HOLLYWOOD—This has been my favorite new series since it first aired in 2020, I’m referring to Food Network’s “Tournament of Champions.” Think of it like “Iron Chef,” but on steroids because it is an equal playing field if I’m being honest. How so? You have the randomizer which spews out certain foods that must be used in your dish, a unique device that could throw the greatest chef off his or her game, a unique style of cooking and a specific amount of time to craft that dish.
“TOC” is not just great because of the randomizer and the caliber of chefs competing; it’s the fact that you have blind judging. It is like the smartest thing you can ever do in a competition. Why? It prevents the judges from swaying their decision based on the chef standing in front of them. C’mon let’s not act as if we haven’t seen certain chefs get away with things in food competitions because the person judging them is a close friend people. So the blind judging element I absolutely love it. Guy Fieri is back to host, and this guy is an icon on Food Network. The charisma, energy and just entertainment value this guy provides is unbelievable.
So how would season 3 top season 2? Instead of 16 chefs competing we have 32 chefs competing. We have two brackets for each region: two for the west and two for the east and may the best man or woman win! So who are our chefs competing? It is some fun ones. We have Brooke Williamson, Michael Voltaggio, Tim Hollingsworth, Aaron May, Brian Malarkey, Tiffany Derry, Phillip Frankland Lee, Crista Luedtke, Jet Tila, Antonia Lofaso, Shirley Chung, Chris Cosentino, Elizabeth Falkner, Marcel Vigneron, Joe Sasto, Carlos Anthony, Maneet Chauhan, Amanda Frietag, Tiffani Faison, Kelsey Barnard Clark, Eric Ajepong, Bryan Voltaggio, Madison Cowan, Richard Hales, Darnell Ferguson, Christian Petroni, Michael Psilakis, Karen Akunowicz, Justin Sutherland, Einat Admony, Tobias Dorzon and Aarthi Sampath.
It was fun seeing the chefs mingle with one another, knowing that some bruised egos were ABOUT to transpire because some legends are about to fall and some upsets are about transpire people. We have a $100,000 prize, a vehicle and bragging rights people. These are some great match-ups. The first battle was between Michael Voltaggio and Phillip Franklin Lee. This is about to be a fun one people. The randomizer delivered the first crazy combination of the night: bratwurst, cherry tomatoes, the mandolin, toasted and in 30 minutes. Yuck, that combination seriously sounds like a dish I would NOT want to eat at all people. I’ve really come to respect Michael as a chef because the creativity on this guy is amazing people. Yeah, this is a time where the randomizer is one hell of a challenge people, but Michael edged out the victory by 3 points. That prize could have gone either way people.
A battle that people had been chatting about is the battle between Tiffany Derry and Tim Hollingsworth. They had a tough protein to work with: turkey breast. Not easy to cook people an in 35 minutes, not a second to waste. Damn it was a two-point differential people and it was an upset with Tiffany taking out Tim in a nail-bitter people. Both of their dishes looked incredible people and that indeed the best battle of the night. It was a “Top Chef” rematch between Eric Ajepong and Kelsey Benard Clark, with some ingredients and a cooking style that just seems difficult to say the least: ground chicken, cucumbers, seared and the meat mallet people. Wow, another upset people as Eric took out Kelsey. Ok, two upsets already in the premier episode people.
Jeez, this final battle has a one point differential between Maneet and Richard and it just by a razor thin margin pushing Maneet thru to the next round. Yeah, Maneet was real close to being booted from the competition, so she is going to have to step her game up big time if she wants to retain that belt. A score in the 80s is NOT high enough to win this tournament people.
We have ONLY gotten four battles America, we still have a lot more chaos to go and I cannot wait to see who gets there dreams dashed, what upsets leave me aghast and what other surprises the randomizer presents to our contestants. “Tournament of Champions” season 3 airs Sundays at 8 p.m. on Food Network.