It was Kristen’s week on Top Chef this week. During the challenge, cook’s had to use Reynold’s Wrap as a vessel for cooking dishes, and Kristen boldly went where no one else dared to go, making a sponge cake that guest judge Stephanie Izard and Padma both loved. She won the quickfire and immunity, becoming the only chef to not have to fight it out this week in a head-to-head battle.
Luckily, there was no gimmicky Reynold’s Wrap involved in the final challenge, which had each of the chefs cooking a different type of berry dish for a berry festival. Brooke and Bart squared off, as did Danyelle and Josh, Stefan and John, Lizzie and Josie, and Micah and Sheldon. A few of the head-to-head battles ended up being close, but some of the contestants proved berries were just not their game. Stefan actually annihilated John this week, making a dish that exceeded expectations where John seriously had problems. Still, a worse offender was Josie, who had a line of like thirty people waiting at one point because she took so long to put her dish together. Additionally, her dish was bad, but Danyelle’ s too-crunchy berry dish really did not work either, and she was sent packing.
Despite some major highs and some major lows in the head-to-head battles, it was Kristen’s stand-alone dish that really stood out. Kristen pulled through with the win twice this week, and she’s really starting to prove herself and stand out as one of the top players in the competition. Still, the wins and highs this season have been more widely dispersed than normal, and it should take a few more weeks of power ranking shuffling before the contestants truly determine where they stand.
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, nine were given for a last place vote. Eight 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) Sheldon Simeon (35): Sheldon was extremely confident going into his head-to-head against Micah last night, and he made the most of those assurances by solidly pounding his opponent. Mentally, he’s arguably the most comfortable and stable chef left. He has full belief in himself and is willing to take chances without stupidly walking out onto dangerous limbs unnecessarily. With three highs, two quickfire wins and only one low, Sheldon has emerged as a force to be reckoned with in Season 10, and he’s earned this top slot.
#2) John Tesar (34): John had a colossal failure of a week during the head-to-head challenge. Still, of the bottom five, I wouldn’t have earmarked him to go home, and he didn’t. John is always willing to take chances, and despite his flub this week, he probably has the most raw talent of any chef on the show. We’ll have to wait and see if his drive will match next week and whether he can avoid distractions like too many chefs in too little space.
#3) Kristen Kish (33): Kristen had her best week yet on Top Chef and she’s beginning to emerge as a favorite to win the competition. Her cake dish during the quickfire was ballsy and she created a great dish in the final challenge as well, when she could have laid back this week, due to her immunity. Kristen has been the female player that has been the most consistent throughout the competition, and if she keeps movie forward in the same confident manner, she might find herself in that top slot.
#4) Stefan Richter (30): It was another good, yet wholly uninspiring week for Stefan. He finished near the top of the pack during the quickfire and solidly bested John in the elimination challenge. That’s far from a disappointment, but given his talent level, he really should have won something by now. It’s time we stop giving him credit for his impressive run during his prior season and start measuring him by what we’ve seen this year, which has been good, not great.
#5) Brooke Williamson (28): Brooke cooked off against Bart this week and bested him with a s'more-esque dessert dish that had some yummy looking homemade marshmallow in it. I obviously did not partake in the dish, but it was certainly made a nice looking picture when shot with the camera. The dish wasn’t enough to earn Brooke the win this week, but if we get to see more of the Brooke we saw last week, she too could easily move up in these rankings.
#6) Lizzie Binder (26): Lizzie really kind of got screwed here by not being in the top group. She has three highs, no lows and easily could have won this week, but since we split the contestants down the middle, she wound up on the low side along with the underachievers. Maybe if she finally gets a win under her belt, she’ll be able to use that confidence to solidly entrench herself in the middle of the top group rather than being the worst of the good players.
#7) Micah Fields (24): Like Danyelle, Micah hung out in the middle of the pack earlier this season before hitting low points this week and last week. If Danyelle is any indication, Micah needs to really step up his game next week and make a dish that the judges rave about and he can be proud of. I think most people would like to see the young guy pull through as the underdog this season, but he has to make us believe he can come through in the clutch, first.
#8) Josh Valentine (21): Josh beat Danyelle in his head-to-head battle this week, but the judges seemed more neutral on Josh’s dish than some of the other top slots. Still, this week was the first week that Josh landed himself in the high category, and maybe this will be what he needs to boost his confidence and turn his game around.
#8) Bart Vandaele (21): Bart got solidly beat by Brooke in his head-to-head, but actually, the judges ranted and raved about almost his entire dish. He clearly had the best of the worst dishes. It was just the decision to put the salmon in that sealed his fate. With only two lows on the season, it’s not as if Bart has been awful, but at some point, he needs to prove he can at least make the high group during an elimination challenge.
#10) Josie Smith-Malave (18): The Chef Josie Show has run its course. With three lows and a not a single high during an elimination challenge, she seems overmatched and ready to be taken out of her misery. In many ways, she’s a better, more well-rounded chef since she appeared during her initial season, but she still seems to have trouble thinking through how the elements on her plate will work together.
Here’s a look at how each of the two ballots shook out: