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Top Chef: New Orleans – Ep 1 – I Am The Swamp Queen

Judges Table – In a new innovation, the chefs get to see the judges deliberate over which ones they liked and didn’t. Not sure if I like this yet. They all loved Nina, and Sarah blew Padma’s socks away. Carrie’s cold dish was wise because of the heat of the night. Chang had great flavor and Booth’s gator got good reviews. They didn’t care for Slurping Turtle’s pasta, Vega’s simple dish, Carlos’ soggy toast, Ramon’s lack of flavor and Bene’s poorly cooked shrooms.

Carrie, Nina and Sarah get the Top Three. Nina’s was well-seasoned and tender. Emeril was very surprised at how much he and the diners liked cold frog legs. Nina gets the win. Viva St. Lucia!

Vega, Slurping Turtle and Ramon get the bottom rungs. For The Turtle it is because of his decision to cook pasta in the swamp. It didn’t work. Tom thought that perhaps cooking to order would have worked, while Stone boldly disagrees with The Man. Ramon promised flavors, and didn’t deliver, said Emeril. Tom is stunned by his ice decision on the dashi. Vega starts to cry. Jeez. It is the first episode! She talks about how her first idea failed, and she could never catch up. It comes down to Vega and Ramon – and Vega gets another week to cry for the judges. Bye bye Ramon – we’ll never get to see you kick anyone’s ass.

Well, maybe. Last Chance Kitchen is back. So, Ramon has a shot. Remember that last season’s champion emerged from LCK and wound up winning it all.

Quickfire Hits
• Is it Booth’s plan to distract the male cooks this season? Because bending over tables in the kitchen wearing cut-off shorts will certainly do the trick. Distracted the hell out of me.
• Love first impressions. Pink cuts himself, keeps cooking, and Tom comes in. Tom’s look of disdain was palpable.
• Sarah cooks at the Minneapolis airport. Damn, I was there this summer. I could’ve eaten her food!
• Carlos is going to be interesting with his story about almost losing his restaurant. However, so much religion is going to turn me off – read my Survivor columns to learn more about that.
• Extra scene – guess what? It’s buggy in the swamp. And wild gators. Who knew?

This season – Drums. Sweat. Monobrow. GOOOOAAAALLL! Dancing. Gators. The roof is on fire. Geaux Tigers! Jon Favreaux, the director not the speechwriter. Besh. Padma smacked in the face. Screaming. A reference to Pamela Anderson’s breasts. Evil Guy. Shower drain food. And the Emotional Rollercoaster from Hell.

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