If you asked New Orleans musician Dr. John how last night’s episode of Top Chef went, he’d probably tell you it had a whole lot of “hip tang,” a phrase the funky guest judge used frequently. He introduced the Quickfire Challenge, which had the cheftestants making their own hot sauces. Dr. John’s requirements: flavorocity, tangocity and, of course, hip tang.
Then came the Elimination and the only act that could follow Dr. John’s amazing performance, a whole pig. The challenge: Host a boucherie (a traditional Cajun pig slaughter and feast) using every piece of the pig. For inspiration, New Orleans restaurant empire builder Donald Link and boucherie expert Toby Rodriguez cooked the chefs a porcine feast with hogshead cheese, sausage-stuffed stomach, boudin and more. At the cheftestants’ elimination boucherie, there were tacos, dumplings, even spaetzle. While it was far from traditional, judge Tom Colicchio deemed it to be the best food he had ever eaten on the show in all eleven seasons. Unfortunately, some one still had to go home. For those playing F&W’s Fantasy Top Chef, here are the points earned and lost by chefs last night.
Nina Compton: +3 for being on the top in the Elimination Challenge with her pig head ragù, which Tom thought should be the national dish of the fictional Ninastan. Total points: 55
Carlos Gaytan: +2 for being in the top of the Quickfire Challenge with his habanero-mango-passion fruit hot sauce. +10 for winning the Elimination Challenge with his chorizo taquito and mom-inspired pozole. Total points: 46
Shirley Chung: +3 for being on the top in the Elimination Challenge with her pork dumplings, for which Tom said he would travel three days. Total points: 43
Justin Devillier: +2 for being in the top of the Quickfire Challenge with his funky anchovy-spiked hot sauce. +2 for his cutthroat behavior when it came to the fire he built during the Elimination Challenge. It may have seemed selfish for him not to share, but this is Top Chef not Top Friend. -3 for being on the bottom of the Elimination Challenge for his inconsistent pork breast tacos. Total points: 38
Stephanie Cmar: +1 for continuing to be awkwardly adorable by lighting herself on fire. -3 for being on the bottom on the Elimination Challenge for her bland pork belly. Total points: 32
Nicholas Elmi: +1 for having the advantage of living with two babies at home, so waking up early will never be a problem for him. Total points: 28
Brian Huskey: +3 for winning the Quickfire with his jalapeno-yuzu-lime hot sauce, which Dr. John said was “verily hip.” Total points: 21
Louis Maldonado: +1 for being shown as the anti-Justin in a montage of him being friendly and sharing the popcorn he made. -10 for being told to pack his knives and go for his overly complicated dish. +2 for ending Janine Booth’s winning streak in Last Chance Kitchen and winning back the chef’s coat. Total points: 10
Here are the chefs whose points did not change this episode: Travis Masar (23), Carrie Mashaney (43) and Sarah Johannes (25).
We’re getting down to the wire and the chefs are really stepping up their cooking game—just in time for restaurant wars! Keep up with your chef’s score with F&W’s updated roster.