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Top Chef NOLA - Ep. #10 - 12/11/13 (Spoilers)

I see Dooky Chase, Hubert Keller, there's crying, and I hear something about biscuits in the previews for this episode.

We start back in the house as they're getting ready for the next challenge. The guys are chatting in the living room; Travis talks about being accepted. They head out to the TC Kitchen and Hubert Keller is there with Padma.

The Quickfire Challenge features Dunks cawfee (as they say here in the Boston area, a.k.a. Dunkin Donuts). Keller says coffee is also used in dishes to give a rich flavor. They'll have 30 minutes to prepare a dish featuring coffee. And FINALLY, they get a prize in additional to immunity - the winner will get $10,000!

Both Carrie and Stephanie are making coffee crepes, some are doing desserts; others are going full-on savory such as salmon, beef tenderloin and risotto. Brian realizes that making risotto is a huge risk, as it's never worked well on Top Chef. Carrie ends up not having enough time to make her crepes, so changes her dish entirely.

TRAVIS - Alaskan Sockeye Salmon, Coffee Ponzu & Coffee-Roasted Eringi Mushrooms.

CARRIE - Coffee Custard with Candied Coffee Beans and Cocoa Nibs

BRIAN - Coffee Risotto with Andouille Sausage & Sugar Snap Peas

CARLOS - Coffee & Macadamia Sponge Cake with Mascarpone Coffee Sauce

NICHOLAS - Roasted Sockeye Salmon with Hazelnut Coffee Caramel & Hon-Shimeji Mushrooms

SHIRLEY - Coffee-Crusted Tenderloin with Garlic Puree & Coffee Brown Butter Sauce

STEPHANIE - Sweet Potato & Goat Cheese Coffee Crepe with Ham & Bacon Coffee Jam

We don't see Justin's and Nina's dishes.

Bottom Group - Brian, NIcholas
Top Group - Shirley, Carrie, Stephanie

The winner? Shirley! (I also thought her dish looked and sounded the best!) She gets $10,000 - and she gets her air conditioner for her house in Las Vegas.

For the Elimination Challenge, they welcome actor and NOLA native, Anthony Mackie. He said because he travels so much, every time he comes back home, he wants to eat with his family. He said they always go to Dooky Chase. Padma says she wants them to create a dish that is inspired by food they eat at home.

They'll eat have $275 to shop at Whole Foods and 2 hours to cook in the TC kitchen, with an additional hour the next day to finish their dish at Dooky Chase. Joining them during service will be Leah Chase and some of her family. (This is her second go-round on TC-NOLA.)

They go shopping at Whole Foods, and then rush into the TC kitchen to start prep and cooking. Nina is going with a curry, Carrie is going with an asparagus on toast with a fried egg, Nicholas is making gnocchi, although his young daughter calls them gnudi. She likes the word because it reminds her of going to take a bath, because she gets to "go get gnudi." Stephanie's going with fresh bread to go with a mussel and tomato dish, although she said cooking wasn't a big deal in her family - chicken nuggets and mac & cheese were usual dishes in her family. Carlos is going with a cochinita pibil - pork shanks wrapped in banana leaves and braised.

Shirley's also making a bread, but her kneading is rocking the work table that she's sharing with Stephanie. Stephanie asks her to try and keep it as motionless as possible so she (Stephanie) doesn't cut herself, and Shirley says she's almost done - but "the next motion I'm going to do is pretty annoying too" and she takes a cleaver and begins to mince meat.

Tom Colicchio shows up and talks to Travis about his biscuits - Tom asks "No buttermilk?" and Travis said "No" - he's going with heavy cream. As Travis said "Everyone has their own best biscuit recipe." They wrap their food, store it and leave the TC kitchen and head back to the house.

They smell good smells as they walk into the house - it's Emeril Lagasse there cooking. He's making his Mom's Caldo Verde for them. Shirley says "I love Emeril - he's like Uncle Emeril for us!" Emeril asks them if they're thinking "homey dishes" tomorrow - Brian said he's going Korean, and describes in the confessional that several years ago, his father had several severe strokes, and doesn't talk much more. He gets very emotional thinking he's not there as much as he should be for his father.

