Top Chef New Orleans Recap: Episode 3

By David Mumpower

October 23, 2013

See you in Last Chance Kitchen!

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Previously on Top Chef, a group of post-Katrina volunteers were rewarded with delicious food truck cuisine. Most of the meals were of exceptional quality save for the Surfer Truck. Three out of four members of that team could have been eliminated from the competition. Only Nicholas, friend of Jason Luvs Jason, managed to craft a tasty dish. In the end, the season’s prima donna was sent to Last Chance Kitchen. Jason’s combination of terrible food and indefensible challenge behavior due to his trying to play host proved to be his undoing.

Jason’s absolute shock over this turn of events led him to boldly but unrealistically predict that he would be facing Nicholas in the finals of the competition. You, the reader, have as much a chance of being in the Top Chef finale as Jason does. The fallout from this turn of events is that there will be somewhat of an airtime vacuum on the show this week. Jason has been featured quite a bit more than the other competitors. With the pretty dude eliminated, I presume the remainder of camera time will be based on more of a meritocracy.

How does Top Chef fill the void at the start of the episode? The other chefs discuss Jason and the things he could have done better to avoid elimination. I am reminded of Homer’s suggestions on how to improve Itchy and Scratchy in the wake of the Poochie the Dog fiasco. Homer felt that when Poochie was off screen, the other characters should be asking "Where's Poochie?” or, in this instance, Jason. Their obsessive focus on him will go a long way in curing his megalomania, I’m sure.


Louis Maldonado, the executive chef at Spoonbar, takes this opportunity to introduce himself to the world. He informs everyone that he thought he would be a world famous chef by the time he was 30. What stood in his way? He explains that he got married and had a family. That’s going to make them feel great when they watch the episode. “Oh honey, we loved when you said that we were holding you back!”

Okay, that’s enough meeting the contestants for the moment. We skip straight to the Quickfire after a full two minutes of personalities. Dana Cowin, editor of Food & Wine Magazine, joins Emeril Lagasse and Padma Lakshmi. They discuss food trends that have faded away due to their awfulness. Today’s challenge requires the players to re-address said trends and modernize them enough to create a sense of nostalga or, at the very least, re-popularize the dishes by making them retro in just the right way.

Cowin herself has chosen the four categories. They are Smoked, Eggs over Everything, Kale and Bacon. Padma is disappointed to learn that Kale is an option since she loves that particular food. Cowin explains that Kale has been reduced to two dishes, salad or chips. She suggests that no one should prepare one of these two variations. Guess what one idiot does. Yup, Bret makes a salad. Suffice to say that Bret finishes on the bottom due to his failure to follow instructions.

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