Top Chef New Orleans - Season 11 Blog

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Keith A k e r s
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#51 Post by Keith A k e r s » November 7th, 2013, 8:54 pm

While they always claim that past performance doesn't factor into a bottom 3 or elimination decision, I almost have to think that it did with Stephanie here. I don't think she would've been sent home for it as her error wasn't as bad (and she knew something wrong happened and she didn't have time to correct it) as Benny's, but that's the kind of error that normally puts a lesser chef in the bottom 3 at this time of the competition.

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#52 Post by gene keenan » November 8th, 2013, 11:27 pm

Nina is crushing it.
Justin seems to be a fast follower.
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#53 Post by Michel Abood » November 14th, 2013, 7:09 am

Last night I went to a talk with Rene Redzepi and Padma Lakshmi. I was surprised how well she handled the interview, and his answers were fantastic and mischevious. It was the first time I'd seen a chef treated more as an artist than as a high-quality cook. It also didn't hurt that she's much taller than I expected and has a lot of on-stage presence. And it didn't hurt that she's gorgeous as well.
Rene Redzepi.jpg
Sorry for the crappy pic, I had to snap it on the sly, they were VERY strict about no pictures.

As for last night's episode, the right person went home. Frankly, Patty's been coasting and hiding in the middle for WAY too long (and she seemed to cry EVERY episode, which annoyed me to no end).
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#54 Post by Michel Abood » November 14th, 2013, 8:06 am

I should add my favorite quote of the night- "Everything we make, inevitably, turns to shit."
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#55 Post by TimF » November 14th, 2013, 9:38 am

The right chef went home last night IMO. Patty seemed to me like she was out of her league in this competition. The salad she put out looked pretty gross.

I didn't love the quickfire. They might as well have selected a random winner.
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#56 Post by F.Daner » November 17th, 2013, 12:51 pm

+ 1. This one was overdue. Love this season and how they are highlighting New Orleans.

TimF wrote:The right chef went home last night IMO. Patty seemed to me like she was out of her league in this competition. The salad she put out looked pretty gross.

I didn't love the quickfire. They might as well have selected a random winner.
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#57 Post by Brian G r a f s t r o m » November 18th, 2013, 1:04 pm

TimF wrote:The right chef went home last night IMO. Patty seemed to me like she was out of her league in this competition. The salad she put out looked pretty gross.

I didn't love the quickfire. They might as well have selected a random winner.
Agree with all of this. The quickfire was stupid; totally unfair that Brian got immunity, when he was a lazy s.o.b. on the second rotation.
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#58 Post by gene keenan » November 18th, 2013, 1:13 pm

Brian G r a f s t r o m wrote:
TimF wrote:The right chef went home last night IMO. Patty seemed to me like she was out of her league in this competition. The salad she put out looked pretty gross.

I didn't love the quickfire. They might as well have selected a random winner.
Agree with all of this. The quickfire was stupid; totally unfair that Brian got immunity, when he was a lazy s.o.b. on the second rotation.
I actually liked the quick fire but it did favor a lazy person if they landed on a idea that was well thought out.

Patty. She really should have gone home before Janine did.
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#59 Post by Eric LeVine » November 20th, 2013, 11:30 pm

Good episode. Even better Last Chance Kitchen.
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#60 Post by TimF » November 21st, 2013, 4:18 am

I gotta get me some hip-tang.

You could tell Tom loved the food but I was blown away when he said it was the best food in 11 seasons. The competition should be great down the stretch.

The minute I heard "popcorn", I thought, "uh-oh".
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#61 Post by Michel Abood » November 21st, 2013, 9:34 am

TimF wrote:The minute I heard "popcorn", I thought, "uh-oh".
+1

This shows that good chefs can be canned on 1 bad dish, as I think Stephanie's an overall lesser cook. She has no self-confidence, but that popcorn thing made me question a lot. Good episode, and as someone said above, I am loving how much they're showcasing NOLA's culture and food.
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#62 Post by Barry L i p t o n » November 21st, 2013, 9:29 pm

One of my best meals ever was at Lespinasse in the Kunz days. He used popcorn in a dish, it was great.

But maybe it's passe, must have been over 20 years ago.

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#63 Post by gene keenan » November 24th, 2013, 11:33 pm

Great episode: one of the best in a while. Nina continues to crush it. Dr John was classic
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#64 Post by Michae1 P0wers » December 4th, 2013, 11:09 am

My first time to check this thread, but I have been following the season. Good season so far I think. Nina is doing very well, but I also really like Carlos. Justin has shown talent at times but had a really off week there I think. Carrie has also showed promise. Brian has had moments. I don't see a clear winner yet, but Nina and Carlos seem strongest to me. Most of the biggest annoyances are gone at this point. Sara seems pretty weak and rather annoying. Travis seems weak too.

