‘Next Level Chef’ season 2 episode 7 recap: Who sinks and who swims in ‘Here Fishy, Fishy’? [UPDATING LIVE BLOG]

Tonight on “Next Level Chef,” contestants face a challenge that truly takes the competition to the next level. Chefs are alarmed when they learn the ins and outs of what it takes to make a next level fish dish. And, for the first time ever, when the platform comes down, it will not be stopping. Who will sink and who will swim in the all-new “Here Fishy, Fishy” episode of “Next Level Chef” airing Thursday, March 23 (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: 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”! The contestants needed to use their skills to cook an alcohol-based dish. When the platform dropped, each grabbed an alcohol and a protein and incorporated them within their meals. Preston’s rack of lamb with moonshine won over the judges and guaranteed Team Ramsay safety and the top kitchen in this week’s challenge. In the cook-off, Chris defeated April Clayton, sending the 39-year old home cook from Henerson, Tennessee packing. Chris also secured the middle kitchen for Team Blais in the next challenge, while Team Arrington 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 informs them that today they’ll be cooking with fish. The judges expect each contestant to filet their own fish, and give them a brief tutorial on how to properly cut various shapes and sizes. Gordon adds one more twist to this challenge: When the platform comes down, it will not be stopping. They’ll have to act faster than ever when grabbing their ingredients.

8:10 p.m. — The chefs have all assembled in their various kitchens. The platform begins to descend and it’s complete mayhem. Also, there are only three large fish – one for each level. The options are cod, halibut and salmon. Ramsay’s top kitchen grabs the salmon, Blais’ middle kitchen grabs the cod and Nyesha’s bottom kitchen gets the halibut. Next, each team will work together to break down their fish and share the meat. Pilar takes it upon herself to break down Team Arrington’s halibut herself — she’s comfortable with fish and worked as a sushi chef for a year. Seafood and fish are Pilar’s specialty. Up on Team Ramsay’s level, Tucker takes control since she has worked as a butcher. For Team Blais it’s Matt fileting the cod, but he seems to be struggling as he’s less comfortable with fish than Pilar or Tucker.

8:20 p.m. — Matt is absolutely butchering this cod and his team looks concerned. They’ll have to deal with what they have to work with. Thankfully, Chris steps in and saves them a bit, but it’s not ideal. Next, the platform descends again with more ingredients, including fruits and vegetables. This time the platform stops, and Vinny is thrilled with his grab of lemons, green onions and sweet potatoes. As everyone gets cooking, most people are looking pretty confident. If any team might be struggling more than others, it’s probably Team Blais.

8:30 p.m. — Just while everything was going smoothly, Matt knocks over an entire pan of pancetta, which could ruin his dish. He’ll have to throw it in the trash and figure something out. Meanwhile, Omi is struggling in the basement. Her fritters keep burning because the flame is so inconsistent in this janky kitchen. Finally she gets one that looks perfectly cooked. As time winds down, Matt is still struggling with a fish stuck to his pan. Richard tells him to just use the fryer. Upstairs, Gordon is worried Preston has overcomplicated his dish and it won’t be fully cooked. Finally it’s time to plate and everyone puts their finishing touches on each dish. The platform descends and this challenge is complete!

8:32 p.m. — It’s now time to taste each dish and Team Ramsay is up first. Vinny’s pan-seared salmon with sweet potato mash is “rushed” and lacks focus. Tucker’s pan-seared salmon is crisp and delicious. Michelle’s is “one of the most beautifully cooked salmons” Nyesha has ever tasted. Preston’s roasted salmon with purple cauliflower is raw and inedible. Yikes!

8:35 p.m. — Team Blais is up next, beginning with Chris’ curry-marinated, char-grilled cod collar. Gordon says it’s gutsy and an “absolute dream come true.” Tineke’s butter-basted cod filet has avocado mixed with the red wine sauce, which Gordon calls “a big no-no.” Mehreen’s pan-roasted cod filet with potato and seaweed sauce is “whimsical and imaginative.” Matt’s pan-fried cod filet and elderflower is “confusing.” It’s not cohesive at all.

8:38 p.m. — Team Arrington’s basement chefs are last, beginning with Nuri’s pan-roasted halibut with a potato puree. Gordon would like a better presentation and Richard thinks it’s too “restrained.” Pilar’s milk-poached halibut over vegetables is “moist” and “eye-catching.” Shay’s bread-crusted halibut over tomato sauce is flavorful and “cooked beautifully,” but Richard isn’t a fan of the presentation. Last up is Omi’s trio of halibut, which Gordon calls “delicious.” He adds the star is her fish cake. Richard feels like this is a personal dish and is impressed with the elegance.

8:45 p.m. — The judges deliberate privately and it’s clear the top two dishes belong to Chris and Omi. The worst of the night are obviously Preston, Vinny, Matt and Tineke. They make a decision and announce that the winner of tonight’s best dish is Omi! That means Team Arrington is safe and will take over the top level kitchen next week. Facing off in tonight’s elimination challenge will be Matt for Team Blais and Preston for Team Ramsay.

8:50 p.m. — In tonight’s elimination challenge, Matt and Preston will have 30 minutes to create a lobster dish. Preston is feeling defeated because he has only cooked a lobster once in his entire life. Matt feels confident. Richard and Gordon head backstage while Nyesha coaches these chefs through their face-off.

9:00 p.m. — Time has expired and it’s time for Gordon and Richard to do a blind taste test and eliminate the least impressive dish. Matt’s grilled lobster tail with caviar and pasta is “nailed” and the pasta is “cooked beautifully,” but the caviar is over the top. Preston’s lobster tortellini is “delicious” and the pasta is “absolutely transparent.” It’s a close contest, but Richard chooses to eliminate Preston’s dish. Gordon chooses to eliminate Matt’s dish. That means Nyesha must break the tie. She decides to send Matt home. That means Team Blais will be down in the basement next week and Preston has secured the middle kitchen for Team Ramsay. Matt leaves in tears, but says, “I’m proud of Preston.” Then Gordon announces the game is about to change and warns the contestants that the next challenge will be their toughest one yet. The team competition is over and everyone will now compete as individuals.

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