Tournament of Champions S2: Where is Alex Guarnaschelli?

Competitor Alex Guarnaschelli, as seen on Tournament of Champions, Season 1. photo provided by Food Network
Competitor Alex Guarnaschelli, as seen on Tournament of Champions, Season 1. photo provided by Food Network /

The second season of Food Network‘s Tournament of Champions looks like it should be just as exciting for fans of food TV as Season 1. The contestants have officially been revealed and it is a healthy mix of returning chefs from the first season and new faces ready to throw down.

However, one name was noticeably absent from the line-up, one that many would have thought would have been an almost guarantee to be included. A chef that you would have to assume would want a chance to redeem herself and show what happened in Season 1 was a fluke.

Chef Alex Guarnaschelli‘s name was nowhere to be seen in the Season 2 announcement. Which when you remember what happened last year, seems both odd yet also not entirely surprising.

For those that may need a recap, Guarnaschelli came into Season 1 of Tournament of Champions as the odds on favorite to win the whole thing. She was the No. 1 seed in the East Coast bracket and many would have bet money that it would have been her and Antonia Lofaso, the No. 1 seed in the West, to meet in the finals.

Instead, Lofaso lost in the semifinals to eventual winner Brooke Williamson and Guarnaschelli was sent home in the first round by up and comer Darnell Ferguson. She lost by a single point but it might as well have been 100 as far as the fans were concerned.

It was a humiliating loss for a chef who was (and still is) greatly feared in cooking competitions and could normally intimidate an opponent with just a look.

Why Guarnaschelli lost could be why she passed on Tournament of Champions S2.

So why did Guarnaschelli lose? Many foodies and fans came to the same conclusion that it had to do with the judging format for Tournament of Champions. The judging was done completely blind with the judges not even knowing who was competing beforehand. With the fact she was the “Great and Powerful” Alex Guarnaschelli taken out of the equation, it came down to the food and only the food. And hers just wasn’t good enough.

Since the judging will be the same for Season 2, one has to assume that Guarnaschelli felt it just wasn’t worth the risk that she could lose in the first round again. In addition, she would have to win the whole thing if she really wanted to show that her Season 1 exit was not an accurate indication of her talents in the kitchen.

Any other result would be another massive blow not only to her image but her ego as well. And as everyone knows, chefs in general live and die by their ego, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing.

Of course, since the contestants for the play-in tournament haven’t been announced, there is the possibility she could be one of those four chefs. But considering this is Alex Guarnaschelli we’re talking about, that seems very doubtful.

It would appear that Guarnaschelli will be quite content to watch the Season 2 tournament play out from home like the rest of us. Now Season 3? Well, we’ll have to wait and see.

Next. The idea of an all-vegetarian season of Top Chef is stupid. dark

What do you think Guilty Eats Nation? Do you think Tournament of Champions Season 2 will be the same without Alex Guarnaschelli? Do you think she should have competed? Leave a comment below and let us know or join the conversation on our Twitter page.