Top Chef New Orleans “Mississippi Mud Bugs” by BB
Carlos, Nina, Carrie, Brian, Shirley, Stephanie and Nicholas remain. John Besh is the guest judge for the quick fire and elimination challenges. For the quick fire, the chefs must prepare a version of crawfish etouffee (which means “to smother”). They have 45 minutes and the winner will have immunity. Stephanie is allergic to shellfish and has her epi pen standing by just in case. She won’t be able to taste what she’s making, so Nicholas has offered to help her out. He won’t be helping Carlos out anytime soon after he threw him under the bus in the last episode by telling the judges Nicholas wouldn’t let him use the oven.
When the judges taste Stephanie’s dish, they ask her if she trusts Nicholas to sample her food since she can’t because of her allergy. She tells them yes, hoping he wouldn’t try to sabotage her. Carrie, Nicholas, Stephanie and Carlos were in the bottom for this challenge. Brian, Shirley and Nina were the top three. Shirley wins and has immunity for the elimination challenge.
Louisiana Seafood Council is having a party and the Top Chef contestants will be providing the food. Their challenge will be to create a dish highlighting two different types of Louisiana seafood. They have three hours to prepare food for 200 guests. That night the chefs go to John Besh’s home for some simple Louisiana cooking. They are stoked about eating food prepared by Chef Besh. He tells them that some of the best chefs don’t do well in the competition because they try to do too much and bite off more than they can chew.
Shirley thinks Carrie is taking a risk by making a fritter and not really showcasing Louisiana seafood. Carlos asks to borrow Nicholas’s knife because his isn’t sharp enough to slice his fish as thin as he wants. Nicholas says he only has the one knife, but Carlos thinks Nicholas is only thinking of himself. With 45 minutes left, Carlos asks Nicholas if he can use his knife again. Nicholas is reluctant but lets him use it. He tells Carlos the knife was a wedding gift and to take care of it. Nina thinks her dish may be too complex and off balance.
Brian made grilled swordfish, shrimp and sweet onion puree with fennel daikon relish. His dish is one of the few that’s cooked instead of cold. It seems to be a hit. Nicholas made oyster leek soup, champagne emulsion green apple yogurt and cured amberjack (oysters three ways). Hugh says it’s advanced and technically sound, but not very exciting. Carrie made flounder croquettes with oyster emulsion and pickled cucumbers. John and Tom think it tastes OK, but Tom doesn’t understand why you would want to puree a perfectly good piece of fish. Shirley made tuna and amberjack ceviche with aged soy sauce, lime dressing and toasted pecans. The judges like it. Nina made marinated wahoo with salsa verde, tonnato sauce and pickled vegetables. Tom thinks the flavors are great. Carlos made amberjack ceviche with rustic peach and shrimp relish. Hugh thinks the fish is a little under-seasoned and Tom thinks the fish needs to be cut a little thicker. Stephanie made fried Louisiana oysters with tuna and pickled beech mushrooms. They like it even though people had to wait in a long line to get it. Nicholas went over to get his knife from Carlos and finds it crusty and dirty. Carlos said he didn’t have time to clean it. From this day forward, Nicholas is no longer going to be the nice guy.
The judges were disappointed in how many raw dishes were made instead of cooked dishes. The judges liked Nina’s and Shirley’s raw dishes the best and Brian’s and Stephanie’s cooked dishes were also the judges’ favorites. Carlos and Nicholas were not among the judges’ favorites. They didn’t like Carrie’s croquette either. Padma calls Stephanie, Nina and Brian in first. One of them will be the winner and that is the one who exemplified Louisiana seafood the best. It’s Stephanie.
Carrie, Nicholas and Carlos are called in next. Carrie is asked to pack her knives and go to the Last Chance Kitchen, where she competes against Louis. They have to make a broccoli dish and both do a great job. Tom has a tough decision to make, but Louis comes out on top once again.
Congrats to Judge Gail Simmons on the arrival of her daughter.