The Food and Wine Hedonist

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Top Chef NOLA Episode 5: Lea Michele’s Halloween Bash

Episode 4

Episode 6


Last week’s episode had the chefs creating a full Vietnamese menu and a couple of them made Pho.  It got me thinking about the greatest name for a restaurant –

Honestly, I wouldn’t care if it’s as Vietnamese as Taco Bell is Mexican.  I’m sooo going there based on the name.

The episode also got me thinking making some pho myself.  Then I remembered that The Sicilian did a post on it earlier this year.  So not only do I get to post about a recipe from last week’s episode, I don’t have to actually do it!  Hooray for laziness.  And The Sicilian.


Quickfire Challenge

They brought back the challenge from TC Seattle where everything in the kitchen is wrapped with aluminum foil.  This time, in addition to the ingredients, all the equipment was wrapped.  Gail’s and Padma’s mothers were introduced and were the ones who selected all of the equipment and food for the challenge. Sure it’s a little hokey, but it’s a great challenge to show creativity and flexibility. The chefs were split into two teams with the winners getting $10K.

Team Simmons –

Sara & Stephanie – Lamb & fonduta with sharp cheddar & roasted mushrooms

Justin & Michael – red snapper papillote with rice pilaf

Carrie, Louis & Shirley – compressed buratta with pickled apples & balsamic sabayon

Team Lakshmi –

Carlos & Travis – Clams poached in fish sauce with coconut cream

Nick & Patty – Snapper & Branzino papillote with mustard vinaigrette

Bene, Brian & Nina – soup with beans, carrots, chiles, okra & cherry chutney

Winner: Team Lakshmi – they had a bigger challenge given the ingredients.


Elimination Challenge – Cater a costume party for Lea Michele

The Glee star was introduced as she was hosting a Halloween party and the chefs were going to provide the food.  When asked what her preferences are, she said – she lives a vegan lifestyle, but on occasion she enjoys cheese.  She also likes Italian – pasta, pizza, and anything fried.  And lots of spice.  And should be spooky.  This is going to be a shitshow.

They were split into teams of two, with each team preparing two dishes.

Michael & Nina

Nina’s Candy corn – Ricotta gnocchetti with kale pesto

Michael’s Bloody eye: yellow arancini with saffron & tomato jam

Bene & Brian – Spooky Spa

Brian’s Crispy quinoa salad & mushroom espuma

Bene’s Heirloom tomato salad with wilted kale

Nicholas & Patty – Fall Theme

Nicholas’ Butternut squash cannoli with ricotta salata

Patty’s Lemon arancini with smoked mozzarella

Carrie & Stephanie –

Doomed shrooms: mushrooms with black garlic & radichhio

Freaky Leeky: ash coated vegetables with fontina fonduta

Shirley & Louis

Louis’ Severed thumb: braised quinoa & onions with potato puree

Shirley’s worm salad: hand cut noodles & fresh daikon radish

Travis & Carlos – Dia de los muertos

Travis’ vegetable ceviche

Carlos’ goat cheese fondue with fried zucchini

Justin & Sarah

Justin’s blood pasta: beet pasta with green tomatoes

Sara’s Evil eye – arancini with Moroccan tomato chutney


Judges Table

Lea joined Tom, Hugh, & Padma at the Judges table.

Favorites – Carlos/Travis, Nicholas/Patty

Winner – Carlos & Travis

Bottom – Michael/Nina, Brian/Bene

Gone – Michael, his arancini wasn’t good, the sauce was too sweet and tasted like canned sauce, and his attempts at making it look like an eyeball was amateur.


Random Thoughts

– I’m a huge fan of Glee.  And you’re surprised by this?

– When I saw Lea Michele at the party, I was wondering what her costume was –


– Then I thought of Karen from Mean Girls –


– I wasn’t clear if both members of the losing team would get booted or just one.  If it was a double, I’m pretty sure Brian and Bene would’ve been gone.  Theirs was pretty weak.

– OK, I’m really tired of those commercials featuring last year’s winner – Kristen Kish.  She is so awkward in front of the camera.  But it’s nowhere near as bad as the one with the Brooke and Josh.

– Vegans… hahaha… have you seen my Facebook page’s cover?

snyder quote


– If I was going to be at a huge, star-studded, Top Chef catered event, I would’ve been pissed to find out it’s all vegetarian.

– They tried to go spooky, but didn’t come close to the time when Charlize Theron was on TC Texas two years ago.  Not only was the creativity off the charts with the theme, it was the best food I’ve seen on in the 2+ seasons I’ve been watching.  Don’t recall that one?  Here’s my recap.

– Agreed with Nina that making arancini is amateur.  Loved how there ended up being three of them.

– This is the second time this season that Gail appeared, but didn’t judge.  Is she not doing that any more?  I don’t like it when they have a non-chef as a judge in the Elimination, but Lea had some good points.

– Carlos’ accent is killer!


About thefoodandwinehedonist

I don't know everything about the world of food and wine, but I'm not going to let a small detail like that stop me from blogging about it.

3 comments on “Top Chef NOLA Episode 5: Lea Michele’s Halloween Bash

  1. PinotNinja
    November 4, 2013

    That Charlize Theron episode was AMAZING! And it definitely made all of this season’s contestants look pretty weak by comparison, although having to cook vegan/vegetarian did make this challenge immensely more difficult. I had previously thought that Gail’s not judging was due to the fact that she was pregnant during the filming of this season and, as a result, wasn’t able to eat all of the dishes (the inevitable tartares and crudos), but with the vegetarian constraint she should have been able to sample everything.

  2. Pingback: Top Chef NOLA Episode 6 – Campfires, Cream Cheese and Countryside | The Food and Wine Hedonist

  3. Pingback: Top Chef NOLA Episode 4: Captain Vietnam | The Food and Wine Hedonist

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This entry was posted on October 31, 2013 by in Television and tagged , , , , , , , , , .
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