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Top Chef: New Orleans – Ep 7 – Where The Chefs Disappoint John Besh

This was not a very good episode for the remaining 13 chefs…well, except for Nina. However, it doesn’t seem that she ever has a bad episode, unless being dragged down by Big Easy Mike. She does not miss him after his departure, she says about him, “I’m sorry Boo Boo, you’re a douche.” I’m sorry, Nina, but the amount of Boo Boo references we’ve had so far…I just have to…I can’t resist…ok, new nickname!

So the chefs are hanging out on Casa De Chefs and Padma and Besh wander in clad in jeans and boots. Please, just reflect with me for a moment…Padma in jeans and boots. Cmar says Besh literally wrote the book on New Orleans that she read before the show. The chefs are told to pack a bag and come with them. Padma wouldn’t have to ask twice to get me to pack a bag for an overnight. In fact, I have a bag already packed just in case such an occasion should arise.

They are being taken to the farm, and Iowa Carrie is thrilled. The chefs are shown a local veggie – the Creole Tomato and told they have 20 minutes to put together a dish that highlights the local fave. Vega laments that the Quickfires keep getting shorter – and that one will soon be only a minute long. I want to see that challenge. Justin informs us that this kind of tomato has a thin skin and a high acid level. Huskey is making a toad in the hole with tomatoes – and I kind of love that choice.

However, others are having big problems thinking of tomato dishes. Cap has the sun bugging him. Cmar cannot figure out any tomato dish that works. Bene can’t believe that he’s dealing with having to make another tomato dish. Nick is confident because there is a Philly tomato that is rather similar. Boo Boo and Vega are both making a cold tomato soup – but the heat has been a major issue. Boo Boo has a ton of ice – but I am unsure how that ice survived all of that heat.

The judges join them:
Bene Soup. Besh loves the balance.
Carlos Poached tomato. Besh is fascinated by the raw flowers in the dish.
Cmar Steak and tomatoes. She knows he’s disappointed. She calls it a blind date gone bad.
Boo Boo Soup. Besh is amazed she kept it cold.
Nick Tomatoes and Melon. Padma thought it was fresh and refined.
Justin Tartare. It is a lightly sautéed squash blossom which makes it work.
Cap Seared tomato. It didn’t cook enough.
Louis Tomato Seed Bouillon. Besh thinks the juices are great.
Huskey Toad in the hole. Padma thinks it is really good.
Vega Roasted tomato soup. Padma said it tasted better than it looked.

Here’s Carrie’s in case you were wondering – no judging for it.

And Sara’s.

And Chung’s.

On the bottom, Vega’s messy dish, Cmar’s too simple dish and Cap’s very safe dish which failed to elevate the tomato. On the top, Boo Boo’s chilled soup, Carlos’ elevated tomato, and Louis’ top flavors. In the end, Boo Boo earns the win and immunity.

For the Elimination Challenge – They are going to be cooking at Besh’s restaurant in his tiny kitchen. And for some unknown reason, other than the amount of money they gave Magical Elves to be on the show, the dishes will need to feature Philadelphia brand cream cheese. Um…ok. They can use no other dairy products, not even butter. Um, this just sounds like a bad idea. And they wonder why the resulting dishes were not up to par. The chefs draw and find out which course they are preparing, and learn that the winner will take home ten grand.

At La Provence, the tiny kitchen seems to be an issue, as is the limited pantry. Cap imagined the headline of a Top Chef trampled for baby squash. Sara is getting nervous from her recent poor outings, Cap is creatively slicing his veggies – I am sure that will not be an issue later on. Louis is making a creative dessert, Bene is confused by chicken, and Chung is overcooking blueberries. Nick has no yeast, so he elects to make a good ole Jersey Shore funnel cake.

Besh is doing Tom’s walkabout. Not really sure why. Sara is having trouble stuffing her lamb, while Cap is busy butchering the hell out of his. And we are off…

Vega Snapper.
Huskey Veggies.
Carlos – Beets and Carrots.
Nina Zucchini Blossoms.
Sara Lamb stuffed.

Besh liked the depth of Carlos’ flavors. Gail thinks Vega needed to do more, and she also loved the floral notes of Boo Boo’s. She adds that Huskey thought outside of the box, but the oyster is too salty. Sara’s is undercooked, but nicely seasoned.

Bene Chicken Breast.
Carrie Braised Chicken.
Justin Duck Breast.
Cap Seared lamb chops.

Carrie’s is too dry, but Besh thought it was gutsy. Gail thinks the sauce is too soupy. Tom can’t believe how bad Bene’s is, and Gail thinks it was pretty clueless. Cap’s meat is not consistently cooked through. Justin’s is not focused and flavored.

Louis Graham Cracker Mousse.
Nick Funnel Cake.
Chung Egg Custard.
Cmar Peach Mousse.

Cmar’s custard is busted. It’s not good. Nick’s cream cheese is featured and Besh found the cake to be a pleasant surprise. Chung’s is overdone and lacked enough sweetness. Louis’ is featuring a soggy graham cracker.

On the Big Brother screen, Besh praises Nick’s and Padma thinks Boo Boo was awesome. Gail is a fan of Justin’s. But that’s all the praise we get.

Cap’s is badly cut, but he claims it was on purpose. Tom thinks Cap and Bene made a bad family meal. Padma didn’t like Sara’s balance of flavors, and Tom thinks there is a story behind how badly Cmar’s sauce broke apart.

The winners were Boo Boo, Nick and Justin. I thought Nick would earn the win, but Boo Boo gets the back-to-back wins. Bene, Sara and Cap find themselves on the bottom – and I was a bit surprised that Cmar was not one of them. Sara knows she didn’t do well, and Bene explains that his veggies steamed too much. Cap’s plating was sloppy and had an execution problem.

In the end, Bene gets the knifing and is sent to LCK to cook with canned veggies. There, he battles with Booth and becomes the latest to fall to the Aussie beauty.

Quickfire Hits
• Summer Camp With Knives is going to one day be a low budget slasher flick, isn’t it?
• Cmar left her shirt on when swimming. The other women didn’t. I don’t have a joke here, just an observation. Either she’s embarrassed to disrobe on TV, or she burns at the first sign of sunlight.
• Carrie teaching them all little nature tricks…nice moment.
• I never would have imagined that Boo Boo, Cap and Bene would be a little friendship circle. And they were making s’mores!
• If I ever plan on producing a movie based on John Besh’s life, I am totally casting Gary Cole in the lead role.
• Padma went there with a “Travis-ty” joke. Even I wasn’t going there.
• Extra scene – what farm animal would the chefs be. Really. That’s what it was.

Next week – We have jazz.

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