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#65 Post by Michel Abood » December 5th, 2013, 11:34 am

Great Restaurant Wars and it really showed what happens when FOH and BOH aren't in tune. The differences between the 2 places was incredible. What really amazed us was Justin's team didn't even get their menus set before heading out to buy dishware. That was on Justin, as the Exec Chef he should have got their dishes set before figuring out the decor.

However, I do think the right person got booted (how sleazy to only talk about your food while letting your companions' dishes go un-explained).

And what was up with all the corporate sponsorship? If they'd named more brands they wouldn't have had time for the actual show.

That said, I thought it was overall a good episode.
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#66 Post by Michae1 P0wers » December 5th, 2013, 12:18 pm

Yeah, nothing says Top Chef like Dunkin' Donuts...

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#67 Post by CWun » December 5th, 2013, 12:37 pm

restaurant wars is always fun for the trainwreck that will happen.

FOH service and BOH expediting are the main things that affect service. Both have to happen to have an overall good dining experience.

I was hoping for the mise en place relay race quickfire though. oh well
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#68 Post by Nolan E » December 5th, 2013, 12:56 pm

I don't think Justin has overreacted at any point, but the other chefs seem really offended by it. He builds a fire for his dish and other people feel entitled to use it. If someone turned on the stove and put a pan down to heat, would you feel like you could just throw your food in it? No way.

Justin asks that the tickets be given to him a certain way, and asks for a ticket for the judges' table. He gets incorrectly written tickets and no ticket for the judges' table. Not his fault.

Don't mistake passion for anger, guys.
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#69 Post by Michae1 P0wers » December 5th, 2013, 1:48 pm

Justin's bigger problem is that his last two dishes have sucked. Dried-out protein two weeks running is a bad trend. I though he had chops earlier but he needs to refocus or he could be dropped.

Yes, he was entitled to be irritated by the fire thing, the others should have asked, and by the tickets. Sara was a disaster and I am glad she's gone.

Nick and Travis had surpringly good showings, Carlos a surprisingly off showing.

Still thinking Nina and Carlos are strongest, but really there are several others who are doing well, and overall this is a good season IMO. Plus the only totally intolerable people were Michael and the male model and they're both gone.

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#70 Post by Jay Carroll » December 6th, 2013, 5:29 am

Michel Abood wrote: And what was up with all the corporate sponsorship? If they'd named more brands they wouldn't have had time for the actual show.

That said, I thought it was overall a good episode.
I noticed KY is a sponsor....when will Padma bring a little KY into an episode?? champagne.gif
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#71 Post by Leonard Maran » December 7th, 2013, 11:06 am

I expect it isn't just Top Chef that's doing this but it ticks me off that commercials are routinely integrated right into the show.

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#72 Post by TimF » December 12th, 2013, 11:47 am

Another solid episode last night. Sometimes I wonder if Stephanie ever tastes her food because she seems to have no idea whether what she's made is good or not. Travis making biscuits and gravy seemed like a bad idea and it was. Don't get me wrong, I love B&G but it's not something I would make to win a competition. Even when made perfectly, it's simple comfort breakfast food -- would be the equivalent to plain pancakes and maple syrup. In the end his improper execution of cutting the fat into the flour sent him home. I'm actually kind of surprised he's stuck around this long. Justin probably should have been sent home for his dry gumbo (was it even gumbo?) given the audience. It looked like mashed up braised meat to me. This was another example of "we think this guy is better" breaking the tie.
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#73 Post by CWun » December 12th, 2013, 12:52 pm

I'm a big sucker for zhajiangmian. I'm impressed that Shirley attempted it. I would have been really impressed if she did hand pulled noodles instead of the hand cut (not true da shao mian).

Lots of crying this episode.
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#74 Post by TimF » December 12th, 2013, 12:58 pm

CWun wrote:Lots of crying this episode.
My wife gets pissed when she sees it. She says things like, "Well if you want to be with your family, go home. Nobody forced you to do this." Which makes me feel like I married Mr. Potter from It's a Wonderful Life.

