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Top Chef NOLA - Ep. #2 - 10/09/13 (Spoilers)

I do believe gumbo is on the menu tonight! Then perhaps a visit to a food truck. :-)

We start back in the Stew Room as they hash out who went home. And then Padma walks in. She tells them it's time for their first Quickfire! Yup, it's gumbo - they are to make a gumbo inspired by their heritage. They'll get a lot more time to make the gumbo - they get to start their gumbo back at the house, and will have 15 minutes back in the TC kitchen the next day to finish the dish.

Leah Chase, chef/owner of Dooky Chase, is the guest judge, and the winner will get immunity in the Elimination Challenge. They start at 10:30 p.m. and there are crockpots everywhere in the kitchen and throughout the house. The roux that is being made by various chefs are gloriously dark and beautifully smooth. Michael Sichel from Galatoire's doesn't like his gumbo and dumps the entire thing at 1:30 a.m.

The next morning, they take their crockpots and get into the TC kitchen to finish their gumbo. They are still plating as Padma helps Leah Chase into the kitchen.

Michael - Drunken Chicken Gumbo with Dirty Rice
Shirley - Braised Pork Belly Gumbo with Mexican Rice & Italian Salad
Janine - Australian Curry Gumbo with Macadamia Nuts & Coconut Milk
Aaron - Hot & Sour Asian-Syle Gumbo with Prawns & Sushi Rice (Leah teaches Padma how to eat the whole prawn, including the head)
Justin - Pork Rib Gumbo with Okra, Shrimp & Deviled Egg
Patty - Puerto Rican Mofongo Style Gumbo with Sofrito & Pork Belly
Bret - New England & Miami Inspired GUmbo with Fried Clams & Butter-Poached Lobster
Carrie - Iowan-Trinidadian Gumbo with Coconut, Green Mango & Corn Crumble (Leah says "interesting" to the dark forest green gumbo, and Padma just raises her eyebrows)
Carlos - Albondigas Chipotle Gumbo with Bone Marrow
Jason - Polish Inspired Gumbo with Whipped Potato, Cabbage & Shaved Beets
Nina - Plantain & Yuca Based Gumbo with Poached Egg
Louis - Moroccan-Inspired Gumbo with Lamb Shank, Root Vegetables & Sumac
Sara - Crab & Silken Tofu Gumbo with Toasted Forbidden Rice

(Looks like we didn't see gumbo from Brian, Bene, Nicholas, Travis, and Stephanie.)

Least Favorites - Jason, Michael, Patty
Favorites - Aaron, Carrie, Shirley

The winner is Carrie's - and she thought her dish was disliked by both Leah and Padma!

Now it's Elimination Challenge time. NOLA chef, Susan Spicer, arrives to join Leah and Padma. Padma said that New Orleans is a food town, and it's also constantly evolving, and that's led to food trucks becoming very prevalent. They'll work as teams to create a menu for their truck. They'll be feeding volunteers for Habitat for Humanity who are continuing to help rebuild New Orleans after Katrina.

Leah said they lost everything, and any truck with food was warmly greeted by everyone helping to rebuild. Leah was 83 years old when Hurricane Katrina hit, and people said she should quit. She said the Pope quit, but there was a lot of work still to be done, so she continued.

Padma divided them into 4 teams - two of 5 people, two of 4 people, and sent them outside to their food trucks.

YELLOW TEAM - Aaron, Carlos, Travis, Carrie & Brian
CONCEPT - a Taco Truck

BLUE TEAM - Jason, Patty, Nicholas & Bret
CONCEPT - the Surf Truck (seafood)

GREEN TEAM - Louis, Sara, Shirley & Stephanie
CONCEPT - Mediterranean

RED TEAM - Justin, Bene, Janine, Michael & Nina
CONCEPT - South Florida & Caribbean (I think; never got a real good idea as they were all over the map with a "concept" - harbinger of things to come?). Bene gets ignored with all of his ideas (which were just as all over the map)

They head off to Whole Foods to shop - 30 minutes, $1,500 to spend. Back to the house for a night off. Michael starts a crawfish boil - and Jason throws one into the pool and names him Rocky.

They have 2 hours to cook, and the trucks show up at two work sites. Bene continues to be pushed aside by the chefs on his team. Over at the other site, Nicholas and Jason on the Blue team are making sure that dishes aren't overthought by Patty and Bret. Jason will be a front person, so he makes the decision to roll his salmon roll ahead of time. Jason talks to some of the women who lived in the 9th Ward and are helping out via Habitat for Humanity because they were helped by others.

