Next Level Chef Season 3 episode 13 recap: Details make it picture perfect

Next Level Chef Season 3 episode 13 recap: Picture Perfect
Next Level Chef Season 3 episode 13 recap: Picture Perfect / FOX

As the finale quickly approaches, Next Level Chef Season 3 episode 13 asked the chefs to focus on the details for this challenge. Which chef saw the big picture but overlooked the importance of a garnish?

The premise of this episode’s challenge was relatively simple. From a simple photograph, the chefs needed to exactly recreate a dish. Although it was not a feat of re-engineering flavors or some other molecular gastronomy task. It was looking at a plate, seeing the details, and recreating a near perfect duplicate.

In some ways, this challenge is something that home cooks do often. Many people watch food television or social media for their cooking inspiration. It might not be a copy cat recipe or a hack, but people want to have a picture perfect meal that looks like the one on the screen. No one wants to have that “Nailed It” fail.

While the chefs needed to execute a flawless dish, the judges were testing their attention to detail. Even if they might not have been counting the exact number of pleats on a dumpling, it did matter how many pieces were on the plate and the proper garnish.

Winning the challenge was Christina. After having a few missteps mid-season, her background as a nurse might have helped with this particular challenge. Quickly analyzing facts and applying them is part of her regular job.

Overall, her dumplings look almost exactly the same as the photo. More importantly, they were well executed. A great visual with a poor tasting food is overly disappointing.

Unfortunately, the bottom dishes were obvious. Although Mada had a good dish, he missed a big element on the plate, the lemon. Missing that element instantly had him up for elimination.

Zach was also sent to the elimination round. At first glance, his ravioli looked good, but several burst. It is strange that he did not see the error in his plating. At one point, there was mention that he made extra ravioli. Maybe in the rush to finish, he chose the wrong ones.

Similar to the previous episode, a third chef was sent to elimination. Izahya. The mistake with his dish was that the rice was not the correct color. How he pulled off a chicken mole in such a limited time is uncertain, but the lack of seasoning in the rice was instantly noticeable.

The Next Level Chef Season 3 episode 13 Elimination Challenge had the three chefs create a risotto. Anyone who watches food television understands that risotto is often the kiss of death, especially for many top chefs.

Given that risotto takes time and care, it is impressive that the chefs were able to plate their dishes in a mere 30 minutes. Zach’s ingredient error, which caused him to start over, had him taking a few shortcuts, but he was able to get food on the plate.

Overall, the dishes were good, but not stellar. Izahya clearly had the best dish. His spring pea and scallop risotto might have been a double portion, but it was a well-executed dish. He was safe.

Zach and Mada both had issues. Although Zach was able to scramble together a squid ink risotto, the presentation was scattered. But, his lobster was beautifully poached.

Mada’s risotto did not have the typical creamy texture of a classic risotto. The dish was more like a paella with shrimp.

Even though Zach’s risotto was a little al dente, Mada’s stiff risotto got him eliminated. The bigger than life home cook will be missed on Next Level Chef. That battle cry of “Let’s Go” might be the mantra of the season.

Will the a professional chef, social media chef, or home cook earn the title of Next Level Chef? Be sure to watch the new episode on Thursday at 8 p.m. on FOX or stream the next day on Hulu.