If you had told me that I would be making gumbo for Leah Chase I would have been beyond nervous, not out of fear of failure, but fear of not giving proper respect to a historic dish. I would be fearful of Leah remarking that my gumbo was too modern, too risky, too indifferent to the history of food in Louisiana. Evidently the chefs do not fret in the same way I do.
Leah is the chef and proprietor of Dooky Chase, a restaurant that speaks to the relevancy of food in Louisiana everyday it operates. It has been around a long time serving the best fried chicken and Gumbo Z’Herbs, with a painful sabbatical after Katrina. Katrina, the storm that changed everything, destroyed Dooky Chase, but through a lot of work and the dedication of a lot of chefs and volunteers the restaurant was rebuilt better than ever. It is the definition of iconic.
No rest for the weary, and we pick up right where last episodes ejection happened. Padma enters into the Stew Room like a smiling dementor to steal the last breaths of air from the gasping young chefs. She announces that a gumbo challenge starts now at the cast house and they had better get their crock pots plugged in and the roux cooking. I get sleepy just thinking about this challenge.
Gumbo to me means many things, and there are many types of gumbo you can make, but the chefs really like loose interpretations, and we see all sorts of stuff going on. Brian likes cat naps while stirring roux. Michael likes to do things twice and will be making a new gumbo, but he is really just competing with himself in all things.
Beets, cabbage, soy are three things I have never seen in a gumbo before. I really hope that these chefs realize in hindsight that they just made gumbo for LEAH CHASE.
Oddly enough, the two NOLA chefs make gumbo that fails to impress, and Michael actually makes it to the bottom. Jason says Leah Chase has no idea what she is talking about. I poke him with pins in my mind. Patty is getting no love either. She just doesn’t seem to be getting traction in the competition.
Shirley makes a nice looking gumbo with pork belly. Aaron makes a thick gumbo that Leah loves. Carrie makes a green gumbo which reminds Leah of one of her famous versions. Though Carrie thought her gumbo was weird and badly received, the judges loved it.
Carrie wins immunity.
On to the Elimination Challenge: cooking for Habitat for Humanity volunteers. Susan Spicer is in the house. She rules. Food trucks will be used.