home Cooking Top Chef: New Orleans – Ep 4 – Captain Vietnam and The Adventure of the Italian Shrimp

Top Chef: New Orleans – Ep 4 – Captain Vietnam and The Adventure of the Italian Shrimp

Meanwhile, the Dream Team was assembled – at least thus far this season it appears to be the Dream Team – Chung, Justin, Carrie and Nina. With Vega along for the ride. Literally. She cooked nothing herself. On the docks, Chung goes and talks to the workers, their wives, and anyone who will listen to learn what THEY make. Really smart move. She learns about the use of butter and employs it. The judges found it unexpected, but granted her the pass because it was really good. I am also thinking that the difference between the stretches made by Chung and Cap here were that Chung used local Big Easy Vietnamese stories as inspiration, while Cap took a dish that came from a couple of meals he had in Vietnam. He very well may have had these, and they were likely delicious, but I think Chung’s anecdote plus her execution held a lot more weight.

My question – and I would be curious to hear why this was – why didn’t Cap make his tomato shrimp? If it was his idea, recipe, whatnot, why didn’t take complete ownership? There’s a gorgeous Aussie lady who would probably like to know the same thing. But he didn’t. Instead, he was shown as Captain Vietnam, even putting down Guest Judge Eddie in a confessional – claiming that as a Taiwanese/Chinese person, Eddie’s knowledge is limited. Of course, being in Vietnam and dating a Vietnamese person does not make you an expert either. I dated – well “dated” if you get it – an Ecuadorian woman and I couldn’t cook Ecuadorian food if you put a gun to my head.

Of course, I know Cap is a trained chef who specializes in Asian food – I kid because I love – but I think he got a bit cocky here. And always a safe bet not to diss the judges or talk your way out of mistakes. Like with the missing lemongrass. They forgot it at the store. Just own it and say you are working around it. And no need to talk smack about the experts – you never look good that way. Even if you’re probably right about Eddie being a bit of a d-bag.

Elimination Challenge – Tom, Padma, E & E and Gail are present – but Gail is just glomming on for the meal. She’s not at Judges Table.

RED TEAM – Nick, Huskey, Carlos and Louis

Nick Squid. Tom doesn’t like the seasoning and Emeril wanted more fish sauce.

Huskey Shrimp Roll. Gail likes the balance of flavor and the pate-like texture of the filling. Tom is a fan of the dipping sauce.

Carlos Fish head soup. Padma wanted some acid, Tom thought the sweet & sour soup was much too sweet. Eddie thought the tomato base made it taste like a minestrone.

Louis Beef broth Pho – Tom wanted more flavor, and Eddie said the aromatics were not there.

ORANGE TEAM – Chung, Nina, Justin, Carrie, and Vega.

Nina/Carrie Raw beef. Tom likes the flavor, but not the texture. Emeril said Vietnamese raw beef is usually shaved.

Chung Vietnamese BBQ Shrimp. Tom thinks it is really flavorful. Eddie likes the subtlety of the chili aromatics.

Justin – Beef Pho. (Recipe not posted on Bravo website for some reason) Eddie said it was light years better than Louis’. Gail liked the nice mellow spices and Eddie said pho this good in this short amount of time was really difficult.

Carrie – Lemon Custard. Tom said it was an afterthought. But flavorful. Eddie was down on the poor presentation.

Vega did no dish but “had a hand in each.” What would have happened if this team lost? How could you judge someone who cooked nothing? Why would you do that to yourself if you were on of the chefs?