Next Level Chef Season 3 episode 15 recap: Three chefs rise into the finale

Next Level Chef Season 3 semi-finals
Next Level Chef Season 3 semi-finals / FOX

With only three chefs making the finale, Next Level Chef Season 3 episode 15 focused on building flavor. Which chef had their culinary dreams go up in flames right before the finish line?

Throughout this Next Level Chef season, the unexpected seemed to the predominant theme. From unusual proteins to chaotic platform grabs, keeping focused was harder than cooking with a warped pan in the basement level.

For the last challenge before the finale, the chefs had to focus on a particular flavor. With Gabi earning the time token and a place in the top kitchen, she had the opportunity to set herself up for success. By choosing to take the extra seconds, she was able to calmly peruse the platform and pick the protein and flavor that suited her strengths.

In contrast, Jordan’s basement location left him with no options. Still, the opportunity to cook with black cod and sweet was a gift. As seen on his social media, he had studied the Nobu cookbook and should be familiar with an iconic recipe.

Looking at the cook, everyone seemed to be a little scattered. From Christina flambéing her whole cook station to Zach not lighting his smoking element, everyone was just slightly off. The pressure of making the Next Level Chef finale might have put them at their breaking point.

As the chef in the top kitchen, Gabi made a sour flavored scallop dish. While her scallops might have been a tad over, she was able to create balanced flavors. The sour element was clear, but it briny notes from the caviar and the earthiness from the mushrooms helped to support the overall flavor foundation. It was clear that Gabi would move into the finale.

Christina wowed the judges with her charred filet. Although she was uncertain if the protein was cooked properly, she nailed the temperature. The smartest part of her dish was that she highlighted multiple charred ingredients. Cooking the vegetables on the open flame was the move that secured her a spot in the Next Level Chef Season 3 finale.

Unfortunately, Zach and Jordan had too many mistakes on their plates. Zach’s choice to use the cloche without having a smoked element was silly. He should have left the dome off the dish. But, the dish would have benefited from the smoke element. The added depth to the spice would have rounded out the flavors better.

Jordan seemed to be unfocused during the entire cook. Although Gordon Ramsay tried to keep him on task in the basement, he seemed to be overwhelmed. From forgetting to add the white truffle to the dish to the over-char on the black cod, the dish missed the execution mark.

With Zach and Jordan battling for the place in the finale, the head-to-head battle on Next Level Chef Season 3 episode 15 was intense. The decision could come down to the tiniest flaw.

Given that Jordan had already taken down a professional chef, Von, in a previous elimination battle, no one was going to discount the social media chef. When his back is to the wall, he seems to find a way to get the job done.

On the other hand, Zach has struggled in the elimination challenges. For example, he made a simple ingredient mistake that caused him to restart the risotto in a previous challenge.

The elimination challenge had Zach and Jordan create a dish using champagne. While many people might enjoy sipping that bottle of bubbles, incorporating that ingredient into a dish takes finesse. It has flavor, but it needs to be used thoughtfully.

The curious element to this challenge is that both chefs created a champagne burre blanc. The biggest difference was that Jordan’s sauce broke, which is a big cooking error.

Zach’s veal dish was a tad sweet with the vanilla beurre blanc. The fennel salad was bright and vivacious and the veal was beautifully. But, the sweetness in the dish was a little off putting.

Jordan’s sauce caused a little confusion over whether it was a beurre blanc or a vinergrette. Additionally, the sauce broke, which is a big cooking error. Still, Jordan used the champagne in both the sauce and the vegetables.

In the end, the cooking errors caused Jordan to be sent home. Zach earned the third spot in the Next Level Chef Season 3 finale.

Which chef will earn the Next Level Chef Season 3 title? Be sure to watch the finale on Wednesday, May 9 at 8 p.m. ET/PT. Episodes can be streamed the next day on Hulu.