It’s the most wonderful time of the year! No, not the holidays. Restaurant Wars! It’s our favorite challenge of the Top Chef season and this one lived up to the hype. Who will pop up better? The ego driven team at Found?
Or will it be the Bad News Bears of restaurant Fin?
And more importantly, who will go home? An executive chef or a front of the house person?
In the comments, let us know what you’d call your restaurant if it was going to war.
New Orleans is a cool town. It’s got some great food and more than a couple weird musicians. So challenge number one is making hot sauce for the word-inventor king of swamp funk, Dr. John.
It’s hard to tell what he’s saying, and Padma doesn’t seem thrilled to have him there. But we are. (If you want to see Dr. John actually do something besides eating hot sauce and mumbling, check out this video).
For the elimination challenge, we lost Dr. John but we got… a gigantic dead pig. Which the chefs have to “use the whole animal” (as in eat some face and feet, not as in, leave no evidence a pig used to exist here). They serve this pile of pork to 150 guests in a swamp party and it’s shockingly good. Every bite. All three of the bottom chefs made delicious food. That’s life on season 11.
Trumpeter, cook, and weird smiler Kermit Ruffins joins the chefs for a series of forced musical tie ins.
Cooking is like improvisation in music… in that sometimes there’s a trumpet? And then there’s a potluck for a group of musicians, except instead of a potluck, it’s a party catered by professional chefs? Let’s not be too picky about names (who do we think we are, Tom?). Instead let’s just revel in the fact that the chefs didn’t all blow it this week.
And let’s try not to be too sad for this public vote of no-confidence in Patty.
Top Chef has a lot of sponsors. They’re everywhere from when you leave the GE Monogram kitchen, get in the Toyota Rav 4, and drive it to Whole Foods. But in this week’s episode, there’s also sponsorship oozing out of every single dish.
That’s right, despite it being an emphasizing “farm to table” food, every dish has to have the processed taste of Philadelphia cream cheese. And while they can’t come out and say it, the performance of the chefs tells me they weren’t happy. The food they produce makes Tom look like this:
So jump on in and listen to our take on Episode 6 of Top Chef and be sure to tell us in the comments what processed food you’d like to see the chefs cook with and who will end up working front-of-house in restaurant wars.
Top Chef has never shied away from holidays, celebrities, and the occasional vegetarian meal. So why not do all three? Because the chefs will blow it, that’s why.
Despite the fact that the show films during the summer, the crew decides to pretend it’s Halloween for Lea Michelle. She’s “throwing a costume party” and wants “spooky” (doesn’t happen) food that’s also “vegan” (she loves cheese). All of those different curve balls prove too much for the chefs who manage to make food that’s not spooky, and in most cases, not tasty.
This is all after an adorable Quick Fire where Padma and Gail bring their moms on for a foil-covered shopping spree. And in the web-only Last Chance To Be On TV, all the eliminated chefs compete for the right to be still ranked above Ramon.
Take to the comments now to let us know who your favorite celebrity guest on the show was (or least favorite, I’m looking at you Pee Wee!). And while you’re there, tell us your favorite Top Chef villain of all time and what it takes to be the villainiest villain.
The question of the day: Is Vietnamese cooking a sexually transmitted skill?
That’s what the chefs need to figure out because Travis (who said in episode one he only sleeps with Asians) is getting a chance to cook his favorite cuisine: Vietnamese. But will a rockabilly chick with a knowledge of lettuces help or hurt the team? And can anybody stop James Beard nominee for chef badassery (and James Chef nominee for great beard having)? Maybe it’s Shirley who would be upset if she lost a Vietnamese challenge despite being from a way different part of the giant continent of Asia. Maybe it’s doe-y eyes with the tasty but ugly desserts. Let’s all agree it better not be Malcolm Gladwell.
Episode 4 also raised a really interesting question. Should a guy with too much lemon grass offer to share? Let us know your thoughts in the comments and also be sure to tell us the classic dish you’d like to see re-imagined!
Top Chef New Orleans returns for a double elimination episode. That’s right, somebody’s going home in the Quick Fire AND the Elimination Challenge. It’s heartbreaking, but at least there aren’t so many chefs on my TV.
For the Quick Fire, the chefs tackle four of Dana Cowin’s current pet peeves: bacon, eggs, kale, and smoke. No, they don’t just make one delicious omelette. Twice this episode we get to play “Which is the bigger sin?” Is it too salty, or something EXPLICITLY FORBIDDEN IN THE CHALLENGE?
Elimination time, and the contestants (notice how I’m not calling them cheftestants?) have to recreate famous dishes from the legendary New Orleans restaurant Commander’s Palace… for the chef’s who invented them. It’s a crazy difficult assignment, even for the judges. They have to taste this many things:
Who can remember which of those strawberry dishes was the best? Acheson, that’s Hugh.
In the comments, tell us which is the bigger sin, undersalting or overcooking? While you’re at it, let us know who you think is going to be aroud for restaurant wars and what mistake would send your knives packing.
We return to swampy NOLA (official PYM decision!) for episode #2 of Top Chef 11. Who’s going home and who’s “fucking muy bueno” (to quote Tom)?
For the Quick Fire everybody has to make a gumbo that represents their history (roux + a bunch of stuff that isn’t gumbo-like at all). As an added benefit, nobody gets to sleep tonight!
In the Elimination Challenge, four haphazardly assigned teams each get a food truck. Who will win and who will go home? Is it Surf Truck, Taco Truck, South and Super South Truck or other truck you’re not going to remember (hint: not them)?
In the comments, let us know what your celebrity Quick Fire challenge would be, and tell us your Quick Pick for best/worst teammates!
Top Chef is back, and we’re here to give you all the amateur insights and discussion you could possibly want. 19 cheftestants dive into the swamp and only three come up smelling like roses.
There’s no Quick Fire this week (because there are a bazillion chefs? That’s probably why.) so we spend most of our time discussing the new twists on the show (drama cam! shorter intro! everybody is hot!) and the elimination challenge which featured three traditional swamp proteins: frog legs, turtle, and alligator.
What do you think about season 11? Is everybody too sexy? Do Tom and Emeril love hanging out TOO MUCH? And this week’s Quick Pick: who’s going to be the next losing chef with a winning TV personality? Let us know in the comments!
Welcome to the 0th episode of Pack Your Mics, the Top Chef podcast. In our preview episode we discuss Bravo’s web-only show Padma’s Picks. We also delve into our favorite TC moments of all time, and what we’re hoping for (and hoping against) for the upcoming season.
What are YOU looking forward to in Top Chef: New Orleans (and how would you like us to say the city’s name)?