Top Chef
Mississippi Mud Bags

Episode Report Card
Carla Sparks: C | 23 USERS: B
YOU GRADE IT
One Fish, Two Fish

Seven chefs are left, and Nina is bummed again because she was on the bottom. The college challenge was the hardest for her yet and it wiped out Justin, one of the top competitors. Back at the chef house, Stephanie chats with her boyfriend on the phone. He is also a chef and she wants to prove to him that she can win the whole thing.

Nicholas is still pissed with Carlos, who accused him of "stealing" an oven when that’s not really how it went. Nicholas says someone can cook like an asshole but he’ll cook with integrity and "be a gentleman about it." Isn’t the first rule of being a gentleman not to brag about it and call someone else an asshole? I wouldn’t know, I’m asking.

The chefs walk into the kitchen to see a barrel full of crawfish, which are crawling all over the place like the nasty little hos they are. Guest judge John Besh isn’t fazed. He congratulates the remaining chefs, and then Padma tells them about a traditional Southern Louisiana dish called "Etouffee," which means "to smother." It’s a rustic crawfish stew that sort of smothers the little crustaceans, I suppose. They have 45 minutes and the winner gets immunity. Shirley goes to work picking crayfish off the floor but Stephanie is in a much worse spot, being allergic to any kind of shellfish that turn red in water. EpiPen at hand, Stephanie goes to work making her stew.

Nina won a lot of money last time she cooked for John Besh, so she hopes for the best. Carlos has no idea what an etouffee is so he’ll just be doing his own thing. Nicholas is working at a redemptive cabbage stew, while Shirley crafts a Singapore style etouffee that she used to make for her husband. The chefs offer to help Stephanie out so she doesn’t swell up and/or die. Brian calls crayfish the poor man’s lobster.

The 45 minutes are up and Nina presents her dish first: a pici pasta with a crawfish broth. Carrie also made a broth with whole crawfish, cherries and white wine. Nicholas made that cabbage thing with shrimp mousse and brandy. Nicholas doesn’t think Padma likes any of his food. Shirley made rice, for a more traditional take that Padma and John seem to like. Her Singapore style stew goes over well. Brian made a stew with crab meat and a crawfish sitting on the side like the bowl is his hot tub. Carlos made kind of a soup with the crawfish on the side and Padma has to explain what "to smother" means. He sheepishly says maybe it’s the chorizo. Stephanie’s bisque with gnocchi could very well have been sabotaged by Nicholas.

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