Top Chef (season 11)
|Top Chef: New Orleans|
|Country of origin||United States|
|Original run||October 2, 2013–|
|No. of chefs||19|
Top Chef: New Orleans is the eleventh season of the American reality television series Top Chef. The season was announced on May 10, 2013. Filming took place from early May through late July, beginning in New Orleans, Louisiana and concluding in Maui. The season premiered on October 2, 2013. 19 chefs were selected to compete for the title of "Top Chef" and the $125,000 grand prize.
On May 13, 2013, it was announced that state and local tourism offices would pay a total of $375,000 to sponsor the upcoming season. The state contribution came from a recovery fund established by BP after the Deepwater Horizon disaster.
In addition to the return of the Top Chef: Last Chance Kitchen, Bravo launched a new web series called Padma's Picks. Debuting on August 14, 2013, the competition, presided over by host Padma Lakshmi, featured ten New Orleans chefs competing for the chance to join the official lineup of contestants and represent the city.
The winner of Top Chef New Orleans was Nicholas Elmi, while the runner up was Nina Compton. Compton won Fan Favorite.
There was a controversy in the final episode after head judge Tom Colicchio appeared to successfully sway the other judges into awarding the title to Nicholas Elmi, a contestant that had been nearly eliminated in several episodes and had temper control issues. Fan outrage led to Colicchio releasing the judge's scores on Twitter to try to justify their decision to award Elmi the title over Nina Compton who was considered a front runner and superior chef to Elmi.
- 1 Contestants
- 2 Contestant Progress
- 3 Episodes
- 3.1 Episode 1: Soiree in the Swamp
- 3.2 Episode 2: Rebuilding New Orleans
- 3.3 Episode 3: Commander's Palace
- 3.4 Episode 4: Captain Vietnam
- 3.5 Episode 5: Lea Michele's Halloween Bash
- 3.6 Episode 6: Campfires, Cream Cheese and Countryside
- 3.7 Episode 7: Jazz Hands
- 3.8 Episode 8: Piggin' Out
- 3.9 Episode 9: Restaurant Wars
- 3.10 Episode 10: Like Mama Made
- 3.11 Episode 11: Giving It the College Try
- 3.12 Episode 12: Mississippi Mud Bugs
- 3.13 Episode 13: Oui Si a Challenge
- 3.14 Episode 14: Po' Boy Smackdown
- 3.15 Episode 15: Leaving New Orleans
- 3.16 Episode 16: Maui Wowie
- 4 Last Chance Kitchen
- 4.1 Last Chance Kitchen Progress
- 4.2 Episode 1: Ramon vs. Jason vs. Aaron vs. Bret vs. Janine
- 4.3 Episode 2: Janine vs. Michael
- 4.4 Episode 3: Janine vs. Bene
- 4.5 Episode 4: Janine vs. Patty
- 4.6 Episode 5: Janine vs. Louis
- 4.7 Episode 6: Louis vs. Sara
- 4.8 Episode 7: Louis vs. Travis
- 4.9 Episode 8: Louis vs. Justin
- 4.10 Episode 9: Louis vs. Carrie
- 4.11 Episode 10: Louis vs. Stephanie
- 4.12 Episode 11: Louis vs. Brian
- 4.13 Episode 12: Louis vs. Carlos
- 5 References
- 6 External links
The cast of Top Chef: New Orleans originally consisted of 17 chefs. At the conclusion of Padma's Picks, Lakshmi selected Justin Devillier and Michael Sichel to join the regular lineup of contestants. Benedetto Bartolotta had previously competed in the fifth season of Top Chef Masters as the sous-chef of Odette Fada. Stephanie Cmar also returns after briefly appearing in Top Chef: Seattle during the qualifying rounds.
