‘Next Level Chef’ season 2 episode 4 recap: Who went home in ‘Rice Guys Finish Last’? [LIVE BLOG]

Tonight on “Next Level Chef,” the contestants are challenged to make a dish from the most popular cuisine across the United States. They will have 45-minutes to create a next level Chinese-inspired dish. Which team will take the top kitchen and who will be eliminated in the all-new “Rice Guys Finish Last” episode of “Next Level Chef” airing Thursday, March 2 (8:00-9:01 PM ET/PT) on FOX. Follow our live blog below for a full recap.

Joined by two elite names in the food world, chefs Nyesha Arrington and Richard Blais, Gordon Ramsay and his co-mentors leave no stone unturned, as they’ve scoured the country and hand-picked the best home cooks, social media chefs and professional chefs who will be on each of their teams. The winner will receive a $250,000 prize and a one-year mentorship.

Here is the remaining roster of contestants (or scroll through the gallery above for more info on each chef):

Team Arrington: April Clayton, Nuri Muhammad, Omi Hopper, Pilar Moega, Shay Spence

Team Blais: Christopher Spinosa, Matt Groark, Mehreen Karim, Tineke Younger

Team Ramsay: Cassie Yeung, Mark McMillian, Michelle Calcgni, Preston Nguyen, Tucker Ricchio, Vinny Alia

SEE Everything to know about Gordan Ramsay’s ‘Next Level Chef 2’: Meet the 18 chef-testants competing

8:00 p.m.Previously on “Next Level Chef”! Contestants were tasked with taking a humble sandwich and making it an upscale, “Next Level Sandwich.” All the ingredients packed between pieces of bread were expected to be loaded with flavor and look like a thing of beauty. Nuri won the challenge for Team Arrington. In the cook-off, Vinny defeated Darryl Taylor, sending the 52-year old professional chef from Memphis packing. Vinny also secured the middle kitchen for Team Ramsay in the next challenge, while Team Blais will head back to the basement. But enough about last week. Let’s find out who makes the best Chinese dish!

8:05 p.m. — The contestants are welcomed back to the studio and Richard warns his team they are down to four and cooking from the basement today. Gordon gloats that his entire team is still intact, but they’ll be in the middle kitchen. Team Arrington will be on the top level for the first time this season, thanks to Nuri’s winning dish last week. Gordon tells everyone that in today’s challenge they have 45 minutes to come up with a Next Level Chinese dish. Nobody is more excited about this than Cassie, who has struggled the last two challenges but feels this is her time to shine. Teams head up (or down) to their kitchens and it’s time to get cookin’!

8:08 p.m. — In a spotlight on Omi, we learn a bit more about this Puerto Rican social media chef who know lives in Rhode Island. She has four boys and a husband and Omi learned to cook from her grandmother. Her extensive social media reach makes her feel like she’s making an impact on her community, and even though she’s not professionally trained, she cooks with love. Meanwhile, Chris is getting HEATED on the elevator, swearing up a storm and vowing that nobody from Team Blais will go home tonight. Next we learn a little more about Matt, a high school teacher who is also a social media chef on the weekends with over 5 million followers. His specialty is grilling and barbecuing, which stems from tailgating at Philadelphia Eagles games. Everything Matt has learned was in his backyard, but at the end of the day, it’s all about flavor!

8:10 p.m. — The platform descends and each floor will grab ingredients as quickly as possible. Team Arrington has never had this many choices before and they seem a bit overwhelmed, struggling to find basics like rice and garlic. On the middle level, Cassie can’t believe her luck when she sees the quantity of Chinese flavors and sauces available to her. But before she knows it, the platform leaves before she ever decided on a protein. Come on, Cassie! Down in the basement, Chris is another chef that will be cooking without protein this challenge. Vegetarian it is!

8:25 p.m. — Cassie has a stroke of luck when an entire fish falls on the ledge of the middle floor’s platform. She carefully picks it up and breathes a sigh of relief while Chris watches in agony beneath her. On Team Arrington, we learn a bit more about Pilar, a private executive chef in Los Angeles. Everyone in her family cooks and she grew up around a lot of soul food and barbecue. She’s cooked for Wolfgang Puck at the Oscars and Emmys ceremonies and seems ready to put her stamp on this competition. Down on Team Blais we get an update on Chris, who is a professional chef from West Palm Beach, Florida. Growing up, he was a very shy band geek. After college he went to a culinary school in New York City. His colleagues have described him as an “absolute psycho” but still praise his cooking.

8:30 p.m. — It’s time for some mid-round mayhem! The platform heads down each floor carrying 15 types of ginger. Everyone must incorporate ginger into their dish. Some contestants notice a gift of scallions also on the platform. Next, time winds down and each chef begins to plate their dish and place it on the platform. Or, in Shay’s case, throw it on the platform. His dish looks like a total mess, but that’s a wrap! It’s time for the judges to taste everything.

8:34 p.m. — Team Arrington is up first. Shay’s presentation is terrible, but his duck is “cooked beautifully.” Nuri’s stir-fry with steamed fish has “delicious” noodles, but Richard doesn’t think the fish was cooked long enough. April’s sweet and sour chicken has “packed flavor” and it’s “delicious.” Omi’s pork and shrimp stir-fry “looks like an expensive dish.” Pilar’s Mongolian beef “is on a different level.”

8:37 p.m. — Next is Team Ramsay’s level. Mark’s marinated sea bass is “barely cooked at best” and “doesn’t read Chinese.” Preston’s pork belly with lamb neck has nice “citrus notes” and is a “fine dining dish.” Tucker’s pork chop is “cooked perfectly” and “visually outstanding.” Michelle’s ground pork inside mushrooms needs more to “bind it” but it has a “fine dining presentation.” Vinny’s flank steak is “bold” and the beef is “nailed.” Cassie’s “lucky fish” dish has beautiful handmade noodles and “packs so much flavor.”

8:40 p.m. — Team Blais is last and Tineke’s frogs legs are “phenomenal.” Mehreen’s chili broth with crispy squid “looks breathtaking” and “perfectly cooked.” Matt’s cod cheek and tofu fried rice has an “embarrassing” presentation and blows out Nyesha’s palate. Chris’ vegetable fried rice has “delicious” eggplant, but the rice is undercooked.

8:45 p.m. — The judges deliberate. It seems clear that Cassie, Pilar and Tineke made the best dishes of the night. Receiving tough criticism are Mark, Matt and Shay. The judges return and Gordon announces that the best dish of the night belongs to Pilar! She has won Team Arrington safety and a second week on the top level. Next, Gordon puts Mark into elimination. Richard chooses to put Matt on the chopping block. Matt chooses to use his immunity pin and save himself from elimination. That means Richard must pick someone else — so he goes with Chris.

8:47 p.m. — Mark and Chris will now face off in the elimination. Nyesha informs them they each have 30 minutes to make their own versions of an international dumpling. Time starts now!

9:00 p.m. — Time has expired. Gordon and Richard return to judge these dumplings and have no idea which chef cooked which dish. They will each choose the best dumpling dish, which will lead to the elimination of the losing chef. They describe Chris’ as “cooked beautifully,” but “a little bland.” Mark’s is “wholesome” and “looks inviting.” Ultimately, Richard chooses to eliminate Mark’s dish because there are “large bits” of chunky onions. Gordon eliminates Mark’s dumpling as well because a bit of water had seeped in.

9:01 p.m. — Mark has become the fourth cook eliminated from “Next Level Chef.” This will send Team Ramsay into the basement for the first time next week. Team Blais will be in the middle and Team Arrington will be on top for the second week in a row.

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