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Top Chef NOLA - Ep. #5 - 10/30/13 (Spoilers)

Top Chef Episode 5?? World Series Game 6?? What do I dooooo???

Torn between two loves, feeling like a fool
Loving both of you is breaking all the rules
~~~~~~~~~
OK, enough cheesy mid 1970s music. Let's get on with the real cheese. (HAH! That was written before I even saw anything of the episode tonight - I must be prescient!)

It's almost Halloween in Top Chef World. In the summertime. But OK, it'll be a Halloween party for Lea Michele, catered by the chefs. But before that...

Back at the house, Travis calls home after almost being eliminated on a Vietnamese challenge. He says his Mom knows that he's gay; his Dad doesn't know. (Dad will know when he watches the show!)

Quickfire time - Gail Simmons joins Padma. And everything is wrapped in foil in the TC kitchen! Pots, pans, kitchen tools, every last bit of food and any possible ingredient are all wrapped in foil. Gail's and Padma's mothers join them. The chefs are split into 2 teams - Team Lakshmi and Team Simmons. They'll have 30 minutes to create 3 dishes - the Moms are going to personally shop for both teams (within 5 minutes) to grab all of the ingredients and the cooking tools. The teams will have to use every single ingredient that the Moms choose. The winning team will share $10,000.

The chefs have to unwrap everything within their 30 minutes as well as cook. The assortment for both teams is crazy - buratta, cheddar cheese, mustard, strawberries, avocados, branzino, okra, lamb chops. Carrie thinks she'll make sabayon....but then realizes she doesn't have a whisk.

TEAM SIMMONS
Dish 1 (Sara & Stephanie) Lamb & Fonduta with Sharp Cheddar & Roasted Mushrooms

Dish 2 (Justin & Michael) - Red Snapper Papillote with Rice Pilaf

Dish 3 (Carrie, Louis & Shirley) - Compressed Buratta with Pickled Apples & Balsamic Sabayon

TEAM LAKSHMI
Dish 1 (Carlos & Travis) - Clams Poached in Fish Sauce with Coconut Cream

Dish 2 (Nicholas & Patty) - Snapper & Branzino Papillote with Mustard Vinaigrette

Dish 3 (Bene, Brian & Nina) - Soup with Beans, Carrots, Chiles & Okra with Cherry Chutney

The winning Team? Team Lakshmi!

Padma introduces the guest judge for the Elimination Challenge - Lea Michele. Stephanie notes she loves Glee and Lea Michele. She said "We can hang out! It won't be creepy at all!" (with lots of laughter). Lea is hosting a costume party, the cheftestants are catering. They'll be working in teams of 2 - pairing up with the chef to the right. And Nina and Michael are together - Michael says he loves it as he knows Nina knows her stuff, and he's been in the bottom too many times. And Nina HATES it! LOL

They're responsible for 2 dishes for each team. They have 5 minutes with Lea her likes and dislikes. She informs them that she loves the vegan lifestyle, but on occasion, gives herself a break and goes to vegetarian - she allows cheese. But she's not a big sweets fan. She likes pasta, pizza, things that are fried, most vegetables (but doesn't like beets). And she loves lots of spice. She just wants it creepy and spooky as possible.

They head off to WF for shopping, and then back to the kitchen for 2 hours of prep. Nicholas and Patty are having problems coming up with dishes that are spooky, so they go with an Autumn theme. Tom shows up to chat with the cheftestants. Justin notes that Lea Michele hates beets, but he made beet pasta for "blood veins". Tom finds out that 3 teams are making arancini, and Nina's making gnocchi. Nicholas starts to rethink his dish after finding out Nina is also making gnocchi.

Finally, Nicholas does decide to change his dish - a butternut squash cannoli, and Patty's OK with that. Nina and Michael argue a bit during final prep. He said he's not sure why Nina's concerned that he's bringing the team down - "It's not me!" Ummm, didn't he just say earlier that he knows Nina is the best chef in the group and he's not done well himself?