In order of elimination:
- Ramon Bojorquez, 31 – San Diego, California (Hometown: Rio Rico, Arizona)
- Jason Cichonski, 27 – Philadelphia, Pennsylvania (Hometown: Bucks County, Pennsylvania)
- Aaron Cuschieri, 29 – Chicago, Illinois (Hometown: Livonia, Michigan)
- Bret Pelaggi, 34 – Miami, Florida (Hometown: Norwood, Massachusetts)
- Janine Booth, 25 – New York City, New York (Hometown: Perth, Australia)
- Michael Sichel – New Orleans, Louisiana (Hometown: Valhalla, New York)
- Benedetto "Bene" Bartolotta, 27 – New York City, New York
- Patricia "Patty" Vega, 29 – New York City, New York (Hometown: Gurabo, Puerto Rico)
- Sara Johannes – Minneapolis, Minnesota (Hometown: Milwaukee, Wisconsin)
- Travis Masar, 27 – La Junta, Colorado
- Justin Devillier – New Orleans, Louisiana (Hometown: Dana Point, California)
- Carrie Mashaney, 35 – Seattle, Washington (Hometown: Carpenter, Iowa)
- Stephanie Cmar, 28 – Boston, Massachusetts
- Brian Huskey, 32 – Los Angeles, California (Hometown: Pasadena, California)
- Carlos Gaytan, 42 – Chicago, Illinois
- Louis Maldonado, 32 – Healdsburg, California (Hometown: Ukiah, California)
- Shirley Chung, 36 – Fremont, California (Hometown: Beijing, China)
- Nina Compton, 34 – Miami, Florida (Hometown: Saint Lucia) -- Runner-up & Fan Favorite
- Nicholas Elmi, 32 – Philadelphia, Pennsylvania (Hometown: West Newbury, Massachusetts) -- Winner
^Note 1 : As the winners of Padma's Picks, Justin and Michael were given immunity for the first Elimination Challenge.
^Note 2 : Aaron was eliminated by placing last in the Quickfire Challenge.
^Note 3 : Team Lakshmi consisted of Bene, Brian, Carlos, Nicholas, Nina, Patty, and Travis.
^Note 4 : Though Nicholas was on the losing team, he had immunity because he had won the quickfire challenge. He was therefore ineligible for elimination, and thus the decision was between his teammates Shirley and Stephanie. Nicholas was given the option to resign, as the judges cited his dishes as among the worst of the episode, but he said that he believed he had earned his immunity as well as the right to remain in the competition.
^Note 5 : Louis won Last Chance Kitchen and returned to the competition.
- (WINNER) The chef won the season and was crowned "Top Chef".
- (RUNNER-UP) The chef was a runner-up for the season.
- (WIN) The chef won the Elimination Challenge.
- (HIGH) The chef was selected as one of the top entries in the Elimination Challenge, but did not win.
- (IN) The chef neither won nor lost the Elimination Challenge, and was safe from elimination.
- [IN (+)] The chef won a pair or team challenge but was not chosen as one of the judges' favorites.
- [IN (-)] The chef lost a pair or team challenge but was not selected as one of the judges' least favorites.
- (LOW) The chef was selected as one of the bottom entries in the Elimination Challenge, but was not eliminated.
- (OUT) The chef lost the Elimination Challenge and was eliminated.
The majority of Top Chef episodes consist of two challenges. The Quickfire Challenge is a short, simple challenge designed to test the chefs on their basic culinary skills. In the initial episodes of the season, the Quickfire guarantees the winner immunity from being sent home; however, in some episodes, the Quickfire winner is instead given an advantage in the upcoming Elimination Challenge. The winner of the Quickfire is sometimes given an additional reward, including cash prizes. The Elimination Challenge is a more complex challenge created to test the versatility, creativity, and teamwork ability of the chefs. The judging panel, consisting of Tom Colicchio, Gail Simmons, Emeril Lagasse, Hugh Acheson, and Padma Lakshmi, evaluates the Quickfire and Elimination challenges and announce each week's elimination in a segment called the "Judges' Table". One or more contestants are eliminated in each episode until the finale where one chef is crowned the "Top Chef".