Padma, Tom, Gail and Susan are walking through the area that's being worked on, and Padma notes it's great that people are still volunteering to help. Gail says that there are still 50,000 houses to be rebuilt. Padma and Susan head to one work site, Tom and Gail head over to the other one.

1. Travis & Brian - Dorado & Shrimp Ceviche with Tomato
2. Carrie & Aaron - Beef & Pork Curry Empanadas with Watercress & Mango
3. Carlos & Aaron - Tilapia Tacos with Chipotle Aioli & Cabbage

Padma & Susan liked Carrie's empanada dough and Brian's ice cold ceviche.

1. Jason - Salmon Hand Roll with Quinoa, Honey Mustard Miso & Cucumber
2. Nicholas - Grilled Shrimp with Melon-Sungold Salad & Crushed Wasabi Peas
3. Bret - Coconut Ceviche with Red Snapper & Bay Scallops
4. Patty - Tuna Slider with Crispy Pancetta, Avocado & Tomato

Tom is wondering why the hand roll was made so far in advance, as it should still be crispy and Jason's isn't. Gail said Bret's not-so-cold ceviche with piping hot plantains is odd, and Tom said it wasn't well seasoned. Patty's slider wasn't easy to eat, and Tom said he's not sure he'd use a tomato out of season. Then they show Patty saying "It's a simple slider, but it's executed perfectly." Ummm......

1. Janine - Green Gazpacho with Pickled Shrimp
2. Justin - Lobster & Crab Fritters with Corn Puree & Bacon Jam
3. Nina & Bene - Jerk Chicken Sandwich with Mango & Crispy Plantains
4. Michael - Ricotta with Burnt Honey, Stone Fruit & Toasted Coconut

Lot of ginger in Janine's soup, but it was enjoyed. Justin's fritters were really enjoyed - Tom said the batter extras looked like funnel cake. Michael's ricotta dessert was really enjoyed.

1. Stephanie - Crispy Chickpeas with Watercress & Radish Salad
2. Sara - Tuna Burger with Sprouts, Avocado & Watermelon Rind Pickles
3. Shirley - Spicy Lamb Salad with Cucumber & Asian Pear
4. Louis - helped with everything and did the chilled watermelon amuse bouche

Padma liked the falafel, and thought the tuna burger could use some salt, although other diners seemed to like it. Susan liked the lamb dish as well.

It ended with Tom and Gail back at the Yellow Team's Taco truck, so it *looks* like all of the judges got to try all of the trucks' food dishes. The TV comes on in the Stew Room so they can watch what the judges thought of their dishes. The Yellow and Green Teams' dishes had the favorite dishes, and the Red and Blue Teams had dishes that weren't cohesive or were made to be "easy", as Tom said.

Padma comes in to the Stew Room to tell the Yellow Team they won the challenge. They go to Judges Table to hear the overall reviews (impressed with Carrie's dough made on the truck, Aaron's empanada filling, and Carlos's lightly battered tilapia for the fish taco). Susan Spicer says that the one outstanding dish that showed a clear understanding of technique and was very appropriate for this challenge - Carrie's empanada! She gets a double win. Tom tells Aaron that the filling was great, but the pastry was what made it stand out.

The Blue Team is sent in as the bottom group. Before they go in, Jason said "If they're constructive, I'll be nice. If they're rude, I'll be rude back!" Oh yeah - like THAT always does a cheftestant well in front of the judges! Eeesh.

Padma asked how they thought they did, and Bret was surprised they were there. He had heard that other teams ran out of food, and the Blue Team had more than enough food to serve. But Tom and Padma noted that that was a *problem*, not a good thing, as the diners were going back for seconds for the winning truck's dishes, even though everyone was making the same number of dishes.

Gail told Bret his piping hot tostone that was too hot, so it warmed the ceviche.

Tom asked Jason what he likes when he gets a hand roll, and Jason responds "Crisp, refreshing, and you can eat it with your hands." Tom asked if he delivered, and Jason said he did not. Jason said he realized he should have rolled them to order, and he did so so he could interact with the guests. Susan asked why he sacrificed his dish to stand out front, and Bret said when it was decided to be a Surf Truck, Jason said he looks like a surfer. Padma and Susan laugh. Tom asked if Jason knew it would hurt the dish by pre-rolling, and he replied no, he didn't. (Ummm, didn't he say before service that he realized that the rolls were losing their crispness?) Patty got called out for a not-in-season tomato on her tuna slider.

