'Padma's Picks' Recaps

Friendship is tested when Nick Lama and Brad Brad McGehee compete.

on Aug 13, 2013

Only two weeks till Top Chef!

After last week's "Dive Bar Food Fight," Padma's heading uptown near Audobon Park two find two chefs vying for "Fine Dining Bragging Rights." Watch HERE.

First, Padma meets up with James Beard award-winning chef Susan Spicer, probably most known for her restaurant, Bayona.

As I mentioned in the last recap, you may recognize one of Susan's two "picks.": Nick Lama, Top Chef Master Sue Zemanick's sous chef at Gautreau's. He's competing against a good friend, Brad McGehee, Executive Chef at Ye Olde College Inn.

They describe their restaurants' approaches to food. Gautreau's heavily focuses on Gulf seafood. Ye Old College Inn draws inspiration from the vegetation growing on their one acre of land.

They get cooking! Brad is making a grilled flatbread with strawberries, ham, and brie. He describes it as a "backwards pizza," and notes that Louisiana has the best strawberries in the world. Nick is making a sauteed snapper with corn pudding. I'm all over the corn pudding. 

There's a little s----talking, but these two guys seems way too mild-mannered to really get into it. Apparently, their wives are more competitive they are!

Brad runs into trouble as his parchment paper catches on fire! I'm already slightly skeptical about Padma's reaction to flatbread, and this ain't helping.

Time to present!

Brad describes his final dish as a grilled flatbread with fresh strawberries, topped with mild domestic brie cheese (take that, Frenchies!), Iberico ham, peppercress, and citrus herb vinaigrette with lemon thyme, lemon verbena, and lemon balm… but no citrus.

Nick made a sauteed red snapper with corn puree, English peas, baby carrots, morels, and pea shoots with a basil-mint pesto.

Padma and Susan have a lot of comments about the dishes. First, they note how different they are. Padma is happy with Nick's "great execution of fish and seasonal vegetables." Susan loves the snapper's skin -- a skin we watched Nick smartly score.

As I suspected, Padma didn't like the idea of Brad's flatbread... at first. She thought he just "made a little appetizer." But, Susan likes its sweetness and saltiness and thinks it has more personality. Ultimately, Padma agrees calling it "divine," and so... Brad wins!

"You better take it all now," says Nick.

Good luck, Brad!

Next week, Padma dines on food truck fare. Until then, Have a Nosh!