Top Chef Power Rankings: The Great Season 16 Finale, And The Pettiest Elimination


Last night’s Top Chef was the last of the season — pitting Chef Sara (aka Party Mom) against Chef Kelsey (aka Roll Tide, aka Can I Speak To Your Manager) against Chef Eric (aka Ghana, aka Student Body President) in a battle for Top Chef supremacy at the MGM in Macau.

After watching various sizzle reels of their respective journeys on the show, the chefs drew knives to decide the order in which they’d choose sous chefs, and Padma laid out the final challenge: $500 to shop, a half hour to plan, three hours to prep, then six hours to cook four courses. They’d be judged on the first course, with the bottom competitor eliminated before getting a chance to cook the rest of their menu.

Chef Eric promised to “tell the story of the trans-Atlantic slave trade” through his food and was promptly booted off because he burned his lotus chips, which is maybe the most Top Chef thing that has ever happened. Chef Kelsey went on to take the win in a major upset.

To everyone who says this show is rigged: do you really think they’d rig it so that the inspiring chef trying to introduce the world to West African cuisine would lose to the ‘Bama girl who yells at the help for making eye contact?

I was as bummed to see Chef Eric go as anyone, but hey, if you want to tell the story of the Trans-Atlantic slave trade through your food, maybe don’t burn the damn lotus chips. At the end of the day, this show is about tremendously bitchy nitpicks and that’s why I love it.

Meanwhile the guest judge, Alexander Smalls, a jolly professorial black Santa Claus with a deep, rumbling Dr. Hibbert laugh, nearly stole the show. Where was this guy all season? I could listen to that laugh all day.

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1. (+2) Kelsey Barnard Clark — AKA: Wine Mom. AKA: Elle Woods. AKA: Roll Tide. AKA: Can I Speak To Your Manager? AKA: Bambi.