The judges rip into all the dishes after the Blue Team leaves - each dish has an issue with it and it could be anyone going home (although I think Nicholas is the safest).

Decision time (after the :::whooshing camera close-ups::::) - Padma tells Jason to pack his knives and go! (Patty just squeaks by yet AGAIN.) Jason says in the confessional that he thought he would be Top 5. He says he's not a good loser; he's bitter and angry, so that will fuel him to fight his way back to the top in Last Chance Kitchen.

Previews show a knife draw, and it's an Elimination Quickfire, and they'll be at Commander's Palace. And that's all she wrote for this episode. Time to hit Post and then do some proofreading before heading to bed. Night all!

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    1. re: Worldwide Diner

      Loved the bit about her rolling out the dough with an ice-cold bottle of wine. Something very New Orleanian about that. ;)

      1. re: Wahooty

        It was a terrific idea for hot weather. Someone should sell a rolling pin that has liquid inside that can be frozen. It would be great in the summer anywhere!

        1. re: roxlet


          Stay Cool
          Fillable Rolling Pin

          11-1/2" long barrel,
          2-7/8" diameter,
          22" long overall,
          Stainless steel barrel,
          High impact plastic parts,
          End cap unscrews for filling,
          25 year limited warranty
          Made in China
          Fill with cold water from the tap,
          Reduces surface temperature by about 20°F,
          Stays cool several hours without condensation,
          Water also weighs it down for easier rolling.


          1. re: LindaWhit

            If you have a marble pin you can always stick it in the freezer overnight. It helps in the summer but I always wish it stayed colder longer.

            1. re: thimes

              I used to have a marble rolling pin, but I found it really unwieldy. I prefer a French or a tapered rolling pin myself. I don't much care for the ones with the handles, which is probably why I didn't like the marble one!

            2. re: LindaWhit

              Well, I guess I'm not such an original thinker! That's cool -- literally!

              1. re: roxlet

                At first I thought the metal might make the dough stick, but I guess it doesn't, since it's keeping the rolling pin so cold. It doesn't *say* you could freeze it, but I don't know why you couldn't.

            3. re: roxlet

              The cold wine bottle works really well. Mostly I don't roll out dough (bake) in really hot weather, anyway. But my 24-inch long rolling pin rolls out dough in a hurry, and with minimal strokes. :)

              1. re: roxlet

                Actually, the rolling pin my grandmother always used (and swore by) was an aluminum one that was meant to be filled with ice. She never used it that way, because apparently the damn thing leaked obscenely, but she swore she couldn't roll out a pie crust with anything else.

                1. re: roxlet

                  My mom has one like this http://www.rubylane.com/item/540452-1... the one end unscrews and you can add in ice and water. Could probably freeze it too.

                  Basically, if it was available in 1975 and made by Tupperware, my mom probably has it. She had a "Tupperware Shower" before her wedding.

                  1. re: juliejulez

                    Everything old is new again. I'll bet that Ms. Midwestern grew up with something like this at home.

                  2. re: roxlet

                    My mother had a plastic tupperware pin way back when. It was hollow with a screw cap at won end so you could fill it with ice water.

                    There is a big problem though with icy cold rolling pins in humid environments. They build up condensation which then gets transferred to your dough, throwing off the water/flour ratio.

                2. re: Worldwide Diner

                  I love that iowagirl "liked" your post, WwD. :D

                  1. A couple of quick comments...

                    Why would any chef compete in New Orleans without attempting to learn how to make gumbo?

                    I knew McFly was in trouble when he decided to roll all of his salmon rolls ahead of service. The women were coming up to McFly for reasons other than his food.

                    I wish Patty had been given the PPYKAG instead of McFly.

                    The Elves attempted to make this episode appear to start with a QF on the same night as the judging after the first elimination challenge during the first episode. The judging of the first elimination challenge happened a day after the serving of the food in the swamp.

                    20 Replies
                    1. re: John E.

                      McFly had to go, but the Puerto Rican should follow soon.

                      1. re: Worldwide Diner

                        Completely agree. He was called out in the Quickfire for having a bad dish and then again in the Elimination.

                        Maybe he's not as good or good-looking as he thinks he is.

                        1. re: chefhound

                          I don't think he's that good-looking anyway! Looks too Aryan, if you know what I mean --particularly with that haircut.

