16. Justin Warner
I think the trickiest thing when coming up with a bracket of chefs is finding a way to appropriately rank them while also considering that anyone who has competed on Food Network is at the top of their field. In the case of Justin Warner, he is certainly an accomplished chef (he won the eighth season of The Next Food Network Star, he has competed and won on Guy’s Grocery Games and has authored a cook book.
That said, Warner just doesn’t have the same Food Network star power as some of the other chefs that I’m going to list in this ranking. If he was an Iron Chef, if he had competed on even more head-to-head Food Network programming or anything else then chances are I’d have him ranked higher on this list.
Not a slight, just the way it rolls in “Flavortown”.
15. Aarti Sequeira
Much like Justin Warner, Aarti’s bid for a higher position in my ranking falls short due to her limited experience on head-to-head competitions outside of Triple G.
When it comes to the difference between Sequeira and Warner, as far as 16 v. 15 in the rankings, both have a valid case to be ahead of each other. They’ve both won their respective season of The Next Food Network Star and have won multiple episodes on Grocery Games. However, the reason I decided to go with Sequeira at 15 rather than 16 is because of her experience with spices and ethnic cuisines (after all, she is affectionately referred to as “The Spice Queen” by Guy Fieri).
Think of it as a knuckleballer in baseball, someone who is going to bring a little bit of different flavor and ability to the competition. That sort of “off-speed pitch” could prove impactful when it comes to impressive judges in a competition.