The eleventh season of Bravo’s “Top Chef” is sporting a painful limp as it closes in on the finish line. The season is down to a predictable final four of Nick, Carlos, Nina, and Shirley. Nick and Carlos are the only two people manufacturing drama for the show, while Nina and Shirley seem to be on the winning side of challenges each week.
Tonight’s all new episode titled “Leaving New Orleans” is the final episode to take place in the Big Easy. The show tonight promises to push the chefs to their limits, but that would only mean asking them to connect with viewers. They’ve been unable to do that convincingly all season. Even their product placements seem heavy handed. Last week’s clunky mug of Dunkin coffee was only missing a knowing wink towards the camera.
It’s down to the final four cheftestants and the last challenges in New Orleans push them to their limits. In the Quickfire, Tom and Gail present their own tests as the chefs battle for a new car. And to get to the finals, the chefs must demonstrate how New Orleans has impacted their food, with hopes of impressing the judges along with Top Chef Masters winner Douglas Keane, Grant Achatz, and Andrew Carmellini.
Battling for a new car is interesting, but it takes “Price is Right” type incentives to give this season any real juice. At least the chefs are intimidated by their Elimination Challenge.
If making it to the finals isn’t enough for the chefs, the winning Elimination Challenge dish will appear on Chef Emeril Lagasse’s menu. That added prize might actually give the episode a much needed edge.
Hidden Remote still is putting all its money behind Nina winning this season. She’s got all the attributes one wants in a “Top Chef” except personality.
Date: Wednesday, January 22nd
Episode Title: “Leaving New Orleans”
Start Time: 10:00 pm ET
Online Stream: BravoTV.com