                          1. re: roxlet

                            He might look that way, but he is of Polish descent which pretty much puts his ancestors in the old country at odds with your perception.

                        2. re: Worldwide Diner

                          I agree he made a PPYKAG mistake in the EC. I just think he is a more interesting personality to have on the show than Ms. Vega.

                        3. re: John E.

                          I thought the exact same thing last night - what chef goes to a cooking competition in NOLA without learning how to make gumbo? Geez!

                          I was so pleasantly surprised to see Marty go. As the season progressed, I could really see him getting on my nerves. Patty will be gone soon.

                          The girl from Iowa is so refreshing. I would love to have tried her QF dish. It looked like some St. Patrick's Day dish ... So green! Corn crumble sounds amazing.

                          1. re: John E.

                            Another viewer who is just shocked that these chefs did not prepare for NOLA cuisine before they competed.

                            And I am shocked that Jason is gone. I thought they'd keep him around for awhile just to bug people.

                            1. re: gaffk

                              I do think Tom and the judges decide on what mistake is the worst and makes the dish less palatable. Ms. Vega has gotten lucky these first two episodes. I don't think it is possible for someone to start the first LCK to make it all the way through. The odds are just too long.

                              1. re: John E.

                                Agreed on both counts.

                                In a way I feel bad for Jason. He's had so much success at such a young age, I really don't think it occurred to him that he'd be eliminated so early.

                                Then again, he comes off as such an arrogant SOB . . .

                                1. re: gaffk

                                  He chose to feed his ego instead of feeding good food to the volunteers and judges.

                                2. re: John E.

                                  Are we sure that there's going to be a LCK this season?

                                  1. re: JAB

                                    Yes, Tom C. told the first cheftestant out last week that he'd have a chance to get back in via LCK.

                                3. re: gaffk

                                  Do the chefs know ahead of time where the season will be taking place? I know we as viewers had some warning but I'm not sure how far in advance of filming the location is made known to everyone. (I wonder this because I too am shocked)

                                  1. re: thimes

                                    Yep, at least according to Tom's blog. This week's still hasn't been posted, but in last week's blog:

                                    "So many of our contestants had never cooked with these proteins, and they can seem daunting to the uninitiated. Not that our chefs shouldn’t have expected to encounter them at some point during their sojourns in New Orleans -- how could we not have expected them to cook with something like alligator, with the whole season set in this town? So personally, I’d have studied up a bit in advance of coming. But that’s just me."

                                    1. re: thimes

                                      I'm also always surprised when a chef on this show doesn't know how to use a pressure cooker. If it were me, and knowing the difficult time constraints, that's one thing that I'd study up on right away!

                                  2. re: John E.

                                    +1, for the 2nd week in a row, I wished that it was Patty who had to PPYKAGH. If I were Jean Georges or David Burke, I'd be embarrassed.

                                    1. re: John E.

                                      Of course I didn't taste the roll, but I thought someone else should have gone home, perhaps warm ceviche guy.

                                      1. re: DGresh

                                        I agree, if only for entertainment's sake. Of course, if the judges really thought it was the worst dish, then I'm gkad they made that decision. I would not wish the TC judging to become like that on Master Chef.

                                        1. re: John E.

                                          If it came down to the person who would bring in the most viewers, Jason would have stayed. If your read comments, he's very unpopular and would have made a great villain. Even Hugh wanted to mentally poke him w/ pins.

                                    2. You rock Linda. All the "heavy lifting",and THEN some.

                                      Women are rocking too." I love a kitchen full of women!" Of note; Carrie's Trinidad family does not look like MY Trini family, but I know it's all good.

                                      So is St.Lucia! I think they liked Nina's dish, even though her team was one on the bottom. Wishful thinking?

                                      Lot's of "Asian influence".

                                      So the tuna dishes where tuna slider, and tuna burger? I felt tuna vs tuna was interesting.

                                      I don't like the curly hair guy from NOLA; I felt like he was he was being too disrespectful to Bene, although Bene didn't seem to mind. Didn't he sort of get disrespected in Masters? Wasn't he the show pony or the show goat? Maybe it's an elf thing.

                                      Padma said "you want me to put the whole head In my mouth?"....was it just me, or was that supposed to be racy? Padma; you don't have to put on the red light, OR the red dress.

                                      Padma said something was odd, and Leah said somethng like "it IS odd." Can't remember,but was that about the winning dish? Anyway, I liked her delivery.

                                      I THINK she also said "why did you use those beets?"
                                      Surfer dude's response: "you like beets? Me too.". Huh?

