‘Top Chef: New Orleans’: Who won ‘Padma’s Picks,’ and will be competing this season?

What's next? -Over the past several weeks, we have been chronicling the progress of “Padma’s Picks,” a web series designed to try and figure out just which New Orleans chef would be taking part in “Top Chef: New Orleans” this season. The competition has been fierce at times, but only one … or two … of these chefs could emerge as champion.

The reason that we say “two” here is, because Padma Lakshmi pulled a fast one on us in crowning her champion. The winners of the competition were both Michael Sichel and Justin Devillier, who each have the experience and the talent to make it pretty far here. It’s interesting to see how some of the other chefs here fell apart; one made the mistake of not cooking from their heart, whereas another decided to present a messy dish on a very tiny plate. These are things that do come with a little bit of experience, and these chefs really just were not quite there yet.

In the end, the right two chefs did win, and one of the joys that came out of watching the competition this year is that we are going to feel like we have two guys in particular to root for straight from the get-go. Given that you never quite know how any of the other chefs are going to come across on TV, that is very much a good thing.

The only criticism that we have here? That for the finale of this series, they had to do some sort of product-placement health challenge. Healthy food and New Orleans don’t always go hand in hand, and it took a couple of chefs out of their comfort zone.

Do you think that the right people won the series? If you want to take a look back at all of the parts of “Padma’s Picks,” just be sure to visit the link here.

Photo: Bravo

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