Episode 1: Soiree in the Swamp
- Elimination Challenge: The chefs were sent to a swamp and asked to create a dish highlighting a Louisiana delicacy: alligator, turtle, or frog. The contestants were randomly assigned proteins by Lakshmi and Colicchio. The guests at the party voted for their favorite meals by presenting a string of Mardi Gras beads to the chefs whose dishes they liked the most. The three chefs who collected the most strands were eligible to win, while the three chefs with the least amount were put up for elimination.
- WINNER: Nina (Curried Turtle Meatball, Chayote Slaw, and Chutney with Raisins)
- ELIMINATED: Ramon (Braised Turtle with Thai Dashi)
- Guest Judge(s): Curtis Stone
- Original Airdate: October 2, 2013
Episode 2: Rebuilding New Orleans
- Quickfire Challenge: The chefs were given an entire night to prepare a gumbo inspired by their heritage.
- Top: Aaron, Carrie, Shirley
- Bottom: Jason, Michael, Patty
- WINNER: Carrie (Iowan-Trinidadian Gumbo with Coconut, Green Mango, and Corn Crumble)
- Elimination Challenge: The chefs were separated into four teams and worked in food trucks to serve lunch for Habitat for Humanity volunteers.
- Red Team: Bene, Janine, Justin, Michael, Nina
- Green Team: Louis, Sara, Shirley, Stephanie
- Blue Team: Bret, Jason, Nicholas, Patty
- Yellow Team: Aaron, Brian, Carlos, Carrie, Travis
- WINNER: Carrie (Beef and Pork Curry Empanadas with Watercress and Mango)
- ELIMINATED: Jason (Salmon Hand Roll with Quinoa, Honey Mustard Miso, and Cucumber)
- Guest Judge(s): Leah Chase (Quickfire Challenge); Susan Spicer (Elimination Challenge)
- Original Airdate: October 9, 2013
Episode 3: Commander's Palace
- Quickfire Challenge: The chefs were challenged to create a dish that reinvents one of four popular food trends: "eggs over everything", kale, bacon, or smoked foods. The contestants drew knives to select their trends. Revealed to be an Elimination Quickfire, the chef with the judges' least favorite dish would be sent home.
- Top: Nina, Shirley, Stephanie
- Bottom: Aaron, Bret, Louis
- WINNER: Shirley (Rice Congee with Shirred Egg, Soy Sauce, and Sesame Oil)
- ELIMINATED: Aaron (Fried Kale Dredged in Soy, Mirin, Rice Vinegar, and Yuzu Sauce)
- Elimination Challenge: The chefs had to replicate classic dishes from the Commander's Palace menu.
- WINNER: Justin (Strawberry Trio)
- ELIMINATED: Bret (Veal Chop Tchoupitoulas)
- Guest Judge(s): Dana Cowin (Quickfire and Elimination Challenge); Paul Prudhomme, Tory McPhail, Lally Brennan, Ti Martin (Elimination Challenge)
- Original Airdate: October 16, 2013
Episode 4: Captain Vietnam
- Elimination Challenge: The chefs were separated into three teams to create a menu inspired by the Vietnamese influence on the shrimping industry in New Orleans. At least one dish on the menu had to feature shrimp.
- Green Team: Bene, Janine, Sara, Stephanie, Travis
- Orange Team: Brian, Carlos, Louis, Michael, Nicholas
- Red Team: Carrie, Justin, Nina, Patty, Shirley,
- WINNER: Shirley (Vietnamese Barbecue Shrimp with Creole Spice Butter)
- ELIMINATED: Janine (Fresh Gulf Shrimp with Ginger Vietnamese Tomato Sauce)
- Guest Judge(s): Eddie Huang
- Original Airdate: October 23, 2013
Episode 5: Lea Michele's Halloween Bash
- Quickfire Challenge: In a throwback to the Top Chef: Seattle Reynolds Wrap challenge, all ingredients and cooking utensils were completely wrapped in aluminum foil. The mothers of Padma Lakshmi and Gail Simmons, Vijaya Lakshmi and Renée Simmons, shopped for the chefs' ingredients and equipment. The contestants, split into two teams, had to create three dishes incorporating every ingredient. The winning team split $10,000.
