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Top Chef: New Orleans – Ep 3 – Quit Copying Me!

This week has the unruly bunch of 17 chefs whittled down to 15 thanks to the regular elimination and a special Elimination Quickfire Challenge. We also got our annual visit from show sponsor Food & Wine Magazine editor Dana Cowin – when will they just make her a regular judge already! In addition to Dana – sadly, there is no Zuul – we have a visit to a super famous New Orleans restaurant…Commander’s Palace. How famous is it? Emeril worked there. That should be enough.

All in all, this was a fairly blah episode. There was little drama in the eliminations – neither chef was all that dynamic so far, although the Quickfire Elimination was slightly surprising. His performance thus far was hit and miss. Plus, the challenges weren’t all that exciting. Sure, Zuul’s annoyance over certain trends are interesting to Zuul, but why should I care? And, being annoyed by bacon? By eggs? What’s wrong with her? That’s like being annoyed with Kate Upton’s overexposure in the media. Sure, she’s been everywhere. But look at the woman! Let her be everywhere!

And the Elimination Challenge was good on paper – recreate from taste one of the Commander’s four dishes – but in execution…not so much. Put it this way, the challenge was so messed up that the dessert wound up winning. On Top Chef! That never happens. I don’t know – even bad episodes of Top Chef are still interesting and fun, but this was not one for them to submit to the Emmy board next season.

Quickfire Challenge – Zuul doesn’t like eggs on top of other things, kale, things that are smoked (a great $25,000 Pyramid category, by the way), and bacon. BACON! She wants the chefs to prove to her that these trends should continue. Oh, and don’t make kale chips or a kale salad, BRET! The chefs have 30 minutes – immunity and elimination are at stake.

Booth goes for scallops and misses out on all of them. She has to use a pork loin instead and frets that it will be done in time. It barely gets done in time. Big Easy Michael goes smoke crazy and bothers Big Easy Justin as a result. Chung goes against something “yolky” and goes for a soft, fluffy scrambled egg instead. She is assuming this is Zuul’s issue with the egg on top. Cmar is making candied bacon, sweet potato pasta and is using bacon fat to coat the pasta. Wow. Bret is making kale salad. Sigh. Slurping Turtle is making crispy kale. Double sigh. Nina is putting a scotched egg in soup.

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