The next morning, Nina calls her grandmother after feeling homesick. Meanwhile, Brian and Nicholas are talking about how tough this challenge is, as it's very emotional.

They're in Dooky Chase's kitchen finishing their dishes. Brian finds that the restaurant doesn't have a charcoal or open grill, so he has to pan-sear his meat in a skillet. Travis is making his biscuits - the test biscuits came out perfectly the day before, but he has one chance to make them right today. Nicholas is concerned with how humble is dish is, but he has no other game plan. Travis takes his biscuits out and they *look* great, but when he opens one up, he realizes there might be too much butter in the biscuit dough - the inside looks a bit raw. He has to figure out how to fix it.

The judges arrive and say hello to Leah Chase and her family. Leah tells Emeril "What were you doing in my sleep? I was dreaming about you all night long!" Emeril replies "I just want to make sure you didn't forget me!" Padma asks Leah how long it was after she got married that she started cooking in the restaurant. Leah says "I didn't come here to cook - I came here to waitress! But there was no one in the kitchen that knew where I was coming from, so I got in there to start cooking and I stayed there."

The cheftestants are finishing their dishes - Carrie's poaching 13 eggs at once; Travis pours the gravy over the split biscuits and puts jam on the side to "hopefully save his butt." Rut-roh! Why am I thinking this might not be a good idea?

CARLOS - Cochinita Pibil with Black Beans, Orange Pico de Gallo & Corn Tortilla

BRIAN - Korean BBQ New York Strip with Potato Salad

TRAVIS - Biscuits with Maple Sage Sausage Gravy & Sour Plum Jam

Anthony Mackie likes Travis biscuit & gravy with jam; Emeril said he likes the flavor, but the biscuit is raw. "If you're going to serve biscuits at this table, it's gotta be spot-on!" Emeril likes Carlos' pork, and Leah enjoys the bite/heat of his dish. Leah's daughter thinks Brian's dish is a bit sweet, and Tom misses the charcoal flavor you usually get with the dish.

Back in the kitchen, Nicholas is getting very frazzled, and is worried on getting the plates finished. BUT he finishes.

NICHOLAS - Ricotta Gnudi with Pancetta, Peas, Lemon & Parmesan

SHIRLEY - Beijing Noodles, Fermented Bean & Pork Sauce with Pickled Radish

STEPHANIE - Mussels with Spicy Pickled Peppers & Tomatoes & Focaccia

Everyone loves Nicholas' dish; Keller noticed how emotional Nicholas had gotten when explaining his dish; Anthony Mackie said "I wish I was his daughter!" Leah's granddaughter digs in with chopsticks into Shirley's dish, and Emeril and Leah both like the dish; Tom liked the noodles - very nicely seasoned. Emeril liked Stephanie's mussels; Leah is used to a lot of garlic in her mussels, but she finds the dish interesting; Tom likes the pickled peppers with mussels, and seems to really like the dish.

JUSTIN - Louisiana Rice with Chicken Thigh Gravy, Pickled Mirliton & Jalapeno

CARRIE - Creamed Asparagus over Toast & Poached Egg

NINA - Curried Chicken with Fried Bakes

Leah's daughter loves Carrie's dish with the fried egg, as did a Chase gentleman whose name I didn't catch - he said "I could go to town on this!" Hubert Keller loves Nina's dish - he said he could eat a bowl of it; Emeril liked the crunch from the coconut, but Leah and Padma both would like rice vs. avocado. Justin's dish is getting a mediocre response - Anthony Mackie would like more gravy spooned on top of the rice; the Chase gentleman said he thought the dish was reserved in its flavor.