                                      "I'm surprised this is not a Top Chef wet T shirt contest".

                                      They gave surfer dude the "I hope he get's cut edit". Was it realy his idea to be out front? I just watched again, and 7t seened liked he thought it was a goid idea.

                                      I think the team got a "should have been Food Truck Wars " edit.

                                      Padma was like "Duh....think about that!" (there was food left because people didn't eat it). That wasn't neccesary at that point, was it?

                                      The "I'll be back through LCK" attitude is new, or maybe that's just him. Does Nick know about this relationship?

                                      1. Thought the same thing with Aaron: you're in NOLA for crying out loud, what are you thinking not learning about gumbo and po boys and bread puddings and etouffee's? Duh!

                                        I was kind of hoping Jason would develop into a decent villain this season, oh well.

                                        I guess I am not very clear on what constitutes a gumbo and whether everyone can agree to it. While I liked the idea that they all came up with their own spin on the dish, some of them were way out there, while the bearded NOLA went with the traditional, which is really kind of lazy and taking a chance at the same time: Leah Chase does this all the time and if your gumbo is just very good, it wasn't going to pass muster.

                                        1. I...WILL...NOT...READ THIS THREAD UNTIL AFTER I HAVE CAUGHT THE EPISODE ON DEMAND!

                                          1. So predictable that the local Galatoire guy who says he's "got gumbo handled" is already at the bottom.

                                            And the hot-shot sexy Polish surfer-guy blows it early by playing to being hot-shot sexy.

                                            And the who-was-she gal from Iowa stealing the show.

                                            This could be an interesting field and an interesting season.

                                            2 Replies
                                            1. re: chicgail

                                              I couldn't put my finger on the Galatoire guy until I realized his face never moves. Hello, Botox! Maybe not, and I have nothing against Botox and will probably be a customer within a few years...

                                              I think the guy in the bottom team with the glasses (Bret?) has a beautiful face and hair. Much more handsome than surfer guy, and he's confident enough not to open his mouth to brag about it.

                                              Now I feel creepy. If he's 27, I could be his mom (if I'd had him at 19.)

                                              1. re: chicgail

                                                As soon as Michael said that, I automatically replied "he'll be in the bottom."

                                              2. When are they posting Last Chance Kitchen? I checked last night after watching Top Chef but nothing up yet.

                                                3 Replies
                                                1. re: chefhound

                                                  chefhound, IIRC, I think they waited until they had 3 cheftestants in LCK before they had the first competition last season. So after next week's elimination, the first LCK should be up on Bravo's website.

                                                  1. re: LindaWhit

                                                    I couldn't remember what happened last season. I just assumed the first two would duke it out.

                                                    Thanks for remembering everything!

                                                    1. re: chefhound

                                                      I just went to the LCK site to check - October 23 is the start date for this season.

                                                      Linda, thanks once again for a terrific recap job! I hope you know how much we all appreciate you.

                                                2. If they didn't start making the gumbo until 10:30pm, I wonder what time they started the judging of the Swamp Party EC? Either they started the judging later in the day, or they spent a heck of a long time doing the judging. Or, to answer my own question, they did it that way to make it seem they were doing the judging the same night as the event in the swamp.

                                                  4 Replies
                                                  1. re: John E.

                                                    In previous TC discussions on CH, it's come up (through judge blogs) that the judging process takes hours and hours. So, say, 6pm-10:30pm wouldn't be a stretch.

                                                    Personally, I'd go insane with that long of a process.

                                                    1. re: KrumTx

                                                      I wonder what they did earlier in the day? Frankly, I like seeing the interaction between the contestants at the 'house' and in the stew room. But then again, I wish we would see all of the QF dishes. I guess I would like it if it were at least a 90 minute show, but then Linda's head would explode.

                                                      1. re: John E.

                                                        It's quite possible that the judging was done earlier in the day, and the Elves just didn't show them shopping for the gumbo ingredients. There was no discussion of shopping - they just showed up at the house and started making roux at 10:30 p.m.

                                                        And yes, when they used to have 75 minute shows, I wouldn't get into bed until midnight. I'm fine with an hour. :-)

                                                    2. re: John E.

                                                      It has been stated elsewhere (I think it was the TC behind the scenes article linked in another thread) that judging for the swamp challenge actually took place the following night so the chefs had a full day to rest after the swamp and before judging. If the challenge is at an outside location and then they return to TC kitchen for Judges Table it always the next day. They do however try to maintain the illusion that they are happening on the same day. There was some mention in the behind the scenes article that they had to re-shoot some bits where judges mistakenly said "last night".

