This season has been supremely frustrating, from the appearance of the grating and gangly CJ to the non-cancellation of The Josie Show, but this episode is really the sour cherry atop all of that. Don’t get me wrong; it was so satisfying to see Sheldon shine, but if you were on Twitter and following the #topchef action, you’re well aware of the mutiny among viewers prompted by the events at judges’ table.
1. Stefan was immediately singled out to do front of house because he’d been through restaurant wars before. I see that logic, but not at all, because … it’s Stefan! He does not suffer fools, and, really, that’s part and parcel of FOH work. I will say, however, in my years as a hostess, I did often fantasize about being able to shame campers into moving on so that I could seat the throngs of hungry diners at the door.
2. Kristen basically called Josie classless.
3. Elevating a cuisine you’ve never had before is a hard thing to do. And Josh did just that, with Sheldon’s tutelage, of course.
4. Brooke has opened four (!) restaurants with her husband, so it’s no surprise that she has a deft front-of-house touch.
5. Sheldon may well be the most guileless, genuinely kind cheftestant this competition has ever seen.
6. Kristen would prefer to have a dishwasher as her sous. This sounds like an insult (and probably is), but Sheldon started out as a dishwasher and he employs his restaurant wars dishwasher to help with prep work.
7. Tom Colicchio and guest judge Danny Meyer reveal that Gramercy Tavern was mapped out on an airplane napkin during a trip to Italy.
8. The judges believe that “People go to restaurants for food and they return for hospitality.” Okay, but this doesn’t really explain the Soup Nazi. Or most hipster restaurants.
10. Josie says, “I thought I was going home tonight.” And her fellow competitors’ eyes say, “We did, too.” As did the Twitterverse, which exploded with promises of viewers to never watch Top Chef again after this injustice. Also, Padma Lakshmi lost a LOT of fans (if she did, in fact, have a lot of fans). Either that or she just made the people who don’t like her a bit more vocal about it.