Aug 17, 2021
Top Chef Recap: Po-Boy Smackdown
In our previous Top Chef recap, Stephanie went home because Nicholas sucks. We are all caught up now? Good.
We begin with a dusky sky over New Orleans. Is this sunset or sunrise? Do they keep these fuckers up all night while the judges drunkenly (and stonedly, PADMA) debate the number of soggy croutons dancing on the heads of their pins? Do these things actually take place during the day? Or does the editor not care about our peace of mind and is just throwing in “pretty sky, NOLA,” because the editor is A IDIOT? There is no way to ever know. Also, Shirley is crying.
Padma is wearing a hideous shirt, v. Bret Michaels Rock of Love date with Daisy to the fringe-T-shirt store fringe. But Roy Choi’s shirt is worse, v. Ed Hardy Trauma. What is up? Just because you invented food trucks (you know, besides all the Mexican people who invented food trucks) does not mean you can wear that shirt, ROY CHOI.
The challenge? To make a po-boy of your life. Because of course you wouldn’t just “make a delicious po-boy,” it must have a dead grandma in it for the folks watching on the teevee, who can’t taste flavors through their screen (YET) but can taste orphan tears.
Here, let us steal what they made from Hugh Acheson’s blog:
Brian: Asian Lobster Po’ Boy, Gochujang Aioli, Yuzu with Pickled Napa Cabbage
Nicholas: Fried Shrimp Po’ Boy with Mayo, Sriracha, Fennel, and Pancetta
Carlos: Al Pastor Po’ Boy with Guajillo Chilies, Pineaple, Onions, and Roasted Garlic
Shirley: Sauteed Catfish Po’ Boy with Mirin, Ginger, Garlic Glaze, and Cabbage Slaw
Nina: Fried Mahi Po’ Boy with Mojo Aioli and Pickled Onions
Who does not care for your life, cheftestants? Roy Choi. He is like, you all suck my ass, sorry, #truthbomb. Unfortunately, he is also wearing a baseball cap indoors, so I think we can safely disregard any of his thoughts or opinions on any matter whatsoever for the rest of our lives.
But someone has to win, so he guesses it might as well be Shirley.
We are already on to the main challenge. Actor/director Jon Favreau is judge and he is doing research for a horrible-sounding movie about a food truck guy who something, son, growth, wisdom, roadtrip, “voice.” Favreau: chefs have moments where they find their voice. Brian: I am an angry drunk who goes to jail. Everybody: stop talking plese.
Shirley is super in love with Emeril, and who could blame her he is greatness. She is all like “The Turning Point of My Career, By Shirley. The turning point of my career is that time I bought shrimp with Uncle Emeril, it was shrimp, and it was Emeril. In conclusion, that is the turning point of my career.”
We are Nick, so now it is time that we flip out about pots. Did anybody actually see Carlos move the pots? Or just move SOME pots? Were they Nick’s? Nick seems to think so. Nick is going to murder the next fool who moves his pots, just as long as that fool is Carlos, because Nick hates Carlos and Nick is full of murder rage.
Now Nick thinks he has been sabotaged with the quinoa. Carlos MUST have changed the heat on his oven, right? Well NICK SURE THINKS SO. Maybe Carlos did sabotage the heat on Nick’s oven. It would be nice if the editors showed us that.
Here is what Hugh Acheson thinks about that:
“Seriously?” Nicholas is his own worst enemy and has blackened his quinoa. He claims there was a second shooter. He also proclaims that he is “getting angry.” This is a new bumper sticker that goes right next to your “Ain’t Skeered,” “No Fear” and “Nugent for President” stickers.
Let’s all marry Hugh Acheson now.
Nick made carrots 50 ways apparently, except for “cooked.”
Shirley is ragging on Brian’s skinless chicken breasts. Shirley is correct.
They are serving at the Cafe Reconcile, which, for you Angelenos (hey homies) is very like the Homegirl Cafe. Oh, you are neither NOLA nor LA? Well, surely your city has some awesome restaurant run by gangbangers trying to get out of the life? If not, MAKE ONE. Homegirl Cafe’s umbrella organization, Homeboy Industries, is so beloved here that when the city was all like “hard times yo cuttin’ funding” every person in the city came together and opened its checkbook (and we like our money here in SoCal) and was like BOOM YA FUNDED. Also, they sell salsa and chips, and EVERYONE BUYS THEM. If you go to a house that does not have Homeboy salsa and chips, you are legally allowed to confiscate it (the house; everything in it; the wife; the dog) because they are enemies of The Struggle.
They loooove Shirley’s fish and crustacean sauce and tofu and Napa cabbage and leek and fennel. They are drooling.
I hate that they have to have a story about why this was their vision. Still, they are loving Nina’s too, her fettucine and crab and whatnot.
Brian: Chicken anticuchos. Padma: “Is it chicken [shudder] *breast*”? Emeril: “I mean it’s tasty but it’s [moue face] chicken breast.” All of them: “It’s so boring. Mine was raw. Mine was baked twice.” Brian: “It’s all about consistency guys.” [Gives himself a who-hit-it-out-of-the-park?-This-guy! thumbs-up and sexy duckface.]
Carlos’s pork belly is a hit. The waiters (kids from Cafe Reconcile) are in love with it too. Waiter kid’s all “whatchu say this was? Pork belly? Whut? Yeeeeeeeeeaaaaaah.” That kid’s got a new thing to dream about at night.
Nick is bitching about the personal sacrifices he’s made to be here, so NO JUSTICE FOR QUINOA NO PEACE.
The yellow and green of Nick’s carrot sauces are really lovely together — really. Gorgeous.
Waitress: “I mean it’s not nasty or nothin but it’s just too gooey.” She is in agreement with the judges, who decry the lack of texture just in different words. Girl’s got a palate.
The chefs have a nice moment with the kids, lecturing at them for inspiration and whatnot. But the kids probably really do like it anyway even though it’s like “follow your dreams!” There’s Top Chefs there in their restaurant, that’s awesome!
Colicchio: Brian, why do you suck and serve us flavorless chicken breasts? Why the fuck didn’t you butcher a chicken yourself and be awesome?
(Brian is not winning Top Chef you guys.)
As they all tell Shirley they were licking her plate, Nick and Brian make faces of Upset that someone else is getting complimented. They are all like this. Sad men are sad.
Carlos yours was so great, the judges say, now let’s turn to the man who hates you most in the whole wide world, Nicholas. “Did the day go how you wanted before you fucked it all up?”
Colicchio is correct: boneless skinless chicken breast is unacceptable.
Shirley wins yay Shirley! There is nothing wrong with Nina, but it got boring watching her win every single week. Shirley is hardscrabble. She is awesome.
Nicholas has to step it up, by which they mean “fistfight with Carlos” apparently. Brian is gone, he was out of his element and also too hipster-highlights for this world. And we live in Los Angeles.