Everyone was impressed with the dishes overall - nothing really negative to say about anything. Padma asked Anthony how his homecoming was - he replies he wasn't disappointed. Tom asked Anthony if he was going to make cocktails after this - Anthony replied "Give me a bucket of ice and a shaker...." and Tom said "Here's your shaker!" and motions to Padma. LOL!

Back in the Stew Room, everyone is thinking that going home on this challenge would be the hardest, because the dishes came from their hearts. The TV comes on - Tom says "the chefs did a great job; the stories were all great and the food were absolutely delicious." Carlos' pibil, Nina's curry, and Stephanie's mussels were featured as very good dishes by Tom and Padma; Anthony liked Carrie's egg and asparagus on toast; and Padma notes that Travis's gravy was good. Travis says in the confessional "no comments about the biscuits - that could be good!" Brian's beef jus, Shirley's noodles, and Nicholas's gnocchi were also enjoyed. Padma says "This is a really tough decision!" and the TV goes off. But the cheftestants all realize that no one except Shirley should feel comfortable.

Padma comes in and asks for Nicholas, Stephanie, and Carlos. :::wooshing camera shots::: These three had the favorite dishes! With Nicholas's dish, they could feel the love. Tom thought Stephanie's pickled peppers with the tomato and the mussels was a great combination and no one got a stinker in there. Stephanie said "Trust me - I smelled every one!" Carlos' dish's flavor was great and the tortillas were great - Anthony waited until the last of the food was gone before he finished the tortilla, it was that good.

The winner? Nicholas! The judges then ask to see Travis, Brian and Justin. They're in the bottom group.

Padma said it was a difficult decision, and they had to move down to the finer nuances of every dish to make the decision as to who was in the bottom group. Brian's dish really needed the grill for the flavor. Padma asks Travis about the biscuits and gravy - Travis wasn't happy with his biscuits. He had difficulty cutting the butter into the biscuit dough. Anthony was impressed with the jam with biscuits and gravy, and told Travis when he opens his own restaurant, that should be on his menu.

Anthony then asks Justin about his dish. Justin said he craves that dish when others make it for him. Anthony asks why he would make the dish for someone from South Louisiana when it's not his strongest dish. Justin said he's made the dish hundreds of times, although not lately, but it is a dish he's super-familiar with and it's a strong dish for him. Anthony said he wanted more gravy on the rice, so the chicken didn't dry out. Tom said plating timing was an issue with Justin's dish.

They leave; the judges review. They're back in front of the judges. Padma asks Travis to PYKAG. Travis said "That's all right. You live and die by the biscuit." Tom laughs. But as they leave Judges Table, Tom said "He knew that biscuit was sending him home; he knew the second it went out."

Previews show the cheftestants at LSU, serving cafeteria food. Annnnd it looks like the oven mitts will come off and there will be some throwing under the bus at LSU.

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    1. Did Shirley say she was making bread? I don't think she made bread - just noodles.

      Is it just me or is Nick just adorable? I seem to like the tortured, self-doubting but super-talented chefs (I'm a Blais fan). I'm picking Nick to win at this point. Though I think Nina has a chance to win too.

      3 Replies
      1. re: chefhound

        I couldn't hear who it was, nor could I figure it out in a couple of rewinds, but SOMEONE said "I'm making bread too!"

          1. re: LindaWhit

            Didn't I hear Padma compliment her, or someone, on baking her own bread?

        1. I thought Carrie's dish seemed super simple for the amount of time they were given but she did bake the bread herself. Fried egg over toasted asparagus is my go-to breakfast when it's in season so I was wishing they'd show more of how she creamed it.

          3 Replies
            1. re: Worldwide Diner

              But when they do simple if they do it great the judges love it.

            2. re: ennuisans

              I thought she'd be in trouble because it was so simple, but wow, did it look good.

            3. Still on here.

              Bookmarking with "mechanically separated meat". Potted meat immediately made me think of those little paper wrapped cans I wanted but couldn't afford.

              I liked the reminiscing theme. Good job Linda!

