Top Chef Recap: Paula Deen's Down Home Fry Fest

In the last Top Chef, Angelo packed his knives because of a salty dish.

Mike is totally freaking out about Angelo leaving. Even Tiffany thought it would be her turn to leave.

Quickfire Challenge

Paula Deen is there. Paula-freaking-Deen! Antonia says the challenge is going to be a "fry me something roll it in butter add some mayo competition". Gues what? It is! Awesome! Paula says cooking is how we show our love for each other. The challenge - show your skills using a deep fryer. Paula says she's deep fried mac 'n cheese, lasagna, butter, a '57 Chevy, three blind mice, a partridge in a pear tree and a medical cadaver so use your imagination!

The cheftestants fry:

  • Dale fries raw oysters wrapped in beef.
  • Antonia fries a shrimp salad with fried avocado. Problem is that she forgets to make a dish for Paula and one for Padma.
  • Mike fries the oyster of the chicken (where the thigh meets the body).
  • Richard fries mayonnaise dipped in liquid nitrogen and fried bacon, which is awesome because he manages to deep fry AND still use liquid nitrogen! way to go Richard!
  • Carla fries bland catfish with thick crust and hushpuppies.
  • Tiffany fries chicken wings with fried okra

Richard says that Mike plagiarized his recipe. Mike says if Richard thinks he stole a dish from him and it was so good, he should have made it himself. Paula says Antonia's dish was hands down the best but she can't win because she only made one dish. Mike's chicken oyster wins and Mike gets $5,000.

Elimination Challenge

New Orleans chef John Besh and Paula Deen are hosting a foundation dinner to benefit The Greater New Orleans Foundation. The challenge is to cook a southern dish. Since the cheftestants are going to be making food for a benefit they get help in the way of cheftestants that were kicked off the show and Fabio is back!! Fabio is back!!!

Each cheftestant will pick a seafood and a chef:

  • Mike picks brown shrimp and Tiffani
  • Richard picks Fabio and snapper. The bromance continues.
  • Carla picks Tre and grouper
  • Tiffany picks the white shrimp....and Marcel
  • Antonia picks Spike and his crabs
  • Dale picks Angelo and amberjack

Cut to the chef house and everyone is talking about how Mike cheated. Apparently Richard had the chicken oyster recipe written down and showed it to Mike the day before the quickfire. "There is man law and there is chef law", says Carla. We don't know what that means but it sounds way cool.

The cheftestants make the following dishes:

  • Antonia makes crab cake and corn Maque Choux.
  • Richard makes citrus polenta and snapper.
  • Mike makes grit crusted shrimp over sour cream crusted chive potato.
  • Richard makes fried fish and grits with pulled pork.
  • Carla makes fried grouper and collard greens.
  • Tiffany makes shrimp and grits.
  • Dale makes amberjack blackened stew.
  • Antonia makes crab cake with blue crab sauce.

Judges Table

Antonia, Richard and Mike are the top three. Richard's inspiration is the Florida side of the Gulf. Mike put lots of shrimp heads and andouille sausage in his sauce and no salt. Paula Deen announces the winner is Richard.

Carla, Tiffany and Dale are the bottom three. John says Tiffany's shrimp was overcooked and mealy. Paula says she wanted to suck the head (of the shrimp) but they were too sweet. Dale admits the potatoes were undercooked. John says you couldn't taste the amberjack. Tom asks Carla why she would douse that beautiful fish in hot sauce.

Tom says "you were supposed to honor the fish and none of you did that. You're all really great chefs but someone has to go". Padma asks Dale to pack his knives.

Next week - Cheftestants scream at Padma and freak out for no reason. WTF?

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Laine Doss is the food and spirits editor for Miami New Times, covering the restaurant and bar scene in South Florida. She has been featured on Cooking Channel’s Eat Street and Food Network’s Great Food Truck Race. Doss won an Alternative Weekly award for her feature on what it’s like to wait tables. In a previous life, she appeared off-Broadway and shook many a cocktail as a bartender at venues in South Florida and New York City. When she’s not writing, you can find Doss running some marathon then celebrating at the nearest watering hole.
Contact: Laine Doss