Top Chef Power Rankings
By David Mumpower
November 13, 2013
The Power Rankings for this season of Top Chef have the same general rules as during previous seasons. Top Chef is one of the most straightforward reality programs to evaluate because there are winners and losers every week. As such, I rarely stray far from the results each week save for a hunch here and there. As an example, Brooke Williamson had struggled a bit when I presented last season’s first power rankings. The instant she did well in a single challenge, I moved her up to the top two and she rarely strayed from there the rest of the season. I do use some hunches based on editing in order to make educated guesses about later results. Sometimes the outcome is obvious (see: Paul Qui) and other times the most generic performance possible can still lead to victory (see: Kevin Sbraga).
1) Nina Compton
Had I done the power rankings last week, she would have been slotted lower. I have believed her to be the strongest contestant since she emerged victorious in the season premiere. Her behavior with Michael was alarming, though. The brutal reality of Top Chef is that players must work well in groups in order to reach the end of the game. Nina’s unwillingness to assist her partner was problematic but that particular conflict has been resolved with Michael’s removal from competition. What we have left to evaluate are Nina’s results thus far. She has three victories, a tally that leads the competition, and has finished in the top group on two other occasions. She is a force in this competition and clearly the player others perceive her to be the best of the best thus far.
2) Justin Devillier
There is very little difference between second and third place in my estimation. Justin has won thanks to a delicious beignet and he has earned a spot in the top group on two other occasions thus far. The fact that Nina has as many wins as the second place contestant has top group finishes speaks volumes about her cooking thus far. But this isn’t about Nina. It’s about Justin, the homegrown chef who has demonstrated that there can be such a thing as a home field advantage on Top Chef. He has shown knowledge of the local clientele while using his experience with the various suppliers and in-season foods to excel in challenges.
3) Carrie Mashaney
I have debated Justin vs. Carrie more than any normal person ever should. The argument for Carrie is that she has a win plus three other upper group positions, one more than Justin. She also seems to be the most unflappable chef this season. I will not be surprised if Carrie winds up at the top of the power rankings at some point as I believe four people have separated themselves from the pack. She is one of the top dogs so to speak but, you know, attractive so not at all a dog otherwise.