              Actor guy was interesting! At the judges table? With strong opinions! Did he have credibility? I thought so.

              3 Replies
              1. re: Shrinkrap

                I was surprised at the strength with which he was questioning Justin. He didn't sit there and let Emeril, Tom and Padma do the questioning.

                1. re: LindaWhit

                  Me too. Non-culinary guest judges are supposed to gush about the good things and not talk bad about anything. He did, however, seem to have good, legit, input. Guess those actors go off script occasionally.

                2. re: Shrinkrap

                  I was impressed by him as a guest judge.

                3. Shirley's ja jiang mein looked awesome. Made me all verklempt at the memories.

                  Am I th only Stephanie fan here? Two top group finish in one day, pretty good. Hopefully this will give her confidence as we move towards the finish. Disappointed that she has a boy friend though. :)

                  8 Replies
                  1. re: Phaedrus

                    She's a local Boston gal, so I'm a fan as well. Although I'd be surprised if first Kristen Kish and then Stephanie Cmar won in back-to-back TCs.

                    1. re: Phaedrus

                      I'm still Team Stephanie but mostly because I'm glad she got a second chance. But I wouldn't be disappointed if Nick or Nina won.

                      1. re: Phaedrus

                        Honestly, I'm not a Stephanie fan. Don't hate her, but seems like there have been several times she probably should have gone home already. I don't think she'll last much longer.

                        1. re: Firegoat

                          "...seems like there have been several times she probably should have gone home already."

                          SEE: Hosea Rosenberg.


                          1. re: LindaWhit

                            Stephanie isn't making kissy faces at someone else.

                            1. re: Phaedrus

                              Well, she sorta is - every cute guest judge, she's done a confessional about how cute they are. Maybe not real kissy faces, but she moons about how hawt they are. I want to say "This is not Top Dating!" ;-)

                              1. re: LindaWhit

                                Playing real kissy face-huggy bear with a fellow contestant, as disgusting as that was, seems to give you a little bit more time. Especially if you've both got someone waiting back home for you. Ah, the human interest/reality TV angle.

                        2. re: Phaedrus

                          Still a Stephanie fan for all the wrong reasons - I just find her adorable. I love her expressions and her sense of humor.

                          But she continues to appear to not have enough faith in herself - she was astonished to be in the top 3.

                        3. Loved how personal each dish was. Loved the emotions that came to the surface and were reflected in the food.

                          Was very impressed with Nicholas' little girl who loves his gnudi. Hooray for parents who feed their children real food.

                          Hated that someone had to go home, but Travis' biscuits seemed the obvious weak spot.

                          Groaned at the Dunkin' Donuts product placement in the Quick Fire. These have gotten very tiresome and irritating.

                          7 Replies
                          1. re: chicgail

                            I felt especially bad that Travis had finally found a group with whom he could be himself, not worry about rejection or condemnation because he was gay, and has now been sent home. I know they say they'll remain friends forever, but the realities of hectic chefs' lives seems to make that difficult. Especially since they're scattered all over the country. Of course, we do stay in contact through Chow and FB, so I hope I'm wrong!

                            1. re: KailuaGirl

                              He wasn't sent home. He just joined all the other chefs that were eliminated. No one actually gets sent home until the series is over.

                              1. re: jackiecat

                                I know. It was just a sense of sadness. Now that he's with all the other eliminated cheftestants I know he still has a chance to strengthen his friendships. I wish they would show some of the behind the scenes for the eliminated chefs. I'd be interested to see what they're cooking, who's cooking, etc. I'd bet that they're far more relaxed and less stressed.

                                1. re: KailuaGirl

                                  What the hell do you do with all that time? I assume that they still don't get their devices back so that they are back on line. Are they just chilling and living the high life? Is the show providing them with means to mess around with their craft? Giving them a chance to work on their recipes etc? Are they treating this as a paid vacation? I can't see that many Type A's locked up incommunicado for that long without issues.

