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‘Top Chef: New Orleans’ Recap: Leaving New Orleans

By 01.23.14

padma and uncle emeril

Last week, on Top Chef: Roy Choi made everyone feel bad, then Nicholas freaked out over quinoa. This week, on Top Chef: A new car is up for grabs in the quickfire, so hopefully immunity is not. Then the chefs show what they’ve learned during their time in New Orleans. It should go without saying that Carlos learned he should cook Mexican food.

What follows are the random thoughts that came to mind last night as I watched the show.

-Once again, we pick things up in an emotional stew room. Nicholas admits that he’s an asshole, while Shirley confirms it for him. They all have a laugh, and now we can move on until Carlos takes one thing out of the dishwasher without emptying everything else.

-Carlos came here to cook, not to make friends. Just in case that wasn’t clear and/or you’ve never seen a reality television show before.

-Padma is joined in the Top Chef kitchen by fellow judges Tom and Gail. They have the keys to a 2014 Toyota Corolla. A Corolla? Seriously? I know a few chefs who won’t get out of bed for anything less than a Camry. So winner gets the car, and if it’s Shirley, that would make two for her. Maybe they’ll give away a garage in the finale.

-It’s a two-part quickfire, which doesn’t sound all that quick. Gail tells the chefs to make her one perfect bite on one tiny fork. She wants it to be salty, sweet, sour and a bit spicy. I wonder if she’s this demanding in the bedroom.

-Gail’s top two will move on to Tom’s portion of the challenge, which remains a mystery. Maybe he’ll request a crispy and creamy dish served on the tip of a knife.

-Nicholas is ready to fight Shirley for screwing with the temperature on the fryer. Only she didn’t actually do it. Chill out, Nicholas.

-Carlos is up first. He grilled mango and served it with shrimp and chili glaze.

-Nicholas grilled beef deckle with aged balsamic and a purple potato chip.

-Shirley stuck with the grill theme. She served tataki style flank steak with black pepper cherry, crispy onion and pickled fresno chile.

-Nina is last with her shrimp escabeche, potato aioli and pickled shallots.

-Carlos and Nicholas are headed for quickfire pt. 2. Nina’s dish was a bit greasy, while Shirley’s was a bit heavy on the soy.

-The remaining chefs will have to race up to Tom’s pedestal to choose between an eggplant and a pepper. Then they will make a dish highlighting whichever piece of produce they wind up with.

-Carlos is already planning out his eggplant marmalade while Nicholas is beating him to the produce by about four steps. This is when Nicholas casually mentions the four varsity letters he earned on the track team.

-Nicholas is going to show off his technique with two preparations of eggplant, because of course he is. He can’t use restraint because that would be too easy, or something. This is how you wind up with a carrots seven ways type disaster.

-Carlos is going the simple route with a roasted red pepper soup. Nicholas thinks that’s a cop out because it doesn’t have six unnecessary elements.

-It’s actually a fried red bell pepper soup for Carlos, which iss pureed with fennel, basil and onion.

-Nicholas roasted a disc of eggplant so that it looks like a scallop. He served that over a sriracha eggplant tahini and topped everything with chili threads.

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