                                                    3. Just read the Eater recap. Still lame.

                                                      The Amateur Gourmet is up too.

                                                      5 Replies
                                                      1. re: chefhound

                                                        That was the most hysterical ending.

                                                        1. re: gaffk

                                                          Hah! I had forgotten about the sloppy joe idea. Terrible idea for Top Chef and I'll bet the elves used that footage to it's best to make him look lame. I'm sure he's not lame because he didn't actually make a dish. If he had we might actually be able to say he's lame but all we have are the evil editing of the elves. So I'm sure he's not lame. I feel this post is getting mean. Think I'll go sit in a corner.


                                                          1. re: JuniorBalloon

                                                            If that relegates you to the corner, then where do I go for finding the idea of Jason crashing through glass to be hysterical?

                                                            And yes, sloppy joes on TC are lame.

                                                            1. re: gaffk

                                                              Well certainly not chef-worthy. It's Top Chef not Top Mom.

                                                            2. re: JuniorBalloon

                                                              My mom had a lot to say about Bene being ignored. Pretty sure there was some extra editing going on but as presented he was all, "Sloppy joe? Po boy? Hey guys?" and she pointed out his body language, his posture, upward inflection, as showing he didn't have a lot of confidence. I agreed with her and then was surprised to see he is owner/chef of his place.

                                                              As opposed to "I got my badass Iowa dough, yo!" Carrie's big eyes and smile make her look all mild mannered, and then she talks.

                                                        2. Now that I know she's from Iowa, I'm rooting for her 'cause I am, too. :-)

                                                          Jason was insufferable and I was glad to see him go , but when they have a profoundly annoying contestant they usually stick around at least until the middle episodes.

                                                          1. I'm going to be the geek and ask what kind of crock pot they used that they can make a roux in it like they did. I love the idea that you could do a gravy in the crock pot. It would make Thanksgiving so much easier.

                                                            I'm really liking a lot of the chefs on this season. The guy from NO who made the "traditional" gumbo--when asked by Leah whether it was authentic, he deferred to her. I liked the respect the chefs showed to her. Or, maybe it was just brown nosing.... Jason was just not likable and I was surprised that he left early since he could have made a good villain but it shows that this show isn't Master Chef.

                                                            3 Replies
                                                            1. re: chowser

                                                              According to the funny pages, it's a Cuisinart.

                                                              (Although they misspelled Cuisinart.)


                                                              1. re: John E.

                                                                Thanks, I had a chance to look it up.


                                                                It's a 3 in 1 slow cooker and you can heat food up to 400 degrees. So smart because it eliminates having to do it on the stove. I'm not sure about spending that much on a slow cooker but it's tempting!

                                                              2. re: chowser

                                                                According to The Amateur Gourmet they were using Cuisinart slow cookers. The Amateur Gourmet sure is beating out Eater in recapping. I really miss Max!
                                                                Thanks again, Linda, for doing a wonderful job! I think I look forward to TC in part because I get to read your recaps, too. :-)

                                                              3. Am I the only one who finds it ridiculous that we have a show that revolves around "rebuilding New Orleans?" Katrina happened 8 years ago. Get over it. Can we please quit re-hashing tragedy so we can make a drama filled show full of clueless privileged do-gooders?

                                                                Sorry, but this season sucks. We're no longer focused on food, but how many crappy stereotypes we can place on a host city. Swamps? Katrina? Getting ridiculous. Probably time I stop watching. And yes, I find it offensive.

                                                                6 Replies
                                                                1. re: UptownKevin

                                                                  "Am I the only one who finds it ridiculous that we have a show that revolves around "rebuilding New Orleans?"

                                                                  I'm going to vote yeah, you're probably the only one.

                                                                  "Katrina happened 8 years ago. Get over it."

                                                                  It's been 8 years and they're still working hard to "get over it." The show is shining a spotlight on the needs there and honoring a fine culinary destination, too.

                                                                  I'm not finding it ridiculous at all. Offensive? Really? For reals?

                                                                  1. re: mcf

                                                                    It's been 8 years and they're still working hard to "get over it."
                                                                    And with more than 50,000 homes to be fixed or rebuilt, they'll be working hard for some time.

                                                                    So yes, UtK is the only one.