They head back to the house and go over to an abandoned nursing home behind the house that is supposedly haunted - appropriate for the Halloween challenge.

The next day, they find that they are cooking at Mardi Gras World, and it's all decorated for Halloween. Nina said that at this point, she and Michael are just trying to not piss each other off. Michael keeps calling her names - Boo-Boo, Sweetie, Babycakes...Nina refuses to let him get into her head.

Guests arrive - Padma has got an enormously tall feather hat on, Leah's in a cat costume, Hugh is in a prince outfit, and Tom is in a straw boater and looks a bit like a silent film star, Buster Keaton. And Andy Cohen shows up in the show. (Later Lea said that Tom is playing The Great Gatsby. I think he makes a better Buster Keaton!)

BLACK TEAM - Carrie & Stephanie
Doomed Shrooms - Mushrooms with Black Garlic & Radicchio
Freaky Leeky - Ash-coasted Vegetables with Fontina Fonduta

YELLOW TEAM - Fall Theme
Nicholas - Butternut Squash Cannoli with Ricotta Salata
Patty - Lemon Arancini with Smoked Mozzarella

GREEN TEAM - Spooky Spa Theme
Brian - Crispy Quinoa Salad & Mushroom Espuma
Bene - Heirloom Tomato Salad with Wilted Kale

ORANGE TEAM
Nina - Candy Corn theme - Ricotta Gnocchetti with Kale Pesto
Michael - Bloody Eye theme - Yellow Arancini with Saffron and Tomato Jam

RED TEAM - Dios de las Muertos Theme
Travis - Vegetable Ceviche
Carlos - Goat Cheese Fondue with Fried Zucchini

BLUE TEAM
Louis - Severed Thumb Theme - Braised Quinoa and Onions with Potato Puree
Shirley - Worm Salad Theme - Hand-cut Noodles & Fresh Daikon Radish

GRAY TEAM
Justin - Blood Pasta Theme - Beet Pasta with Green Tomatoes
Sara - Evil Eye Theme - Arancini with Moroccan Tomato Chutney

The judges go to deliberate. The cheftestants are in the Stew Room. Nina tells Michael that she feels he thought "Oh, I'm with Nina? ...straight, I can chill." And Michael says "No! You needed me in the beginning!" Nina replies "Umm, excuse me?" She knows this could be trouble for her.

Judges deliberate while the cheftestants listen and watch. Patty's arancini was most appreciated by Lea, and Nicholas's dish was one where he truly listened to Lea as to what she would like. Justin and Sara - Tom liked the flavor; Lea said when she was eating it, she was scared of it! Carlos did Lea right by ensuring there was enough spice.

Padma said there were several dishes where one dish was good on a team and one wasn't. Nina and Michael was one example - Nina's gnocchetti was excellent; Michael's arancini wasn't. Lea said they should have tasted each other's dishes to ensure both was good. Bene and Brian's dishes were heavy and the tomato dish wasn't seasoned.

Padma comes in and asked to see the Yellow Team (Nicholas and Patty) and the Red Team (Carlos and Travis). They are the top teams. The winning team is the Red Team!

The judges now wanted to see the Orange Team (Nina and Michael) and the Green team (Brian and Bene).

Lea said to the Green Team that she wanted the opposite of Spa cuisine. Tom said that if Bene is here to win, he needed to come up with something other than tomato salad. Michael was told his arancini came up on the bottom, and his sauce was too sweet. Nina gets called out by Padma when she is told "Nina, if you're on a team, his dish should be as important to you as your dish is to you."

Bene and Brian's salads *seem* to be the least favored, and Brian is heard saying in the Stew Room "I'm not going to lose any sleep over it!" Umm, maybe you will if you are told to PYKAG!

And we're back. :::Whooshing camera of cheftestants::: Tom reviews their dishes. Padma tells JUST Michael to pack his knives and go. Wow - I thought a team would be going!

And we're done! Quick proofread after I hit POST and back to the World Series - it's 6-1 Red Sox in the bottom of the 8th inning. GO SOX!!!

