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Last night’s Top Chef celebrated the New Orleans jazz scene with local musician (and master red beans cook, according to Emeril Lagasse) Kermit Ruffins. The creative Quickfire had the cheftestants playing musical cooking stations in a battle for immunity with Ruffins providing the music on his trumpet. After a much needed night out at Vaughnan’s lounge listening to Ruffins play, the Elimination Challenge is announced: Divide into teams and cook a potluck-style meal for Ruffins, his musician friends and Gautreau chef Sue Zemanick. One team opted for comforting, NOLA-style food, another took a risk with Italian and one made up the concept of “chef picnic” food. For those playing F&W’s Fantasy Top Chef, here are the points earned and lost by chefs last night.
Nina Compton: +1 for officially being deemed the gnocchi queen by the judges. +1 for making a sauce that was deemed “fancy Hamburger Helper” (in a good way) by one of the guests. +3 for being on the winning team in the Elimination challenge. Total points: 52
Justin Devillier: +2 for his awesome grits recipe: milk, water and a “s**t ton of butter.” Total points: 37
Carrie Mashaney: +3 for being on the winning team in the Elimination challenge. Total points: 43
Carlos Gaytan: +2 for being on the top of the Quickfire with his crispy redfish. +3 for being on the winning team in the Elimination challenge. Total points: 34
Stephanie Cmar: +10 for winning the Elimination challenge with her crispy artichokes. +1 for saying that she’s hadn’t won anything since high school when she won most improved for her basketball skills. Total points: 34
Nicholas Elmi: +2 for managing to shop for his food via cellphone while out with possible strep throat. -3 for ending up on the bottom of the Elimination Challenge. Total points: 27
Sara Johannes: +2 for prepping the Asian-inspired duck and mussels with which Brian won the Quickfire. Total points: 25
Travis Masar: +1 for announcing his love of ambrosia salad and some strange dessert in which carrots are suspended in green Jell-O. -3 for ending up on the bottom of the Elimination Challenge. Total points: 23
Brian Huskey: +3 for winning the Quickfire Challenge with the Asian-inspired duck and mussels he ended up with (and very nicely thanking the other chefs that worked on the dish). -1 for taking his immunity for granted and taking on more during the Elimination Challenge. -3 for ending up on the bottom of the Elimination Challenge. Total points: 18
Janine Booth: +2 for continuing her Last Chance Kitchen winning streak. Total points: 14
Patricia Vega: +2 for being on the top of the Quickfire with her tamarind pork. +1 for admitting that she’s never heard of a potluck and questioning, “What is it, a pot full of luck?” -10 for being told to pack her knives and go for her bland and boring tomato and watermelon salad. Total points: 5
Here are the chefs whose points did not change this episode: Louis Maldonado (17), Shirley Chung (40).
Right now, it looks like Nina is the chef to beat but you never know! There’s still Restaurant Wars to come and that has brought down some of the best in the past. If it’s time for you to redraft a free chef, do so using F&W’s Updated Roster.