After last week’s disappointing episode, in which the challenge wasn’t very well defined and nobody prepared a dish that really blew the judges away, this week once again left the judges unimpressed and viewers thinking that the crop of chefs this season is well below what we’ve come to expect.
The episode began with Padma and legendary New Orleans chef John Besh rolling into the house and telling the chefs that they needed to pack an overnight bag. They hopped in the RAV4 (as they made sure to let us know) and rolled out to a farm that supplies many of Besh’s restaurants and grows the thin-skinned, high-acid Creole tomato, which is similar to a beefsteak. For the Quickfire, the judges needed to prepare a dish that showcased the tomato. They sweated it out, and when the 20 minutes were over they each had something to present to Besh.
Bene: Chilled tomato and watermelon soup with balsamic reduction and feta cheese
Carlos: Olive oil poached tomato with red onions, cilantro, and basil
Stephanie: Creole tomato steaks with vinaigrette and olive oil
Nina: Chilled watermelon tomato soup with jalapeño, fresh basil, and shaved zucchini
Nicholas: Caramelized melon, cherry vinegar, and tomatoes with watermelon cucumber
Justin: Tomato skin tartare with squash blossoms and olive oil
Travis: Seared Creole tomato with steak, feta, and wilted arugula
Louis: Tomato seed bouillion, marinated tomato, watermelon cucumber, and zucchini
Brian: "Toad in the hole" Creole tomato with Andouille sausage
Patty: Roasted tomatoes marinated in olive oil and cherry vinegar with arugula and asparagus
Patty’s was a "mess," Stephanie’s was simple and didn’t show much creativity, and Travis’ didn’t elevate the tomato. On top was Nina’s soup, Carlos’ salad, and Louis’ bouillon. Nina took the win, and it seems like she’s won every challenge so far.
For the Elimination Challenge, Besh told them that they’d be cooking for all of Besh’s chefs at his restaurant La Provence, and that they’d have to incorporate Philadelphia cream cheese into their dish (they seem to be going overboard on the product placement this season, don’t they?). They’d also need to showcase all the local produce from nearby farms. They all drew knives to learn if they’d be preparing an appetizer, entrée, or dessert, and Padma told them that the winner would receive $10,000. After a bucolic evening relaxing on the farm (giving the producers a chance to get the chefs in a more relaxed state), they woke up the next morning and got down to business.
Cream cheese isn’t exactly a super-versatile ingredient (even though Philadelphia has been trying desperately in the past couple of years to convince us otherwise), and the fact that the only dairy available was milk and cream cheese (no butter) forced the chefs out of their comfort zone a little. As opposed to last week’s awkward catering challenge, it was nice to see the chefs cooking for a dinner party-sized group.
Here’s what they ended up with:
Patty: Snapper crudo with cream cheese vinaigrette
Brian: Summer squash and zucchini tagliatelle with poached oysters and emulsified cream cheese
Carlos: Poached baby beets and pickled carrots with peach, habanero, and cream cheese sauce
Nina: Crispy zucchini blossoms with eggplant and cream cheese purée
Sara: Island spiced lamb chop stuffed with cream cheese and curry powder
All the dishes went over well (especially the zucchini blossom, of course) except for Brian’s salty oysters and Sara’s undercooked lamb.
Bene: Roasted chicken breast rolled with caramelized onions and tarragon cream cheese
Carrie: Vinegar-braised chicken in cream cheese sauce with chilled cucumber
Justin: Roasted duck breast eggplant vinaigrette, chanterelle mushrooms, and corn purée
Travis: Seared lamb with Moroccan succotash and cream cheese aioli
The braised chicken turned out dry and soupy, Bene’s dish was a major disappointment, Travis’ lamb was flavorful but inconsistently cooked, and while Justin’s duck was tasty, they couldn’t find the cream cheese. Overall, the gang wasn’t too impressed.
Louis: Graham cracker with blackberries and cream cheese mousse
Nicholas: Funnel cake and carrot cake with peach-flavored cream cheese
Shirley: Steamed egg custard with macerated blueberries
Stephanie: Cream cheese, peach, and cherry mousse with cream cheese short dough
Stephanie’s custard was a broken disaster, Nicholas’ carrot cake was full of surprising flavors and textures, Shirley’s custard was "scrambled" and needed more sweetness, and Louis’ graham cracker bar was soggy and chewy. Another unimpressed showing, and Colicchio seemed almost embarrassed to present these dishes to Besh’s team. The judges railed into these chefs while they were deliberating, and it was painful to watch the chefs look on in horror.
Nina, Nicholas, and Justin took the top spots. Nina’s cream cheese filling was silky and smooth, and she accomplished everything she wanted to. Nicholas’ dessert was delicious, as was Justin’s duck, which was "composed and thoughtful," according to Gail Simmons. Nina, once again, took the win, the fourth challenge in a row that she’s won.