- Team Lakshmi: Bene, Brian, Carlos, Nicholas, Nina, Patty, Travis
- Team Simmons: Carrie, Justin, Louis, Michael, Sara, Shirley, Stephanie
- WINNER: Team Lakshmi
- Elimination Challenge: The chefs, separated into pairs, catered a Halloween costume party.
- WINNERS: Carlos and Travis (Dia de los Muertos: Goat Cheese Fondue with Fried Zucchini; Vegetable Ceviche)
- ELIMINATED: Michael (Bloody Eye: Yellow Arancini with Saffron and Tomato Jam)
- Guest Judge(s): Vijaya Lakshmi, Renée Simmons (Quickfire Challenge); Lea Michele (Elimination Challenge)
- Original Airdate: October 30, 2013
Episode 6: Campfires, Cream Cheese and Countryside
- Quickfire Challenge: The chefs created dishes that highlighted the creole tomato.
- Top: Carlos, Louis, Nina
- Bottom: Patty, Stephanie, Travis
- WINNER: Nina (Chilled Watermelon Tomato Soup with Jalapeño, Fresh Basil, and Shaved Zucchini)
- Elimination Challenge: The chefs had to make a dish using farm-fresh ingredients and featuring Philadelphia cream cheese. The contestants drew knives to determine their portion of the meal: appetizer, entrée, or dessert. The Quickfire winner was allowed to choose their course. The winner of the challenge received $10,000.
- WINNER: Nina (Crispy Zucchini Blossoms with Eggplant and Cream Cheese Purée)
- ELIMINATED: Bene (Roasted Chicken Breast Filled with Caramelized Onion and Tarragon Cream Cheese)
- Guest Judge(s): John Besh
- Original Airdate: November 6, 2013
Episode 7: Jazz Hands
- Quickfire Challenge: The chefs rotated around stations in the kitchen (in a version of musical chairs), continuing and completing the dishes that they found.
- Top: Brian, Carlos, Patty
- Bottom: Justin, Louis
- WINNER: Brian (Duck and Mussels with Flavors of Asia)
- Elimination Challenge: The chefs worked in teams to prepare potluck meals for a party hosted by Kermit Ruffins for a group of musicians.
- Blue Team: Justin, Louis, Sara, Shirley
- Gray Team: Brian, Nicholas, Patty, Travis
- Green Team: Carlos, Carrie, Nina, Stephanie
- WINNER: Stephanie (Fried Baby Artichoke, Preserved Lemon, and Anchovy Aioli)
- ELIMINATED: Patty (Tomato Watermelon Salad, Szechuan Pepper, and Goat Cheese Espuma)
- Guest Judge(s): Kermit Ruffins (Quickfire Challenge); Sue Zemanick (Elimination Challenge)
- Original Airdate: November 13, 2013
Episode 8: Piggin' Out
- Quickfire Challenge: The chefs prepared their own hot sauce.
- Top: Brian, Carlos, Justin
- Bottom: Carrie, Nicholas, Nina
- WINNER: Brian (Jalapeño and Serrano Hot Sauce with Lime and Yuzu Juices)
- Elimination Challenge: The chefs each prepared a dish from their portion of a whole hog, in the spirit of a Cajun boucherie, or communal slaughtering.
- WINNER: Carlos (Pozole Verde with Fried Chorizo Tacos)
- ELIMINATED: Louis (Slow-Grilled Pork Leg with Spring Onions, Shiitake Mushrooms, Melted Corn, and Popcorn)
- Guest Judge(s): Dr. John (Quickfire Challenge); Donald Link (Elimination Challenge)
- Original Airdate: November 20, 2013
Episode 9: Restaurant Wars
- Elimination Challenge: The chefs had 24 hours to create a pop-up restaurant. They set up both the dining area and the kitchen area, and executed a multi-course dinner service. One member from the losing team was eligible for elimination.
