Top Chef contestants hopped straight off the Alaskan cruise and into the next quickfire challenge. This week, the final four chefs were asked to create a yummy dish using crab to the best of their ability. Interestingly, Lizzie, Brooke, Sheldon and Josh all interpreted this differently and came up with some dishes that ranged from a simple crab and toast to a strange-sounding miso soup. The latter may sound odd, but apparently it was delicious, because Sheldon’s miso dish took home the quickfire win.

That winning feeling would be short-lived, however. With little breathing room, the contestants were tasked with picking out salmon fresh off the boat and using that salmon to create a dish with homemade sourdough for a “salmon bake,” which is, apparently, a popular tradition in Alaska. Sheldon made the mistake of choosing chum, a salmon type generally reserved for feeding animals and not people. Trouble seemed to be brewing.

Sheldon’s salmon dish was not particularly well received by the populace or by the judges, although they did enjoy the pea soup component. Lizzie also did poorly, creating a salmon sandwich she admitted she hadn’t bothered to taste in full. At the opposite end of the spectrum Josh’s salmon and garlic soup were both tasty, and Brooke’s poached salmon and dill sourdough, created to order, was the night’s big winner, wowing judges and community members alike. The dish earned Brooke another win and the high slot in this week’s power rankings, but unfortunately for Lizzie, it was her week to head home.

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, sixteen were given for a last place vote. Fifteen 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 (36): You know what the great thing about Brooke is? She’s only been in the bottom group on an elimination challenge three times. One of those weeks was because she was on a losing team. One of those weeks was because every single person was so bad they didn’t even bother declaring a winner, and one of those weeks was the chicken dish she completely screwed up. Other than that, she’s had four wins, two additional highs and four middle of the packs. There’s an impressive consistency to that trend, and it would indicate she’s the least likely of the remaining contestants to have a horrid week and go home on the eve of the final competition.

#2) Josh Valentine (33): Maybe Josh has been spurred on during the last several weeks due to the climate change or the weekly guest judges. I less-than-secretly think it may have something to do with the fact Josh’s wife is about to pop out a baby, and if he’s going to miss the birth he better have something to show for it. Whatever the reason, Josh has been making great food through the last several weeks and hopefully it will be enough for him to cook his way into the finale. It's funny, because a month or more ago, I would have ranked the man one of the worst competitors, but he's certainly proven himself and at this point I'm happy he's still around.

#2) Sheldon Simeon (33): This week was a pretty good indication of the highs and lows of Sheldon. He not only won the quickfire, a case could be made that he destroyed everyone en route to his season high fourth of those victories. Unfortunately, when it came time for the elimination challenge, he foolishly used chum, the variety of salmon locals feed to their dogs, and sloppily used the tongs when plating, thus tearing up his beautifully cooked work. At the end of the day, Sheldon is one of the most talented players in Top Chef history, but thanks to his mistakes, he’s not the odds on favorite to win.

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

Brooke Williamson (18)
Sheldon Simeon (17)
Josh Valentine (16)
Brooke Williamson (18)
Josh Valentine (17)
Sheldon Simeon (16)

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