Top Chef New Orleans Recap

By David Mumpower

December 17, 2013

We don't know, either.

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Previously on Top Chef, the most lopsided Restaurant Wars battle to date caused ripple effects among the contestants. Sara and Justin were forced into a shotgun wedding as the leaders of one team. While the marriage was scheduled to be annulled after 24 hours, Justin would have become a widower anyway. Sara was voted out of Top Chef in the latest instance this season wherein several chefs could have been rightfully dismissed. The New Orleans season has provided a strange combination of terrific challenge performances followed by tragic ones. Which one will we have tonight?

Given the disastrous Restaurant Wars performance offered by the members of Found, no one should be shocked that several players are still talking about it at the start of the episode. Carlos points out to his friend (or frenemy?) Justin that the New Orleans native knew he should have gone home. Justin confides that Sara was the correct vote because “It keeps me here.” I give him points for honesty.

Nick and Travis join them. So the quartet of gentlemen now includes the worst two remaining contestants from Restaurant Wars conversing with the best two. Blackadder used to call that “coming over for a gloat.” We quickly switch to awkward childhood pictures of Travis hunting as a child. It’s like putting Liberace in a boxing ring. Everything about it feels wrong. Travis relays a story about a time he was informed that “we don’t allow gays in the kitchen.” I hope that whoever said that found Jesus, Buddha and/or Allah soon afterward because HATRED.

Since the cast rarely provides drama this season, we continue the trend of almost immediate edits to the Quickfire challenge. And I love today’s judge so, so much. No, Hubert Keller does not fixate on hip tang. He did once craft a Top Chef Masters dish in a dormitory shower, though. Anybody who can do that is a living legend in my eyes.


The presence of the nicest judge ever is presumably intended to distract from another blatant cash grab by the producers of Top Chef. As Padma pimps out the kitchen, today’s john is Dunkin Donuts and their line of coffee products. It’s official. Top Chef has become a semi-legal exercise in panhandling. And I say this before tonight’s Last Chance Kitchen, which will inevitably feature an awkward drive in a Toyota vehicle. The logical conclusion for this season is for the judges to start wearing corporate logos on their outfits a la race car drivers.*

*That idea was sponsored by NASCAR, the official sports organization of merchandise whoring. Hmm, I probably should asked NASCAR for money prior to posting that rather than afterward.

Anyway, the chefs make coffee. Had Folgers, Maxwell House, Seattle’s Best or Starbucks ponied up the cash, their project would be featured. Alas, the chefs are stuck with Dunkin Donuts, whose coffee is even worse than their donuts. Hey, they didn’t pay me a dime so I can be honest about their products. If you want a good donut, go to Krispy Kreme. If you want good coffee, well, Dunkin Donuts shouldn’t even be on your top 10 list.

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