Things are getting a little fishy on the Next Level Chef episode 7. While some cooks seem to be swimming along easily, a few other cooks seem to be circling 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 is getting to the point where middle is just passing through. In addition, the team safety is going away in this challenge. Given that the three worst dishes will face elimination, the pressure is on each chef to execute a well-composed dish.
Since Next Level Chef looks to keep the cooks guessing, it was interesting to see the various 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 from MasterChef?
This seafood challenge looked to test the cooks’ execution skills both in time management and creativity. Even with the mid-challenge seaweed or caviar twist, these cooks needed to find a way to bring their unique point of view while still presenting a forward thinking dish. There was no place for that filet-o-fish.
Overall, there seems to be a few cooks who are emerging as top contenders. After Reuel won the previous challenge, he had another impressive dish, although the halibut was a touch over.
But Tricia got her sea bass, and her dish was quite impressive. From the fried nori to the lovely cook, it was elegant and everything worked. Even if there was a touch simplicity in the plating, it showcased her talent and nuance.
In yet another challenge, Pyet soared to the top. Her use of the seaweed as a garnish for her taco was smart. As Richard Blais commented that 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 showcased a lovely fish cakes dish. Having been on the chopping block seemed to have righted her path. Maybe a little more urgency in the kitchen can help to simplify her ingredient list.
In a surprising twist, the best dish of the night featured a common fish that found a next level application. Courtney turned fried catfish into an elevated dish. From the perfectly cooked fried catfish to the complex flavors that transformed a simple dish, Courtney was able to transform a dish that was familiar into a memorable bite.
Although Courtney soared to the top, three other chefs sunk to the bottom. When judge spits out the food, it is game over. For Zach, his deep fried tilapia was a disaster. If fish is mistaken for a chicken tender, that situation is a huge error. It was clear that he was going into the elimination round.
Unfortunately, Jonathan made the most confusing dish of the night. With no one really understanding the reference, including Gordon Ramsay who knows the dish, it had everyone scratching their heads. Plus, there were issues with the cook. Giving Gordon Ramsay a bone in his fish is a definite no-no.
Lastly, AE made a huge mistake with her caviar twist. Since she had some of the best caviar, that item should have been used delicately. It was clear that her dish was not well thought out. The combinations were wrong, and the dish was too briny.
For the elimination cook, the ingredient was shrimp. It was interesting that there was no reference to the type of shrimp or options that the cooks had. Various types of shrimp can lend different flavors to a dish. While there might not have been a discussion about shrimp, at least everyone cleaned them properly (remember that outrage on MasterChef) .
Looking at the three dishes, some people might have questioned AE’s choice of going with a salad. But, big risks often reap big rewards. She was able to build layers of flavors and textures into that salad.
Jonathan made a mistake with his shrimp and grits. Even though he tried to balance the saltiness in his sauce with more butter, it is a hard mistake to fix.
Zach was scattered throughout the cook. He seemed unable to focus which led to over cooked shrimp. With two cooks going home, it was clear that his mistake sealed his fate.
The cook who survived elimination round was AE. Her shrimp salad challenged her culinary point of view while being well executed.
Looking at this Next Level Chef episode, a pattern seemed to have emerged. The cooks who not only execute well but bring a touch of uniqueness to the plate are capturing the attention of the judges. From Pyet to AE to even Courtney, they are showcasing their cookery but in a way that expresses their personality. It could be the emerging theme for the competition.
Standing out in a crowd will be a necessity for all the cooks. As seen in the preview, Next Level Chef teams are going away. There is no place to hide. But, will the mentor judges still look out for their former team members? There will be some bragging rights for whichever judge has the winner.
Do you have a Next Level Chef winner prediction yet? What has been the element that has the greatest influence on this competition? food