto changes consistency and tightens up when it sits and that he had personally tasted every single plate.

Oh no you don’t buddy.  Ted Allen probably took umbrage at that comment!  You may be queer, but nobody wants to light your candle!

Judges table went down hard on décor.  Dale had picked scented candles.  What the hell was he thinking?  It’s true, who in their right mind would put scented candles in a restaurant when you want to smell the aromas of food? Besides, some folks are sensitive to certain smells.  Details, details.

Boulud said the restaurant felt “more like a massage parlor than a restaurant.”  Andrea Strong described walking into “the suffocating stink of vanilla.”  Adding insult to injury, she said that Dale’s choice of black tablecloths was very Billy Idol and that she didn’t want to eat on Billy Idol.  Ouch again!  This blogger is one tough cookie to please!  Could she possibly hate more on these poor chefs?

But you have to admit, what chef can claim having a poor sense of smell?  That’s no excuse. And black tablecloths?  Poor taste.


We rock!  Oh, wait. No, actually we suck!

Both General Managers Dale and Brian were called in for final judgment.  Tom told Dale they didn’t see a connection between the restaurant and the food served.  Brian got the third degree for his stinky service, even though the food wasn’t all that bad.

Which General Manager would be axed? 

Neither! They got another chance to do it all over again because it certainly isn’t easy to open a restaurant.  Tom said: “consider this a soft opening.”

Let’s see if the two teams will harden up and get their shit together for the next episode!

So much for the built-up drama.  Howie and Sarah M worked very well together in this episode.


Will the judge with the most balls please pass the salt?

What’s up with the judges on Top Chef?  I thought it was a bit odd that so many of the decisions were left up to Andrea Strong considering that one of the world’s best chefs, Daniel Boulud, was sitting at the judge’s table.  And if she was going to play such an important role, why not have her appear at table as well?  That was lame and if I dare say—not in good taste. I’d rather eat on a black tablecloth!

In past seasons of Top Chef, the judges were better integrated into the show.  We got more opinions from Tom Colicchio.  Besides, it was always a pleasure to see his sexy bald head.  And this season, who wouldn’t want extra heaping servings of Ted Allen’s wonderful sense of humor and snarky remarks?

Top Chef 3 seems to be all about sneaky product promotion.  This particular episode was chock-full of Evian water bottles as well as the ubiquitous Gladware.  There’s nothing wrong with corporate sponsors, but please, bring back some more hot judge action!

Reality TV Fans Gossip About the Show

Related Categories:

About the Author: Maria de los Angeles is a freelance wordsmith who loves to write about all things travel in Florida and the Caribbean. She is also the author of the award-winning blog Sex and the Beach.

See more articles by Maria de los Angeles.

See more articles by Maria de los Angeles

Was This Post Helpful? Please Share It With Others!

You Deserve More Than an Ordinary Vacation.
Travel with Miami Beach 411 Today!
  • Over 10 years of excellent service guiding tours. Awarded a TripAdvisor Certificate of Excellence.
  • Large fleet of new motor coaches, tour buses, and luxury vans. Technology you won't find anywhere.
  • Highly skilled, professional drivers and guides. From people who love what they do.
The Miami Beach 411 Travel Store is Open 24/7.
Search for Tours & Transportation
Commenting is not available in this weblog entry.
Discuss the surrounding area in our hugely popular Miami forum.
Today's Miami Specials
Like what you see? Let's talk about
how we can help your vacation
--> Contact Us