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Top Chef: New Orleans – Ep 6 – Aranchiphobia

In the aftermath of Booth’s exit last week after Captain Vietnam and Sara failed to ace the Vietnamese food challenge, they are a mess. Sara is in immediate tears, and the next day as Big Easy Mike is ominously foreshadowing later events by sharpening his knives as Cap calls his mom.

And that’s how the episode begins. With a call to mom. It ended with a little bit of redemption for Captain Vietnam.

But first – To the Quickfire Kitchen!!

We have a repeat of a cool challenge – the everything is wrapped in tin foil challenge. You pick what you think is going to be helpful, but whatever you pick is yours to use. It’s a great idea and a fabulous use of product placement. The twist this time is that the chefs are on two teams and will not be the ones picking the items.

Enter Gail and Padma…and their moms. Um…ok. Kind of random, but let’s go with it. Renee and Vijaya will have five minutes to shop for the teams. Renee is completely Gail’s mom – same personality. Padma is a bit more of an extrovert than her mom appears to be, but mom still seems pretty cool. Plus, she gave the world Padma, so she holds a dear place in my heart. Huskey notes that Renee is really fast shopping. His mom shops slowly, so this challenge would be a bit of an issue.

The moms also have to pick out equipment, as that too is wrapped. The chefs get the expected random hodge podge – baking soda, eggs, mustard, strawberries, leeks, lamb, pineapple, okra, etc. The teams divide up the ingredients among themselves and have to create three dishes out of the mess. Nina, Huskey and Bene get the leftover stuff and decide to make soup. Carlos has a coconut crème sauce that his mom made when they were poor. Carrie is desperate for a whisk – she has to improvise. Cmar is using really stinky cheese and is making it work. Nina is lamenting having to put beans and cherries together.

Team Simmons
Sara/Cmar – Sara’s down to the wire cooking of the lamb
enabled it to be cooked properly.

Big Easy Mike/Justin – Team New Orleans’s fish had some sake included in it.

Carrie/Chung/Louis – Carrie said her arm almost fell off making the sabayon but she made it work.

Team Lakshmi
Carlos/Cap A spicy Asian/Mexican mashup

Nick/Vega The fish dish got some yummy sounds.

Nina/Huskey/Bene – Gail was worried the soup had too many ingredients.

As it turns out, Gail loved the Asian/Mexican dish. She was impressed with Nick and Vega and had some issues with the soup. She loved Team Big Easy’s flavors, had issues with the lamb and liked how Carrie managed to do it without a wisk.

However, Team Lakshmi earned the win and split ten grand seven ways.

Elimination Challenge – Glee’s Lea Michelle is throwing a Halloween party. Presumably, this was taped before the Glee tragedy occurred, or else the party would seem to be in some poor taste. Lea is a super fan of the show – and proves it with some of her critiques later on. Cmar is a super fan of Lea and wants to hang out. But not in a creepy way. Cmar is starting to grow on me quite a bit.

The chefs are paired up based on where they were standing. Big Easy Mike and Nina get joined up from across the room. This would prove to be some fatal standing positions later on.

Lea follows a vegan lifestyle. Nina thinks God put animals on the earth to be eaten. I wonder if she owns a dog. Personally, I think animals evolved into what they are today, as did we, and such a thing as the food chain developed. Lea has made a choice not to eat them. Because humans can choose things. Because we have an evolved brain. Just saying.

However, she is not really a vegan as she adores cheese, as she repeatedly reminds the chefs. Amazingly, the judges were surprised later on at the amount of cheese served. Clearly, they didn’t see the footage. She doesn’t like sweet things – clearly, she is sweet enough. She loves all veggies, but not beets. Remember that. She loves Italian food and Mexican food. Someone, presumably Carlos, asks if she likes Mexican men. Perhaps, but only with ample cheese.

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