Bene, Sarah, and Travis were on the bottom. Sara's lamb was underdone and her effort to stuff it didn’t work. Bene’s vegetables were basically steamed and disconnected from the rest of his dish, and he tried to do too much. Travis’ dish was plated sloppily, and the vegetables were mushy and oddly cut. None of the dishes were inspired, memorable, or properly cooked, and the judges seemed truly appalled.
In the end, it was anyone’s game to lose, but Bene ended up getting the boot for his dried-out chicken and steamed, mushy vegetables. He was a good chef that had a bad day, and probably would have made it much further had he stuck around, which is more than I can say for the two who were on the bottom but weren’t kicked off.
Tommy and his bow tie the size of America are really happy to be in the top seven, we learn before tonight’s mystery box challenge. Up come the lids and it’s coffee. mn fine coffee,” Christina Tosi adds. Our chefs have an hour to make a “stunning coffee-inspired dish. Ready to put some pep in your step?” With that they’re off, though Stephen’s all, 𠇌offee? I drink it but very rarely do I do anything else with it.” So on those special occasions, what are you doing with it, buddy?
Graham Elliot says coffee dishes generally are sweet though you can go savory, but he’s expecting the former. Claudia’s confident, Stephen’s confident, Derrick is very confident—though do you expect anything less from our alpha male?𠅊nd he’s brought out his dessert guns. His regular guns are out, too, since he’s sans sleeves, as is tradition. While Derrick stirs a pot of raspberries, Graham stirs the proverbial pot by asking how Derrick is handling the rivalry with Stephen. (Answer: just fine, thank you.) Most are making dessert and most are sticking to their roots. Time is called and the top three are chosen.
First up, with a finesse in plating, is Derrick, who is obviously stoked. rrick annoys me, but I gotta give him the credit he deserves. That guy can cook,” Stephen tells us. Aww. That’s nice. Derrick’s caramel latte panna cotta, with raspberry sauce and spun sugar, looks sublime. It’s edible art in a glass. “It’s dessert, so it’s like the encore of the concert,” Derrick says, though I’ll let it slide since he hasn’t done one of these trite rock analogies in ages. Gordon declares the coffee to be the hero in the glass, and, 𠇏or the first time in this competition, I𠆝 change nothing.” Graham heaps praise, Christina finds it “overall amazing, thought it could’ve been a little more tart.” Just give the guy his win, Christina.
Hetal is called next and this is “maybe a redemption” for her. She’s ecstatic about her dense coffee chocolate cake with espresso whipped cream, which she thinks “you’ll want to shove right in your face.” Graham abstains from that behavior, though he says it’s tasty but could’ve had more coffee flavor. Gordon disagrees, calling it 𠇋loody delicious.” Last up is Nick, who’s yet to emerge victorious in a mystery box challenge. His vanilla coffee cake with coffee mascarpone and a crumble of espresso beans on top floors Christina, who lavishes the praise before rudely inquiring if this is 𠇊 fluke.” C’mon, Christina. Did you not have enough coffee this morning and you’re a little grumpy? Gordon thinks it’s so brilliant, Nick gets a high five.
The winner will be Derrick, Derrick thinks. He’s sure his dish is worlds beyond the other two. “I have a restaurant quality dish. It’s an undeniable win,” Derrick tells us. Which makes it all the more funny when Nick gets the win. Derrick, you hath been denied, homie. Nick compares his victory to “that girl in the club you just can’t get to, but I finally got to her and she’s talking to me.” …Mmkay.
For the elimination challenge, things will work differently tonight, Gordon says, but don’t they always this late in the competition? Nick won’t choose what the others will cook because the judges already have. It’s a summer party platter comprised of chicken wings, shrimp skewers, sliders, tortilla chips with salsa and guac, and pigs in a blanket, all made from scratch. Gordon assures us this simple comfort food is far more complicated to make than it looks, adding that “your tray has to look exactly like our tray.” It’s impossible to pull off alone, we’re told, so they’ll be in teams of two. Guess who gets to pick the teams. If you said Nick, you get a cookie.
Of this newfound power, his fellow contestants should percent should be worried,” Nick says. Now we learn this is the tag team challenge, “just to add more misery,” sighs Stephen. Nick immediately pairs Derrick with Stephen and I immediately smile broadly. “If Derrick talks back, I’m going to crush him,” Stephen vows. Next, Nick pairs Katrina and her gaudy blue bow headpiece with Tommy and his gaudy white bow neckpiece. It’s just so much bow without any presents. At this pairing, which displeases both, Tommy thinks the shade Katrina’s throwing is like she’s “just been paired with Count Dracula.” For those keeping score at home, that means Hetal and Claudia are coupled up, and I kinda feel like they’ll do well together.
