Top Chef Power Rankings

By David Mumpower

January 16, 2013

Queen of Top Chef

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As much as I like Brooke, Kristen has separated herself from the rest of the competitors. So there isn't much to debate at the top or bottom of this week's Power Rankings. The only argument is how to position the dudes in the middle. Don't make it dirty, people.

1) Kristen: In the most recent recap, I questioned Kristen's decision to select Josie for Restaurant Wars. The history of this particular challenge shows that the team leader is oftentimes the one held responsible if the dinner is a bust. Kristen did not even present a name for her concept, simply describing it as French with a twist, which sounds like sex with a French gymnast. I have concerns that Josie will be a problem child. She always tries to get her way, which will not be possible here. It is feasible that when Josie implodes, Kristen is left holding the bag. Of course, Kristen has won so much money by now that she can dry her tears with hundred dollar bills.

2) Brooke: While I do feel that the gap between Kristen and Brooke is expanding, I should note that there were two competitions last week. Kristen won the second while Brooke won the first. So I would be more accurate in stating that the gap between these two and everyone else is expanding. I fully expect the two women to work wonderfully together, as long as The Josie Factor is overstated.

3) Sheldon: Many of the same comments about Kristen above apply to Sheldon. He too has a lot riding on Restaurant Wars. As a captain, if his team loses, the likely scenario on paper, he will carry a great deal of the blame. Unlike Kristen, he has not earned a mulligan if the situation goes sideways. Sheldon has done very well in the competition but a couple of his dishes were disappointing enough to justify elimination. A win in Restaurant Wars would establish him as a legitimate challenger to Kristen and Brooke while a loss could place him in a showdown with CJ at Last Chance Kitchen.


4) Joshua: This is the highest I have ever ranked Joshua and the reason why is simple. He finished third in the Restaurant Wars precursor. This marks the third time in the last four Elimination Challenges that Josh has been in the top group. As the herd thins, he is beginning to stand out a bit from his peers.

5) Lizzie: I debated slotting Lizzie in sixth place. She has finished in the bottom group in consecutive challenges, a perilous slump. Before that, however, she had not struggled at all and the scallops issue was not her fault in the least. I also feel that Lizzie is overall the stronger competitor than the two remaining players. Ability to win is the primary factor in the Power Rankings. I feel like she is more of a threat than Stefan.

6) Stefan: Typical Stefan in Season 10: the judges ask for a single dish to demonstrate a concept. He presents two. This comes on the heels of basting food in butter during a challenge sponsored by Lean Cuisine. Stefan's head and heart are not in the game. As so often happens, success has dampened his competitive fire. The only optimism I maintain for Stefan's candidacy is that as long as he remains alive, he possesses the puncher's chance. We all know Stefan can cook, which makes his performance in Seattle that much more befuddling.

7) Josie: In the immortal words of Motley Crue, girl, don't go away mad. Girl, just go away.



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