Top Chef Power Rankings
By David Mumpower
December 12, 2012
While six chefs have been eliminated from the competition, we are still early in the process since two of the episodes contained double eliminations. As such, I still do not have a firm grasp on who is skilled and who is not. By this point last season, Paul Qui had risen above the competition to the point where his victory already seemed like a foregone conclusion. This season, the situation is far murkier. A lot of my projections are predicated upon how I intuit the editing in addition to the performances given thus far. Reputation also factors in.
1) Lizzie - I was tempted to list John Tesar in first place since Top Chef: Seattle has been edited to tell his story more than the rest, at least thus far. What I could not ignore, however, is that Tesar was nearly eliminated last week. Lizzie, on the other hand, is one of only two chefs thus far who has finished in the top group without finishing at the bottom of an elimination challenge. I also admire her confidence and composure a great deal. I consider her a strong contender.
2) Kristen - Kristen has only finished in the top group once thus far. What is noteworthy, however, is that she won that challenge for something as simple as an onion ring. She seems a bit too green to survive until the finals but until she slips under pressure, there is no rationale to rank her lower simply because she is less experienced.
3) Sheldon - While Sheldon’s team did struggle during Turkeypocalpyse, he has otherwise demonstrated tremendous teamwork. Kuniko and John were complete strangers to him at the time yet they won a pair of challenges together. Then, he and Bart won a Quickfire challenge after barely speaking previously and they followed up with a performance that was what qualified for better than average last week. The reigning Food and Wine Magazine Best New Chef is a sweet man but a formidable chef.
4) John Tesar - We are all waiting for his inevitable implosion. Until then, what is noteworthy is that despite his reputation, Tesar is a great team player when he wants to be. Last week’s slip-up with the duck notwithstanding,
5) Stefan - During Top Chef Season 5, Stefan acted as if all of the other contestants were unworthy of being in the same kitchen as him. In reality, Carla Hall was a better chef while Hosea beat him heads up in the finale. Stefan was at best the third strongest competitor from his season. The disconnect between what he thinks of himself and what he is happens to the largest obstacle preventing him from winning the show this season. Well, it’s that and the fact that he has narrowly avoided elimination in 50% of the challenges to date. Stefan is struggling and needs to get his act together if he wants to avoid CJ’s fate. I am ranking him this high because I know Stefan has the talent to win. He also has the ego to lose in dramatic fashion.