Reinvention of worst food trends, Commander's Palace, and Paul Prudhomme. Shouldn't be too shabby tonight!
Reviewing the dishes in the Stew Room after the end of last week's episode. Nicholas defends Jason. In the mansion the next morning, Louis calls his son. Then into the Top Chef kitchen, and Padma and Emeril welcome Dana Cowin, editor-in-chief of Food & Wine Magazine.
Padma introduces the next Quickfire Challenge by saying that there are some food trends that you just wish would go away. Dana Cowin was asked to pick four food trends she hates the most.
There's a knife pull for those bad food trends. They are: Bacon, Smoked, Eggs, and Kale. They are to create a dish that reinvents a popular food trend. The challenge is an Elimination Quickfire. Someone will win immunity, and someone will be going home. They have 30 minutes to make their dish.
They are flying through their prep time. Overdressed dishes, undercooked pork, and barely able to finish plating are all concerns.
EGG ON TOP
Nicholas - Quail Egg, Scallop, Truffle Juice & Duck Egg Vinaigrette.
Nina - Quail Egg on Confit Potatoes with Leek & Potato Purée
Carrie - Soft Boiled Eggs with Chili Flakes & Lemon Zest on Green Beans
Shirley - Rice Congee wih Shirred Egg, Soy Sauce & Sesame Oil
Both Carrie and Nina got good comments from Dana.
Sara - Tuna Tataki with Arbol Chile Vinaigrette
Michael - Cold-Smoked Oysters with Mignonette
Janine - Roasted Pork Loin with Chipotle Smoked Caramelized Apples
Louis - Smoked Trout with Lime & Olive Oil Vinaigrette
Louis's dish didn't seem to have enough smoke in it.
Bene - Seared Tuna in Bacon with Honey, Vinegar, Jalapenos, & Corn
Brian - Bacon with Scallop, Ginger, Honey & Sugar Snap Peas
Travis - Bacon Pho Broth with Seared Scallop & Sweet Carrot Purée
Carlos - Bacon & Halibut with Apples, Tomatoes, Avocados & Bacon Vinaigrette
Stephanie - Pasta with Lightly Candied Bacon & Flash-Fried Sweet Potatoes
Patty - Kale with Toasted Garlic, Chili Flakes & Shaved Parmesan
Justin - Kale Steamed with Lemon, Andouille & Anchovy Syrup & Parmesan
Aaron - Fried Kale Dredged in Soy, Mirin, Rice Vinegar & Yuzu Sauce
Bret - Kale Juice & Gazpacho with Kale Salad
They liked Patty's dish, but Aaron's was very salty. And they didn't like that Bret made a salad when they were specifically asked not to do so.
Favorite Dishes - Nina, Shirley, and Stephanie. And the winner is Shirley! She gets immunity.
Least Favorite Dishes - Bret, Aaron, and Louis. The one who is going home is Aaron. He's bummed to have let down his Chef, Chef Takashi. And it doesn't seem that he gets to go to Last Chance Kitchen - no mention is made of it.
Padma tells them about their Elimination Challenge - they'll get to work in Commander's Palace. They will eat at Commander's Palace tonight. Later tonight, they'll find out exactly what their challenge is. (And if they've watched the show before, they'll probably be required to recreate dishes that they eat tonight!)
Tory McPhail, Executive Chef of Commander's Palace, comes in and introduces himself ot the cheftestants. Sure enough, he tells them that tomorrow, they'll be charged with recreating some of the dishes they'll be trying tonight. They need to get the dishes exactly right, both in taste and presentation.
Dishes they try:
Shrimp & Tasso Henican - created by Chef Jamie Shannon
Black Skillet Seared Trout - created by Chef Paul Prudhomme
Veal Chop Tchoupitoulas - created by Chef Emeril Lagasse
Strawberry Trio - created by Chef Tory McPhail
They'll be cooking in the groups with whom they're seated. Chef Jason from the CP kitchen will actually be cooking each dish as well, so there will be a side-by-side comparison. And Chef McPhail tells them that the creators of several of the dishes, Emeril and Paul Prudhomme, will be two of the judges.
The next morning, they get ready to head to Commander's Palace. They go crazy in the CP kitchen trying to get things done.