                                                                    1. re: UptownKevin

                                                                      I got over Katrina quickly, but I don't live in New Orleans and don't know any who does. I suspect people who lost everything to Katrina might take a little longer to get over it.

                                                                      1. re: mariacarmen

                                                                        Yeah, as if they just propped up some damaged houses and bused in some fake "do-gooders" to make some kind of phoney heart-rending story. It is unfortunate that most Americans *have* moved on, while New Orleans, in many ways, has not.

                                                                        1. With all of the talk about bland recaps...has nobody been reading Hugh's blog?

                                                                          "Jason says Leah Chase has no idea what she is talking about. I poke him with pins in my mind."

                                                                          "Brian Huskey confesses to being born with a silver spoon. I am not sure where the family fortune comes from, but after much internet searching I am making up that it comes from holding the patent to the Flobee. Lucky man."

                                                                          "Some innuendo is said about the Aussie girl being good with her hands. By her. Argh. I need a mental shower."

                                                                          3 Replies
                                                                            1. re: Shrinkrap

                                                                              Ack, thanks. Meant to include that.

                                                                            2. re: Wahooty

                                                                              That's some funny chit right there.

                                                                            3. Thanks Linda! I look forward to your write ups each week. I'm usually slow at the beginning of the season as it's hard to get to know the chefs until a few get eliminated.
                                                                              A few thoughts, that green roux had me worried as it did not look too appealing - I was surprised that it won the quickfire.
                                                                              You should always try to avoid being the front of the house guy whether on a food truck, a BBQ pit or restaurant wars.
                                                                              As others have stated, know where you're cooking and get familiar with the local food. I pointed it out in Texas - how many couldn't do Tex-Mex or BBQ? Seattle, I don't know, maybe a Salmon was going to show up. NOLA, did you not think a gumbo or an alligator might work its way on to the menu?
                                                                              Here's a heads up for future chefs just in case they do a season up here in Maine. Top Chef Maine? learn how to cook lobster.

                                                                              10 Replies
                                                                              1. re: bobbert

                                                                                +1, the FOH curse from Restaurant Wars showed itself early this season.

                                                                                1. re: JAB

                                                                                  That was just pure idiocy if you ask me. They didn't need anyone at FOH, so why bother?

                                                                                      1. re: KailuaGirl

                                                                                        They may not have needed a FOH person but they specifically designated Beach Boy as one and he then deliberately pre-rolled his salmon roll because he was up front. There were other problems with his roll but, maybe if they weren't soggy, it might have been enough to put Patty on the chopping block. Appeared close enough that he just might have been saved.

                                                                                        1. re: KailuaGirl

                                                                                          Yes, that was stupid. It's a lunch wagon, not a sit-down restaurant - there really was no service he could provide to any customer other than talking to them. Unless he was going to cup the dish in his hands so they could eat out of them, or something.

                                                                                          1. re: ratgirlagogo

                                                                                            Well there was that wet tshirt look he was going for, too.

                                                                                            1. re: ratgirlagogo

                                                                                              It might have made sense if they were being judged on the number of dishes sold (like in other shows/challenges). Then he might have been able to play up the charm for the good of his team. But in this case, it served no purpose other than to feed his vanity.

                                                                                      2. Ok, before you read any further, what follows may be a huge spoiler, or it just might be pure speculation.

                                                                                        You've been warned!!

                                                                                        There's a theory that Jason will totally dominate Last Chance Kitchen and make it to the finale. Here's the link to the speculation.


                                                                                        5 Replies
                                                                                        1. re: chefhound

                                                                                          Not sure those are quite spoilers. It seems to be mostly speculation...

                                                                                          1. re: roxlet

                                                                                            Speculation and lots of wishful thinking.

                                                                                            1. re: roxlet

                                                                                              I did say it might be speculation...

                                                                                              1. re: chefhound

                                                                                                Please give us a big "I told you so" if it comes true.

                                                                                                1. re: James Cristinian

                                                                                                  So you weren't compelled by the author's evidence? I'm not saying that I believe it - I don't actually care about Jason either way. Just came across the article and thought I'd share.
                                                                                                  It does seem unlikely that a contestant could win every cook-off from beginning to end.

                                                                                          2. I was about to turn this season off about halfway through this episode but I think I'm in love with the girl from Iowa.

                                                                                            1 Reply
                                                                                            1. re: hal2010

                                                                                              Not hard to do when there's a sweet disposition and talent.

                                                                                            2. Top Chef Kristin was on Simply Ming today. It was like it was HER show! She seemed so comfortable and confident teaching.

