Recap: Top Chef Po’ Boy Smackdown

First of all, I am SO SAD to come back to an episode without my home team: Stephanie Cmar.  And Shirley clearly is too.  Down to the final five, let’s get on to the quickfire.

Quickfire Challenge: create your own take on a po’ boy.  (20 minutes)

  • Nicholas represents New England with a fried shrimp po’ boy with mayo, siracha, and panchetta.
  • Shirley goes chinese with a catfish po’ boy with a mirin ginger garlic glaze.
  • Nina, representing St. Lucia did a friend mahi po’ boy with pickled onions.
  • Brian made a lobster po’ boy with Korean flavors.
  • Carlos goes Mexican (surprise!) with pork, pineapple, onions, and garlic.

Roy Choi says that they’ve missed the boat on this.  Then he straight up says: y’all fucked it up.  Shirley, the only one who got a positive comment, wins the quickfire.  Then John Favreau comes in and we feel cheerier.  He introduces the challenge, based on his upcoming project, “Chef.”

Challenge: Create a dish that represents your culinary turning point.

Nicholas seems a bit crazy so far.  During the Whole Foods trip, he explains that he plans to make 7 preparations of carrots.  (Or maybe it was “several,” but whatever.) This doesn’t immediately strike me as a good idea.  Once the chefs are in the kitchen, Nicholas flips his shit about people moving his pots.  I get that he’s still mad at Carlos from last episode’s knife incident.  He has a LOT going on.  He burns the shit out of his quinoa.

Nina has on these huge earrings in the commentary.  They hurt me to look at.

Tom, Gayle, Emeril, Padma, and Jon Favreau sit down to nom.

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Shriley’s fish is cooked perfectly.  Gayle verifies that it is indeed drool-worthy.

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Nina’s pasta is perfect, and her calamari elicit many an mmm.

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Padma says Brian’s is interesting, but not in a super positive tone.  Tom says it’s boring.  Emeril gets a raw potato.

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Carlos puts out a beautiful plate.  Emeril notes that you can taste every single ingredient.

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Padma calls Nicholas’s dish very sophisticated; Emeril calls it severely under-seasoned.  Tom notes the lack of texture.

No TV in the stew room this time.  Padma calls all the chefs straight to judges table.  Nina, Shirley, and Carlos garner positive comments.  Brian defends his lackluster dish by claiming he didn’t know what kind of a kitchen with which he’d be faced.  Tom’s not having any of this.  Padma takes a very authoritarian approach with Nicholas, asking him if everything went as planned.  Tom notes that he’s had a lot of little mishaps.

Jon announces the winner— Shirley!

Nina and Carlos are also on top and are safe.

Padma asks Brian to pack his knives and go.

Wow, top 4!  I still miss Stephanie, but I’d like to see Nina and Shirley in the end.  Carlos was my least favorite heading into this episode, but his dish in this challenge really changed my mind about him.  We’ll see if Nicholas can step it up next episode, or if he’s next to pack his knives.

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