The Food and Wine Hedonist

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Top Chef NOLA Episode 14: Po’ Boy Smackdown

Episode 12 & 13

Episode 15


The build-up over the past couple weeks has been the ongoing beef between Nicholas and Carlos.  But I say it can only be a beef if it’s going both ways.  All we’ve seen has been Nicholas complaining about Carlos and Carlos shrugging it off.  Which probably makes Nicholas even more pissed.

Nicholas is really high strung …



… and I can totally see Carlos doing all of this on purpose because it’s an easy target.   He can easily get on Nick’s nerves, which causes him to mess up.

Or the more logical read – Carlos really doesn’t give a shit about Nicholas.



Roy  “The father of food trucks” Choi is introduced and challenges them to create their own version of the classic po’ boy sandwich.  Winner gets immunity.

Nicholas – fried shrimp with mayo, sriracha, fennel & pancetta

Shirley – sautéed catfish with mirin, ginger, garlic glaze, & cabbage slaw

Nina – fried mahi with mojo aioli & pickled onions

Brian – Asian inspired lobster, gochujang aioli, & yuzu with pickled napa cabbage

Carlos – al pastor pork with guajillo chilies, pineapple, onions & roasted garlic

Least favorites – apparently all of them lost.  He ripped on each sandwich for not being true expressions of the chefs.  More on this in my Random Thoughts

Winner – Shirley


Elimination Challenge

Jon Favreau is introduced as he’s working on a film about a burnt out chef who embarks on a soul-searching road trip with his son.  The challenge was to create a dish that represents a turning point in their career, where they finally found their voice.

Shirley – seared snapper with crustacean broth, silken tofu & napa cabbage

Nina – fettuccine with charred calamari, pine nut gremolata & crab meat

Brian – chicken anticucho with twice cooked potatoes & feta walnut pesto

Carlos – braised pork belly with sweet potato puree & chipotle tamarind glaze

Nicholas – yellow fin tuna, several preparations of carrot & fennel pollen dust


Top 3 – Shirley, Nina, Carlos

Winner – Shirley

Bottom 2 – Nicholas, Brian

Gone – Brian


Random Thoughts

– Holy shit!  That was a shocker as it sure sounded like Nicholas’ dish sucked.  Damn editing.

– Though I agree with Tom.  I can’t think of a situation where boneless skinless chicken breast is the best choice.

– Brian befuddled me as to why he stuck around so long. His food was average at best sprinkled with 1-2 moments of talent.  On one hand, it was because others screwed up more than he did.  On the other, his quick mention of using sous vide for the chicken meant he does have some technique.

– I get that Choi’s known for being authentic and a bit of a bad boy.  But when he said,

I’m going to start talking on the real, man. You guys kinda missed the boat on this… y’all f*cked this sh*t up… this is the point where we go into the walk-in and start straight-talkin’…

…he sounded like a douchey poser.  While being authentic means you stay true to yourself, his current “self” is in a different stratosphere now from where he started.

– Further poser proof –  Choi, a Korea-born LA native says that Carlos didn’t know anything about Mexican al pastor.  That would be Carlos, the Mexican immigrant who’s been making it his whole life.

– Shirley kept saying that she found her culinary voice while competing here in Top Chef.  I call bullshit.  If that was the case, she wouldn’t have been on the show in the first place.  Otherwise, what would’ve differentiated her from thousands of other chefs in America?

– How cool would it be if Shirley’s turnaround was really when she came to the realization she didn’t have to be selling her body for a living?  And that she couldn’t really say that on national TV with her friends and family watching so she made up the other bullshit?  Yeah, I like my version better.

– The winner of Last Chance Kitchen made what Tom called “the best dish he had all season.”  Not going to spoil it for you, but his name is Louis.  Oops.  He needs one more win to make it back into the show.  I can see him coming back – the guy’s got a Michelin star.



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.

4 comments on “Top Chef NOLA Episode 14: Po’ Boy Smackdown

  1. mrsugarbears
    January 16, 2014

    Carlos – braised pork belly with sweet potato puree & chipotle tamarind glaze

    This is my kind of food!

  2. Pingback: Top Chef NOLA Episode 15: Leaving New Orleans | The Food and Wine Hedonist

  3. Pingback: Top Chef NOLA Episodes 12 & 13 | The Food and Wine Hedonist

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This entry was posted on January 16, 2014 by in Television and tagged , , , , , , .
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