All Top Chef assignments can typically be split into one of two categories. Either they’re pretty broad challenges like “make a Thanksgiving dish” that allow a contestants a slew of options for both course and flavor profile, or they’re far more specific and only allow for a small bit of improvisation. This week, both of the challenges the chefs faced fell into the hyper-specific category, and consequently, some of them played to people’s strengths and some of them did not.

For the quickfire competition, the chefs were asked to prepare sushi. Not surprisingly, the Los Angeles based competitors Stefan and Brooke rocked out at the challenge, topping the list in exactly that order. Perhaps even less surprisingly, Josh and Lizzie, from Oklahoma and South Africa, did not do so hot at the sushi challenge and were put into the failure piles.

Luckily for some, the elimination challenge was a little less ethnic. The chefs were asked to prepare their best fried chicken recipe for a plethora of the top names in their field. Brooke stupidly took the bones out. Stefan stupidly made Chicken Cordon Bleu, and the Chef Josie Show failed for what feels like the fifth time in a row, this time because her effort was too greasy and borderline inedible. In the end, the Chef Josie Show finally got cancelled, and Josh took home the victory for smoking his fried chicken and creating the most flavor.

The Top Chef Power Rankings are an ordered compilation of weekly lists put together by TV Blend writers Jessica Rawden and Mack Rawden. Each week after viewing the episode, they each rank the competitors in order. Eighteen points are given for a first place vote, and this week, fourteen were given for a last place vote. Thirteen competitors have already been eliminated (not counting those chopped in the early rounds); therefore, those people automatically occupy the bottom slots. Here is how this week’s voting panned out, complete with analysis on how the contestants might fare moving forward.

The Favorites
#1) Brooke Williamson (35): Brooke finished second in the quickfire. Unfortunately, this week’s elimination round was arguably her single worst during the entire competition. Not only did she take the bones out of her chicken, she cut off the skin, only used white meat, cooked it too early and had to redip it in the fryer, which further dried the product out. What she served was widely ridiculed at judge’s table and could have sent her home, had Josie not served something inedible.

#1) Sheldon Simeon (35): Sheldon has had a couple of low moments in the competition, but compared to many of the other contestants, he’s been a solid competitor. Winning Restaurant Wars certified him as one of the lead contenders, and while he didn’t win the fried chicken challenge this week, the judges were gaga over his thrilling take on the crispy food. This season’s been fairly shocking with some of its eliminations, but if Sheldon keeps cooking like he has been, he should capably land in the finale.

The Contenders
#3) Stefan Richter (30): Stefan finally earned some validation during this week’s quickfire, earning the win for his sushi dish along with a $5,000 prize. Unfortunately, that level of success didn’t extend to the final challenge, in which Stefan totally missed the boat by cooking chicken cordon bleu. The man’s had his ups and downs throughout the competition, but he’s clearly talented, and hopefully, he’ll keep churning out great dishes in the weeks to come.

#3) Lizzie Binder (30): Lizzie still hasn’t won anything during the entire competition, but with her fifth high in elimination challenges this week, she continued her string of consistency. To have a real shot at winning, she’s going to need to be better than just pretty good. Typically, at this point in the competition, it becomes more about being better, as opposed to not being worse, but with only five competitors left, anything can happen.

#3) Josh Valentine (30): Josh started out extremely poorly in this competition. Just a few weeks ago, I would have said he didn’t have a chance in hell of making it into the finale, but over the last four challenges, he’s really proven he can cook and that he wants to be here. Josh’s dishes aren’t always the most sophisticated of the bunch, but they certainly taste good, and I hope he sticks around to continue cooking them.

Here’s a look at how each of the two ballots shook out:

Brooke Williamson (18)
Sheldon Simeon (17)
Lizzie Binder (16)
Josh Valentine(15)
Stefan Richter (14)
Sheldon Simeon (18)
Brooke Williamson (17)
Stefan Richter (16)
Josh Valentine (15)
Lizzie Binder (14)




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