Next Level Chef Season 3 episode 4: Smash and impress the mentors

Next Level Chef Season 3 episode 4: Smashburgers
Next Level Chef Season 3 episode 4: Smashburgers / FOX

After the mentors draft their teams, the chefs prepared for their first challenge. In Next Level Chef Season 3 episode 4, smash burgers can reap a big reward or put a favorite up for elimination.  

While the audition rounds offered insight into the chefs’ abilities and personalities, the pressure of the real competition is different. The brevity of the platform grab paired with the mid-round twist is new. How the chefs handle these moments will impact whether the dish is a winner or potentially lead them to elimination.  

Overall, the three teams are evenly matched. None of the mentors stacked the deck with their selections. A social media chef has just as much opportunity to win as does a professional chef. The biggest word of advice that the chefs needed to hear was, don’t cook nervous. 

Next Level Chef Season 3 episode 4: Smash burgers 

The chefs’ first challenge was smash burgers. While this idea seems straightforward, it was a bigger test than what the chefs realized. In addition to being able to execute the dish, it was a test to see how they approach the platform grab. Some chefs did well and others were sunk before they began.  

In addition to the main challenge, the mid-cook twist was to create a fried vegetable side. Of course, potatoes were not part of that platform. The chefs who saw the complete dish, burger and side, were the ones who earned praise from the mentors.  

As the team in the top kitchen, Gordon Ramsay’s team was set up for success. While all the smashburgers were good, a few were not as successful as they should have been. Chris was a good example.  

Chris seemed to suffer from being overconfident. It does not matter if a chef has cooked thousands of smash burgers. This competition is different. Cooking under pressure, Chris seemed to have major execution issues. Instead of a smash burger, his dish was more like a chopped cheese. There was no amount of finesse that could save this dish.  

The most successful team appeared to be Nyesha Arrington’s chefs. From Von’s classic flavors with two perfectly measured patties to Christina’s smart use of the parsnips for a fried side, it seemed like the middle kitchen had their game play on point.  

Unfortunately, Team Blais struggled in the basement. Even though Richard Blais might enjoy the lightning in the basement, he probably would rather be cooking elsewhere.  

The biggest surprise for Team Blais was that short rib made its way down to the basement. Zach’s platform grab was a gift. The other chefs were not quite as lucky.  

Matt had the worst grab. Although a salmon burger can be quite tasty, it needs certain flavors to make it. Unfortunately, raspberry and harissa are not those ingredients.  There was no saving this dish.

After tasting all the smash burgers, the highs and lows were clear. The mentors announced that one member of each team would receive an immunity pin. Although Team Blais’ choice was obvious, Zach for his short rib smash burger, the other choices were not as expected.  

For Team Ramsay, Jordan earned the immunity pin. Whether or not Gordon Ramsay has a soft spot for the social media chef can be debated, but the pork burger with fried carrots was a good dish. Maybe this immunity pin will help Jordan if he has another “burning” accident in the kitchen.  

Team Arrington’s immunity pin winner was a curious choice. Her decision was based on the “most coachable” chef. Christina earned that honor. It must have been the parsnips that helped to grab that immunity pin.  

Separate from the immunity pins, the winning team was Team Arrington thanks to Von’s smash burger. Even though he was unafraid of the flames on his station, the classic burger could not be beat. Luckily for his teammates who had mis-steps, they were safe.  

Next Level Chef Season 3 episode 4 elimination round 

Heading into the elimination round were Chris, from Team Ramsay, and Matt, from Team Blais. Both dishes had major execution issues. In this round, the pair had to create fish tacos.  

Overall, both chefs had good tacos. The tortillas gave them both trouble. Matt chose to pivot and go with store bought tortillas. Chris had no choice but to use the homemade ones. They were a little crumbly, but it seemed to be overlooked by Ramsay and Blais.  

Unfortunately, Matt made a big mistake. He grabbed what he thought was red cabbage; unfortunately, it was radicchio. The flavor difference is huge. As Ramsay pointed out, that bitter flavor was unpleasant in his taco.  

Matt was the first chef eliminated in Next Level Chef Season 3 episode 4. Similar to previous seasons, Team Blais is headed back to the basement.   

With the first challenge behind them, how will the chefs handle the spice in the next episode? Be sure to watch new episodes Thursday nights at 8 p.m. ET/PT on FOX or stream it the next day on Hulu.