                                  1. re: Phaedrus

                                    I think they're pretty much locked up so that it's not obvious to those who follow such things who is still left and who has been eliminated. I think we touched on this in years past. They go to great lengths to keep winners/ losers secret.

                                    1. re: Phaedrus

                                      We know they are not walking up and down Bourban Street, the French Quarter, or riding the street cars down to the casino. I bet they're somewhere far away from that part of New Orleans.

                                      The only time I can recall seeing any video of the sequestered contestants was on TC7 in D.C. They showed the first eliminated contestant welcoming the second eliminated contestant in what appeared to be a hotel suite.I would guess the eliminated chefs have access to television and radio, maybe Netflix but no telephones.

                                2. re: KailuaGirl

                                  And we really know very little about Travis' actual personal situation.

                                  The website says he lives in Philly.

                                  I doubt this is the first time he's experienced peer acceptance.

                              2. Loved this episode. I'm off to work but just stopped by to say:

                                Anthony Mackie = hubba hubba. :)))

                                2 Replies
                                1. re: KrumTx

                                  And I had no idea who he was until Stephanie said something about whatever movie he was in (8 Mile?)

                                  1. re: LindaWhit

                                    When they first introduced him, I thought he looked really familiar but couldn't place him. Stephanie mentioned 8 Mile, but that was years and years ago and I couldn't remember anything about it. I googled him and he was one of the main guys in The Hurt Locker – a movie I loved.

                                2. Why do I get the feeling that Travis' primary motivation for getting on the show is to come out of the closet? In that respect, I think he did a very good job. With respect to winning Top Chef, I thought biscuit and gravy is a pretty simple dish that even I can make but then he f*cks up the biscuits.

                                  12 Replies
                                  1. re: Worldwide Diner

                                    Well I broke down and watched, even though I was going to boycott.

                                    I have to wonder how much of Travis' b-roll story is because of editing and the producers. Coming out is very difficult and emotional - so I get that part. I have to wonder if the producers kept asking him questions about it and then edited the tape to focus on that story line. They have to come up with an angle for everyone and his was a unique angle.

                                    That said - the biggest tip off as to who is going home is how much air time they are getting during the episode. As soon as they started off with Travis I was like - uh-oh - this could be it.

                                    I liked him, thought he had some high points but I wasn't seeing him win in the end.

                                    1. re: Worldwide Diner

                                      It was grating to me (and others on these threads) that he constantly talked about being gay.

                                      I actually thought of my fellow posters on Linda's threads last night (is that weird?) when by 9:01 p.m., Travis had set himself up as the Rosa Parks of gays in commercial kitchens. It was something along the lines of 'When I got my first restaurant job, they said gays weren't allowed in the kitchen.'

                                      Had a good laugh at that one.

                                      1. re: KrumTx

                                        "Travis had set himself up as the Rosa Parks of gays in commercial kitchens."


                                      2. re: Worldwide Diner

                                        I think there could have been a drinking game for whenever Travis mentions being gay.

                                          1. re: DGresh

                                            I'd have to opt out, otherwise I'd be passed out and you all wouldn't have a recap. :-p

                                              1. re: Phaedrus

                                                Shoot - that means I have to continue the recaps?

                                                1. re: LindaWhit

                                                  If you said that these weekly recaps had driven you to drink, I don't think anyone here would hold it against you.

                                                  1. re: ennuisans

                                                    We'd just encourage you to drink more!

                                          2. re: Worldwide Diner

                                            I wondered if part of Travis' problem with the biscuit was that the convection oven was too hot - did they brown before they could cook through?

                                            1. re: WNYamateur

                                              I can't imagine being on Top Chef and showing up with biscuits and gravy. I enjoy biscuits and gravy very occasionally at breakfast. But... you're in the South. If you do a biscuit you have to blow it out of the water because the little lady down the street at the church probably makes a much better biscuit than you do.

