Eat Drink Love, Episode 8: The Season Finale
Editor's note: As many of you know, Bravo debuted a new show about the L.A. food scene recently. Since some of us spend our
Sundays Thursdays watching sports instead of reality television (yes, even if it's about food; especially if it's about food), we though we'd ask a writer who writes more about television than about restaurants to cover the series. Read on for her weekly updates.
It was abruptly announced at the end of episode seven that the next episode of Eat Drink Love would be the season finale, which aired last Thursday. I couldn't bear that it was ending so I had to cry for three days before I could write this recap. (Just kidding. I was on vacation with no Bravo in sight.) The season finale picked up in the midst of Nina's life culminating, make-it or break-it opportunity: her pop-up restaurant.
After the cast gives Nina some constructive criticism, Lindsay decides it's now also time to confront Kat about an email she wrote, inviting her friends to support the dinner. (We covered our thoughts on this last week, defending Kat's actions, suggesting that Lindsay and Nina completely missed the point and shouldn't be so upset.)
Since the issue has all to do with Nina and nothing to do with Lindsay, Nina will definitely stick around to talk things through -- oh, wait. No. She ran away to the kitchen. Well, since Nina wishes that Lindsay would not confront Kat right now because she has so much work to do with only 24 hours left, she will obviously pull Lindsay aside and say, "Hey homie, please don't bring this up now, let's all talk about it later and --" Oh, wait. No. She doesn't do that either.
And so Lindsay expresses her ingratitude for Kat's email, Kat defends herself to Lindsay's pursed lips and, with Nina nowhere to be seen, Brenda sticks up for Kat and says she should have brought it up privately, at a different time.
"I was just sitting here!" said Waylynn, about the fight that has nothing to do with her. Kat, Brenda and Jessica storm out of the restaurant and Kat squeals her tires, blaring Led Zeppelin through the streets of downtown Los Angeles as she drives back to her loft to not sleep, leaving Jessica and Brenda in her exhaust cloud.
A great start to a finale!
Jessica pulls Nina, kicking and screaming, out of the kitchen to discuss the matter. Nothing is resolved but Jessica and Brenda tell Nina they love her and that this great collaborative group activity that has now gone awry thanks to Lindsay.
Afterwards, Nina has a mini-meltdown, crying, yelling at the camera to get out of her fucking face, swearing and freaking out in the kitchen to Lindsay and Nguyen Tran of Starry Kitchen (see: previous episode). The editing shows Waylynn listening in from the dining room, enjoying a satisfying course of schadenfreude for dessert.
The next morning, Jessica, Kat and Brenda meet at Tart to hash out what happened.
"You just left a bad taste in my mouth -- and it wasn't from your drinks this time," said Brenda about Lindsay's behavior and cocktail concocting. Kat announces she cannot support the dinner and isn't planning on going, even though it is now a work event, but we know she totally will.
Instead she goes to Mo-Chica to meet with Ricardo Zarate, chef/co-owner, and business partner/co-owner Stephane Bombet, to discuss her new consulting ventures. Kat wants to be more hands-on in the restaurant biz and pitches her knack for sussing out talent and putting the right chefs in places and spaces with the right concepts. Zarate and Bombet are having difficulty finding the right chefs and she suggests one, so maybe they are her clients now? That was easy!
Jessica meets up at Crust with Edward, beau from Episode Four, who brings her the gifts of a sunflower bouquet and his undivided attention. She tells him all about her new work ventures and asks him what he thinks. When she gets his approval she is giddy with excitement because if your dad isn't going to give it to you it's nice to have it from another man you love. Or just any man in a suit, really. Bravo tip for women: Find a man in a tailored three-piece to affirm what you already know so you can be a strong woman.
Across town, Nina makesa-da-pasta, sprays pans and gets frustrated with a KitchenAid, when everyone's favorite Top Chef Marcel Vigneron shows up to chop and joke. He, along with Sergio, Chuck and Michael, make up team pop-up.
"There's something pretty fun about being a little 5'3" chick that's a commander of a team of handsome men." Sounds like an amazing spin-off show starring Kristen Chenoweth and the cast of Magic Mike. Though she wants you to know that while there are all male chefs helping her out, this dinner is an ode to women. I mean, yes, I totally see that.
After five minutes of reality show cooking kitchen stress we are ready for biz. Outside, a line forms: Kat's new Mo-Chica clients are there, with her nowhere in sight, Brenda's main squeeze from last episode, Michael, shows up to accompany her, and everyone can't wait to get in and start eating farmers market fresh.
Lindsay greets everyone at the door with a fancy drink, though Brenda refuses to drink it, confidently stating, "I don't care if it's 40 year-old cognac with a diamond ring at the bottom -- I'm not drinking it!" Bwahaha! Which reminded us to put more cash into the fireplace because it's getting cold in here.
