Top Chef S17 Power Rankings (Pre-Game: Top 15)
Mar 18, 2020
- A new season of Top Chef is a go! I can’t wait to see these 15 All-Stars return to compete. Some are the best the competition has ever seen, some were fan favorites, and some were some dark horses that never truly got to take off. This season is going to be a whirlwind, and I’m excited to see what happens. Here goes.
15. Lisa Fernandes- There are only two people that I am not familiar with on this season, Lisa and Brian Malarkey, and neither of them seemed to be too impressive on their seasons of the show, though Brian has a much more impressive resume after he finished his Top Chef journey. Lisa went seven straight weeks on the bottom until the finale, and only won ONE elimination challenge all season. Richard Blais was able to come back and win All-Stars, so MAYBE there’s a shot she gets the same mojo, but I really have no idea since it’s been so long and I really don’t think she stands out amongst the rest. She’s my pick for the first boot.
14. Jamie Lynch- I like Jamie, but I do think he’s the underdog of the season. He was a good chef, but he gave up his immunity to take responsibility for his team’s loss, in which he was sent packing. He was noble for that and respected, but I don’t know if this shows the cutthroatness needed to win. He just isn’t on the same league as some others.
13. Lee Anne Wong- I didn’t watch Lee Anne’s original season, but I see her on Season 15 and didn’t like her very much. She came back for one episode and was sent out due to being sick from altitude sickness. She just seemed to be very cocky, and while she cooked well, I just feel like having an arrogance just never bodes well, especially in front of the judges. People need confidence, but they can’t turn it into overconfidence. She may last a few weeks, but I still see her being an earlier boot.
12. Karen Akunowicz- Karen was never my favorite, but I do think she’s one of the more memorable, recognizable faces of the past few seasons. The problem for Karen is that she rarely won challenges, and while she was on top for several of them, she was never able to clinch victories over powerhouses like Jeremy and Kwame on her season. Considering her biggest two competition that season were those two people, I don’t know how she’ll fare going up against a MULTITUDE of threats.
11. Joe Sasto- I liked Joe, but didn’t love Joe. I think he’s a fun character but his cooking abilities are a bit overrated. That being said, I could still see Joe making it a few weeks into the game because he has such a charisma about him and his cooking. How deep he’ll go will have to depend on how he gets his footing, as I truly have no idea how he’ll fare against so many strong competitors.
10. Brian Malarkey- I didn’t watch Brian’s season, but it seems like he only won one elimination challenge, and two quick fires, which isn’t a ton. I do, however, notice his impressive accolades outside of Top Chef, and he seems to have made a really great career for himself, opening 15 restaurants and being on several TV shows like Chopped All-Stars as a judge and even on Real Housewives. I think he’ll fare a bit better than Lisa (the other contestant I had never seen before), but I still have my reservations as I just don’t know much about him.
9. Jennifer Carroll- Jennifer is someone I am so tired of seeing, but you can’t ignore her experience. This is her fourth time back, and I think she’s learned a lot from her time at Last Chance Kitchen and on the first All-Stars where she’ll put her attitude in the right place. This is her redemption story, and while I don’t think she’ll win, I think she’ll go further than her past two seasons.
8. Melissa King- I remember Melissa being a bit quiet and not heating up till midway through her season. She’s going to have to come out strong out the gate if she wants to win this season, as the competition is more fierce. I do think she has potential to grow, however, and I still think she played recently enough where she’s still in a fresh, competitive mindset. She may be a dark horse.
7. Nini Nguyen- Nini’s time was cut short a bit unfairly last season, so I’m excited that she’s getting another chance. She is a bit more quiet and underrated because she went out so early, but I truly think she could make a run and surprise a lot of people. She may not be a winner, but she’ll shock a lot of people and make it further than expected for sure.
6. Angelo Sosa- I love Angelo. I liked him a lot on the last All-Stars season, and while it’s a bit weird that he and Jennifer are here on yet another All-Stars, I cannot be more excited. Angelo came out the gate strong on the last season he was on, so I suspect he may do the same here, but it has been many years, and we haven’t seen much from him since. I do think he’s one of the more seasoned vets and I expect him to go pretty far, even if he comes short again.
5. Bryan Voltaggio- I can’t believe Bryan is competing. It’s a bit unfair isn’t it? He’s already went on to compete on Top Chef Masters, and came in second place there too! I just don’t see how this is fair. I love Bryan, but don’t know if I can root for him, as it’s clearly his competition to lose. The interesting thing is, I thought Sam was going to win it all in Season 14 and he was out in the second episode. Bryan is so good that if he has ONE bad week, they may send him home. So I think Bryan has the potential to be a really surprising boot. If he wins a ton and ends up in the finale, it seems like it was a waste for everyone else to go out there. Everyone is going to want to beat Voltaggio, especially Kevin who lost to him and his brother on season 6. He could be the Richard Blais of this season, where you know he’ll probably win from very early on, but part of me just thinks he’ll be a shocking boot somewhere down the line, maybe right before the final four or something.
4. Stephanie Cmar- Stephanie is one of the best to never win. She didn’t get a spot on season 10, came back and proved herself on Season 11. She got screwed over because people threw her under the bus, and I think this time, she’ll be more cutthroat, while still staying humble in her cooking abilities. She may have only won two elimination challenges, but she was still a pretty dominant force that season, and she hung in with big dogs like Nick, Nina, and Shirley all season. I think she’ll be able to hang with these big dogs and expect to see her go far.
3. Eric Adjepong- Eric should be a deep contender, right? His finale was tight, as he and Kelsey were both huge forces, and even Sara had some merits. I think Eric is coming fresh off defeat, and it’ll drive him through most of the season. How he’ll fare against some Top Chef legends, we’ll see…but right now, I see him doing very well and making the endgame yet again.
2. Gregory Gordet- Gregory was one of the most consistent, winningest contestants the show has seen. This could either severely backfire or be a walk in the park for him. His biggest competition is obviously going to be Kevin or Bryan, and the fact that they are so strong, there’s potential for one of them to crash and burn early. I like Gregory’s chances, and while I still have him in the two spot, I think he’s destined to go far and could easily win.
1. Kevin Gillespie- Kevin has a lot of unfinished business. He lost to the Votagglio brothers last time, and I think this season is going to heavily focus on Kevin vs. Bryan. I do think, given Kevin’s story, and the way he has been such a heavily anticipated player to compete again, I have to give the edge to him, and give him the highest chances of winning the whole season. I love Kevin and hope he can do it, and think many other people are on the same page as me.
This season could play out one of two ways: Bryan steamrolls the competition, or some other people take it and Bryan gets a shocking boot and doesn’t make the finale. It’s Bryan’s to lose, but I’m going with Kevin. His story is definitely more powerful, and I think he’d be someone lots of people would love to see win. Gregory and Eric are also heavy contenders, and people like Stephanie, Angelo, Nina, and Melissa are also pretty big contenders as I could see all of them making a deep run. As for who goes first, I have to assume it’ll be either Jamie (who seems to be the season’s least likely winner), Lisa (who I know nothing about and who just didn’t seem to come out on top on her season), and Lee Anne (who I just don’t see overcoming her cocky attitude). Either way, it’ll be a fun premiere and should be exciting to see who comes out on top. If Bryan goes first, we’re in for a crazy season.
Going Home- Lisa Fernandes
Leave a comment