Tonight on “Next Level Chef,” competitors will need to use skill to cook an alcohol-based dish. When the platform drops, each will grab an alcohol and a protein and incorporate it among their dishes. One chef’s spirits will not be lifted when they are eliminated in the all-new “Sugar and Tea and Rum” episode of “Next Level Chef” airing Thursday, March 16 (8:00-9:00 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: 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 faced the most difficult test of the season when challenged to cook with game meat such as wild boar and elk. Mehreen’s duck breast won over the judges and guaranteed Team Blais safety and the top kitchen in this week’s challenge. In the cook-off, Shay defeated Cassie Yeung, sending the 28-year old social media chef from South Brunswick, New Jersey packing. Shay also secured the middle kitchen for Team Arrington in the next challenge, while Team Ramsay will head back to the basement. But enough about last week. Let’s find out who has the best game!
8:05 p.m. — The chefs enter the studio and Gordon introduces them to a special guest, Irish singer Nathan Evans. He sings that they’ll be infusing a dish with booze and “a next level plate is what you want or to the cook-off you’ll go!” When the platform descends, each chef will grab a protein and some form of alcohol to incorporate into their dish. Off to the kitchens they go!
8:10 p.m. — Matt is disappointed with his grab of port wine on the top floor, since he was hoping to cook some short ribs with red wine. On the middle floor, April finally gets aggressive, snagging a hanger steak and whiskey. In the basement, Tucker can’t believe she got a filet mignon. Nobody looks like they’re in too rough of shape at this point, but Gordon seems slightly concerned about Michelle’s swordfish pairing with a dry sherry.
8:25 p.m. — Richard seems disappointed that Mehreen picked chicken tenders — not a next level dish for someone on the top level. Meanwhile, Matt forgot his potatoes and has very little vegetables to go with his steak. Richard tells him to calm down, you don’t need a starch on every plate. “This isn’t 1978!” Down in the basement, Gordon is impressed with Preston’s delicious gnocchi made from instant mash. The 19-year old doesn’t have experience with alcohol though, so how will he incorporate it? Next, it’s time for mid-round mayhem, which is a starch! Matt is thrilled because he thinks he’s about to get potatoes, but everyone gets plantains instead. This thrills Omi, who uses them all the town in her Puerto Rican cuisine.
8:30 p.m. — April is completely flustered over this plantain surprise. Nyesha tells her to figure it out or she’s going to be on the chopping block. As time winds down, Michelle finally throws her swordfish in the pan and realizes it’s not hot enough. It’s a disaster. Hopefully she can cook it through in time. Time expires and the platform rises up each level. Everyone gets their plate on the platform, but as it rises above him, Chris realizes he forgot to put his sauce over his dish. “You just bought and punched your ticket right into elimination,” he says to himself.
8:34 p.m. — Team Ramsay’s basement dishes will be tasted first. Preston’s rack of lamb with moonshine is complex with “fantastic”gnocchi. Vinny’s baby scallops is beautifully plated and packed with flavor. Michelle’s swordfish is “absolutely phenomenal.” Tucker’s filet mignon with caramelized rum is “cooked great” and “an amazing way to elevate plantains.”
8:37 p.m. — Next is Team Arrington, starting with April’s hanger steak with Scotch whiskey. The steak is overcooked and feels “lazy” to crumble plantain over the top. “It’s not a cohesive dish,” says Richard. Omi’s bass is “cooked beautifully” but Richard can’t taste the sauce. Pilar’s cornish game hen with brandy is “delicious” and Gordon says she “plates like an angel.” Nuri’s Spanish prawns with tequila is “beautiful” and “a really smart choice.” Lastly, Shay’s halibut with sake has a delicious puree, but Richard thinks “it looks like a meal kit.”
8:40 p.m. — Time for Team Blais’ top floor dishes. Mehreen’s hand-made pasta is “magic.” Tineke’s smoked pork chop with a bourbon glaze is “fresh” and a “beautiful” combination. Matt’s ribeye with port wine sauce has “dull” plantains and a little over-peppered. Chris’ pan-roasted salmon was “nailed” but the sauce was sadly forgotten.
8:45 p.m. — The judges deliberate and agree that Preston, Pilar and Mehreen had the top dishes. April, Matt and Chris land at the bottom. Chris is only there because he forgot that sauce. Now, it’s time for the judges to announce who won and who will face each other in the cook-off. The winning dish of the night belongs to Preston! That will move Team Ramsay from the basement to the top kitchen next week and keep everyone safe tonight. Heading into the cook-off will be April from Team Nyesha and Chris from Team Blais. April had issues with her ingredients and Chris simply failed the assignment by not getting alcohol on the plate.
8:50 p.m. — Chris and April will each prepare their own elevated take on fish and chips. As Nyesha and Richard head backstage, Gordon stays to help coach them through this cook-off. They have 30 minutes. The time starts now!
9:00 p.m. — With the cook-off complete, Nyesha and Richard return to blind taste each dish. Both are great, modern takes on fish and chips. Nyesha eliminates April’s, saying the batter was soggy. Richard eliminates April’s dish as well. April has become the sixth chef eliminated from this season of “Next Level Chef.” April calls the experience, “Way more than I ever expected.” Everyone cries as this season’s “Southern belle” leaves the kitchen. This means Team Blais will be in the middle kitchen next week and Team Arrington will be in the basement.
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