Tournament of Champions Season 3 episode 2 recap: Most likely outcome

Contestant Aaron May during Round 1, West Battle 3, as seen on Tournament of Champions, Season 3. Photo courtesy Food Network
Contestant Aaron May during Round 1, West Battle 3, as seen on Tournament of Champions, Season 3. Photo courtesy Food Network /

Over the seasons, Tournament of Champions has seen a variety of unlikely outcomes. From Alex Guarnaschelli losing in the first battle of Season 1 to last season’s tie, the unpredictable nature of the Food Network culinary competition is what people want to watch. While the Tournament of Champions Season 3 episode 2 alluded to the impact of the randomizer, no one could have written the outcome of this episode.

Given that this Tournament of Champions Season 3 has 32 chefs battling for the belt, the first rounds are a little more heated than previous season. Although the various chefs have been battle tested, the reality is that any mistake could have that chef out of the competition.

Tournament of Champions Season 3 round 1: Amanda Freitag vs Madison Cowan

While Amanda Freitag has done well in previous competitions, she has come up short in TOC. Still, the chef is a powerhouse and knows how to play the game.

Madison Cowan has had success on other Food Network shows. Although his name might not be as instantly recognizable as others, he is not a push over.

The Randomizer offered pork loin, mustard greens, microwave pressure cooker, gooey and 30 minutes. While these ingredients go together, the reality is that few home cooks, let alone chefs, use a microwave pressure cooker. That item was definitely a curve ball.

Overall, this battle was set up to be a good one. The ingredients were compatible, the concept was doable, but nothing is ever as it seems on Tournament of Champions.

In first for this Food Network competition, Madison Cowan failed to plate three of the four main components. While he might have burned his hand in the process, the reality is that the food did not hit the plate in time.

To his credit, Guy Fieri would not bend the rules. As he gave his reasoning, it is important to see that transparency. But, it also left some questions unanswered.

In the end, the plate was unfinished, and Madison Cowan was disqualified. If anyone had predicted this outcome, go buy a lottery ticket now.

Tournament of Champions Season 3 episode 2: Tiffani Faison vs Bryan Voltaggio

In the battle of former Top Chef cheftestants, this match-up should have come in a later round. Both seasoned chefs know how to handle a culinary competition. They can show their creativity given the parameters.

While Tiffani Faison is still weary from the Randomizer, there was no hiding from this combination of ingredients. The chefs had to deal with ground bison, broccolini, grain mill, crispy and 35 minutes. Given that the bison is lean, it meant that the chefs had to find a way to bring some fattiness to the dish.

In what could be called battle meatball, both chefs created meatball dishes. But, that is where the similarities ended. Tiffani had a fusion of flavors that when combined all together worked. Bryan went more traditional.

Even though Bryan nailed the crispy, the judges preferred Tiffani’s meatball. She moves on to the next round. It is unclear whether or not this round is expected or unexpected. Some people probably assumed Tiffani would win.

Tournament of Champions Season 3 episode 2: Aaron May vs Brian Malarkey

In the battle of big personality versus big flavors, Aaron May took on Brian Malarkey. Although the pair might be good friends, there was no backing down with this battle.

The Randomizer brought unlikely combinations to this battle. Although sirloin steak, fennel, grilled and 35 minutes was fine, it was the added element of the snow cone maker that was a total curve ball. Figuring out that element had everyone curious.

In the end, the dishes were good. In true Malarkey fashion, there were a gazillion components. Luckily, he didn’t plate his hollandaise sauce, which seemed to save him. Aaron’s dish was nice, but in comparison, it just wasn’t enough. Chef Shenanigans moves onto the next round.

Tournament of Champions Season 3 episode 2: Brooke Williamson vs. Christa Luedtike

As a former Tournament of Champions winner, many people expect Brooke Williamson to make it far into the bracket. Even though many people are waiting for that big upset, it seemed like this battle was weighed heavily in her favor. Christa Luedtke is no walk-over, but it was an uphill battle.

For this battle, the Randomizer offered country style pork ribs, corn, toaster oven, whipped and 30 minutes. It was probably the easiest battle of the night.

The most interesting aspect of this battle is the lack of respect for the toaster oven. Even though professional kitchens might not be using this item, it is often a work horse in the home kitchen. Unlike that microwave pressure cooker, many people are familiar with this kitchen essential.

In the end, the final score says it all. Brooke won by the score of 85-79. It has been the biggest margin to date.

So far, Tournament of Champions 3 has been rather tough. From some unlikely kitchen essentials to close scores, this season’s bracket is waiting to be busted. Could an upset be brewing in the next episde?