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How long will there be immunity for? That’s always a serious wonder among the contestants on Top Chef. Sometimes the show puts the coveted get out of jail free card up for grabs when there are six contestants left, and sometimes Padma throws up the middle finger and says no more. This season, the contestants got a crack at immunity and that proved very fortunate for one of them.
For the quickfire, the remaining players were asked to watch famed chef and author Jacques Pepin cook his favorite dish: dover sol with artichokes and asparagus. Afterwards, they were each asked to recreate the dish as accurately as possible. Not surprisingly, the chefs with French culinary school training (Shirley and Nicholas) knocked it out of the park. Both were able to copy the techniques pretty closely, and in the end, Nicholas narrowly edged out his competitor.
Like the quickfire, this week’s elimination challenge also focused on technique. The remaining six were split into two teams (Carlos, Nina and Brian) (Shirley, Nicholas and Stephanie) and paired with famous chefs to celebrate either Spanish (the first team) or French (the last time) dishes. Carlos and company decided to go very traditional and put together beloved Spanish staples like Chicken and Rice. Shirley and company decided to work a lot more outside the box and update French classics (olive ice cream). All involved did really well, except Nicholas who produced two dishes the judges hated.
His flub was enough to send Nina, Carlos and Brian to the top and to doom himself and his teammates to the bottom. After much debate, Nina was crowned the winner, and in a shocking move, Nicholas was asked directly if he would give up his immunity to save one of his teammates who both prepared brilliant dishes. He refused, which is what the majority of the contestants would have done, and as a result, a tearful Stephanie was sent 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. Nineteen points are given for a first place vote, and this week, fifteen were given for a last place vote. Fourteen competitors have already been eliminated; 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 Remaining Chefs
#1) Nina Compton (38): Forget her one minor mistake a few weeks ago. Nina has had one of the most remarkably consistent Top Chef seasons in history. With eight highs, three wins and only two lows, one of which wasn’t her fault, she’s been the class of the competition. It’s her crown to lose at this point.
#2) Shirley Chung (36): What a devastating blow it would have been if Shirley went home for a dish everyone ranted and raved about. That’s the problem with awarding immunity with so few people left, especially when teams are involved. Fortunately for her, she survived the big ugly axe and will no doubt be really happy to return to solo work moving forward.
#3) Carlos Gaytan (33): Carlos isn’t a classically trained chef. Of every facet of his game, technique is far and away the worst. He’s just never been taught how to do a lot of things; so, I think it’s with a sigh of relief he advanced out of this week’s challenges still in the competition. In fact, his elimination challenge dish was actually a help to his team. If he’s able to cook his own style, he could be a threat, but if there are more challenges like this one, he’ll be packing his knives early.
#3) Brian Huskey (33): How good is Brian? Really, I want to know. We’re almost all the way through the season, and he’s the one contestant I can’t quite figure out. A few times he’s picked out a dish and absolutely crushed it. A few times he’s been godawful, but mostly, he’s churned out solid food that’s been good enough to get a thumbs up but not good enough to propel him into victory conversations.
#5) Nicholas Elmi (30): The wheels have come off. Nicholas’ two wins are now a distant memory, replaced by two pretty terrible weeks in a row. The judges weren’t particularly nice about his situation this week either. They told him flat out that he was the reason Stephanie went home and that he would have been packing his knives without even a discussion if he was eligible. It goes without saying that he needs to pick it up immediately.