- Restaurant "Fin": Brian, Carrie, Nicholas, Stephanie, Travis
- Restaurant "Found": Carlos, Justin, Nina, Sara, Shirley
- WINNER: Nicholas (Roasted Black Drum, King Trumpet Mushrooms, Oxtail, Kale, and Hibiscus Reduction)
- ELIMINATED: Sara (Summer Nectarine Brown Butter Cake with Moscato Nectarine Salsa and Five-Spice Mascarpone)
- Guest Judge(s): David Chang
- Original Airdate: December 4, 2013
Episode 10: Like Mama Made
- Quickfire Challenge: The chefs created dishes featuring Dunkin' Donuts coffee. The winner received $10,000.
- Top: Carrie, Shirley, Stephanie
- Bottom: Brian, Nicholas
- WINNER: Shirley (Coffee Crusted Tenderloin with Garlic Purée and Coffee Brown Butter Sauce)
- Elimination Challenge: The chefs created dishes that reminded them of home.
- WINNER: Nicholas (Ricotta Gnudi with Pancetta, Peas, Lemon, and Parmesan)
- ELIMINATED: Travis (Biscuits with Maple Sage Sausage Gravy and Sour Plum Jam)
- Guest Judge(s): Hubert Keller (Quickfire Challenge); Anthony Mackie (Elimination Challenge)
- Original Airdate: December 11, 2013
Episode 11: Giving It the College Try
- Quickfire Challenge: The chefs created dishes using drumsticks.
- Top: Brian, Carrie, Nina
- Bottom: Carlos, Justin, Nicholas
- WINNER: Carrie (Squab Legs Marinated in Thyme, Juniper, and Cocoa Powder with Fig Mostarda)
- Elimination Challenge: The chefs served lunch to 500 freshman students at Louisiana State University. The winner also received a brand new Toyota Rav 4.
- WINNER: Shirley (Roast Beef with Potato Puree and Fire Roasted Tomato Relish)
- ELIMINATED: Justin (Marinated Gulf Shrimp, Cauliflower, Asparagus, and Garlic Puree)
- Guest Judge(s): Questlove
- Original Airdate: December 18, 2013
Episode 12: Mississippi Mud Bugs
- Quickfire Challenge: The chefs prepared their own version of a crawfish étouffée.
- Top: Brian, Nina, Shirley
- Bottom: Carlos, Carrie, Nicholas, Stephanie
- WINNER: Shirley (Singapore Chili Crab Étouffée with Crawfish Stock, Cucumber, and Egg)
- Elimination Challenge: The chefs had to create a dish highlighting two different types of seafood.
- WINNER: Stephanie (Fried Louisiana Oysters with Tuna and Pickled Beech Mushrooms)
- ELIMINATED: Carrie (Flounder Croquettes with Oyster Emulsion and Pickled Cucumbers)
- Guest Judge(s): John Besh
- Original Airdate: January 1, 2014
Episode 13: Oui Si a Challenge
- Quickfire Challenge: The chefs replicated a dish prepared by Jacques Pépin (Dover Sole with Artichokes and Asparagus).
- Top: Nicholas, Nina, Shirley
- Bottom: Brian, Carlos, Stephanie
- WINNER: Nicholas
- Elimination Challenge: The chefs were divided into two teams to prepare five-course tasting menus influenced by French and Spanish cuisine, respectively. The menus both featured olives, almonds, mussels, chicken, and chocolate. The French team was advised by Dominique Crenn, and the Spanish team by Julián Serrano.
- French Team: Nicholas, Shirley, Stephanie
- Spanish Team: Brian, Carlos, Nina
- WINNER: Nina (Ensaladilla Rusa with Green Olives, Gulf Shrimp, and Potatoes; Ajo Blanco with Almonds, Crabs, and Cherries)
- ELIMINATED: Stephanie (Pickled and Poached Mussels, Crustacean Jus, and Tomate; Chicken Liver Mousse with Roasted Chicken Consomme (with Shirley))
- Guest Judge(s): Jacques Pépin
- Original Airdate: January 8, 2014
Episode 14: Po' Boy Smackdown
- Quickfire Challenge: The chefs made gourmet po'boys.
