Top Chef Power Rankings, Week 4: Restaurant Wars Comes Early!


The most anticipated challenge of Top Chef is “restaurant wars,” and this season it came early (not that there’s anything wrong with that). As one contestant noted, restaurant wars usually doesn’t happen until week eight! That’s how you know this show has been on a long time: the contestants are so well versed in how it works that they can “well actually” the timing of a challenge.

Early restaurant wars meant a few things — three teams instead of two, a two-part episode, and no Graham Elliot in this one, which meant I didn’t throw things at the TV, but also I can’t just post a screencap of his silly outfit in my recap for easy dunks. This episode also had a double elimination. Wait, scratch that, it teased a double elimination, but it won’t actually happen until the next episode, because this one was a To Be Continued. They still have these? Sheesh. Delay my gratification?! What is this, the 30s?

The lack of a proper ending means these rankings are less scientific than usual (and they’re usually incredibly scientific). Top Chef‘s editors are certainly setting a few contestants up as the villains, incompetents, and nincompoops, but the question is, are these storylines background or just fodder for big exciting twists? Are they serving us confirmation or surprise? Time will tell, folks, and I for one can’t wait.

The elimination challenge left unfinished, but there was a Quickfire challenge based on the amuse bouche. “Amuse bouche” is, of course, a French phrase meaning “fun mouth” — which was also your mom’s nickname in junior high. It refers to a bite-sized dish that teases the palate and gets you all horned up to shove more food in your dumb face. Imagine the chips and salsa you get at a Mexican restaurant, only you only get one chip with a dollop of salsa on it and the food costs ten times more. ¡Cuisine!

Restaurant Wars Teams

Orange Team. “Northeast”: Adrienne, Brian, Eddie, Eric (We’ll call them The Favorite)

Blue Team. “Third Coast”: David, Justin, Kelsey, Nini. (The Underdog)

Gray Team. “Thistle”: Brandon, Michelle, Pablo, Sara. (The Dark Horse)

1. (+5) Michelle Minori — AKA: Screen Time. AKA: Who? AKA: Yung Shaman.