Tournament of Champions II: Why we love the Williamson/Voltaggio rivalry

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

This past Sunday Tournament of Champions II saw the first ever rematch in the brief history of the series. Current champion and No. 1 seed Brooke Williamson took on fellow West Coast chef and No. 5 seed Michael Voltaggio in the first battle of the semi-finals.

And while Williamson would eventually come out on top after a now globalized Randomizer gave them duck breast, bamboo, a takoyaki pan and Latin America, she didn’t win by much with a final score of 91 to 88.

It could be argued that Voltaggio deserved the victory more seeing as he used the takoyaki pan as it was intended and his dish was far more adventurous than what Williamson offered. But after the Amanda Freitag upset, no one should be surprised anymore by what the judges decide.

That all being said, no matter which chef you were rooting for, the best part of the battle was seeing the burgeoning rivalry that is growing between Williamson and Voltaggio. Both chefs looked like they were out for blood and they both cooked with an intensity you haven’t seen yet on the competition during either season.

Tournament of Champions really needs more rivalries like this.

Watching the chefs cook you couldn’t help but be reminded of the now infamous rivalry between Iron Chefs Bobby Flay and Masaharu Morimoto. The two chefs duked it out several times over the years and there was never any love lost between the two men, with Morimoto at one point saying Flay wasn’t a “real chef.”

While the Williamson/Voltaggio rivalry isn’t nearly that heated, it was still a great thing to see on Tournament of Champions. Cooking competition shows need rivalries and grudge matches like it to make for compelling and interesting television. We know the chefs are all friends, but a little trash talk and maybe some wounded pride never hurt anyone.

We won’t have to wait long to see if another rivalry could be in the making. On Sunday No. 2 seed Maneet Chauhan will once again face No. 3 seed Christian Petroni. Last season it was Chauhan who sent Petroni home in the semifinals and it could very well happen again. We could be watching yet another rivalry taking shape, which would not be a bad thing.

In any case, one can only hope that during the third season of Tournament of Champions Williamson and Voltaggio will face each other and the Randomizer once again. That’s a battle any foodie worth their Instagram account would love to see.

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What do you think Guilty Eats Nation? Do you like it when chefs go at each other or do you prefer when everyone holds hands and sings kumbaya? Leave a comment below and let us know or join the conversation on our Twitter page.