Fantasy Top Chef Update: Po’Boy Oh Boy

Food & Wine: Roy Choi, Padma Lakshmi & Jon Favreau
Roy Choi, Padma Lakshmi & Jon Favreau. © David Moir/Bravo
By Justine Sterling Posted January 16, 2014

Throughout this season of Top Chef, we’ve seen New Orleans standbys like crawfish, gulf seafood, gumbo and John Besh. But one glaring item has been left off of the show’s menu: the po’boy. Last night’s episode finally gave the regional sandwich its due with a Quickfire Challenge devoted to it. The cheftestants each created their own signature sandwich filled with ingredients that reflected their cooking style: Nina went Caribbean, Shirley Chinese, Carlos Mexican, Brian Korean and Nick New England. But guest judge and F&W Best New Chef 2010 Roy Choi was left disappointed. He delivered one of the better monologues of the season accusing the chefs of thinking too much like chefs and not tapping into their souls. Coincidentally, the Elimination Challenge presented by actor, producer and director Jon Favreau challenged them to do exactly that.

After eating from food trucks with Favreau (who was researching for his upcoming movie Chef), the cheftestants had to cook a dish that represented a turning point in their careers. While some chefs wowed the judges with their heartfelt cooking, others fell short. Now we are left with the final four. For those playing F&W’s Fantasy Top Chef, here are the points earned and lost by chefs last night.

Shirley Chung: +3 for winning the Quickfire with her po’boy that didn’t wow Choi, but was better than the others. +1 for (probably unintentionally) sucking up to the producers by saying the turning point in her career was an experience she had on Top Chef with “uncle” Emeril. +10 for winning the Elimination Challenge with her perfectly cooked fish with silken tofu and leeks in a crustacean broth that Gail couldn’t get enough of. Total points: 74

Nina Compton: +2 for thinking on her feet and swapping out agnolotti for fettuccine when the kitchen proved to be too hot for the stuffed pasta. +3 for being on the top of the Elimination Challenge with her fettuccine with calamari, pine nut gremolata and crab meat. Total points: 69

Nicholas Elmi: +1 for his angry speech about moving pots around. -3 for being on the bottom of the Elimination Challenge for his tuna and carrot dish that lacked texture. Total points: 49

Carlos Gaytan: +1 for fueling Nick’s rage by not reacting to his fiery blowup. +3 for being on the top of the Elimination Challenge with his tender braised pork belly with sweet potato puree and chipotle-tamarind glaze. Total points: 49

Brian Huskey: +1 for putting up a sketch of Roy Choi on the dartboard. +1 for coining the term “culinarian.” -10 for being told to pack his knives and go for his bland boneless, skinless chicken breasts and inconsistent potatoes (Emeril received a raw one). Total points: 22

Louis Maldonado: +2 for keeping his incredible winning streak going in Last Chance Kitchen and inspiring us to cook our vegetables under pork skin. Total points: 22

Keep up to date with the current standings with F&W’s updated roster.

Related: Emeril Lagasse's New Orleans Guide
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