Tonight on “Next Level Chef”: The game has changed completely as the teams have been terminated and, moving forward, each will compete as their individual self. When the platform drops, each person will grab a box with a country’s flag on it but will not know what’s inside their box. Each will be tasked to make the country’s signature dish, but they won’t know what it is until the competition begins. One chef’s dreams will come to an end in the all-new “Going Global” episode of “Next Level Chef” airing Thursday, March 30 (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.
SEE ‘Next Level Chef’ season 2 power rankings: Top 11 finalists ranked from worst to best
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, 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 a challenge that truly took the competition to the next level. Chefs were alarmed when they learned the ins and outs of what it takes to make a next level fish dish. Omi’s “delicious” trio of halibut won over the judges and guaranteed Team Arrington safety and the top kitchen in this week’s challenge. In the cook-off, Preston defeated Matt Groark, sending the 44-year social media chef from Erial, New Jersey packing. Preston also secured the middle kitchen for Team Ramsay in the next challenge, while Team Blais will head back to the basement. But will all of that change now that the teams will be dismantled? Let’s find out!
8:05 p.m. — The contestants gather in the studio and Gordon informs them that the team competition is over. The top 11 will now compete as individuals fighting to become the next level chef. Unfortunately for Tucker and Nuri, their immunity pins have also expired. For this week’s challenge, the top level kitchen will be closed. In order to determine who will cook in the middle and basement levels, the judges looked at everyone’s performances in the competition so far. Nyesha announces the top performers cooking on the middle level are Tineke, Pilar, Nuri, Tucker, Mehreen and Omi. That means that Shay, Chris, Michelle, Preston and Vinny will cook in the basement. Michelle is upset because she’s never had a bottom dish, but she’s never had a top dish either. It’s time to step up and prove herself.
8:07 p.m. — The challenge this week is called “Going Global.” Each chef will create their own take on a signature dish from a country around the world. When the platform comes down, there will be 11 boxes labeled with the name of a country, but they won’t know which dish they’re creating until they open the box. Nyesha and Gordon will mentor the middle floor while Richard watches over the basement chefs.
8:15 p.m. — On the middle level chefs grabbed Spain (Tineke), Jamaica (Pilar), Italy (Tucker), India (Omi), Lebanon (Mehreen) and Thailand (Nuri). The bottom kitchen chefs snag Canada (Michelle), Sweden (Vinny), Austria (Shay), Greece (Chris) and Morocco (Preston). Their 40 minutes starts now! Omi is crushed that Tineke was able to grapple Spain away from her because she was hoping to cook paella, and that is indeed what Tineke has drawn, despite having no idea what it is. Meanwhile, Vinny knows little about Swedish cuisine, but the Italian knows how to make a meatball, so Swedish meatballs it is!
8:30 p.m. — Nyesha can see who is a professional chef and who is a home cook based on how they organize their space. But it’s the pro Nuri who makes a huge mistake, hitting his stock pan with an elbow and sending it splashing to the ground. Nyesha tells him to calm down and take a breath, which seems to be his weakness as a chef. Next, Gordon introduces the mid-round mayhem. The platform descends again, this time delivering 11 ingredients that could enhance each chef’s dish. They can only grab one each. Nobody seems completely thrown off by this twist and the challenge has come to an end. Pilar looks more devastated than anyone, stating that “It just wasn’t my day. I’m so frustrated with myself, I want to cry.”
8:33 p.m. — It’s time for the judges to taste each of these global dishes. First up is the middle kitchen. Tucker’s veal parmesan has “delicious” flavor, but the pasta is “slightly too thin.” Richard compliments the “great use of truffle.” Nyesha calls it a “bold execution.” Mehreen’s lamb kebob isn’t quite a kebob, but a pot pie instead. Gordon calls it a “smart move” and says, “The flavors are there.” Tineke’s paella has “spot on” seasoning and the seafood is “cooked beautifully.” Pilar’s jerk red snapper “looks unfinished” and the rice needs more seasoning. Nyesha expected more. Nuri’s pad thai is “bloody hot.” Too spicy! Finally, Omi’s chicken tikka is “delicious,” “fragrant” and “floral.”
8:36 p.m. — Next up are the basement dishes. Vinny’s Swedish meatballs are too small and the lingonberries are much too tart. Michelle’s poutine is “elevated” and the “ribeye is cooked beautifully.” Nyesha loves the crispy fries. Chris’ lamb souvlaki has “really nice seasoning,” but the “lamb is a little bit too tough.” Shay’s pork schnitzel has beautifully seasoned protein and Richard loves the potatoes. Preston’s tagine has “strange flavors” and “it doesn’t feel Moroccan.”
8:45 p.m. — The judges deliberate and decide which chefs had the top and bottom dishes this week. They’re clearly most impressed by Omi, Tucker and Michelle. It sounds like Pilar, Nuri, Preston and Vinny are in trouble. Gordon announces that the three chefs who earned the right to cook in the top level next week are Omi, Tucker and Michelle. The three chefs moving to the basement are Pilar, Vinny and Preston. But before they cook next week, they’ll have to face elimination tonight. That means the middle kitchen next week will consist of Tineke, Nuri, Shay, Mehreen and Chris.
8:55 p.m. — For their elimination challenge, Pilar, Preston and Vinny will cook a classic French dish — duck a l’orange. They have 30 minutes to create a next level duck dish. Gordon will oversee this face-off while Richard and Nyesha sit back and wait for the blind taste test. Everyone completes the task at hand and will now learn their fate.
9:00 p.m. — Nyesha and Richard both taste each dish up for elimination. They call Pilar’s “beautifully modern” and Richard loves “the control on the sauce.” Nyesha says Preston’s duck is drowning in sauce and it’s “a little bit sweet.” She says Vinny’s dish is “straightforward, honest and really beautiful.” Richard thinks the cream is “weird,” but likes the flavor. Ultimately, both of them choose Preston’s dish for elimination, which means the 19-year old professional chef from Dallas will go home in 11th place. That’s a wrap for tonight.
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