Team Top Chef

Is Jason really as cocky as he seems?

on Oct 3, 20130

Well, hello my little beignets! Welcome to Top Chef Season 11 in New Orleans. I'm Monica, Senior Producer at Bravo Digital and your recapper for the season.

I couldn't be happier that Season 11 is in New Orleans. There are very few cities that I truly felt sad leaving, but New Orleans is one of them. It's honestly another world down there and one of the few cities in the United States that has its own distinct cuisine, completely unshared by any other city.

So, after probably the best season of Top Chef Masters yet, I hope you're ready to dive into a new season of Top Chef with 19 -- yes, 19 -- cheftestants. The chefs enter their beautiful home and share a little bit about themselves, and instantly, a reluctant villain emerges -- Jason. Full disclosure: Jason's restaurant ELA is actually the only restaurant I've dined in among all the chefs' restaurants. It was a recommendation for brunch, and the brunch was quite tasty, so I'll be interested to see how Jason does. He already has a bit of a hometown rivalry with Nicholas, who is just adorable. OK, that's enough of that. 

Some familiar faces include Stephanie Cmar, Kristen Kish's former roommate, who didn't quite make it to the Season 10 kitchen. Bene Bartolotta, who recently competed in Battle of the Sous Chefs for Top Chef Master Odette Fada. There's also Michael and Justin who both -- surprise! -- won Padma's Picks. If you haven't watch the prequel series yet, watch it HERE.

Shirley worked for Thomas Keller. Carlos has a Michelin star. Aaron works for Top Chef Master and all-around adorable chef Takashi Yagihashi. He was also maybe in a mildly successful punk band? We see a photo of Janine with Season 5's Jeff McInnis. And if you haven't heard, they're opening a restaurant together in NYC! Can't wait to try that one. After some pleasantries and s--t-talking, s--- got real, and then s--- got really really really really real. Thanks, Stephanie!

Padma and Tom walk in and present the chefs with their first challenge, not a Quickfire challenge mind you, but an Elimination Challenge. They're not effing around. The challenge is to create a dish using one of three New Orleans delicacies… in a swamp. The three options are turtle, alligator, and frog. I actually had alligator cheesecake at Jacques Imo's (a must-visit!) and fried alligator on a stick at the Creole Tomato festival in New Orleans, but I somehow drew the line at turtle soup at Brennan's. The only turtle I ate in New Orleans was filled with chocolate and caramel!

And with proteins in hand from local utters, the chefs get to the Top Chef kitchen. The pride the chefs feel putting on their coats for the first time is palpable. 

11 comments
trleonunley
trleonunley

What kind of turtle was used?  Most people suggest using Green Sea Turtles for these recipes however those kind of turtles are endangered and illegal.  So can someone answer my question.

eahutchie
eahutchie

so how can I watch this on the internet on bravo's website? Can't seem to get to the full episodes

 

SwimCards
SwimCards

I'm a native of the great city of New Olreans. There is so much good food in that city including at Emerils. However, to call Emeril the premiere chef of NOLA is just ridiculous.

TSweetwood
TSweetwood

I don't know if they sent the right chef home.  I felt like they felt sorry for that crying one.  She had some pretty bad food.

 

djkerr
djkerr

Just watching the Season 11 now and astounded that Janine Booth is so arrogant to say that ' she is not so ugly' !!!

I don't want to say 'typical blond'... but please. Certainly she doesn't think that she ....... I certainly hope that she will retract that comment. I am stunned at her self centered arrogance.  :(

LWhitt58
LWhitt58

I had Turtle Soup au Sherry at the Court of Two Sisters' Jazz brunch the last time I was in NOLA, and it was spectacular!  You missed out in not trying it at Brennan's.

Al_1986_
Al_1986_

When is Lea Michele going to be on?

travelinggirl
travelinggirl

Yes, Lindsey from season 9 is the source of the no crying quote. However, Jeff McGinnis competed in Season 5, not 3, so if you're able to five what is hopefully a typo, do. ;-p From how composed the video "feed" of the judges was, I'm assuming the cheftestants were made to wait in the stew room until the judges had made their decisions and re-shot the footage of their "deliberations" that go into the final edit since there were no flubs, bloopers or politically incorrect comments in the video. If deliberations really do take as long as some of the judges have implied over the years, I'm sure they don't stay that composed and at attention on their seats during the entire delibation period. PS We STILL didn't get a reunion show from Season 10??? That's sucks. :-(

SmartPhoodie
SmartPhoodie

I live in Philadelphia and can tell you that Jason is confident but not cocky.  He is extremely talented and is willing to take risks - most of which have paid off for his faithful patrons.  The "Sexiest Chef" in Philly thing? This internet contest popped up in every major city and fans voted.  It was not a self promotional thing at all although Jason had fun with it.

He takes his approach to food and cooking very seriously, and spends a lot of time in his dining room asking questions of those patrons with reputations for their knowledge of food and their palates.  He headed the kitchen at Lacroix at the age of 24 before opening ELA.  He has a city rooting for him!  

phenobobbiedoll
phenobobbiedoll

Lindsey from Season 9...I'm a huge fan of TC since it first aired. Thanks for such a great show.