Stephanie Izard

Stephanie Izard puts her money on Carla.

on Feb 19, 20090

So two dishes and a cocktail, one dish of which must be influenced by Creole cooking. I am sure all of the chefs have learned from past seasons and studied up on the regional cuisine. It is always a bit tricky to impress the locals though, especially in New Orleans. I was never a huge fan of the food down there, until my last visit. There are bold flavors with just the right amount of spice. 

OK gonna have to just watch for a bit … way too much goin on.

OK so Carla was making me the most nervous. There are some great oysters down there but I have never had them in a stew. Happy to see there were no pre-shucked oysters around as they are much better freshly shucked. Then came the non-alcoholic beverage. I was thinking, there has got to be someone in that city who likes virgin beverages. Turned out she really pulled it all off. The stew was a big hit and her beignets sounded delicious. A freshly fried beignet with great flavor is hard to resist. Plus the fizzy cocktail was refreshing and delicious. I think my money is on her.

Stefan seems full of himself as always. It has never really bothered me since he has proven to be a talented chef, but this episode is different. The smoking thing does though … going out for a smoke in the middle of a challenge? WTF. His attitude altogether seems elevated from how it was the rest of the season. I would have thought that after watching himself on TV for weeks, he would have lost a bit of the attitude. Seeming like it may be his downfall. His beignets had good flavor but did not take the time to fry them to order. He also did not take the time to make his roux as dark as the judges would have liked. 

9 comments
Annie G.
Annie G.

Carla would have won if it weren't for the meddling ego of CERTAIN chefs past. Thanks a lot Casey! You did your ego proud!

Phenom
Phenom

Hi Stephanie! I hope things have been going well for you since your win. I am glad to see that someone has finally come to recognize Carla's talent. I absolutely cannot understand how people can say that Carla doesn't belong there or that she isn’t a “Top Chef”. She is just as deserving as either of the other final contestants. Each of them have been on the bottom roughly the same amount of times and each of them has gotten lucky that they didn't get kicked off at least once i.e. Stefan and his overcooked salmon and Hosea and the lamb. Plus in the last four episodes, she has consistently been in the top when she is allowed to create her own food without having to make desserts because nobody else could or would - while Stefan has been pretty hit or miss. Also, Creole cooking is completely different that other types of Southern cooking so it's not as though she is having some sort of unfair advantage - or at least any more than Stefan had during the Ripert Quickfire since he has been filleting eels since childhood. A true Top Chef should be familiar with different types of food, but no one can be an expert at everything. It is apparent that Carla has really done her homework.

Max Beasley
Max Beasley

Stephan has cooked circles around his competitors the entire season. He is by far the best chef of this season. The fact that Carla is in the finale is a joke. I completely disagree that Carla is going to win. Stephan is going to destroy.

Ashley
Ashley

Just wanted to say thanks Stephanie for the great blogging. While I enjoy reading Tom's blog he rarely comments on the quickfires (maybe because he isn't there most of the time). Its good to hear an opinion about all parts of the show! You were my favorite from last season BTW.

Laura
Laura

Hi Stephanie!

I just wanted to say, I was so happy when you won last season--it's not just you cooked great food, you are a genuinely kind person, cool as a cucumber under pressure, and you show true leadership.

Being Top Chef is about more than just being able to cook; if it weren't, then why would Rhadika get eliminated for not being a good hostess in the restaurant challenge? It seems to me the judges flip-flop on this depending on who they feel like eliminating in a given week.

Anyway, I'll be rooting for underdog Carla, though I won't be surprised if Stefan takes it all. Wish Fabio were still in it, but I guess everybody does!

FanFare
FanFare

Hi Stephanie, Thanks for weighing in your opinion (while watching the show). That was a clever twist. While I agree with you on Stefan really behaving like a cocky fool (going out for a smoke in the middle of cooking); Carla has had many more swings and misses than been on target. The few challenges she has won have been right in her comfort zone. Hosea has also been all over the board with great entries and inedible food. Overall, Stefan has been the most consistent albeit the least likable. This is Top Chef not Top Nice Personality.

Susan
Susan

Another great post, Stephanie! Thank you for your thoughtful reflections. My mom only cooked with salt and pepper, so I'm fascinated by this show. I rely on your commentary to "translate" each episode into language a spice-illiterate person can understand! You're a compelling writer -- informative, funny, introspective, candid. I appreciate that you don't take cheap shots at people, too. You establish a wonderful tone. Now, I can't wait to read all the cookbooks you write! Again, thank you.

CR
CR

While I'm glad that Carla won, I was hoping Jeff would win. Then Stephan and Fabio would have packed their knives. Stephan taking the smoke breaks and not making his own sausage were not the signs of a Top Chef. Fabio has run hot and cold all season. I think he is incredibly charming and that his infectious personality has carried him further than he should have gone.

Kathleen
Kathleen

Stefan should be long gone not Fabio....Stefan is not as talented as he would have us believe.

Go Carla!!!!!!!!!!!