Cast Blog: #TOPCHEF

Padma's Picks Recap: New Chefs on the Block

Gail: Mei's Menu Was Almost Flawless

Make Top Chef Mei Lin's Winning Dessert!

Richard: "Gregory Had the Better Ideas"

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Hugh: Mei's a Chef's Chef

Richard: "Winning Is Overrated"

Make Mei's Sushi Style Guac!

Gail: I Wasn't Surprised Doug Stayed on Top

Get Doug's Masterpiece Brisket Recipe

Gail on Innovation (and George's Failure to Push It)

Make Melissa's Seared Duck Breast Dish

Make Melissa's Mom's Egg Custard

Hugh Worries About Scurvy and Foie Gras

Make Mei's Inspired Duck a l'Orange

Gail Has No Problem With Blood

Make George's Cravable Breakfast Sausage

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

Padma's Picks Recap: New Chefs on the Block

Ep 2: Chefs Justin Devillier and Michael Doyle represent two different sides of New Orleans dining.

Sure, summer -- for all intents and purposes -- is over. It's depressing. But, there's good news: it's time for our second weekly Padma's Picks recap! Yay? Yay! 

OK, first, watch Episode 2 RIGHT HERE if you haven't yet.

Time to dig in.

In this installment, Padma teams up with Chef Donald Link, known for notable restaurants Herbsaint, Cochon, Butcher, Calcasieu, and Peche.

First, they stop at one of Donald's favorite spots, Guy's for Po-Boys. They enjoy what look like oyster po-boys, and my mouth is literally salivating. I'm watching this before eating, which I now realize was a huge mistake. Padma can't finish her po-boy and wraps the rest up to go. Now I know Padma can house something if she really wants to, so she must be really saving herself for the chefs she's about to evalutate. Hey, Padma, I'll finish it for you!

Donald offers up his two options for that last cheftestant spot to a still-hungry Padma: Justin Devillier, Executive Chef at La Petite Groery and Michael Doyle, Executive Chef at Maure in Bywater, which is apparently in a part of town too cool for Donald. Padma compares it to Brooklyn, and after seeing Michael, I think she's pretty spot-on. I'm being 100% sterotypical in saying that Michael could have walked out of any Williamsburg kitchen, and I'm OK with that.

The two chefs describe their restaurants. Justin's used to be a grocery store and Michael's used to be a print shop, but their approach to dining is quite different. Justin's restaurant is a bit more "white table cloth," fussy. And so our "uptown" vs. "downtown" rivalry is established.

Justin is making ricotta dumplings with braised ramps (ramps!), lemon, and fresh coriander -- a play on a souther dumpling with a shrimp broth.

Michael is being "pretty aggressive with vegetables" by combining, snap beans, peppermint, lemon, cabbage with a cucumber and fennel sauce. Oh, and matsutaki mushrooms.

Justin is worried his dish is simple, which if you've watched Top Chef long enough shouldn't be a concern. Ever. Keep it simple!

The two chefs present their dishes to Padma and Donald.

Michael: Blue Lake Bush Beans Over Savoy Cabbage Salad with Fennel and Cucumber Puree

Justin: Braised Ramp, Gulf Shrimp, and Ricotta Dumplings with Flowering Coriander

Unlike the two dishes offered in the first episode, these two couldn't be more different. In fact, one is vegetarian.

Padma's winner? Justin Devillier! (Does he sorta remind anyone of Top Chef Master Douglas Keane or maybe his sous chef Drew Glassell, or is it just me? All I know is, if Justin says he relates better to dogs than humans, I'll be pretty freaked out!)

Padma told Michael that she missed a protein, and Michael assumes that means he should have made meat. I don't think that's what she meant at all, actually. Unfortunately, Michael didn't get to hear Padma's comment that his dish felt like a few sides put together. Padma didn't need a meat; she needed a composed dish -- a dish composed enough to not make her miss a protein. 

And so, we now have two chefs -- Michael Sichel and Justin Devillier -- moving on!

Next week, Chefs Bart Bell and Tres Bernard will throw their hats into the ring in a "dive bar food fight." Watch the episode NOW.