Two less fish in the sea
Things get a little sketchy in episode 7 of Next Level Chef. While some cooks seem to swim easily, a few other cooks seem to circle around the bottom. With two cooks leaving the kitchen, there was no hiding behind another cook’s dish.
With 10 cooks in the kitchen, Next Level Chef gets to the point where the middle is just passing by. Also, team safety goes away in this challenge. Since the three worst dishes will be eliminated, the pressure is on each chef to execute a well-composed dish.
Since Next Level Chef is all about keeping cooks guessing, it was interesting to see the different choices on the platform. While some options were expected, halibut, salmon, it would have been nice to see some unlikely varieties. Where’s that Monkfish MasterChef?
This seafood challenge aimed to test the cooks’ execution skills in both time management and creativity. Even with the touch of seaweed or caviar mid-challenge, these cooks had to find a way to bring their unique perspective while presenting a cutting-edge dish. There was no place for this fillet of fish.
Overall, there seem to be a few cooks emerging as top contenders. After Reuel won the previous challenge, he had another impressive dish, although the halibut was a bit overdone.
But Tricia got her sea bass and her dish was pretty impressive. From the fried nori to the lovely cook, it was elegant and everything worked. Even though there was a touch of simplicity in the tackle, it showed off his talent and nuance.
In another challenge, Pyet rose to the top. His use of seaweed as a topping for his taco was clever. As Richard Blais said, it was full of textures and flavors. Thank goodness he didn’t have another pun (no more “codspeed” please).
After missing the platform in the last episode, Mariah presented a nice dish of fishcakes. Being on the chopping block seemed to have straightened his path. Maybe a little more urgency in the kitchen can help simplify his ingredient list.
In a surprising twist, the best dish of the night featured a common fish that found next-level application. Courtney turned the fried catfish into an elevated dish. From perfectly cooked fried catfish to complex flavors that transformed a simple dish, Courtney managed to turn a familiar dish into a memorable bite.
Although Courtney climbed to the top, three other leaders sank to the bottom. When the judge spits out the food, the game is over. For Zach, his fried tilapia was a disaster. If the fish is confused with a chicken fillet, then this situation is a huge mistake. It was clear he was headed for the knockout round.
Unfortunately, Jonathan made the most confusing dish of the night. No one really understanding the reference, including Gordon Ramsay who knows the dish, everyone scratched their heads. Also, there were problems with the cook. Giving Gordon Ramsay a bone in his fish is a definite no-no.
Finally, AE made a huge mistake with their touch of caviar. Since she had one of the best caviar, this item should have been used delicately. It was clear that his dish was not well thought out. The combinations were wrong and the dish was too salty.
For the elimination cook, the ingredient was shrimp. Interestingly, there was no reference to the type of prawns or the options offered by the cooks. Different types of shrimp can impart different flavors to a dish. While there may not have been a discussion about the prawns, at least everyone cleaned them properly (remember that outrage on MasterChef).
Looking at all three courses, some people might have questioned AE’s choice to go with a salad. But big risks often reap big rewards. She was able to create layers of flavors and textures in this salad.
Jonathan made a mistake with his shrimp and grits. Even though he tried to balance the saltiness of his sauce with more butter, it’s a mistake that’s hard to correct.
Zach was scattered all over the cook. He seemed unable to concentrate, which led to overcooked shrimp. With two cooks heading home, it was clear his mistake had sealed his fate.
The cook who survived the elimination round was AE. Her shrimp salad challenged her culinary view while being well executed.
Watching this episode of Next Level Chef, a pattern seems to have emerged. Cooks who not only execute well but bring a touch of uniqueness to the plate capture the judges’ attention. From Pyet to AE to Courtney, they stage their cooking but in a way that expresses their personality. This could be the emerging theme of the contest.
Standing out in the crowd will be a necessity for all cooks. As seen in the preview, Next Level Chef teams are leaving. There is no place to hide. But, will mentor judges still watch over their former team members? There will be bragging rights for the judge who has the winner.
Do you already have a Next Level Chef winner prediction? What was the element that most influenced this competition? food