Top Chef Recap

By David Mumpower

January 6, 2014

Alas, superstition had no impact this week.

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Previously on Top Chef, I have no idea what happened because the most recent episode aired the week before Christmas. And since I was not expecting a new show on New Year’s Day (seriously, who does that?), I have been caught flat-footed by the Bravo TV scheduling department.

A cursory fast-forwarding of the previous episode provides key reminders. There was something about Louisiana State University, and it had nothing to do with football. That has to be a first for that “educational institution." A group of chefs presented meals to all of the recently enrolled college students, thereby enhancing the speed with which they gained the Freshmen Fifteen.

Almost all of them did well. Still, there were hiccups. Carlos claimed an oven that wasn’t his and then threw his (former?) buddy Nicholas under the bus by telling the judges how selfish the Philadelphian had been. The only problem was that Nick had done none of the things Carlos claimed, and the other contestants universally disavowed the Mexican chef in the Stew Room. Nick, who has been the definition of even keeled thus far, acted betrayed, a valid response to rather immature behavior from his counterpart.

The three chefs who floundered the most were Stephanie, Justin and Nina, aka three of the best chefs this season. Ergo, someone good was going to be sent home, and that person proved to be Justin. The New Orleans native fared no better at Last Chance Kitchen, falling to Louis. Nobody with home field advantage will be winning Top Chef: New Orleans.


Justin was particularly unlucky in that far and away the worst dish of the night was crafted by Carrie. Fortunately for her, she won the Quickfire challenge and the immunity reward that came with it. If not for that, Carrie would have been involved in a Last Chance Kitchen showdown with Louis. Justin struggled the last few episodes. He still deserved a better fate in the pre-Christmas episode, though.

Tonight’s episode begins with Stephanie talking on the phone with her boyfriend of two years. The cheftestant who has effectively become this season’s narrator due to her wicked sense of humor must be using jokes to mask the pain of being homesick. A few reassuring words from her fella elevates her spirits, but what Boston’s finest really needs is a reunion with her epic crush, John Besh. All good things, Stephanie. All good things.

We also return to the subject of Nick’s irritation with Carlos. The latter gentleman tries to pretend as if nothing happened. When Nick throws him some passive/aggressive comments like “I’m so grumpy” and “So mad about yesterday,” Carlos rolls his eyes. I suspect that we have not seen the last of this matter.

Quickfire challenge time! Hey look, it’s John Besh! The Top Chef production team has rewarded you for being so hysterical, Stephanie. I will not make any inappropriate jokes about what is running through your mind as you see your old, unattractive fantasy sex object. I had about 70, though, just so you know.

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