"sentimental hogwash!" [wow.gif]
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#75 Post by Michel Abood » December 13th, 2013, 7:31 am

TimF wrote:
CWun wrote:Lots of crying this episode.
My wife gets pissed when she sees it. She says things like, "Well if you want to be with your family, go home. Nobody forced you to do this." Which makes me feel like I married Mr. Potter from It's a Wonderful Life.

"sentimental hogwash!" [wow.gif]
+1

My wife kept looking at the TV going, "WTF are you in a cut-throat competition if you can't handle it?" God I love her.

Solid episode, though the corporate tie-ins are really getting annoying. Or maybe I'm just getting older and crankier.
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#76 Post by CWun » December 13th, 2013, 9:28 am

corporate tie ins would be better if the food products weren't so pedestrian. dunkin donuts coffee beans! wow...

I'd rather hear about reynolds aluminum and plastic wrap and glad containers.

whole foods is okay. I would really like for them to have one episode where they have to shop at Ranch 99 and fight for parking on a weekend.
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#77 Post by Leonard Maran » December 13th, 2013, 7:57 pm

A very solid episode tears and all for me. God I'm glad Sara was gone this evening.I'd say Shirley, Nina and Carlos are all looking good.

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#78 Post by Michae1 P0wers » December 14th, 2013, 6:04 am

Tim, I disagree, the right man went home. The dry dish Justin made - his fourth straight week on the bottom - was bad, but not as bad as an undercooked biscuit. I also found myself wondering if the jam was homemade. To me, if you are going to make B&G and Jam it is so simple that you better nail it all. Also, he pulled that test biscuit with 35 minutes left and saw they weren't working. I cook biscuits in about 12 minutes IIRC. If I had a bad batch at 35 minutes left I'd have tried to make more.

Justin is absolutely flirting with disaster. If he ends up even marginal at this point I think he'll go. He and Brian looking very vulnerable. Stephanie's lack of confidence makes her seem vulnerable always as well, or at least an unlikely inclusion in any final group.

The remaining group is strong though. I'm still liking Nina, Carlos, and Nicholas has come on very strong. But Shirley and Carrie have had strong moments, and if any of these people were to reemerge from LCK at the end they'd have a good chance too with that momentum.

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#79 Post by Marshall Gelb » December 14th, 2013, 2:38 pm

Good episode and the right person did go home....Justin is on the cusp; maybe hanging on as the last "local" boy. As of now, to me, all the remaining chefs seem like decent people. After Sara left, the creeps were all gone.

Cheers!
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#80 Post by gene keenan » December 26th, 2013, 12:40 pm

Local boy finally goes home. Carlos acts like a douche with the whole Oven Gate fiasco.
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#81 Post by Eric LeVine » January 2nd, 2014, 9:42 pm

Interesting week. And an even more interesting Last Chance Kitchen.
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#82 Post by TimF » January 3rd, 2014, 5:42 pm

The minute I saw Carrie mashing that fish up, I knew she was in trouble. The dinner at John Besh's place looked very intimate and like a lot of fun. I'm sure being on the show is a grind but the contestants have done a lot of fun things this season.
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#83 Post by Eric LeVine » January 3rd, 2014, 6:08 pm

TimF wrote:The minute I saw Carrie mashing that fish up, I knew she was in trouble.
Cardinal rule: don't destroy or disrespect fresh protein.
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#84 Post by CWun » January 4th, 2014, 12:18 am

ugh, watching carlos (or any tv chef) steeling up his knife in a desperate attempt to sharpen his knife to cut sashimi made me wince. The size and direction of cut didn't even look right either.

edit: Most likely Nick's knife was a carbon steel yanagi and Carlos left it sitting wet and in fish bits. ugh another wince.
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#85 Post by Eric LeVine » January 8th, 2014, 9:56 pm

Wow, starting to get down to the wire now with just 5 chefs. And a tough LCK.
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#86 Post by TimF » January 9th, 2014, 6:51 am

Eric LeVine wrote:Wow, starting to get down to the wire now with just 5 chefs. And a tough LCK.
That was a very tough episode. I don't blame Nicholas one bit for using his immunity. In fact I think it was kind of shitty of the judges to ask him if he wanted to resign -- and to get Jacques to ask him? Ridiculous. That's the game they set up. You don't like the fact that you have to cut someone who made a terrific dish? That's your problem.

