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‘Top Chef: New Orleans’ Recap: Commander’s Palace

By / 10.17.13

Top Chef - Season 11

 I see Janine has played Knifey Pulley before. 

Disaster. I missed the first eight minutes of the episode because I was out celebrating my anniversary like a chump. Instead of eating seared foie gras, I could have been watching people eat seared foie gras. Then writing about it. I’m such a fool. Naturally my wife neglected to record Top Chef. You’d think that after three years of marriage she would realize that I am too stupid to record shows on my own and take charge, but no.

So what did I miss? Did Jason force his way back into the Top Chef kitchen and make everyone watch while he executed a perfect plank on the luxurious and functional GE Monogram range? Did Padma toss a cheftestant a dismissive glance? Did Tom scoff at the use of an out of season ingredient??? I will never know! At least not until they replay this episode in an hour*. What follows are the random thoughts that came to mind last night as I watched the show.

- Let’s pick things from the exact moment I turned on my television.

i see what you did here and i hate it

- Nope. Dana Cowin looks way too judgey. Let’s try another moment.

padma nom nom

Much better.

- Shirley made rice congee with shirred egg. More importantly, she’s picked up on Padma’s elusive tell. “I’m feeling quite good right now, because I do notice one thing that Padma likes to do. When she likes something she pick it up and then eat more. ” Read more about this in next month’s Food and Wine cover story, Sh*t Everyone Does.

- Sara is next up. Her dish is called “Smoked” because apparently everyone had a theme that I would have known about if I hadn’t lingered over my coffee. She’s made tuna tataki with an arbol chile vinaigrette. Emeril liked her use of orange. I like that she didn’t call it Japanican fushion.

- Michael is also working with the smoked theme, only he makes the judges guess his theme. Because Michael has to be the most annoying person on the show now that Jason is gone, just as the ancients predicted. He made an oyster. Oh, but he let his secret slip out.

dont tell anyone that im the worst

- Get f*cked, Michael.

- Sexy Janine made a sexy roasted pork loin, then everyone else made bacon this and bacon that. Seriously. Everything had bacon. All of a sudden everyone is Josh from last season without the jaunty lip fur. Except for Patty, who made kale. Apparently she was working with a CSA basket.

- Justin and Aaron also made kale. So it seems like they split the cheftestants into four groups, with one using egg, one using smoke, one using bacon and one group stuck with kale. Aaron made the best of his bad draw by frying his greens, then dressing them with soy, mirin, rice vinegar and yuzu sauce. But when I do it it my wife complains that I rely too heavily on Asian flavors. Three years of bliss!

- Apparently Padma told the kale people that she hates Kale salad. Naturally, Bret made kale salad. Padma is ready to eliminate him on the spot. And she didn’t even taste his shot of kale juice. No seriously, he gave them a shot of kale juice. The only question is whether Bret is tanking for Jadeveon Clowney or Andrew Wiggins.

- Shirley gets the Quickfire win, and she’ll get immunity. Now we sit back and wait for Bret to lose.

stupid bret

-The one good thing about this stupid interactive poll is that I just learned this is an elimination quickfire. And thank god. Otherwise Top Chef’s season was going to last longer than the NHL’s season.

- If you answered “No” on that poll, you win! Well, you win at guessing who is going home, but you lose at life.

- It’s actually Aaron who is going home. You may remember Aaron as the guy who showed up for Top Chef: New Orleans without knowing how to make gumbo. He always struck me as somebody with a ton of talent, but that’s some next level apathy. He will be missed until we all forget that he ever existed. Meanwhile, Bret lives to f*ck up another challenge.

*Now that I’ve had a chance to catch up, I know that the cheftestants were tasked with building a dish around a fad that Dana is so totally over. Ugh. You know what’s worse than fads? Magazine editors declaring kale as so totally 2012. Your challenge sucks, Dana. I hope every tasting menu you order in the next year opens with  a kale caeser studded with smoked lardons. Then you can go on and on about how kaleidoscope greens and speck are the new kale and bacon, and how you can’t wait to declare those fads dead before most of us have gotten used to seeing them on menus. 


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