Tournament of Champions Season 5 episode 5: Sweet 16 unpredictable upsets

Kevin Lee in Tournament of Champions Season 5
Kevin Lee in Tournament of Champions Season 5 / Food Network

With three number one seeds remaining, Tournament of Champions Season 5 episode 5 had everyone wondering if the Randomizer could cause a few more upsets to that Food Network bracket. Given that nothing is predictable, the outcomes were both sweet and a little less salty.

For the Sweet 16 round, all the battles would be for 35 minutes. In addition, the Randomizer components changed. The options were slightly more elevated and the Wildcard offered a secondary spin option.

In the first battle of the episode, Michael Voltaggio took on Antonia Lofaso. The two old friends have had much success in other food television competitions, but the Tournament of Champions title has alluded them.

The Randomizer offered porterhouse steak, smoking gun, cranberries, and champagne brunch. Then, the higher seed, which was Voltaggio, was able to re-spin a category. He chose protein and scallops became the new option. In some ways, that choice was even easier than the porterhouse steak.

Lofaso took a smart approach to the Randomizer. Her smoked scallop with mushroom toast, poached egg, and cranberry relish received rave reviews. From the mushrooms that ate more like sausage to the beautifully poached egg, it was a celebration of contrasting flavors. Even if the dish could have benefited from a slightly more smoky quality, it was a great option for a high end brunch.

Voltaggio pushed the creativity level, again. His everything bagel doughnut was out of the box. But, he decided to offer a duo. Anyone who has watched food television shows over the years understands that duos are dangerous because one dish is always compared to the other. While the smoked scallop and cranberry was good, the duo was let down by the overworked doughnut dough.

With two points separating the chefs, Antonia Lofaso beat Michael Voltaggio. Could it finally be her season to win a Tournament of Champions title?

For the second battle in Tournament of Champions Season 5 episode 5, Shirley Chung took on Kevin Lee. Lee, who won the qualifier and beat Brooke Williamson, was going to be a tough opponent.

The Randomizer offered sea trout, acorn squash, grill, Sunday supper and produce re-spin. The re-spin offered no change in the produce.

Lee created a sea trout bibimbap. The judges appreciated the crunchy rice at the bottom of the bowl and robust flavor in the dish. It was a great example how to use leftovers for that end of the week meal. But, the judges would have like to see more acorn squash. If only they knew how that ingredient hit the floor during the cook.

Chung made grilled acorn squash with sea trout. The judges appreciated that the stew had a lot of flavor. The tiger sauce was smart. Unfortunately, the judges did not see how the dish captured Sunday supper.

Continuing his upset streak, Kevin Lee beat Shirley Chung. Could make a run all the way to the final round? Only time will tell.

For the third battle of Tournament of Champions Season 5 episode 5, Dale Talde took on Tobias Dorzon. The first Randomizer offered a total re-spin. Unfortunately, that pork belly and meat grinder option would have been better than the ingredients the chefs were dealt on the second spin.

Talde and Dorzon had to use porterhouse, purple asparagus, mini tart pan, and updated classic. Cooking a porterhouse in 35 minutes was tough. Luckily, both chefs took the beef off the bone.

Dorzon made a Hawaiian marinated porterhouse with smashed potatoes, which captured the idea of the classic, gigantic steakhouse dish. Overall, the idea and flavors worked. Even if the dish needed a sauce to bring everything together, it was a craveable dish.

Talde offered an Asian inspired steak and potatoes dish. The black garlic sauce was enjoyable, the steak was well-cooked, and the fried asparagus was good. But, the judges felt that the potatoes were undercooked and the dish needed a few more minutes to come together.

Tobias Dorzon beat Dale Talde. If Dorzon can keep his nerves in check, he could do well. Unfortunately, the pressure only grows as the competition continues.

For the final battle of the Tournament of Champions Season 5 episode 5, Maneet Chauhan took on Eric Adjepong. With a protein re-spin, the double cut pork chops did not get cheers from either chef. Add to that protein, the green tomatoes, cast iron multi-cooker, and decadent dish, the two chefs approaches to decadent dish were quite different.

The curious item about both dishes was that the chefs struggled with the double cut pork chops. Towards the end of the cook, both chefs had to split the pork chops in order to have them cooked in time.

Chauhan made a rich, succulent green tomato curry sauce to pair with her pork. It really captured that decadent side. Every bite was rich.

Adjepong took a different approach with his grilled pork. Sitting on top of a vibrant salad with the tart tomatoes, the judges did not feel that it captured decadent.

Maneet Chauhan continues her run in Tournament of Champions Season 5 and Eric Adjepong was delt the bad hand.

Four more chefs will join the Elite Eight in the upcoming episode. Be sure to watch new episodes of Tournament of Champions Season 5 on Sunday nights at 8 p.m. on Food Network. Episodes can be streamed the next day on MAX.