The amuse-bouche is a crispy prosciutto cup with burrata, mint and fig. Verdict: Everyone loves it!
Lindsay addresses the crowd in traditional "here ye here ye" manner to announce the preparation of her intricate drink, when Kat shows up -- to everyone's surprise except the viewers at home. She wants to support Nina and chalks Lindsay's rabble-rousing to "shit going on in her life."
First Course is an essence of corn soup with crispy chickpeas, beet powder and spicy celery ice cube. Verdict: Delicious! Everyone totally gets why there's an ice cube in their soup now.
For a palate cleanser between courses, Brenda and Michael make out at the table and Kat and Jessica cannot even handle it in an excited best-friends-club way.
Second Course is agnolotti pasta stuffed with ricotta cheese, dandelion puree and a kabocha squash puree. Verdict: Success! Yet again!
For a second palate cleanser, Lindsay announces her next intricate cocktail, which is met with yawns and mocking faces from Regina George, Gretchen Wieners and Karen Smith.
Main Course is Arctic char with verbena oil, pine nut cream and smoked peaches with beluga lentils. Verdict: Pack up your knives Nina, because you're on your way to restaurant town -- the people love it!
For dessert, Waylynn makes a very neutral, crowd-pleasing, not-getting-in-the-middle-of-anything, minding-my-own-business dessert of chocolate mousse cake with crispy wafer and salted caramel ice cream, which everyone loves.
A round of applause for Nina. It warms our heart that the dinner was the success we predicted it to be because no one actually wants to see people fail at doing something they love. The meltdown earlier was hard enough to watch and if you disagree, Lindsay will take your black heart, add some vinegar syrup, and make a nice evil shrub cocktail for you.
For the final fling, the cast meets at The Hotel Wilshire rooftop restaurant and bar to drink Champagne and toast banal things like, "It's nice to see that after all the bullshit drama and arguments we as women can all come together and support each other and have fun."
Brenda sums up reality TV as a genre nicely by saying, "As much as I've loved and hated every single person at this table and how you have all loved and hated me, I think we are incredibly lucky to be here." She touches on her emotional and professional growth and the ups and downs they experienced together. Where is she now? Brenda has started her own PR firm (Whoa! No more Boss Mary!) and reps Chris Crary and other chefs. She is no longer dating make-out Michael.
Kat expresses that she, too, is grateful and fortunate and has learned that it doesn't matter what other people think about her, what's important is moving forward with her career. Where is she now? Still consulting, writing, smiling and hugging.
Jessica is thankful that she is surrounded by strong females, that she realizes she no longer needs to be her father's protégée (yeah!) and she needs to pave her own way. Where is she now? Senior Director of Marketing for a new restaurant company that they don't specify for unknown reasons. Jessica is still dating Edward, which "makes her father very happy." The viewers don't care what makes her father very happy as long as she is happy.
Nina is grateful to have met everyone and that she now has an L.A. crew and she finally feels like Los Angeles is her home. Where is she now? Nina had a baby and is executive chef for a restaurant on the Sunset Strip. Bravo, why be so elusive with the name? Is it Chateau Marmont? Osteria Drago? Mel's Drive-In? Come on.
Waylynn thanks everyone for their friendship and support and reflects that "we are all women working in predominately male-run industry and if we can't put our shit aside and support each other, then what the hell are we fighting for?" Where is she now? NYC bakery plans are on hold as she opens a second location in Southern California. She is no longer dating chef Andrew but instead a nice lawyer who can't cook but can sue.
And then Lindsay is -- wait. No. It's done. The show is over. What? Nothing from Lindsay? She was just brought on in the middle of the series to stir up trouble and fight with the majority of cast members and then she doesn't even get to speak? She's not allowed to share some emotions so the audience has the potential to empathize with her and see that she is a human being with many dimensions? No, sorry Lindsay, you are silenced. See ya!
With the exception of Lindsay, the women can all say what they learned over the course of the show -- if they grew and what they learned from it -- but what did viewers take away? That if we treat people like crap but suddenly decide to put negativity aside and support each other, we can take over the world? That if everyone blames all the shit on someone else, we can move on from it with little to no accountability? That we really can all come together when there is a common enemy? Strong women unite!
Something was lost between the "Eat" and the "Love," somewhere in the "Drink," we suspect, which is usually the case. Not that "Pray" is the answer, but maybe some sort of deeper self-reflection or, at the very least, something more than glossy, contrived speeches about being supportive women at the end of a show that seemed to desperately want to be a step forward for ladies on television. Congratulations, you have now graduated from your eight-week women's studies class taught at the University of Us Weekly.
Let's shoot for more heart, more laughs, less faux-bitchiness, and give everyone a chance to speak next season. We will cheers our "Brenda pours" to that.
Get the Squid Ink'd Newsletter
Sign up for our weekly food newsletter, which features top local food news and events, plus interviews with chefs and restaurant owners, dining tips and a link to our print review.