- WINNER: Shirley (Sauteed Catfish Po'Boy with Mirin, Ginger, Garlic Glaze, and Cabbage Slaw)
- Elimination Challenge: The chefs made dishes that represented a turning point in their career when they found their own culinary voice.
- WINNER: Shirley (Seared Snapper with Crustacean Broth, Silken Tofu, and Napa Cabbage)
- ELIMINATED: Brian (Chicken Anticucho with Twice Cooked Potatoes and Feta Walnut Pesto)
- Guest Judge(s): Roy Choi (Quickfire Challenge); Jon Favreau (Elimination Challenge)
- Original Airdate: January 15, 2014
Episode 15: Leaving New Orleans
- Quickfire Challenge: The challenge had two stages. In the first, the chefs made a one-bite dish that featured a combination of sweet, savory, sour, and spicy flavors. The two best chefs (Carlos and Nicholas) advanced to the second stage, where they made a dish highlighting either bell pepper or eggplant. The winner received a brand new Toyota Corolla.
- Top: Carlos, Nicholas
- Bottom: Nina, Shirley
- WINNER: Carlos (Grilled Mango with Shrimp and Chili Glaze; Fried Red Bell Pepper Soup with Fennel, Basil, and Onion)
- Elimination Challenge: The chefs created dishes inspired by their time in New Orleans.
- WINNER: Shirley (Black Drum with Zhenjiang Vinegar Butter Sauce, Braised Celery, and Mushrooms)
- ELIMINATED: Carlos (Steamed Seafood Tamal with Saffron Cream Sauce and Pickled Okra)
- Original Airdate: January 22, 2014
Episode 16: Maui Wowie
- Quickfire Challenge: The chefs made dishes using Spam.
- WINNER: Nicholas (Spam Broth, Pancetta, Seaweed, Dried Shrimp, Clam Juice, and Quail Egg)
- Elimination Challenge: The chefs made dishes featuring canoe plants. Two chefs were eliminated.
- WINNER: Nicholas (Opakapaka with Jalapeño and Crispy Chicken Skin)
- ELIMINATED: Louis (Grilled Opah with Sweet Potato and Coconut Sauce) and Shirley (Honey-Glazed Pork with Sweet Potato and Turmeric Puree)
- Guest Judge(s): Sam Choy (Quickfire Challenge)
- Original Airdate: January 29, 2014
Last Chance Kitchen
The Last Chance Kitchen is a web series featuring challenges in which the ousted chefs compete for a chance to re-enter the main competition. Each week, two or more chefs compete against each other in the Top Chef kitchen, with the results judged solely by Tom Colicchio. The winner of each week moves on to face the next eliminated Top Chef contestant(s), while the loser is eliminated from the competition for good. The champion of the Last Chance Kitchen returns to compete in the season finale.
Last Chance Kitchen Progress
- (WIN) The chef was crowned the winner of Last Chance Kitchen and returned to the main competition.
- (WIN) The chef won the challenge and continued in the competition.
- (OUT) The chef lost the challenge and was eliminated from the competition.
Episode 1: Ramon vs. Jason vs. Aaron vs. Bret vs. Janine
- Challenge: The chefs were allowed to cook any dish.
- Aaron: Balsamic Marinated Rabbit Leg with Corn Fricasee and Creole Tomatoes
- Bret: Seared Bass with Ratatouille and Mascarpone Polenta
- Janine: Fried Oysters with Southern Vegetables and Creole Mustard Aioli
- Jason: Suzuki Crudo with Corn, White Chocolate, and Yuzu Nectarine
- Ramon: Grilled Lemongrass Prawns with Kale, Nori, and Peach Salad
- WINNER: Janine
Episode 2: Janine vs. Michael
- Challenge: The chefs were challenged to make risotto.
- Janine: Mushroom Risotto with Mascarpone and Rosemary
- Michael: Pine Nut and Thyme Risotto with Parmesan Crisp
- WINNER: Janine
Episode 3: Janine vs. Bene
- Challenge: The chefs made dishes using frozen and canned vegetables.