(And I think that is the fastest I've ever finished a recap - in 65 minutes.)

And Wooooooo Hooooooo!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
The Red Sox are the 2013 World Series Champions!
There go the local fireworks near me! LOL

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  1. I was stunned that it was Michael, but glad. I thought tomato guy would be axed. It seemed like a pathetic dish.

    Tom seemed smitten with Lea. Back to baseball.

    10 Replies
    1. re: KrumTx

      I really thought Bene would go as well. I will be very interested to read Hugh and Tom's blogs tomorrow as to why Michael's arancini was worse.

      1. re: LindaWhit

        Sideshow Bob was totally clueless! He had no idea Nina hated his guts. And him telling Nina that she needed him was just weird.

        I still think Bene should've gone home.

        1. re: Worldwide Diner

          same here. at least Michael trued to cook. a tomato salad with no cooked components, and his partner did a salad too. guess they just drank beer for an hour and 55min

          1. re: Worldwide Diner

            Sideshow Bob thinks EVERYBODY loves him and his cuisine. The number of times he's been at the bottom should have tipped him off, but no.

            1. re: Phaedrus

              I missed something. Why are we calling Michael Sideshow Bob? Not that I think it's inappropriate. I just don't know where it comes from.

              1. re: chicgail

                Sideshow Bob is a character from The Simpsons with crazy hair.

                1. re: chicgail

                  chicgail - because Michael's hair makes him resemble Sideshow Bob from The Simpsons:

                  http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia...

                    1. re: LindaWhit

                      Thanks for the explanation...I was clueless.

                2. re: Worldwide Diner

                  In a way, she really did need him since she was responsible for her team. Or rather, she needed him to be good. Since her food was so delicious, I didn't feel that there was a chance she's go home, but it certainly put her on the bottom with Sideshow Bob.

            2. Can I just say how much I loved Hugh's costume!

              I was thinking it was going to either be just Sideshow Bob gone or both on team green. I had this feeling Nina would be safe since they hadn't announced a double elimination.

              1. A couple of early, random thoughts.

                Those beards are fugly.

                I thought for sure one of the salad guys were PPYKAG.

                Santa cannot be 'slutty'. He can, of course, be 'horny'.

                Travis, your dad has known you were gay since you were about 10 years old.

                Linda, congratulaions on the win, and thank you again for the recap.

                Once again, those beards are fugly.

                12 Replies
                1. re: John E.

                  Those beards are horrendous except for Jacoby E. and Big Papi. I'm not a baseball fan but that was pretty cool (now if the Pats can pull out a Cinderella ending, that's a different story). I was shocked to see Linda do a full wrap-up. So shocked that I read the review before watching so have nothing to say re: the show. Other than Bene doesn't seem long for this competition.

                  1. re: Joanie

                    Agreed - Papi's always had a cool beard, and Jacoby's works. The rest are just too Duck Dynasty for me, and I hope they shave before the Duck Boat parade on Saturday.

                    I still laugh at you all that read the recap before watching the show. But I agree - I still thought Bene was gonzo, but he won't be around long. He at least got a share of the $10K for being on the winning team. Now it's time for him to go.

                    1. re: LindaWhit

                      I don't watch baseball during the regular season and only watched two WS games, so clearly I missed something. Why was Papi wearing a helmet in the dugout and during celebration time? Was he planning on riding his bicycle home?

                      1. re: KrumTx

                        I was wondering the same thing. He looked a bit ridiculous.

                        1. re: KrumTx

                          Let's just say the celebrations get very very raucous, and noggins can get hurt. Although I think the manager, John Farrell, told Papi to remove the crash helmet while in the dugout, as the game hadn't yet been won.

                          They also hand out goggles in the clubhouse for the champagne that tends to fly around as bottles are opened. A local reporter was in there and didn't have a garbage bag pulled over his suit, nor did he have goggles.
