Top Chef Season 17 Power Rankings
By Jason Lee
May 28, 2020
Full of Steam: Gregory and Bryan
One might question why Gregory still deserves to be in this position after under-seasoning his broth in the last episode. Answer: As I’ve maintained for many years now, the only opinion that matters at Judges’ Table is Tom’s. And while others criticized Gregory’s dish as bland, Tom called it “subtle” and “satisfying.” Until and unless he loses Tom’s support, Gregory has a clear road to the finale. As for Bryan, he’s starting to peak at exactly the right time. And you know what? If Gregory and Bryan make it to the final two and they both cook at the top of their game, one could reasonably argue that Bryan’s ceiling is higher than Gregory’s.
Work Left to Do: Melissa and Stephanie
Tom said a few weeks ago that, whether due to fatigue or emotional stress from being away from their family, this tends to be the time when chefs start making mental mistakes. That seems to be the case with Melissa, who was so strong early in this season but who has tripped up in minor (and, at times, larger) ways — from under-steaming her chawanmushi to delivering a tepid salad during the brunch challenge. She’s still in solid position to make the finale, but by no means is that a certainty. As for Stephanie, has she finally found her mojo? It’s taken her close to nine episodes, but she’s finally back in a clearer, more focused headspace. Can that last for a few more episodes?
Praying for an Upset: Brian Malarkey
Honestly, does anyone see Brian as a threat to win the title or make the finale? To be fair, he has somehow stumbled his way into the final five, surviving the elimination of many more talented chefs. We’ve waited week after week to see if his luck would finally run out. It hasn’t happened yet, and it’s entirely possible it continues and Malarkey crashes the finale. But that can’t really happen, right? Right???