                                          3. Once again, another great recap from Linda. One doesn't really have to watch the show, just tune in here. Some of my thoughts...
                                            The qf winner already gets immunity, why not save the cash for the winner of the EC? Or split it $5000 each?
                                            Loved the brief flashback of the ghosts of risotto's past.
                                            How can anyone not like Nicholas?
                                            I know it's wrong to out someone but I think Travis might be gay. Actually, I think it was a great compliment to the other chefs when he spoke of how accepting they have been. A kitchen can be a very crude place to work.
                                            I was thinking, how much would I have to pay for a tasting menu like the one they just ate?
                                            I think I like Carrie best but don't think she's too long for the competition. I'm thinking Brian is another short timer.
                                            I'm betting on a finale with Nina, Nicholas, and Carlos though anyone left is really good.
                                            Don't know about Justin, he seems really good but I don't think his style works for this competition.
                                            Stephanie honey, just do as Luke Skywalker would do and let the force be with you. You've got the chops, now all you need is some confidence.
                                            It's been tough on the judges but they've been pretty impressive too - even after all he did to hide his mistake, they were like, bang! my biscuit is raw.
                                            Edit to change: BAM! My biscuit is raw:-)

                                            5 Replies
                                            1. re: bobbert

                                              They won't split the money between the QF and the EC. If they did, then the EC dishes would have to include coffee.

                                              1. re: John E.

                                                Yeah, I guess that was sponsored by Dunkin although I still have trouble believing they can't come up with sponsors willing to fork up some cash. The least Toyota can do is throw in a car or two.

                                              2. re: bobbert

                                                "The qf winner already gets immunity, why not save the cash for the winner of the EC? Or split it $5000 each?"

                                                It does seem unfair to get both immunity and money. The prizes have been so few and far between this year, they should split up immunity and prizes. And add a few more altho they don't need to go crazy like they did that one year. Should be more continuity. Or axe them all together.

                                                The only other thing I noticed was when they were getting ready to announce the winner, they said it went to the most "unique" (I'm pretty sure that's the word) and that made me think it was going to be Carlos or Stephanie whose dishes seemed a lot more unique than the pasta w/ pancetta and peas.

                                                1. re: Joanie

                                                  Ironically, if Folgers had sponsored the episode, the family challenge would have played straight into their advertising. They could have sponsored both the quickfire and the EC.

                                                  Folgers marketing is all about family memories. In fact, now that I type this, I wonder if Folgers was involved at some point but bailed, because the episode would have been tailor written for them.

                                                  1. re: ennuisans

                                                    And the truth of it is, .. it's unbeatable. I think I remember it correctly. My grandparents' coffee. Absolutely horrid!

                                              3. I loved this episode--all of the food in the EC looked delicious; that was one lucky group of diners.

                                                And yay Nicholas! I'm picking him for the win. (And yes, it is largely because his restaurant is in Philly, but he really is a cutie as well.) I hope he listens to Mackie and relaxes a bit. I hope Stephanie can chill a little too.

                                                Oh, and did Travis mention he was gay? I didn't know that . . . he should have mentioned it earlier ;)

                                                1. In addition to constantly being gay, Travis is an Asian food expert who loves to cook for his boyfriend's momma and gramma. His boyfriend is Vietnamese, in case you didn't know that because you were in a coma or in prison for the past 10 weeks.

                                                  Nevertheless, "the food he eats at home" is biscuits with sausage gravy?

                                                  6 Replies
                                                  1. re: C. Hamster

                                                    His constant mentions of his boyfriend's mother and grandmother is what makes me think he's been out for awhile, at least with certain groups. The apparent teasing he suffered in school make me think that others figured out he was gay, even if he was in the closet. I mean, he can't be there with his boyfriend every time they visit and just be "my friend." I feel for him - being "the other" in your teens must be hard. That's why I always tried to befriend those who were without friends at my high school, the same one as Obama, which was very cliquish, (and to a lesser extent at college and law school). Believe it or not, boys who cooked and girls who played sports were looked at strangely...

