This week, the Top Chef contestants had a quickfire with Wolfgang Puck. Anyone watching the early episodes this season should know the chef is pretty tough, and this week’s quickfire was a doozy. The contestants had to cook with ginger, which is not so bad, but they also had only 15 minutes to complete the challenge. Brooke did well, cooking some scrumptious squid that earned her the quickfire win.
Which brings us to Restaurant Wars, well, sort of. This year, each of the chefs were given the opportunity to create a restaurant concept and to present that concept via one dish. Some people went with heartfelt concepts and dishes that spoke to those concepts. Others had more trouble coming up with ideas, eventually just rolling with a concept they felt they could achieve. As the evening went on, it seemed clear that those who were emotionally invested in their concepts fared better in the judges critiques.
In the top group this week was Josh, who created a dish and concept based on a love for his father, as well as Sheldon, who also used family-inspired dishes as his initial concept, and Kristen, who created technically astounding modern French cuisine. Sheldon and Kristen ended up with the top two dishes, earning $10,000 and the ability to pick their teams for restaurant wars to achieve their initial concepts next week. They had to pick their teams before the bottom three were called for, meaning next week one group will have to create an entire restaurant concept with only three people.
Padma called the bottom three and Josie, Micah, and Lizzie had to face the music. Honestly, Josie dealt with long lines and mediocre food again this week, and it truly seemed time for her to head home. However, Micah’s concept was raw foods, and he didn’t really bring the concept together in a way that was wholly appetizing, nor did he seem really passionate about what he was doing. Micah was asked to pack his knives and go home, and once more Josie survived due to one chef being slightly more incompetent with his or her dish.
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, twelve were given for a last place vote. Eleven 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.
#1) Kristen Kish (36): Early in the competition, it may have been a bit of a surprise for Kristen to have her concept chosen for Restaurant Wars, but at this point, it would have been a shock if her vision wasn’t picked. Including her victory this week, she’s won four elimination challenges and hasn’t finished in the bottom one single time. I can’t wait to watch her lead her time into battle next week, and barring an unforeseen curve ball, I can’t wait to watch her compete in the finals.
#2) Brooke Williamson (34): Brooke may not have finished in the top with her one dish restaurant pitch, but she still had a pretty damn good week. She won the quickfire, and she was the immediate first selection in Restaurant Wars pick ‘em. It would be a real surprise if she and Kristen didn’t dominate during next week’s competition, and it would be an even bigger surprise if she went home before the final challenge.
#3) Sheldon Simeon (32): There’s no doubt in my mind that Sheldon is a talented chef. When he’s been on during this competition, the judges have gushed over the unique flavors, the color, and the balance within his dishes. However, he hasn’t always been on. Despite winning ½ of this week’s final challenge, he had the worst dish in the quickfire this week. This inconsistency is worrisome, as one bad dish could potentially send the man home.
#4) Stefan Richter (30): As per usual, Stefan was wonderful in this week’s quickfire, taking a clear second place behind Brooke, and he was painfully mediocre in the elimination challenge, barely escaping the bottom group. Will he step up and take a real run at the finale? Once upon a time, I would have thought the yes was all but guaranteed. At this point, I would say the chances are less than fifty-fifty.
#5) Lizzie Binder (28): One week after Lizzie fought like the dickens to stay in the competition, she came back with energy, and seemed to really throw herself into cooking Northern Italian food from an area that seemed close to her heart. While her story was good, she missed the mark on her dish and landed herself in the bottom three, yet again. Despite Lizzie’s praise during this week’s quickfire, she really needs to step up her final challenge game.
#6) Josh Valentine (26): Josh was in the top this week, and it was nice to see the normally griping young man have a heartfelt and gung-ho attitude about something. His dish looked yummy, and his two week streak might mark a turnaround in his creations moving forward. However, Josh has still landed in the bottom four times and despite a few highs, he’s never won anything. The only person with a worst track record still in the competition is Josie, and we’re certainly not saying he should go home before her.
#7) Josie Smith-Malave (24): Josie should be thanking her lucky stars she didn’t go home this week. Even she thought her time was up, but in a total surprise, the judges decided to send Micah and his raw preparations concept packing. With five lows and not a single high, Josie won’t be able to escape the big ugly axe much longer unless she dramatically improves her performance.
Here’s a look at how each of the two ballots shook out: