After a week off for Christmas, “Top Chef: New Orleans” aired a new episode on New Year’s Day that was hardly about new beginnings. Instead, one of the major story threads was all about Carlos Gaytan, Nicholas Elmi, and a battle that is probably being made out to be worse than it is … even if Nicholas is obviously angry for good reason.
While Carlos blaming Nick for the ovens two weeks ago was a huge faux pas, what he did tonight may very well qualify as worse. After all, he borrowed his knife, and then didn’t clean it properly. We realize that this really did not have much bearing at all on the actual challenge, but it was still not a move that endeared him to anyone watching or in the kitchen. That could come back to haunt him at some point in the competition, though it has no bearing on anything tonight.
This incident happened during the Elimination challenge, which Stephenie Cmar won; that is somewhat fun from a TV perspective since she always acts like Taylor Swift whenever she wins something. Meanwhile, it was nice to see Shirley Chung win the first challenge, and then also go out and cook something great later.
The bottom three tonight was ironically Carlos, Nicholas, and Carrie Mashaney who was excellent all season long, and the started to see her fortune go south last week with the LSU challenge. There is a part of us that feels like her elimination tonight was undeserved, since producers may have wanted to keep the fighting guys around for drama; but at the same time, the logical side of us insists that it was fair, since Carrie is the one who made the baffling choice to disguise her fish in a challenge that was all about using Fresh Louisiana seafood. She should be a force on “Last Chance Kitchen,” though, and we imagine that there is plenty more to come from her.
All in all, a solid episode of the show. Not the most creative, but it was at least one that featured some great dishes, and a little bit of something extra. Grade: B+.
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