43% of ‘Top Chef’ fans have all the feels for Eric Adjepong, the contestant with the great meals [POLL RESULTS]

It shouldn’t be too surprising that a male chef leads the final six remaining players on “Top Chef” so far this season. Eleven of the 15 winners so far have been male. There’s been some progress since Stephanie Izard in Season 4 became first woman to come in first. But it took six years until No. 2 Kristen Kish claimed the “Top Chef” title. Since then, Mei Lin (Season 12) and Brooke Williamson (Season 14) rose to the top as well.

But Eric Adjepong (seen above), just one of two men still kicking on Season 16, has come by his favorite status with 43% predicting he will be this season’s champ in the best way possible – by making great food, often with African flavors. True, he has yet to win a Quickfire Challenge but he has never been a low-scorer. As for Elimination Challenges, Eric rules as the only player to win three – the last two back-to-back. The Ghanian-American, born and raised in the Bronx, is basically on fire.

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Coming in second is his fellow bearer of beard, Justin Sutherland, with 21%. The Minneapolis-area restaurateur who recently competed and won “Iron Chef America” has won two Quickfire Challenges and was one of the high scorers in two Elimination Challenges but has yet to win — and he was in the low group twice, most recently last week.

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Among the quartet of female players, Michelle Minori –  a fighter who is about to rejoin the main event this week after surviving  the web-only after-show “Last Chance Kitchen” — has 12% of fans backing her. The San Francisco chef scored low twice but she won one of the tougher cooking tests by making a music-inspired food. No less than judge Tom Colicchio declared her offering as the best dish he has had all season.

Coming in fourth is Alabama native Kelsey Barnard Clark, also with 12%, while bringing up the rear is Kentucky chef Sara Bradley with 7% and Boston-area cook Adrienne Wright with just 5 %.

Tune in to Bravo this Thursday night at 8 ET/PT when Minori once again competes against the five remaining contestants and the chefs have to use their gardens for their dishes in a challenge.

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