Watching Jacques give a cooking lesson was pretty cool. I always enjoyed talking with him when he came into the farmers market I worked at in high school. He'd frequently give me recipes and tips on selecting produce.
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#87 Post by Eric LeVine » January 9th, 2014, 7:28 am

It is very stronger that they would have a team challenge with just 6 people left. This may be the last challenge with immunity. And I agree, he sucked, but the game is the game.
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#88 Post by Brad B a l l i n g e r » January 9th, 2014, 2:57 pm

Eric LeVine wrote:It is very stronger that they would have a team challenge with just 6 people left. This may be the last challenge with immunity. And I agree, he sucked, but the game is the game.
I'm okay with the team-oriented elimination challenge. But I thought it was odd to offer immunity in such a situation.
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#89 Post by Eric LeVine » January 9th, 2014, 3:02 pm

Sorry for the iPad induced typo. "It is very strange..." versus "stronger". I also agree that witholding immunity would have made more sense.
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#90 Post by Siun o'Connell » January 9th, 2014, 6:42 pm

That was rough all the way around - esp since they were also so influenced by the guest chefs choices.

But I am so ready for Carlos to go home ... like several weeks ago.

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#91 Post by Matt Thomas » January 9th, 2014, 7:09 pm

I do not mind the team aspect of this one, as I have come to grips with the team setup of Top Chef. What I have a problem with in this episode, is it seemed more like Top Line Cook than Top Chef.

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#92 Post by TimF » January 10th, 2014, 8:27 am

Matt Thomas wrote:I do not mind the team aspect of this one, as I have come to grips with the team setup of Top Chef. What I have a problem with in this episode, is it seemed more like Top Line Cook than Top Chef.
It was as if the producers really wanted everyone to succeed in both challenges. The fact that most of them couldn't pull off Jacques dish was very disappointing. It didn't seem overly complex and he gave them step by step instructions.

I also want to note that, to me, chicken and chocolate sounds really disgusting. I'm sure there is some technique where it tastes good but it seemed like kind of a long shot.
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#93 Post by CWun » January 11th, 2014, 2:39 am

Dominque Crenn reminds me of a younger version of my high school French teacher. I could easily see men and women falling in love with her.

my guess despite the editing was that Julian was the one who was the most verbally biased, and Dominique felt compelled to be the other voice, but she seemed to be laughing at the verbal jousting, while Julian was quite serious. Tom and Emeril laughed at Julian's hatred of the chocolate dish.

"ca va mon petit chou?" great line. haha.
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#94 Post by Michae1 P0wers » January 11th, 2014, 6:37 am

Just watched the episode last night. I thought it was way off base for them to suggest that Nicholas give up his immunity and "resign." If I was him I'd have flatly suggested that they not send anyone home. Why should he diverge from the rules and burn immunity? It seems far more egregious to send someone home for a good dish. But I also think we all know that Stephanie was the weakest of those left. Probably Brian next, though Carlos shows some technique issues at times. It shouldn't have been an immunity week, they shouldn't have allowed the guests to control the menu so much, and they shouldn't have asked Nick to quit.

That said, the chocolate and corn silk looked terrible. He should have pulled it, though it may have risked alienating their sponsor-chef to do so. If he was intent on making a chocolate sauce for the hen he should have made absolutely certain that it was balanced and not overwhelming, and I have a hard time envisioning an execution that could have been more than a novelty.

A strong final six though, and a strong five. I'm sstill inclined to say Nina is the best.

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#95 Post by gene keenan » January 11th, 2014, 9:06 am

Michael Powers wrote:Just watched the episode last night. I thought it was way off base for them to suggest that Nicholas give up his immunity and "resign." If I was him I'd have flatly suggested that they not send anyone home. Why should he diverge from the rules and burn immunity? It seems far more egregious to send someone home for a good dish. But I also think we all know that Stephanie was the weakest of those left. Probably Brian next, though Carlos shows some technique issues at times. It shouldn't have been an immunity week, they shouldn't have allowed the guests to control the menu so much, and they shouldn't have asked Nick to quit.

That said, the chocolate and corn silk looked terrible. He should have pulled it, though it may have risked alienating their sponsor-chef to do so. If he was intent on making a chocolate sauce for the hen he should have made absolutely certain that it was balanced and not overwhelming, and I have a hard time envisioning an execution that could have been more than a novelty.

A strong final six though, and a strong five. I'm sstill inclined to say Nina is the best.
I agree. It would not have been the first time where they did not send someone home and the following week doubling down. Really dumb but I am sure Pepin was not that familiar with the rules of the game.

Corn silk is easy to do but the technique Nicholas used was incorrect. They should be dried out a bit first in a low temp oven or left out overnight in a warm room and then fried at 390-425 instead of the typical 350. They come out really nice. His really did look like hair from a drain. Yuck.

