Tournament of Champions Season 5 episode 6: Ties, upsets and the elite eight

Jet Tila on Tournament of Champions Season 5 episode 6
Jet Tila on Tournament of Champions Season 5 episode 6 / Food Network

With a handful of spots left in the Elite Eight, Tournament of Champions Season 5 episode 6 was ripe for some new twists and turns. From a tie score to another unlikely upset, this popular Food Network show is always delivering competitive cooking drama.

Throughout Tournament of Champions Season 5, the various battles have had ups and downs. While few people would have expected that Kevin Lee would have beaten Brooke Williamson in round 1, the reality is that anything can and does happen in this Food Network competition.

Four spots remain in the Elite Eight. Some top seeds, like Maneet Chauhan, continue to succeed. In this episode, two more top seeds are hoping to join her.

For the first battle in Tournament of Champions Season 5 episode 6, Amanda Freitag took on Tiffani Faison, the season 3 champion. The Randomizer offered duck breast, banana peppers, meat slicer, and guilty pleasure. While it originally offered bamboo steamer, the re-spin had the chefs slicing potatoes, onions, and duck with that quick moving wheel.

The idea of a guilty pleasure went in two very different directions. Chef Tiffani decided to make a duck fat rice bowl. While that dish is often associated with lighter fare, the cooking method make it quite unctuous.

Tournament of Champions Season 5 episode 6
Tournament of Champions Season 5 episode 6 Tiffani Faison and Guy Fieri / Food Network

According to the judges, the overall dish was quite balanced, luscious, and flavorful. While it brought the judges back for bite after bite, it could have used the Randomizer a little better.

Amanda Freitag decided to make a duck burger. It was a classic move, but it captured the theme. Overall, it used the Randomizer well. Even though a touch of acid might have been a better choice than a piece of lettuce.

With two points separating the dishes, Amanda Freitag beat Tiffani Faison. While it was an upset, it was not necessarily a huge shock. Chef Tiffani lost in the first round last year and Chef Amanda made it to the finals in Season 1.

In the second battle, Jet Tila took on Carlos Anthony. While Chef Carlos finally scored a win in the first round, Chef Jet is always a force in the kitchen. The Randomizer offered boneless ribeye, persimmon, bamboo steamer and weeknight dinner. Since Chef Jet was able to pick the re-spin, he benefited from the persimmons over savoy cabbage.

The idea of weeknight dinner is quite broad and did seem to play into Chef Jet’s wheelhouse. Truthfully, the whole Randomizer was in his benefit.

Chef Carlos made a steak and potatoes dish. While he made smart use of the bamboo steamer, the dish needed more persimmon flavor. In addition, it did not necessarily feel like a weeknight dinner.

On the other hand, Chef Jet nailed the idea of weeknight dinner. His crying tiger persimmon salad was light, nourishing, and felt like a quick, easy dinner. It was a smart use of persimmon, too.

In a twist that no one saw coming, the score was tied. Based on the Tournament of Champion rules, the dish with the highest taste score won.

Narrowly pulling out a victory, Jet Tila beat Carlos Anthony on taste with a score of 41 to 39. Could it finally be Chef Jet’s year to win it all? He has come so close but has yet to hoist the belt.

In the third battle, Marc Murphy took on Britt Rescigno. Last season’s Cinderella story, Chef Britt is a force in Tournament of Champions.

For this battle, the Randomizer offered halibut cheeks, pumpkin, immersion blender and New Year’s Eve dinner. Since Chef Britt was able to choose the re-spin, she was happy with the new dinner theme.

Britt Rescigno on Tournament of Champions Season 5 episode 6
Britt Rescigno on Tournament of Champions Season 5 episode 6 / Food Network

While the Food Network viewer might not be cooking halibut cheeks, the chefs were happy with this ingredient. Overall, the Randomizer ingredients were not too hard to handle. After all, what chef does not have an immersion blender at the ready?

Chef Britt made a butter braised halibut cheek with pumpkin puree and pepitas. Overall, the dish used a lot of techniques. Even though there seemed to be a persistent saltiness, the judges praised the execution and use of the Randomizer.

Chef Marc made a bucatini with black truffle pumpkin sauce with halibut cheek. Pasta is a classic New Year’s Eve dish. Overall, the dish was scrumptious, but the truffle seemed to outshine the pumpkin.

Continuing her early round dominance, Chef Britt Rescigno beat Marc Murphy. Can she keep the wins racking up? Only time will tell.

In the final battle of Tournament of Champions Season 5 episode 6, Season 4 winner Mei Lin took on Lee Anne Wong. Both chefs are powerhouses in culinary competitions.

Chef Mei Lin on Tournament of Champions Season 5 episode 6
Chef Mei Lin on Tournament of Champions Season 5 episode 6 / Food Network

After a rock paper scissor re-spin, the Randomizer offered red snapper, poblano pepper, pop over pan and date night dinner. The key with this combination is getting that flavors balanced while still making a dish that did not step too far into the heavy realm.

Following Chef Lee Anne’s concept from her first round, Chef Mei created a raw dish. The red snapper crudo with tigre de leche was vibrant. While the popover pan was used as a mold, it was a bright, light dish.

In contrast, Chef Lee Anne used the popover pan to make a sweet corn and queso fresco popover. Even though that part of the dish was bold, the judges seemed to not see that component as a big risk. Still, her seared red snapper with poblano salsa verde was good.

But, Chef Mei Lin’s unbeaten streak remains in tact. She beat Chef Lee Anne Wong.

What were the biggest takeaways from Tournament of Champions Season 5 episode 6? Seed rankings may not matter this season. Two of the four top seeds are out. Other favorites continue to prove to be successful. In the end, it is all about game play and a well-executed dish in the moment.

Will a new champion be crowned for Tournament of Champions Season 5? Be sure to watch new episodes Sunday nights at 8 p.m. ET/PT on Food Network. Episodes can be streamed the next day on MAX.