                                                                                              An update

                                                                                              My husband just reminded me that her ex roomate is back this year. I had forgotten that, and I don't know which one she is. She packed her knives early, right? My husband doesn't even watch the show! I'm not going to repeat here, what he said about how he remembers. That's for a DIFFERENT forum.


                                                                                              PS I thought I had posted this already, but I don't see it. That has happened several times, and then the next morning, I see duplicate posts.

                                                                                              13 Replies
                                                                                              1. re: Shrinkrap

                                                                                                Oh good. I always liked her on the show, maybe my all time favorite contestant.

                                                                                                1. re: Shrinkrap

                                                                                                  Shrinkrap, Kristen's roommate is Stephanie Cmar, who is now at No. 9 Park in Boston (last year she and Kristen were both at Stir - both are Barbara Lynch restaurants).

                                                                                                  Stephanie didn't make the cut last season - remember that they (the 21 cheftestants) were split into various groups on the first episode and sent to the restaurants of Tom Colicchio, Emeril Lagasse, Wolfgang Puck and Hugh Acheson. They had to qualify by cooking or performing a single task. Tom had them work the line at Craft, Emeril had them make soup in an hour, Wolfgang had them make an omelette in 45 minutes, and Hugh had them create a salad in 45 minutes. (Thank you, Wikipedia!) Stephanie was one of the 6 eliminated.

                                                                                                  And good article on Kristen.

                                                                                                  1. re: Shrinkrap

                                                                                                    Slightly off-topic, but am I the only one who gets annoyed when articles make stupid and impossible date-based claims?

                                                                                                    Per the article:

                                                                                                    - Kish is 29
                                                                                                    - by age 5, Kish was an avid Food Network watcher

                                                                                                    Therefore, she must have been watching Food Network 24 years ago, in 1989.

                                                                                                    But Food Network, per Wikipedia, was founded in 1993...

                                                                                                    1. re: davis_sq_pro

                                                                                                      It depends. In this case, I'm assuming Kish was asked questions and gave her answer based on her memories. She might have been watching another channel but who remembers the exact station when they were five?

                                                                                                      1. re: chowser

                                                                                                        I can still remember some of the first dishes I made from either a cooking mag or show, and the earliest mag and shows I knew (Galloping Gourmet, and Gourmet), but I can't connect the two. I would sort of like to find them. But one was a tuna cassrole. Hmmm...maybe that was "Women's Day" or "Family Circle". Nah...that's not the way I want to remember it.

                                                                                                        1. re: chowser

                                                                                                          True, but a bit of fact checking, maybe..? Okay, maybe I'm just getting old and grumpy ...

                                                                                                          Speaking of grumpy, anyone else notice that Stephanie doesn't seem to smile much?

                                                                                                          1. re: davis_sq_pro

                                                                                                            Yeah, if it were a serious article but I'm guessing it was along the lines that Kristin told them she grew up watching Food Network from about five on. I'm not sure if I'd check the dates to make sure it was around back then. In an interview, it would take a lot of fact checking--from when they ate at what restaurant to what chef they admired when, etc. Did the person REALLY eat at French Laundry and it was a defining moment?

                                                                                                            Stephanie seems kind of stiff, like she's afraid to relax because she has something to prove.

                                                                                                            1. re: chowser

                                                                                                              It's gotta be tough, going down during the initial audition only to have your housemate win the entire competition. Now she's gotten a nice promotion at work and as the second person from her company to go on the show she definitely DOES have something to prove.

                                                                                                              Still, though, I thought she would at least crack a grin when they almost won last week, instead of leaning over with a frown to whisper "we were so close."

                                                                                                              Naturally, that may simply be what the Elves wanted us to see...

                                                                                                              1. re: chowser

                                                                                                                Also, it's not a direct quote. Kish may have said something like "food tv" or "food shows on tv" and the person who wrote the article interpreted that to mean "food network."

                                                                                                          2. re: davis_sq_pro

                                                                                                            Although not the Food Network, she could have been watching Julia Child and/or the Galloping Gourmet and/or Yan Can Cook and all the earlier cooking shows that were on PBS. My Mom was an avid cooking show watcher, then she'd try those dishes out on us. No computers to look up recipes so all she had were her notes. She took good notes! :-)

                                                                                                              1. re: souvenir

                                                                                                                Food Network at five, Discovery at six... How about some Saturday morning cartoons, eh?!?