                                                    1. re: KailuaGirl

                                                      One aspect that I don't think has been brought up yet is his mention of a chef who pulled him aside and told him "We don't allow gays in the kitchen". That left me with more questions than answers, but it also suggests that his homosexuality, aside from being a big part of who he is, is also a big part of his experience as a professional chef.

                                                        1. re: ennuisans

                                                          That really surprised me, but certain regions of the country cling hard and fast to old beliefs. I suppose those cultural prejudices could be expected to seep even into a professional kitchen.

                                                          1. re: chicgail

                                                            Unfortunately, those certain regions of the country is most of the country. The vast majority of professional kitchens are pretty rough and crude places to work in. The stereotyped average cook making minimum wage or a little above is usually not among the most enlightened people out there. That being said and knowing many in the business (two of my kids are in the biz), I've come to believe that after one strips off that tough, crude veneer, cooks only care about one thing, whether or not you can kill it on the line. Sure, they'll call you names and tell you to suck my &%%k (ala Nina) and tell you what they would like to do with your girlfriend, sister, or even mother but after all is said and done, all they really care about is can you cook and can you do it without drama. I think they'd take a bad ass gay line cook over a macho straight shitty cook any day. For sure, they'll talk shit to/about the gay cook but they'll talk shit to/about the straight ones too.

                                                      1. Stephanie does not have any fingernails left.

                                                        Why didn't Travis keep his butter frozen? 

                                                        Carrie was not hunting wild asparagus at the location where she posed in the photo with her mother.

                                                        I want the recipe for Carlos' dish.

                                                        19 Replies
                                                        1. re: John E.

                                                          Only his sponge cake QF recipe is up on their recipe site (so far):


                                                          Bravotv.com seem to be less inclined to get the recipes up there in any reasonable amount of time.

                                                          1. re: LindaWhit

                                                            I found a cochinita pibil recipe from Rick Bayless that I'm going to try sometime. My family really likes Mexican pork dishes, this one from Kenji Lopez-Alt in particular:


                                                            If I had to compete in a contest such as this one, I have no idea what kind of dish to prepare. I grew up eating pretty much meat and potatoes.

                                                            1. re: John E.

                                                              I grew up eating bakes, and recently wondered why they were called "bakes" when they were fried! My husband from Jamaica, grew up with essentially the same thing, but there that are called festival.

                                                              1. re: John E.

                                                                Can't go wrong with a Bayless recipe. Please let us know how it turns out. I haven't personally made that one but have made many of his recipes and they're all excellent!

                                                                This was a difficult EC and I had a feeling that the biscuits would be a problem. Sometimes something that works well in one kitchen won't work well in another. All the food looked good and I would have been happy to be at that table.

                                                                1. re: Dee S

                                                                  I too would have liked to been there to eat those dishes. Sometimes not all the dishes appeal to me, but this episode did seem to be close all the way around.

                                                                  1. re: John E.

                                                                    I think we're all suckers for that "just good" food that satisfies on a deep level. I'm a born and bred northeastern'er, but I want to make biscuits with sausage gravy now!

                                                                    1. re: DGresh

                                                                      I make biscuits and gravy about four times a year. It's great, but really calorie heavy.

                                                                2. re: John E.

                                                                  "Tom I'm just forking these hot dogs and browning them over a gas flame because that's how I did it when I was a kid. I'll be doing marshmallows as well a la minute."

                                                                  1. re: ennuisans

                                                                    There is intellectual eating, when we see the new techniques, the new combinations, the artistically presented plates. And then there is the emotional eating, where the food evokes our deepest loves and memories.

                                                                    I'll admit I am more of an emotional eater, I am always looking to replicate some portion of my life that a certain kind of food will evoke in me, whether it is the ja jiang mein that Shirley cooked, it reminded me of my childhood, or when I eat deep dish pizza, it remind me of my college years. Unfortunately, that emotional eating also makes me over eat at times.

                                                                    1. re: ennuisans

                                                                      The funny thing is that my mother caught me roasting hotdogs on our gas stove when I was three years old. Of course, I had been camping with the family, so I knew what I was doing.

