“Last Chance Kitchen,” Bravo’s web-only after-show that follows each “Top Chef” episode, is closed for the season after San Francisco’s Michelle Minori became the eliminated player who earned the right to rejoin the main competition on “Top Chef.” With only three more episodes of this Kentucky-based season to go until the finale airs on March 14 and with six out of 15 contestants left in the game, it seems like a good time to assess the pluses and minuses of each and allow you to choose who you think is likeliest to go all the way. Read the summaries of each chef’s performance so far (note that women outnumber men, four vs. two) and pick your favorite in our poll below.
*Eric Adjepong – The one to keep an eye on. The Ghanian-American, born and raised in the Bronx, resides in Washington, D.C. , where he and his wife operate a pop-up and catering company called Pinch and Plate. He was also named one of People magazine’s top 10 “Sexiest Chefs Alive.” He is keen on bringing West African flavors in his dishes, and it seems to be working for him. Adjepong has won the most Elimination Challenges so far with three. And he has never been among the low-scoring chefs.
*Sara Bradley – This Paducah, Kentucky, cheftestant got razzed by her fellow chefs for using boxed waffle mix when they served game-day dishes courtside during a University of Kentucky basketball game. It was the fourth time she was in danger of being cut. But success is the best revenge, and she scored her second Quickfire Challenge victory last week and had one of the better dishes during the Elimination Challenge, earning high marks for the fourth time.
*Kelsey Barnard Clark – The “Gulf Southern” chef from Dothan, Alabama, runs her own restaurant and catering company, KBC. She has yet to win a Quickfire Challenge but won the boathouse party Elimination Challenge while scoring low three times and high twice. If you ask me, she might be the next to say bye-bye.
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*Michelle Minori – The Bay-area chef was named 2017’s “Rising Chef Star” by the San Francisco Chronicle when she was the executive chef at Barzotto. But she has since gone off on her own. She won the Quickfire Challenge during Restaurant Wars. As for Elimination Challenges, she scored low twice and won one of the more difficult cooking tests that required a music-inspired dish. She was inspired by her father’s love of The Beatles and made red snapper with a corn ragout. Judge Tom Colicchio called it the best dish he has had all season. But her undercooked sweet and sour ribs got her eliminated during a basketball-themed challenge. Luckily, her dishes in “Last Chance Kitchen” allowed her to re-enter the “Top Chef” arena.
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*Justin Sutherland – The owner and executive chef for two Minneapolis-area restaurants recently competed and won on “Iron Chef America.” His journey on “Top Chef” has had its ups and downs so far. He has won two Quickfire Challenges and was one of the high scorers in two Elimination Challenges but has been in the low group twice, including last week.
*Adrienne Wright – One of two Boston-based chefs (her fellow Beantown cook, Brian Young, was cut in episode 8) has been on the high side of four Elimination Challenges although the executive chef who oversees four eateries has yet to win one. She did triumph on the Quickfire Challenge on episode 9, held at the Grand Ole Opry, pleasing the palate of country music star Hunter Hayes with her filet mignon, Cajun spiced corn, roasted pepper puree and fennel salad.
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