NEXT: The team that fights the most will surprise you.
We’re about to get underway, with half of each team behind the station the other member standing on the side, looking anxious. “Give me popcorn and a six pack,” grins Nick, as he takes to the rafters. Less than one second after starting, Derrick’s snapping ster!” at Stephen, who disagrees with his commands and refuses to season the burger meat, flummoxing Derrick. Gordon walks us through the proper order of this meal, if only so that we can see no one is adhering to the protocol. Katrina’s contribution to this whole process seems to be freaking out and saying “nonononono” over and over in between screaming at Tommy.
In the back, Hetal and Claudia are getting along swimmingly. Gordon approaches Katrina (standing) and Tommy (cooking) to shake them up and alert them the shrimp is on the grill far too early. A lightbulb goes off above Katrina’s head bow. “Oh yeah! Take them off!” she barks at Tommy, who complies. Gordon tries to lead them into what they should be doing, but they’re clueless. Tommy begins to roll out pastry dough with a wine bottle, which angers Mr. Ramsay, as the dough is already rolled out. Now both Gordon and Katrina are yelling at Tommy, who seems far too calm during all of this.
(Sidenote: The judges said this would all be made from scratch, yet the contestants are clearly using Pillsbury dough from the tube. While I don’t expect them to, say, make hot dogs from scratch, I did think they𠆝 have to make their own dough. Didn’t you?)
They switch. “You have to find your inner Mexican lady right now,” Claudia tells Hetal when it’s tortilla time. They appear to be working so smoothly and cohesively as a duo, which doesn’t surprise me. What does is that Stephen and Derrick also seem to be on the same page. The only twosome bickering is The Bows. Katrina screams. Tommy asks her to stop screaming. Again. “Hey, can you do me a favor?” Katrina calmly asks Tommy. Sure, comes the reply. “Go faster.” HA! Finally, platter assembly begins. Now everyone’s freaking out. Cold cheese is going on burgers, Hetal’s suddenly freaking over something, Derrick’s missing a bun, and Stephen’s screaming about chips getting on the board. Time is called and Stephen grunt-screams (greams? scrunts?) in his trademark fashion for a prolonged period of time and then throws a towel in… excitement? Anger? Jubilation?
Taste time for Derrick and Stephen. “There were times when they were out of control,” Gordon says, before imitating Stephen’s scrunts remarkably well, but says the plate looks goodspite missing the mustard. Everything is amazing and all the judges love it. “Nick’s recipe for disaster was really a recipe for success,” says Derrick. Rock on, alpha male.
Up come Hetal and Claudia, the latter of which believes this to be her poorest effort so far and would be totally fine with tossing this whole thing in the trash. They looked so smooth throughout—perhaps it was the edit—so it’s kind of shocking when they reach the judges and Christina says, “This looks like someone has already eaten it.” Yikes. The mushrooms were burned by Hetal, she admits. Worse, some of the shrimp are raw. Christina thinks “this isn’t a party platter, but a funeral platter.” Zing…? 𠇍readful,” says Gordon. “You should be embarrassed.” I assume Gordon meant the platter and not Christina’s lame insult.
Last up come The Bows. Katrina would give this performance 𠇊 negative two,” and Gordon readily agrees. “Visually, it’s messy,” Gordon says, which is an understatement. Now The Bows start to throw blows, pointing fingers at each other. After a nanosecond, Katrina starts crying because, “I’m thinking about how we could’ve done better.” Everything’s wrong and Graham says the only good thing is the flavor on the burger. “Next time you guys throw a party, don’t invite me.” Oh snap. This is sad because Graham loves bow ties, so I feel like he𠆝 fit right in, should these two actually ever throw a shindig.
Derrick and Stephen win, obviously. So who’ll go home? Hetal and Claudia “just did enough to stay safe,” so they’re off to the balcony. Which means it’s Katrina and Tommy fighting for a spot in the top six. “One of you who put more of an effort into the challenge,” says Gordon. “We’re saving Katrina.” She blubbers on her way up to the balcony, while Tommy and his flair and panache say their goodbyes to the judges. “We’ll remember you forever,” says Gordon. Of the remaining field, Tommy snarks, “Some of the most talented people are on that balcony. And some of the dumbest people standing up there, too.” Tommy casts his vote for Derrick to take the whole kit and caboodle and exits with a flourish.
Would you go to Katrina and Tommy’s party? Did you think the Pillsbury dough was weird? Did Tommy’s dismissal catch you by surprise?
Top Chef CA Episode 6: "Banannaise" 1/14/16 - Spoilers!
Started off with a fish taco sudden death quickfire. Angelina spaced out and left her dish on the cutting board instead of putting them on a plate, so was up for elimination. She chose to battle Wesley for a dish made from Caesar salad ingredients and lost. Buh-bye Angelina.