                                                                      1. re: John E.

                                                                        I wasn't that young but yeah, same here. Mom probably decided I was safer with that than with a pot of boiling water (and since I could barely see over the stove that's probably true).

                                                                    2. re: John E.

                                                                      Thanks for this! It looks like what I order every time I'm in a Mexican restaurant, and have no idea how to do at home. I owe you one.

                                                                      1. re: monfrancisco

                                                                        The sauce is actually the best part. Just for fun, I started serving Adovado shooters with this dish.

                                                                        I think it might be a New Mexican variation of a Mexican pork dish, but whatever it's origins it is now a family favorite, along with pork chile verde.

                                                                      2. re: John E.

                                                                        Cochinita pibil is a recurring motif in Robert Rodriguez's movie Once Upon A Time In Mexico (they call it puerco pibil in the film) - and on the DVD one of the extras is a ten minute instructional video of the director preparing this dish. Mr. Rodriguez and I have exactly the same opinion about the significance of cooking skills, btw.


                                                                        1. re: ratgirlagogo

                                                                          I'm going to have to see that movie.

                                                                          1. re: John E.

                                                                            You kind of have to watch Desperado first, for some continuity. But you'll find no Pilbil there.

                                                                          2. re: ratgirlagogo

                                                                            We make RR's Pilbil recipe annually, on vacation, and it is fantastic. ["I have to go shoot the cook."]

                                                                          3. re: John E.

                                                                            Rick Bayliss and Kenji are both forces to be reckoned with. Kenji is especially good on explaining why one thing works and another doesn't. I love the science!
                                                                            I was lucky to grow up eating lots of different things, in different ethnic environments, most of them depending on family budget. Sometimes we were comparatively rich, other times we were straight up poor. It gave me an appreciation of lots of different foods.
                                                                            I do a cochinita pibil in my oven a couple times a year and just love the flavor. Sometimes I do add banana stump to it (for moisture and flavor), but I doubt that's readily available on the Mainland.

                                                                        2. re: John E.

                                                                          That picture of Carrie holding carrots made me laugh. Couldn't they have found a picture of her by a road,or about to pick, instead? She didn't have to be holding asparagus.

                                                                          Yeah, I feel like slapping Stephanie's hand out of her mouth. I wonder if she realizes she does it that much.

                                                                        3. Fried egg? I thought Carrie served her dish with poached eggs. Or did something go wrong and she had to adjust?

                                                                          1 Reply
                                                                          1. re: Lizard

                                                                            A typo on my part. I noted that Carrie poached 13 eggs, plus the description from Bravotv.com also noted it as a poached egg.

                                                                          2. By the way, what kind of air conditioner costs $10,000???!! Was Shirley talking about some kind of central cooling system for the house?

                                                                            4 Replies
                                                                            1. re: ratgirlagogo

                                                                              I thought the same thing. Shirley can buy an AC for her home for much less than $10,000. She probably finds the swamp cooler to be inadequate.

                                                                              1. re: ratgirlagogo

                                                                                She's in Las Vegas. I assumed she meant central air.

                                                                                1. re: ratgirlagogo

                                                                                  It probably doesn't cost $10k, but cost more than pocket change. So the $10k will let her get the air conditioning.

                                                                                  1. re: ratgirlagogo

                                                                                    If the house was not built for central AC already then maybe duct work would have to be added? That's all I can figure.

                                                                                  2. Thank you, Linda Whit! had to wait to watch last week's and this week back to back (so had to wait on reading the recap) because my 8 year old nephew had really wanted me to watch Alvin and the Chipmunks movie with him last week. I can't stand them, but of course relented. When he wanted to watch another for this week's episode I gave him an adamant "NO!" He was surprised, and looked a little hurt, until I explained my reasoning to him and told him I wanted to watch the next day. That worked out. I got to see 2 hours of "new" back-to-back TC. :-)