                          Suit = to the dry cleaners.
                          Eyes = stinging very badly from spraying champagne.

                          1. re: LindaWhit

                            I remember the year that the Braves won and Deion Sanders had it in for Tim McCarver so he kept draining bottle after bottle of champagne on McCarver head as he was trying to interview people in the locker room.

                            McCarver got seriously pissed.

                            1. re: Phaedrus

                              OK, I've officially fallen in love with Deion Sanders. :D :D :D

                              Ahh - looks to be 3 coolers of water thrown on McCarver. And McCarver was bad-mouthing Sanders for playing for both the Braves and Falcons in the same day. Guess Sanders got a $1000 fine.

                              http://articles.latimes.com/1992-10-1...

                      1. re: roxlet

                        The only good one was David Ortiz's, as he kept it well trimmed - and he had it shaved off this morning for charity. He'll be on Letterman tonight sans beard.

                        And while most looked messy and ugly to look at, it was a bonding thing for the team that started back in February or March before the season even started. If it was a motivator for them to do what they did, I'm all for it!

                        They played as a team; they won as a team. Kinda like what Nina and Michael should have done. ;-)

                        1. re: LindaWhit

                          Nina and Michael reminded me more of last years Red Sox .. bickering and self centered!

                          1. re: LindaWhit

                            Several players have said that it's the only team they've ever played on without one jerk on the roster.

                      2. DING DONG, THE DOUCHEBAG'S GONE!

                        I might be a little bit satisfied by this result. If I didn't already hate him, his comment to Nina was beyond the pale. I was afraid they'd send Bene home instead...but given his previous experience as a sous on TCM, I think some aspects of his dishes are getting lost in translation, and they're not quite as bad as they've been portrayed.

                        But Michael...Michael wasn't just a tool, he was the whole Home Depot. Good riddance.

                        Hugh's take:
                        "If Carlos is our shiny, then the King of Krazy, Michael, is hands down the matte. Right now he is babbling on about something, but I have an all-time high resistance to him, so I don’t even hear him talk. It’s my form of television Darwinism.

                        Michael got laid once when he dressed up as a pregnant nun. Some people just say strange things to socially ostracize themselves from the pack. Michael is the poster child of those people.

                        Michael leaves the show with some uncomfortable hugging. He feigns shooting himself on re-entering the kitchen, and there is an odd quiet to the crowd."

                        1. Some thoughts...

                          Red Sox!!!

                          Like everyone else, I'm glad Michael is gone and I'm liking Nina for how she dealt with him.

                          I sometimes end up watching Andy Cohen after the show. Was it really necessary for him to be ON the show?

                          Every woman who ever hooked up with a pregnant nun on Halloween has got to be rewinding scenes with Michael in them while staring intently at the screen and constantly repeating "please God, no. Please God, no."

                          Travis seemed rightfully humbled by last week and was pretty gracious after the win. I don't know if anyone else get this feeling, but I think he might be gay.

                          I'm also liking Carlos a lot and he has a good story.

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: bobbert

                            I hope not many women have gotten laid by a pregnant nun on Halloween, although if I had I would certainly be thinking "Please God, NO!!!" I'm sure that whoever the unlucky lady was is cringing now, if she remembers it at all. Hopefully she was so drunk she just blacked out.

                            I'm also glad that Michael is gone, especially after his crack about Nina needing him! What an a-hole! The silence when he shot himself in the head was positively deafening. Apparently the Magical Elves didn't make him seem worse than he actually is. And he thinks he "represented NOLA?" Shame on him!

                            I was happy for Patty to be on top for a change! She needed it, and deserved it, although I think Nicholas did earn the win. Talk about thinking on your feet!

                            And I agree completely that Travis's father has known since he was a kid that he was gay. Parents always seem to know, unless they're willfully blind or never at home. At least now he'll have to come out officially to his Dad.

                            Great job, as always, Linda Whit! Congrats on the Sox winning, too!