Louis is looking strong in LCK.
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#96 Post by Michae1 P0wers » January 11th, 2014, 9:22 am

Gene, I assumed that they weren't fried hot enough. He said earlier in the episode that he had worked with corn silk only once.

The thing about all of that though is that immunity is license to go big, to not have to hedge. To call someone out for going big and failing when they have immunity is BS, and for the girls to turn on him like that was harsh. I'm going to be ticked if they spend lots of time (and editing tricks) making him out to be the bad guy/pariah the rest of the season. Let these chefs cook, they're good enough.

Its funny though, in some ways they almost have to do these things now. In the beginning this show was as much a personalities reality show as a true cooking platform. Now there is a seriousness to it that curtails all of that. No more shaved head or chefs making out. Better food, although the voyeur in me might miss the drama in a childish wah.

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Leonard Maran
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Top Chef New Orleans - Season 11 Blog

#97 Post by Leonard Maran » January 11th, 2014, 11:28 pm

I was appalled when they asked him to give up his immunity...lame. Chocolate and Chicken are often paired with a multitude of other spices in a Mole from Oaxaca. Of course you don't cook a real Mole with that time restraint.

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Matt Thomas
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Top Chef New Orleans - Season 11 Blog

#98 Post by Matt Thomas » January 12th, 2014, 10:42 am

Leonard Maran wrote:I was appalled when they asked him to give up his immunity...lame. Chocolate and Chicken are often paired with a multitude of other spices in a Mole from Oaxaca. Of course you don't cook a real Mole with that time restraint.

Appalled? It wasn't like it was three good dishes, with his being the least "good." His two dishes were by far the worst of the night. I don't think it was unreasonable to suggest that. And clearly Stephanie thought so as well.

I do agree that it was stupid to grant immunity with this few of cheftestants.

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Top Chef New Orleans - Season 11 Blog

#99 Post by Michae1 P0wers » January 13th, 2014, 10:06 am

I thought that it was a ridiculous suggestion. I've watched this show since Season two and they have never even hinted that they would accept a resignation when immunity was in place, much less openly suggested that one should resign of their own volition. Maybe Jacques just put it out there as a suggestion being unfamiliar with the rules. Maybe Tom's fall on the knife comments were just to play along. If so that is excusable. If not, it really irks me that they would ask a chef to give up his best shot at a lot of money, fame and name recognition. This could be his best chance at a successful career in the industry. The idea that he can fall back on LCK is ridiculous. In that scenario he goes into a whole other game and has to fight his way back, one loss and he's done. This way he could still lose this week and conceivably win through LCK. He cooked the way he did with immunity, its unfair to ask him to resign based upon the result. He'd have surely cooked differently otherwise and it is his right to take more risks when he can't foresee going home for failure. It isn't like he tanked his team on purpose. Carrie made broccoli with immunity and no one asked her to go home. She didn't even try for something adventurous and fail, she phoned it in and failed. They said "good thing..." He tries to accomplish what the guest suggested and failed, and they act like he should just quit as a result. I just can't see it.

The judges can bend the rules to allow no one to go home and no one gets hurt. Instead they ask this guy to forego the already-accepted rules of the game and quit, in which case he is definitely hurt. It was unfair of them to change the rules and make him the bad guy. He should have told them that to their faces though, suggested that if they wanted to change something it should be their call to do so. Plus, why not squeeze an extra episode out, it would only heighten interest at this point to do so.

Nicholas has been a bit of a tool about the feud with Carlos, though I think that Carlos smelled blood and knows he can get in Nic's head. Either way, he seems to be a better chef than Stephanie. Stephanie was funny, but I never saw her making the finals.

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Top Chef New Orleans - Season 11 Blog

#100 Post by C. Grimm » January 14th, 2014, 11:57 am

Best episode of Top Chef in years.

Pepin made the suggestion - as he isn't on there regularly, I'm confident he made the suggestion not appreciating the full point of the immunity challenge. Tom said what most people watching were thinking.

But a great episode, as it would have been nice for Nicholas to have done that, but why should he? If he felt bad enough for screwing his team he could have. If Stepanie didn't want to be eliminated she should've won the Quickfire!

Given how much the producers have been making Carlos appear to be the villain, it was good to see them stick it to Nicholas. This shit is better than pro wrestling! Can't keep the heels straight from the babyfaces.

Once again, it is like the contestants haven't watched the show. In team challenges never let the chef with immunity make the decisions for the team.
Chris

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