Top Design: Chef’s Choice

In this episode, there was some cross-pollination from another Bravo series. Here, the designers had to design a chef’s table room for a mystery chef who would sit on this week’s panel – Tom Colicchio from Top Chef. Of course, this isn’t revealed until the elimination round.

With a budget of $42,000, the designers must set out to create a luxurious room that combines natural materials, crafts, and mid-century design. Of course, this sounds like a load of money to make a demo – how can anyone go wrong here? But, things do go wrong and this was actually one of the better episodes drama-wise. And there is plenty of drama. Carissa has her control freak moments where she clashes with Carl, her carpenter. She feels he is so perfectionistic that he cannot manage his time, and when she warns him that a beam is going to fall apart, he doesn’t listen. However, she saves her great table that looks like it was cut from one tree when the beam gives way. She unfortunately comes across at panel as giving too much excuses. Goil has a hard time with setting the hardwood floor, but his carpenter calms him down. Then his paintjob goes bad and he tries to run with it. When the contestants are asked which designer’s room isn’t appealing, it doesn’t help that a few of them don’t like his floral chandelier. Matt has a little trouble with the leather flooring early on, but quickly sails out of it and puts that hard earned extra hour from the last win to good use. And Michael – he just needs to get out more, read up, or something. I don’t doubt his creativity, but he just needs to expand. I have to agree with Told Oldham saying his unfinished red canvas paintings look violent instead of representing hunger.

Most of my reactions to projects so far have been, “That’s nice.” This time, I had a “wow” reaction when I saw Andrea’s finished room. She manages to put together an elegant, finished room that was inviting. The white upholstered chairs with the goes well with the dark table. Her presentation – spot on. She was worried, nervous. She teaches restaurant design, so she understandably is worried about staking her reputation. However, she had nothing to worry about as she deservedly wins the challenge.

Alas, poor Michael. He goes home. I thought it was going to be Carissa. It was her weakest design. The table is a great touch, but the green walls just have to go. Every time her work is under scrutiny, she always has one excuse or another. It would have been a shame if Goil went. I like that his work is unconventional and that he really thinks about things. Michael’s reluctance to show what he’s thinking is his undoing here.

Margaret Russell has grown on me. She’s just very stylish, impeccably dressed, and has a great classic hairstyle. She hasn’t made the aggressive comments of earlier episodes, but I wished I heard more from her. Kelly Wearstler, in the guise of a Victorian doll with wild hair, offers the most comments this time. Once again, I’m not crazy about Jonathan Adler’s color combinations in his ensemble, but it’s not as bad as last week.

Overall, one of their better episodes. I hope next week’s episode is as good or better.

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