- Bene: Duo of Swordfish with Sweet Pea Asparagus Purée, Pine Nuts, and Raisins
- Janine: Seared Scallop with Pancetta, Minted Pea, and Corn Purées
- WINNER: Janine
Episode 4: Janine vs. Patty
- Challenge: The chefs made dishes highlighting onions. They had to chop up a tub of onions before they could start on the challenge itself. In addition, they could not do any additional prep work once they started cooking.
- Janine: Pork Loin with Apple Rolls, Goat Cheese, Bacon, and Caramelized Onion
- Patty: Grilled Pork Loin with Confit Potatoes, Andouille Sausage, and Onions
- WINNER: Janine
Episode 5: Janine vs. Louis
- Challenge: The chefs were given $25 to spend at a farmers' market. They were allowed to keep only three of their purchased ingredients, and given only 20 minutes to prepare a dish.
- Janine: Catfish with Potato, Asparagus, and Saffron Sauce
- Louis: Olive Oil Poached Prawns with Tomato and Fennel Bisque
- WINNER: Louis
Episode 6: Louis vs. Sara
- Challenge: The chefs made savory dishes featuring mascarpone. They were blindfolded for 10 minutes in the middle of the challenge and had to instruct a sous-chef (Jason for Louis, Janine for Sara) on how to continue preparing their dishes.
- Louis: Mascarpone Poached Snapper with Beech Mushrooms, Snap Peas, and Potato
- Sara: Mascarpone Polenta with Agrodolce Mushrooms and Swiss Chard
- WINNER: Louis
Episode 7: Louis vs. Travis
- Challenge: The chefs made dishes highlighting Asian ingredients, including three out of the following: tripe, sea cucumber, Humboldt squid, chicken feet, duck feet, pork tongue, dried shrimp, and Chinese sausage. They had 45 minutes for the challenge.
- Louis: Braised Tripe, Dried Shrimp, and Chinese Sausage with Bamboo Shoots and Bok Choy
- Travis: Bitter Melon Soup with Squid Cakes
- WINNER: Louis
Episode 8: Louis vs. Justin
- Challenge: The chefs made dishes highlighting ingredients from their opponent's home region: Louis used ingredients from Louisiana, while Justin used ingredients from Northern California.
- Justin: Grilled Sardine with Roasted Corn and Sherry Vinaigrette
- Louis: Redfish Almondine with Corn Puree and Crawfish Sauce
- WINNER: Louis
Episode 9: Louis vs. Carrie
- Challenge: The chefs prepared dishes using broccoli.
- Carrie: Roasted Broccoli Raviolini with Bagna Cauda
- Louis: Scottish Salmon, Anchovy Vierge with Broccoli Three Ways
- WINNER: Louis
Episode 10: Louis vs. Stephanie
- Challenge: The chefs each prepared a savory and a sweet beignet.
- Louis: Crab and Black Garlic Beignet; Persimmon and Pine Nut Beignet
- Stephanie: Andouille and Corn Beignet; White Chocolate and Cherry Beignet
- WINNER: Louis
Episode 11: Louis vs. Brian
- Challenge: The chefs made dishes using the skin and bones from various animals. They had 45 minutes to prepare their dishes.
- Brian: Seared Eggplant with Chicken Broth, Oyster Mushrooms, and Chicken Skin
- Louis: Bouillon, Crispy Chicken Skin, Roasted Vegetables, and Olive Oil Poached Egg Yolk
- WINNER: Louis
Episode 12: Louis vs. Carlos
- Challenge: The chefs made dishes showcasing a fresh Hawaiian fish. They had 60 minutes to prepare their dishes, which were tasted blind by Tom Colicchio, Emeril Lagasse, and the three finalists (Nicholas, Nina, Shirley).
- Carlos: Mahi Mahi with Mole Mantamancheles and Taro Root
- Louis: Braised Yellowfin Tuna with Mushrooms, Kale, and Cabbage
- WINNER: Louis
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