In case you are new to our pre-season coverage of “Top Chef: New Orleans,” what we are doing every week is going through an episode of “Padma’s Picks,” the web series where show host Padma Lakshmi travels around the city in hopes of finding the perfect chef to join the competition. Each week we see two chefs square off until the finale, where the winners all fight for a spot in that coveted kitchen.
This week, we had a showdown that featured a very old-school neighborhood in the city, and two guys who got along well, but were also very different. You had Bart Bell, a restaurant owner who barely even gets the chance to go in his kitchen and cook anymore, even if he has plenty of experience under his belt; also, you have Tres Barnard, a guy with a super-Cajun name who runs a pop-up restaurant out of the bar.
This is the first week of the three episodes of this that we have covered where the guy that we were rooted for actually won. Tres seems just like a guy who loves cooking, and loves being creative with it. He’s found a way to do what he loves despite not being a rich guy, and his food was almost New Orleans on a plate: Fun, but also somewhat bizarre and mysterious. It’s not something that we would ever think to make, and we’re excited to see what he could do next with more food at his disposal.
Granted, Tres still has his work cut out for him if he wants to get far in the competition. There are plenty of other competitors both literally and figuratively hungry to take him out.