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Top Chef: New Orleans – Ep 12 – Knife Etiquette and Other Issues

Quickfire Challenge – Besh is back. And he’s brought about a million live crawfish with him. The chefs need to make an etoufee with the buggers. That’s French for “to smother,” dontcha know. BB reminds us that it is a delicate balance with these critters. It is easy to mess it up. One complication – Cmar is allergic to any shellfish that turns red in water. How unbelievably specific of an allergy. Me? I’m allergic to green vegetables, cooked in canola oil on the Thursdays following the New Moon. If I eat that I turn into a gremlin.

Thankfully, Carrie will stab Cmar to bring her back to life if she touches the red fish water. Just like in Pulp Fiction.

BB is making pasta instead of rice. Carlos is making it Mexican – of course. Nick is going with cabbage…for some reason. Chung is going Singapore style – of course. Nick tastes Cmar’s for her, since they’ve been roomies since Day 1.

BB Pici Pasta. The noodles are great, and it is nice and spicy.
Carrie Spanish style. The white wine gets some attention.
Nick Shrimp mousse and cabbage. There’s a whole lot of brandy created sweetness.
Chung Singapore Chili Crab. Besh wants to eat the whole bowl. That’s a good sign.
Huskey Lots of stuff, I can’t write that fast.
Carlos Soup. It’s not really smothered. And he has no idea what the word means. So, he’s losing.
Cmar Bisque. She didn’t taste it – she couldn’t. Nick did. Padma and Besh questioned if she trusted him.

On the bottom – Carrie’s is muddled. Nick’s is not smothered enough. Cmar’s is too soupy. Carlos’ is not even remotely etouffee. On the top – Huskey’s luscious sauce. BB’s perfect pasta and flavors. Chung’s velvety broth. Chung earns the win and immunity. She’s on a roll. Of course, Carrie was once on a roll too.

Elimination Challenge – Pair two seafood for Louisiana Seafood. And prepare them for 1000 guests. BAH! Oh, no, that’s the Padma being cheeky. 200 guests. Oh Padma. However, please don’t say “wazzup” anymore.

But first, Besh takes them to his home and cooks for them. Chung has the audacity to suggest he needed more salt. Cmar digs his hair. BB wants him to make her pancakes in the morning. Um, Mrs. Besh may have an issue with that.

Lots of cold dishes are on the way. Carrie’s making a risky fritter – as Chung aptly predicts – since it is not showcasing the fish properly. Nick is making oysters about 350 ways and shucking each one.

The judges file in – Besh, Padma, Tom and Monobrow. They walk right by Cmar’s DMV sized line and begin to taste all the fish.

Huskey Swordfish and Shrimp. Besh likes it, and Tom is happy with the heat.
Nick Oysters three ways and Amberjack. Mono said it was advanced cooking, but not exciting. Padma wanted acid.
Carrie Flounder and Oyster. The fritter. Tom is not happy. That never goes well.
Chung Tuna and Amberjack. Mono likes the bright flavors…and the pecans.
BB Wahoo and another fish she never mentioned. Besh said it was seared to perfection and Tom digs the flavors.
Carlos Amberjack and Shrimp. Mono found it under seasoned, and Tom felt it was cut too small. Besh can’t taste the fish.
Cmar Oysters and Tuna. Besh and Tom rave about it.

On the top, Cmar, BB and Huskey. Cmar’s mind is blown. She had a tough time with this dish, but did it well. Besh was really skeptical of a fried oyster but she made it really well. And Mono found the salad a perfect fit. Huskey’s sauce made Tom want to have an entire bowl. Huskey was rocking the sauce this week – very quietly. As for BB, Mono loved the spice and the cure. Not sure if he likes The Cure.

Cmar wins. I love when Cmar wins. Not only does it mean she is still around, but no one has ever been more surprised when they win than Cmar. And…she may in fact puke.

On the bottom, Nick, Carrie and Carlos. I must admit, I expected Carlos to go, what with all of the attention he got and the fact that his got a lot more criticism than the others. But I guess, if Tom is really upset with your choices – i.e. the fritter – you are doomed.

Quickfire Hits
• Huskey is still on the show. Really. Has there been a chef who has gone so far and gotten such little airtime?
• Besh and Mrs. Besh met in kindergarten. Holy crap. My seven year old may have already met his spouse!
• Remember when Carlos said that Nick needed to think of others? Then remember when he later said he was there to compete? Oh, hypocrites.
• Tom called Carlos’ dish “fruit salad with some fish in it.” That would be the worst fruit salad ever. He said it was a little bit of fish, and lots of peaches. Millions of peaches. Peaches for me.
• Extra scene – Cmar talking about how gorgeous Padma is. Cmar is totally correct. Now, please pack up your brush and go.

Next week – French vs. Spanish. We’re going back to the 1700s!

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