Next, a beer pairing challenge with craft beers formulated by the judges. All the beers sounded awful to me. I hope none of the judges have visions of starting their own microbrew because the last thing I want to taste in a beer is banana. Even writing that makes me a little queasy.
Karen won with duck breast (though all three top dishes sounded good and I thought Amar would win).
I was sure Jason would go based on the judges reactions to his slimy, tentacle filled squid meatballs, but I guess overcooked lamb is a bigger sin and Wesley had to pack his knives and go.
Top Chef 2013-New Orleans Episode 6 Live Recap:Farm to Table
Each week the chefs of Top Chef 2013 are put to the test with New Orleans traditions. Even the New Orleans chefs can’t master the challenges! Who will be eliminated on tonight’s Top Chef 2013 Live Recap?
Last week on Top Chef 2013 New Orleans, the chefs had to pair strange flavors together for the quickfire challenge. The challenge would have been a normal cooking challenge, but all the ingredients and kitchen tools were wrapped in tinfoil! To make it even more challenging, Padma and Gail Simmons mother’s picked out their ingredients. Padma’s team made better dishes. As a reward, the team got to split $10,000.
For last week’s Top Chef Season 11 elimination challenge the chefs paired up to create two spooky vegetarian dishes for a Halloween party. Carlos and Travis had the best dishes of the night Nina, Michael, Bene, and Brian had the worst dishes. Michael’s dry arancini and sweet sauce got him eliminated.
On tonight’s Top Chef 2013, the chefs cook farm to table. First they will have to create dishes with local creole tomatoes. Then, they have to cook impress chefs from local chef John Besh’s restaurant.
WARNING!! THIS POST CONTAINS TOP CHEF 2013 SPOILERS. IF YOU DO NOT WANT TO KNOW WHAT HAPPENED STOP READING NOW!!
John Besh stopped by the Top Chef 2013 house on tonight’s episode. He announced he would be taking them to their next challenge. They had to pack an overnight bag and head to a farm. Once at the farm, the chefs learned they had to use a coveted Louisiana ingredient for their 20 minute quickfire creole tomatoes.
Bene made a chilled tomato soup Carlos made poached tomato Stephanie made a tomato salad with feta Nina made chilled watermelon tomato soup tomato watermelon cucumber dish Justin made a tomato tartar Travis made a seared tomato steak dish Louis tomato seed buillion Brian did play on toads in a hole and Patty made roasted tomatoes.
The least favorite dishes were Patty’s, Stephanie’s, and Travis’. The favorites came from Nina, Carlos, and Louis. Out of the three favorites, Nina’s was the best. She went the extra mile to keep her soup cold.
For tonight’s Top Chef 2013 elimination challenge, the chefs had to cook for John Besh’s restaurant. They had to serve one dish family style and use cream cheese. There was also going to be no butter! The chefs drew for which course they would have to cook for. The chef to create the best dish will win $10,000.
The chefs had to get creative in the kitchen with this challenge. Louis was assigned to dessert and wasn’t’ confident with it, and some of the others weren’t happy about their limited dairy ingredients.
Patty: Snapper crudo- the judges like the dish.
Brian: Garden vegetable dish with oysters- the vegetables were good but the oysters were salty.
Carlos: Poached beets and carrots with cream cheese sauce- the judges thought the cream cheese worked well.
Nina: Crispy zucchini blossoms- the judges like this dish and thought it was very creative.
Sara: Stuffed lamb- this was the judge’s least favorite dish. The lamb was undercooked.
Bene: Roasted chicken breast- the eggplant wasn’t cooked right.
Carrie: Vinegar braised chicken- dry but daring.
Justin: Roast duck breast- the judges couldn’t find the cream cheese but liked the dish.
Travis: Seared lamb- the lamb was good, but raw for some judges.
Louis: graham cracker faux mousse- it was referred to as soggy and chewy.
Nicolas: funnel cakes- the judges were surprised by how much they like the dish
Shirley: Steamed egg custard- the judges were not impressed and thought it needed sweetness.
Stephanie-cream cheese peach and cherry mousse- the judges thought something must have happened with her dish because it was not good.
The judges were surprised that the chefs’ dishes weren’t what they expected. They did however think Nina, Justin and Nicholas’ dishes stood out. These three had the best dishes of the night on Top Chef 2013 New Orleans. The winner of the challenge, and $10,000 was Nina. Nina continues to come out on top time after time (except last week).
The judges criticized Travis for not cooking his vegetables properly: Sara’s dish lacked balance and the lamb was raw and Stephanie’s dish seemed thrown together. Stephanie lucked out because the judge’s least favorite dishes were Bene’s, Sara’s, and Travis’. On top of the other problems with their dishes, Bene’s tried to do too much and Travis’ vegetables were mush.