The judges arrive, and Lally Brennan and Ti Martin, proprietors of Commander's Palace, greet them. Tom Colicchio, Hugh Acheson, Paul Prudhomme, Emeril Lagasse, Dana Cowin and Padma, along with Tory McPhail, are seated with Lally and Ti.
Back in the kitchen, they're ready to plate. Nina accidentally starts to plate on Michael's plates. He dumps off her okra from his plates onto the table and Nina is pissed off.
FIRST COURSE - Shrimp & Tasso Henican (Nina, Michael, Travis and Bene). Bene seems to hit the sauce flavors the closest to the original. Michael's plating is spot on, although he overcooked his shrimp. Travis's sauce needed to be thicker, and Nina blew it on the presentation, but her shrimp were impeccably cooked. Dana said that if you could take Nina's shrimp, Bene's sauce, and Michael's presentation, they'd have a very good copy of the original.
SECOND COURSE - Black Skillet Seared Trout (Nicholas, Carlos, Janine, and Louis). Hugh and Tom both note that there are wildly varying seasoning issues. Tom said everything is under-seasoned. Janine's fish seems to be the best cooked of the four. Nicholas's dish is dark on one end, and light on the other, has a lot of sauce, and very under-seasoned. Louis's dish is under-seasoned, dried, overcooked. Carlos missed some seasoning and the fish was too burnt.
THIRD COURSE - Veal Chop Tchoupitoulas (Shirley, Bret, Patty, and Brian). Brian's dish is close, but his Brussels sprouts are raw. Patty's presentation is the closest, and her chop is well cooked. Shirley's chop is overdone for some people, and Bret's sauce is the best, but there is no sear on the chop - Emeril says there's no love. Hugh and Tom give each other looks across the table as they critique slightly differently on the veal chop course. Hugh's ready to roll up his sleeves and duke it out right now. :-)
FOURTH COURSE - Strawberry Trio (Stephanie, Carrie, Sara, and Justin). Sara's beignet is greasy, and there's no white chocolate on Tom's dish. Carrie did great on the cocktail and the biscuit. Justin seems to have nailed the entire dish, and Stephanie's cocktail is well received, but her biscuit is deemed better than the Commander's biscuit by several, including Tory McPhail - he asks for her resume!
The Dessert course is deemed the best by all of the judges, and Chef Tory McPhail is very proud of all of them. Dana Cowin says she's a whipped cream whore, and Tom said that has altered his opinion of her forever.
They're back in the Stew Room waiting for the monitor to turn on to see the initial judging. Tom notes that the desserts were the best dishes. Justin and Stephanie's dishes are discussed - Tom's beignet from Stephanie was soggy and dense, but she's totally surprised to hear that Hugh said her biscuit was the best of the offerings.
The shrimp dishes didn't have a good sweet and sour balance, although Michael's presentation was on the mark. Issues with the veal cookery, and Emeril had a sloppy plate. The fish dishes were all under-seasoned.
Padma comes in and asks to see Stephanie, Justin, and Nina - they are the top group!. Stephanie is overwhelmed that she's in the top group, as she's not a pastry chef. And the winner is Justin!
The bottom group is Louis, Carlos, and Bret. Everyone's dishes were under-seasoned. They asked Louis if he made the blackening seasoning - he said yes, he made it for the entire group. Tom said that explains that's why everything was under-seasoned. Louis never tasted his own food when plating. Tom was surprised that not one of them chose to make their own dish in total on the fish course, including the seasoning. Bret's veal was overcooked. He said time ate him alive and had difficulty finding room on the grill. Tom said it's a competition - he needed to make room on the grill so his chop could be properly cooked.
The judges discuss the dishes. They're all surprised that Carlos and Louis never tasted a small piece of the blackened fish. Bret's veal dish - Hugh said his was steamed perfectly (obviously not the way it was supposed to be cooked!). Tom said his was both - no sear mark and was overcooked. I'm thinking it's going to be Bret and his veal chop.
:::Whooshing camera shots:::: Tom reviews; Padma decrees. Yup, it's Bret who's asked to pack his knives. Back in the Stew Room, he said to the others that he knew his plate wasn't Top Chef quality and they made the right decision.
Previews - crash course in Vietnamese food.
And that's it for tonight's show! Latahs, ladies and gents!