Last night’s Top Chef: New Orleans headed out of the city and into the country. After telling the cheftestants to pack an overnight bag, New Orleans empire builder John Besh led them to an idyllic farm and kicked off a 20-minute Quickfire Challenge centered on the Creole tomato. The outdoor challenge proved to be the sweatiest event so far.
For the elimination round, the players had to prepare a family-style course for Besh’s network of incredibly talented chefs. The catch: Each dish had to feature cream cheese. Many of the competitors became star-struck and nerve-racked by Besh’s mere presence. Some triumphed under the pressure while others crumbled and forgot basic cooking skills. Such is the power of John Besh’s magnificent head of hair. For those playing F&W’s Fantasy Top Chef, here are the points earned and lost by chefs last night.
Nina Compton: +3 for winning the Quickfire Challenge with her perfectly chilled tomato-watermelon soup. +10 for winning the Elimination Challenge (and $10,000) for her crispy stuffed zucchini blossoms. Total points: 47
Carrie Mashaney: -1 for her vinegar braised chicken that Gail Simmons deemed “gloopy and soupy.” Total points: 40
Justin Devillier: +3 for coming out on top in the Elimination Challenge with his duck breast and chanterelles. Total points: 35
Carlos Gaytan: +2 for being a favorite in the Quickfire Challenge with his poached tomatoes. Total points: 29
Nicholas Elmi: +1 for pulling at some audience heart strings by talking about how much he misses his kids. +3 for coming out on top in the Elimination Challenge with his funnel cake. Total points: 28
Travis Masar: +1 for revealing that his mom has a huge crush on John Besh and that she might disown him if he did poorly. -1 for disappointing his mom by doing poorly in front of her chef crush. -3 for being on the bottom of the Elimination Challenge with his oddly cut vegetables (Padma referred to them punnily as a travis-ty) and raggedy lamb. Total points: 25
Stephanie Cmar: +1 for continuing to be adorably obsessed with the guest judges. She referred to chef Besh as a “stud” and her encounter with him in the Quickfire as a “blind date gone bad.” Total points: 23
Sara Johannes: +1 for saying that if she was a farm animal she would be a sheep—for the big hair. -3 for being on the bottom of the Elimination Challenge with her raw lamb. Total points: 23
Brian Huskey: +1 for referring to the overnight trip to the farm as being like “summer camp but with knives.” Total points: 19
Louis Maldonado: +2 for being a favorite in the Quickfire Challenge with his tomato seed bouillon. +1 for saying that if he was a farm animal, he would be a bull so he could be left alone. Total points: 17
Janine Booth: +2 for continuing her Last Chance Kitchen winning streak. Total points: 12
Benedetto Bartolotta: -10 for being told to pack his knives and go for his grey, mushy vegetables. Total points: 2
Here are the chefs whose points did not change this episode: Patricia Vega (12) and Shirley Chung (40).
For those who were rooting for Benedetto Bartolotta, it’s time to redraft if there is a free chef using F&W’s updated roster.