Cast Blog: #TOPCHEF

Padma's Picks Recap Episode 5

Gail Simmons Won't Be Pushed Around

Make Doug's Winning Mussels

Tom Colicchio Answers Your Restaurant Wars Qs

Gail: It Wasn't Keriann's Day

Make Doug's Winning Braised Pork!

Gail: We Had a Tough Job This Week

Make Katsuji's Authentically Delicious Stuffing

Hugh: The Demise of Cornwallis and Aaron

Make Gregory's Winning Dumplings

Richard: Chefs Please Follow Instructions

Richard Tries Money Ball Soup

Make a Home Run-Worthy Popcorn Crème Brule

Hugh: Where There's a Will There's a Fenway

Gail: Keriann and Aaron Were Being ---holes

Make the Winning Surf and Turf

Gail: We're Taking No Prisoners

Richard Goes From Player to Announcer

Tom Talks Boston

Gail: There Was No Season 11 Underdog

Hugh Wants Nick to Be Kind to Himself

Gail: It Was Difficult to Let Go of Shirley

Big Easy to Ocean Breezy

Gail: The Final Four Are Like Our Children

Emeril Is Proud to Serve Shirley's Dish

Hugh: Enough With the Mexican Food Hate

Gail on Favreau, Choi, and Finding Yourself

Hugh on Poor Boys, Swingers and Food Trucks

Emeril: Nick's Choice Is Part of the Game

Nick's License to Immune

Hugh's Sitting on the Dock of the Bay

Hugh Decides Eight Is Enough

Gail Talks OvenGate

Dookie Chase Makes Everybody Cry

Fin, Found, Floundering

What Danny Meyer Taught Gail Simmons

'Top Chef' Goes to Hog Heaven

Gris Gris Boucherie Ya Ya

Brian and Travis' Dud Spuds

And Don't Call Me Shirley

Gloopy, Soupy, and Radish Dresses!

Padma's Picks Recap Episode 5

Two food truck chefs compete in the final face-off before the finale.


It's the penultimate episode of Padma's Picks! Yes, that's right only one more episode to go, and then… Top Chef Season 11 premieres! This is, however, the last time only two chefs will be competing, though. Next week, all the winners from the first five episodes vie for the final spot in the Season 11 roster.

This week, Padma heads to the legendary Commander's Palace to meet up with Tory McPhail, who just won a James Beard award for Best Chef: South. They start off with a Sazerac, which was apparently the first cocktail. I actually don't think I knew that!

The two head out to see two of Tory's favorite chefs… who just happen to own food trucks. They are... Chris Wadsworth, Excecutive Chef/Partner in Restaurant IPO, The Office Bar, and more specifically to this challenge, Bon Repos food truck. He's competing against Benoit Angulo, chef/owner of La Cocinita food truck. Both trucks are frequented by chefs. Chefs obviously always know the best places to eat.

Benoit and Chris get cooking in their tiny kitchens.

Chris is making seared duck with cracklin in a beer, blood orange, and syrup sauce. Benoit is making arepas. Mmm. If you've never been to Caracas Arepa Bar in NYC, go! 

It seems to me like Chris' dish might be a bit more fine dining, but we'll see what comes out.

"This is chorizo… and my finger" Oh no! Benoit cut himself! Benoit is a bit frantic. He realizes he forgot to remove the tails from his shrimp after cooking. Pull it together, Benoit!

Time to present! Chris actually finished his dish with time to spare. Ultimately, Chris made "Creamy Louisiana Grits, Duck Breast and Cracklin' with Syrup.

Padma comments that his dish doesn't feel like street food, which I'm honestly unsure of whether that's a postiive or negative comment. His duck is cooked perfectly, though, and both Padma and Tory seem to be enjoying it. 

Benoit thinks his dish is messy, but it's time to serve. He made a "Venezualn surf and turf," consisiting of two arepas: one is Spanish-inspired with chorizo and sofrito sauce with griddle queso fresco and pickled tomato (and maybe a little finger. The "surf" element is a Latin American-inspired sofrito with creamy avocado vinaigrette, pickled red cabbage, and cilantro slaw.

Maybe I'm biased because I love arepas, but Benoit's look goooood. They're bigger than I've seen before, but I would eat those every day if I could.

Padma has a touch choice, but ultimately Benoit wins! It doesn't matter what happened in that truck -- it matters what happened on that plate.

Benoit moves on to next week's finale. Watch it HERE!