If we needed a reminder as to how positively weird this season of Top Chef is/ has been, we got it this week in the form of the most shocking elimination since CJ’s ill-conceived burger. Luckily, in losing arguably the season’s top dog, we may have finally gotten two clear frontrunners in the form of badass chicks capable of taking down the entire competition.
This week’s quickfire saw the chefs split into three different teams to showcase their knife skills. After a heated competition that saw Josie disqualified for mistakenly cutting herself, Micah was declared victorious and awarded a multiple thousand dollar knife from one of only a hundred or so master knifemakers in the United States. From the outside, the prize looked pretty cool, but from the looks on the other chefs' faces, it was obvious this knife was the single coolest thing given away since the Prius.
The elimination challenge pushed the chefs back toward solo work. Each contestant was assigned a memorable moment from a previous season, and their task was to put a healthier spin on the beloved favorite. Quickly emerging forces Kristen and Brooke wound up alongside Josh on the top, while John and Lizzie brought up the rear. After Kristen (who made Carla’s pot pie) was crowned the winner, John and Lizzie were given a chance to remake CJ’s dreaded burger. Both performed admirably, but in the end, Lizzie’s offering was just a little bit better, sending former frontrunner John packing and leaving Brooke and Kristen as clear favorites to at least make the finals.
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, eleven were given for a last place vote. Ten 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):: Wowza, Kristen has really begun to impress over the last several weeks. That mushroom dish earlier this season has done wonderful things for her mindset in the kitchen. This week, she showed creativity as well as cooking finesse when reworking Carla’s famous chicken pot pie dish from Season 5. By deconstructing the famous dish, Kristen was able to achieve something that was yummy and had all of the chicken pot pie flavors, without nearly as many of the calories. If she keeps cooking the way she has, she’s a shoo-in for the final.
#2) Brooke Williamson (34): Brooke was given the infamous stolen pee puree, and like the dish she channeled, what she served was ranted and raved about by the judging panel. Were it not for Kristen conjuring up Carla’s magic pot pie mojo, she would have won again. Over the last four weeks, Brooke has won a quickfire, won two elimination challenges and finished in the high category the other two times. The momentum could subside at this point, but right now, it’s not even showing any indication of slowing.
#3) Stefan Richter (32): Man, Stefan really wanted that $4,000 knife offered as the quickfire prize. Unfortunately, teammate Brooke failboated for him, and he came through another week empty-handed. Stefan has been good this season, the judges have offered him plenty of compliments, but he just hasn’t been good enough in any given week. It’s not called Top Consistency.
#4) Sheldon Simeon (29): Sheldon may have actually dodged a bullet this week. No one was too pleased with his beef carpaccio dish that contained flavorless tuna, but luckily for him, both John and Lizzie served up worse dishes which allowed him to skate by. On the bright side, he came damn near close to winning the quickfire challenge, and given the extensive body of work he’s offered up thus far, he’s still a real threat to make the finals.
#4) Micah Fields (29): Micah’s been a middle-of-the-pack sort of guy for most of the season. Over the last couple of weeks, however, he’s sort of learned the zen secrets of mastering the quickfire challenge, winning immunity for the last two episodes in a row. Could it be enough to propel him into the final? It’s too early to tell, but at the very least, it’s nice to see him win a few.
#6) Lizzie Binder (25): In all fairness, this week was the first week Lizzie landed in the low bracket during the final challenge. In double fairness, she also beat John in the cookout at the end of the episode that helped her to ensure her place on the show. However, the competition is getting stiff and Lizzie’s scallops this week were not only cooked disgustingly, she even admitted she served old food. The competition has gotten stiffer, and Lizzie can’t have another mistake like this week’s.
#6) Josh Valentine (25): Josh went back to the pork well this week, and for the first time, the judges actually loved the way he cooked it. He finished in the high category for just the second time during an elimination challenge. Unfortuantely, he also felt the need to open his mouth and call John out about his lack of pans excuse. I get it. I get why he was frustrated with John, but Josh has proven exactly nothing in this competition. This week was a good step in the right direction, but he still needs to spend more time focusing on his own cooking.
#8)Josie Smith-Malave (22): If you’re wondering why Josie is the worst chef left, look no further than her bland chicken dish this week. It was fine, but there was no conceivable way that dish was ever going to win. Thus, why the hell would you serve it? We’re past the point of trying to finish in the middle of the pack. People need to try and win every single week, and with four lows and not one single high, Josie has never proven she’s capable of winning.
Here’s a look at how each of the two ballots shook out: