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The Daily Meal’s Chef Madness Challenge: The Finals

The Daily Meal’s Chef Madness Challenge: The Finals

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Our March Madness competition enters the home stretch

The day has finally arrived when we can look back at the 32 chefs, snacks, cocktails, and beers that we started with last week and realize that now it’s down to eight. One more round of voting, and we’ll have our winners.

In this round of voting, there were a few close calls but many more decisive victories. Michael Symon beat chef Thomas Keller in a major way, garnering nearly 16 times as many votes. He’ll join Geoffrey Zakarian in the finals, who also won a clear victory over Richard Blais. Buffalo wings soundly defeated chips and guacamole, and will go on to match up with sliders, which just eked out a win over quesadillas. Moving into the booze department, margaritas, which cleanly beat sangria, will face off against White Russians, which beat gin martinis by the slimmest margin so far. Finally, the battle of the beers will pit Guinness, which won out over PBR, against the champagne of beers, Miller High Life, which mopped the floor with Beast Light.

So who will go on to win it all?

The survey is now closed, and the votes are being tallied. Check in this afternoon to find out who won!

Tournament of Champions Season 2 winner: Women rule the kitchen

Only one chef can raise the Tournament of Champions Season 2 winner belt. With five chefs remaining at the beginning of this Food Network episode, only one chef would stand alone at the end of the event. Did the randomizer influence the final outcome, did Guy Fieri add another dubious twist, or did a cooking mistake make the difference?

Before the semifinals could begin, the tie from the Antonia LoFaso and Jet Tila battle needed to be broken. Although many people questioned the reality of two chefs having the exact same score, the sudden death battle had to be completed. Of course, the emotional roller coaster added to the Tournament of Champions drama.

In this tie breaker, the chefs had 30 minutes to take on a battle with Hamachi collar, white asparagus, injector, and spherical. With 30 minutes set, that portion of the randomizer was never spun. Maybe that part of the rules should have been explained, too.

Since the Hamachi collar is very fatty, it is interesting to see how both chefs took different approaches to this protein. In some ways, Jet Tila&rsquos background in seafood might have given him an advantage. This ingredient seemed to play into his style of cooking. Maybe the playing field wasn&rsquot quite as even as it could have been.

Chef Antonia made a roasted Hamachi with brown butter white asparagus and fennel spheres. The dish had a lot of textures, but the Hamachi was only roasted on one side, which might have been a mistake.

Chef Tila offered a salted and grilled collar. While the dish had subtle aspects, it showed a lot of ego. The nuanced elements proved that sometimes knowledge and familiarity can be a big advantage.

The oddest part of this challenge was the use of spherical as a cooking element. How are round elements on a plate showing cooking techniques or adding to the difficulty of this dish. Maybe if the chefs had to actually plate a sphere element, like an actual sphere, this challenge would have been a little different.

With a final score of 92 to 91, Jet Tila beat Antonia LoFaso. This outcome does add to the possibility that a man could be crowned Tournament of Champions Season 2 winner. But, many more battles stand between the chefs and the big prize.

Hell’s Kitchen Season 19 episode 15 preview: Who makes the finale?

With just three chefs remaining, Hell’s Kitchen Season 19 episode 15 might be the toughest challenge yet. Although Declan, Kori and Mary Lou have earned the praises of Gordon Ramsay, only two chefs will make the finale. Which chef’s Las Vegas luck has run out?

According to FOX, Hell’s Kitchen Season 19 episode 15, ” What Happens In Vegas” features the following:

Chef Ramsay organizes an exciting and emotional reunion for the final three contestants. Afterwards, he takes the chefs to his top-secret Las Vegas spots and at their final destination, they are tasked with cooking their final Five Course meal. The two winning chefs pick their brigades from the eliminated chefs of the season, before heading into the finals in the all-new &ldquoWhat Happens in Vegas&hellip&rdquo episode of HELL&rsquoS KITCHEN airing Thursday, April 15 (8:00-9:00 PM ET/PT) on FOX.

For the main part of this challenge, the five course meal is no small task for the three remaining chefs. While each chef will showcase a part of their culinary point of view, the reality is that the execution of each dish is paramount. Any mistakes could be the end of a chef’s time in Hell’s Kitchen.

One key element is important with this five course meal challenge. It is about the progression of the meal. While there might be similarities between the dishes, the reality is that the flavors need to build from course to course.

Still, the chefs need to prove that they are worthy of the Hell’s Kitchen title. A dish that they have made over and over in front of Gordon Ramsay will not cut it. Creativity, personality and uniqueness is important.

Looking at the three remaining chefs, it is rather even. Trying to predict the two finalists is no easy task.

Since by the end of Hell’s Kitchen Season 19 episode 15 everyone will know finalists, another item from the synopsis is quite interesting. Who will be part of each chef’s brigade?

As seen throughout this Hell’s Kitchen season, clashing personalities can cause tension on the line. Whoever are the sous chefs to the finalists must be willing to drive that chef to victory.

Which chef was dealt an unlucky hand so close to the finish line? Here’s how to watch Hell’s Kitchen Season 19 episode 15.

Date: Thursday, April 15, 2021

Episode: &ldquoWhat Stays in Vegas&rdquo

Live Stream: Watch live on Fubo TV. Sign up now for a free seven-day trial. You can also watch on Food Network&rsquos website or app.

The audition process for MasterChef takes months

Agonizing, right? You might think that after auditions are held casting decisions are made right away, or at least relatively quickly, but according to former cast member Elise Mayfield, who competed on season 5, after you audition in person, there's a bit of a waiting game as producers and the like move through all the different, finalizing steps it takes to put together the cast, as she told A.V. Club . Mayfield waited for about four months before being told she was being brought to L.A., at which point they gave her about 10 days' notice to pack up a few months' worth of clothes and get herself to Los Angeles. Wait, wait, wait, hurry!

Tournament of Champions

Guy Fieri, Simon Majumdar and Justin Warner meet up to talk about the craziness that happened in the West wild card play-in. For each battle, they break down the Randomizer categories, analyze the judges' comments and share their thoughts with the TOC Hot List. Then they welcome a special chef on video to get the lowdown on what happened.

Beyond the Battle: East Wild Card Play-In

Guy Fieri, Simon Majumdar and Justin Warner meet in the studio to discuss what went down in the East wild card play-in. They examine each battle, breaking down the Randomizer categories, analyzing the judges' comments and serving up hot takes with the Tournament of Champions Hot List. Then they welcome a special chef via video chat to get the lowdown on what happened and reveal all 16 seeds in the final bracket.

Beyond the Battle: The Bracket Begins

Guy Fieri, Simon Majumdar and Justin Warner break down the insanity of the Tournament of Champions big bracket kickoff. They go over each battle, check out the Randomizer categories, analyze the judges' comments and share their thoughts with the TOC Hot List. They also welcome a special chef via video to get the inside scoop on what went down.

Beyond the Battle: Round One Continues

Guy Fieri, Simon Majumdar and Justin Warner meet up to review the results of the first round battles. They break down the Randomizer categories, analyze comments from the judges and get real with the TOC Hot List. After analyzing every inch of tape, a special chef joins them via video to share the lowdown on what went down.

Beyond the Battle: Final Eight Revealed

Guy Fieri, Simon Majumdar and Justin Warner break down the insanity of the final battles of round one and the first quarterfinal battle. They examine each battle, share their thoughts on the Randomizer and the judges' comments and serve up hot takes with the TOC Hot List. Then they chat with a special chef to get their take on what happened.

Beyond the Battle: End of the Quarterfinals

Guy Fieri, Simon Majumdar and Justin Warner circle up to recap the madness that went down in the final battles of the quarterfinals. They scrutinize each battle, breaking down the Randomizer categories, analyzing the judges' comments and serving up hot takes with the TOC Hot List. They also get input from two special chefs about what happened in the quarterfinals.

Lack of representation of women and people of color has been a big issue in food television in general, and on Netflix in particular. Five of the 24 contestants on Final Table are women, and three of the nine judges. There’s just one team of two women in the competition, and that is the only team that is ever shown expressing frustration with one another.

An entire episode is built around tension between Monique Fiso and Amninder Sandhu, and while it seems clear that they were indeed having a rough go of it that day, the editing of their interactions feels cheap. It’s something you’d expect on Real Housewives—not on a show about professionals at the top of their game. In a setup designed to create anxiety and tension, its unsurprising that contestants will sometimes clash. But it’s notable that none of the male contestants’ spats are given this much air time.

Hell’s Kitchen Season 19 finale preview: Which chef earns the job?

Two chefs remain in the Hell&rsquos Kitchen Season 19 finale. At the end of the episode, one door will open and a bright future in the Gordon Ramsay restaurant group awaits that chef. Do you think that Mary Lou or Kori will earn the title?

According to Fox, the Hell&rsquos Kitchen Season 19 finale, &ldquoHitting the Jackpot&rdquo features the following:

The final two chefs compete in their most important cooking challenge, for a chance at the life-changing grand prize, including a Head Chef position at Gordon Ramsay HELL&rsquoS KITCHEN Lake Tahoe at Harvey&rsquos Hotel and Casino and the title of HELL&rsquoS KITCHEN Season 19 winner in the all-new &ldquoHitting the Jackpot&rdquo season finale episode of HELL&rsquoS KITCHEN airing Thursday, April 22 (8:00-9:00 PM ET/PT) on FOX.

With both Mary Lou and Kori picking their brigades, the reality is earning the ultimate prize is not just being the best chef. The winner must be a great chef and a strong leader. After all the previous challenges, only one dinner service stands between them and the end goal. But, did the chefs choose the right team to drive them to victory?

At the end of the previous episode, Mary Lou and Kori picked their teams. While some decisions seemed easy, the final chefs picking the brigade was a bit like a school yard game of dodgeball. Which finale player is least likely to screw up?

Looking at each kitchen, the two chefs should be fairly even. It will depend on the menu and how well those dishes adapt to the team&rsquos skills. While Mary Lou and Kori will be on the pass, they need strong chefs to drive them to the finish line.

Truthfully, either chef could win. Although having a woman chef winner seems to be a Hell&rsquos Kitchen finale pattern, the reality is that the best chefs remain. These women earned their spot and should be proud of their journey. Win or lose, both women chefs have a strong culinary career ahead of them.

Who will walk through the victory door on the Hell&rsquos Kitchen Season 19 finale? Here&rsquos how to watch.

Date: Thursday, April 22, 2021

Episode: &ldquoHitting the Jackpot&rdquo

Live Stream: Watch live on Fubo TV. Sign up now for a free seven-day trial. You can also watch on Food Network&rsquos website or app.

Guy Fieri’s Tournament of Champions: Which chef wins your bracket?

Move over March Madness, Guy Fieri’s Tournament of Champions on Food Network is the battle that will have foodies fearing a busted bracket. As the chefs compete in these epic challenges, fans will be cheering their favorite chefs. Will this bracket style competition change Food Network cooking competitions?

For the past several months, the Food Network and Guy Fieri have been touting this single elimination bracket-style competition. While the components of each challenge are determined by a randomizer, some chefs might be better equipped to handled this high stakes, quick paced challenge.

Over the series competition, the chefs will be narrowed down to a head to head battle. In the end, one chef will earned the title. But, can you predict the winner?

Just like March Madness, certain factors could cause an unexpected upset. Whether it is an unusual protein or uncommon cooking style or just a bad day in the kitchen, anything can happen in this Food Network competition. That scenario is what makes this show entertaining.

Still, there is a sense of pride on the line for these chefs. It isn’t about the clashing personalities in a house, the James Beard Awards or even the Iron Chef title. Chefs have an ego that drives them to be the best. Everyone will be putting up their best dishes to earn a place in the next round.

Looking at the initial bracket, the East versus West line-up seems rather balanced. There is an Iron Chef, Chopped judges, Top Chef winners and James Beard Award winners. Picking an ultimate winner is not an easy task.

While FoodSided does not want to influence anyone’s bracket, we will make some prediction on round one. This first showdown should be an epic battle. While a few pairings might seem like a slam dunk, an upset or two is quite likely.

Looking at the East Coast chefs, the Alex Guarnaschelli should move onto round two. She is a fierce competitor and always seems to pull out a win in Food Network competitions.

As for the East Coast first round competitions, FoodSided predicts Marc Murphy and Rocco Dispirito as winners.

The most unpredictable battle will be Amanda Freitag versus Elizabeth Falkner. Falkner has expertise as both a savory and a pastry chef. If she can pull out a super creative dish, Falkner could have an edge.

For the West Coast bracket, the competition is filled with Top Chef alums. The always entertaining and creative Richard Blais is in this bracket. No one should bet against Blais.

Also, FoodSided will be pulling for Antonia Lofaso over Marcel Vigneron. Lofaso has seen enough Top Chef and Food Network competitions to learn a few tricks to take down Marcel.

The Eric Greenspan versus Jet Tila bracket is a definite toss-up. The randomizer will definitely impact the outcome of this battle.

Lastly, the battle of the Top Chef winners, Michael Voltaggio versus Brooke Williamson should be a fierce cook. The two chefs have earned many accolades beyond that cooking competition. While either one could go far in the competition, the edge should go to Brooke. She just finds ways to bring creativity to the plate.

Food Network fans will have to watch the 90 minute premiere episode of Guy Fieri’s Tournament of Champions on Wednesday, March 4 at 10 p.m. ET to see if these predictions are correct.

Will you be Guy Fieri’s Tournament of Champions? Which chef do you think has the best chance to win the title?

The Most Important Shots From the Season Finale of ‘The Challenge: Total Madness’

The Challenge has always been a heavily edited show—the main thing that keeps it from feeling like an actual sport is the fact that every elimination challenge comes with about 600 camera cuts—but we can’t remember it ever being this boosted in post-production. Total Madness is flying through camera filters and low-grade graphics it’s taking HUGE swings from the editing room. It’s, quite simply, astonishing. So, every week, we’ll collect the best moments of each episode in screenshots, sometimes adding context, sometimes letting the image itself speak a thousand words.

Before the Final, One Last Trip to an Underground Bar

All apologies to Nebe and Pekelnej, but Hangar Bar was the true champion of underground bars this season. It was also the only place that served a seemingly endless amount of chicken wings. These two things are definitely related.

Nope, Absolutely Not

Even worse, Kyle did this out of a sneaker. I do not approve of this behavior. Also: What did these guys do after this? Just plopped their feet back into a beer-dampened shoe?

A Power Ranking of Reasons People Wanna Win

A big part of any final episode of The Challenge is when each competitor emotionally submits their reasoning for why they deserve to win more than everyone else. And it really is true that some have better motivations than others, so I ranked them all:

‘Total Madness’ Recap: ‘The Challenge’ Got Its Mojo Back

‘The Challenge: Total Madness’ Recap: Bayleigh Goes Kaboom

9. Bayleigh: Because weddings are expensive? I’m sorry but you do not need $500,000 to put on an enjoyable ceremony.

8. Rogan: He is very wrapped up in this idea that everyone perceives his final win in War of the Worlds 2 as a fluke. It’s really all he talks about. And it’s the reason that he threw himself into elimination in both the penultimate episode and the finale. As a motivator, it just comes off super desperate and insecure.

3e. Kyle: This starts a long group of people who say they want to win for their families and/or parents. As a reason, it’s fine. Some of the arguments are more compelling than others.

3d. Melissa: Specifically her dad. (OK.)

3c. Fessy: Fessy’s doing it for his family, too, but he’s also under the impression that winning The Challenge will be redemption for not making it to the NFL. I understand the reasoning, but I’m really not sure a victory will fill that void the way Fessy thinks it will.

3b. Kaycee: Her reason is her general family, with a slight hint of wanting to represent the LGBT community.

3a. Jenny: The reason is family, but, like, it’s a lot of family:

2. Johnny Bananas: Forget family—Johnny wants to win to solidify his standing as the greatest Challenge competitor in history. To be clear, he already has the most total wins, but this is more of a legacy thing—proof that he can do it as an old guy, too. (Think Tom Brady with the Buccaneers this year.) You might not take this as a serious enough reason, but record books and legacy are what sports are built on, so if we want to treat The Challenge like a sport, we have to cherish its history.

1. Cory: Maybe I’m ranking him this high only because MTV spent the last half of this season drilling into me how badly Cory wanted to win for his family. But at the same time, Cory’s the only one with a family of his own—wanting to set up a college fund for your children is more important than wanting to buy your dad a cool car.

The Most Crucial Moments of the Final

Because the final is just one long sequence of events, it makes more sense to cover the highlights in one section. So here they are!

Melissa eating a bag of chips and drinking a soda at 6:45 a.m. on the morning of the final.

Cory’s decision to pick up the skis.

Usually, swimming is the thing that competitors shockingly don’t know how to do in a final. This year, it was cross-country skiing. Lotta asses gonna be bruised after this:

Cory, though—a man who grew up on the snowy tundra of Grand Rapids, Michigan—figured out immediately that carrying the skis through the course was a more efficient strategy, one that most everyone eventually adopted. If only he could figure out how to start a fire. (Or do math.)

When TJ drove by on a snowmobile.

Just a hilarious juxtaposition after watching people break their tailbones for hours on cross-country skis.

When Melissa quit.

So you’re telling me the soda and potato chips were not an effective pregame meal?!

Melissa was absolutely broken by the first stage of TJ’s final she got smoked by everyone. And that quote above is a very good encapsulation of what happened: Some people go on The Challenge for the exposure or the experience, but the final is a truly grueling affair that demands supreme athletic ability, endurance, and willpower. Only certain people are cut out for it. But Melissa upset Nany in an elimination and snuck into the final, where she obviously realized that her goal was not to win, but to get off that mountain as quickly as possible.

With one more elimination set between Day One and Day Two of the final, Melissa gladly threw herself in. Then about five minutes later she was like, “Why would I even try to win this thing?” and DQ’ed herself instead. Kaycee’s slight smirk in reaction to this was perfect:

“You have seen the show before, right?” TJ asked her. But by that point Melissa was basically already headed back to warmer climes.

When Bayleigh quit.

Early into the first stage of the final, Bayleigh twisted her knee … and then spent the rest of the day telling everyone how messed up her knee was. To her credit, though, she didn’t bail—until it was announced that she’d be spending six hours of the night outside, in the freezing wilderness. Seconds after hearing that, Bayleigh was like, “Oh yeah, I definitely pulled my MCL and definitely need to go home ASAP.” (I’m not sure you can pull an MCL? But I totally get it.) Guess that $500,000 wedding ceremony will have to wait!

The final elimination, which was [checks notes] running and jumping and hitting a bell.

This was such a hilariously simple—but shockingly cruel—setup. It really doesn’t sound like much, but trying to run in deep snow is deceptively impossible, especially after spending a day climbing a mountain. For the final elimination, you’re expecting something truly badass instead, we got to see Johnny and Rogan, dead tired, awkwardly flailing around at a bell suspended 8 feet in the air. I mean that in the best way possible.

When the final was decided by easy math.

For the last leg of the final, I was expecting something super tough—like a mind-bending puzzle or an absurd endurance competition. Instead, we got math. And not even calculus. Or trigonometry. More like simple, fourth-grade-level math:

Now yes, I will concede that doing math is probably harder while trying to run in the snow as fast as possible, and after spending two days in high altitude. But still, the equation never even demanded that they use PEMDAS! (That said, more than one person seriously struggled with this.) Considering the puzzles that past winners have had to complete—or, for that matter, the food some of them have had to digest—it’s hilarious that this season was partially decided by people being able to do simple multiplication and addition.

When Johnny and Jenny won.

From day one, Jenny was unstoppable. And in a season that heavily prioritized athletic ability over scheming, it’s not shocking that she won by a huge margin.

Johnny’s victory, on the other hand, is a bit surprising—even if he’s the most successful guy to ever compete on this show. He hadn’t won since Rivals III six seasons had gone by without even a final appearance. His abilities seemed to be falling off, and the influx of new players made it harder for him to control the game’s politics. But this season was a master class of strategy and timely performance. Outnumbered by The Challenge’s new guard, he ingratiated himself to the right players and was consistently able to sway a house vote or finagle his way onto the tribunal. And he won when it counted—in an elimination versus Wes, and in this final. Over the last few years he became less of a threat, but he smartly used that to his advantage, lulling everyone else to sleep as he waltzed to the finish line. Now he joins Ashley Mitchell as the only Challengers in the Million Dollar Club. Repeating next year will be even harder than winning this one was.


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  2. Dur

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  5. Alistaire

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