Top Chef Power Rankings, Week 8: Nerds Vs. Chads

Senior Editor
01.24.19 20 Comments



Let’s be honest, this season of Top Chef hasn’t been as kind to us in terms of well-defined personalities as the last few. So it was a good thing this week that when Eddie, the winner of last week’s challenge, was gifted with the “advantage” of choosing teams for this week’s team challenge (a houseboat party), he managed to stock his own team exclusively with band nerds, teacher’s pets, and theater geeks, while giving the other team nothing but football heroes, party girls, and burnouts.

Oh God, Eddie, what have you done?

It was Chads vs. Dads, and in a party throwing challenge, and I think you can guess how that turned out. This episode had jello shots, hot tubs, and far more nudity promised than basic cable could deliver. I believe Sara, Kelsey, Brian, and guest judge/Kenny Rogers lookalike Captain Lee (from Below Decks in a Bravo cross promo) all expressed a desire and/or a history of getting naked. Hey, pics or it didn’t happen, guys. Is this Top Chef or Top Tease?

Padma didn’t even take the innuendo bait when the chefs kept calling the jello shots “jiggle juice.” In fact, at one point, she took a jello shot and then made this face:



Oh, Padma can’t handle her booze now? I seem to remember a slurry night of hors d’ouvres a few episodes ago.

The sour face may have had something to do with the fact that she attempted to CHEW HER JELLO SHOT. That’s not how jello shots work, Padma. The whole point of a jello shot is that you can skip the immense amount of grain alcohol contained in them past your tongue and into your stomach like a pebble across a frozen lake. Sheesh, it’s like she never went to college.

To this face, Sara half-heartedly asked, “Too boozy for ya?”

Somehow I doubt that was the first time Sara has asked that question. But as a viewer, I resent the implication that the jello shots were “too boozy.” You’ll know when the jello shots are “too boozy.” It’s when you can no longer make jello with them. Anything just short of that is perfect.

Party Team: (winners): Justin, Kelsey*, Sara, Eric

Nerd Team: Eddie, Brian, Michelle, Adrienne, David



1. (even) Eddie Konrad — AKA: Smiles. AKA: The Accountant. AKA: Seppuku. AKA: Sweaty Eddie. AKA: Calamity. AKA: Nice Guy Eddie.



Eddie did his best to sabotage himself this week, putting himself on the Nerd Team for a party challenge and taking it upon himself to cook Adrienne’s mayo-ass tacos while she went below decks to rest on her fainting couch (more on that later). Even that didn’t work. Eddie is just too clear a front runner. The judges pretended like there was a chance he might go home but we all knew their hearts weren’t in it. Did you also notice how Tom called Eddie’s shrimp cocktail “perfectly cooked” when he was actually eating it but then claimed it was “rubbery” during judges table? I see you, Colicchio.

Most On-Brand Eddie Moment Of The Episode

Did you see Eddie attempt to relate to the partygoers in a personable, hyoo-mon manner? It was wonderful. “Is this your first time on a party boat. …Uh, cool.”

New Line Cinema


I love Eddie. I wish every contestant was Eddie.

2. (even) Eric Adjepong — AKA: Ghana. AKA: Sports.



Eric is number two not because he’s a clear favorite, but because everyone else who could potentially fill this spot is either dropping fast (David) or hopelessly streaky (Kelsey, Justin, Sara). Anyway, Eric was on Team Chad this week, cooking up a beer-battered walleye with escoveitch with the rest of his cool friends. In the fried fish battle he seemed to out duel Michelle thanks to his fish being hot — which seemed to be a result of him making the judges wait 20 minutes while he went downstairs to fry his fish in a stove pot, since the boat generator wasn’t strong enough to power a deep fryer. Yes, food is generally hot when you get it right out of the fryer. Did Eric really just get credit for that? I like to think Sara plied them with enough booze that they forgot why Eric’s fish was hotter.

I’m calling Eric number two but not feeling great about it. His food always looks the best but it’s rarely judged that way.

3. (+3) Michelle Minori — AKA: Screen Time. AKA: Who? AKA: Trivia.



Most On Brand Michelle Moment Of The Episode:

When Brian was trying to brainstorm theme ideas and wondered aloud, “what do people like to do at parties?” and Michelle offered, “…Trivia?”

Notable Michelle Quote:

“If this challenge is about a party then we’re out of our element.”

Kudos to Michelle for most clearly recognizing her own brand, even if that brand is a half-hearted apology for being boring. Michelle has had consistently decent food all season that always keeps her just off the lead. This week she narrowly lost the fried fish showdown but it seemed like that was mostly because the judges were butthoused on gelatinous Maker’s Mark. Michelle is clearly one of the better chefs, but right now I can’t quite imagine her shrugging her way into the victor’s circle.

Most Heartbreaking Michelle Moment Of The Episode

When Michelle heard Team Chad laughing it up in the lake (literally going down beer-lubed waterslides) and exclaimed sadly “…I want to go swimming,” while cooped up indoors.

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