Top Chef: Gabe and Byron stand out from the crowd

TOP CHEF -- "Stumptown U.S.A." Episode 1806 -- Pictured: Gabe Erales -- (Photo by: David Moir/Bravo)
TOP CHEF -- "Stumptown U.S.A." Episode 1806 -- Pictured: Gabe Erales -- (Photo by: David Moir/Bravo) /

If you have been watching the new season of Top Chef from episode 1, you can be forgiven for thinking it should be subtitled The Sara and Shota Show. We predicted shortly after the premier that these two would be the ones to watch and neither has disappointed.

In fact, either Sara or Shota have won or come in second in almost every Elimination Challenge since the debut of Season 18. The only time either had any real issues was during the Drive-in challenge, and that was Shota more than Sara. So it seemed inevitable that in Episode 6 the two would team up and pull off another convincing victory, cementing their place at the top of the leaderboard.

That all being said, now that the lesser cheftestants have begun being sent to Last Chance Kitchen, there are a few chefs who are finally starting to stand out from the crowd. They are beginning to make a name for themselves and get noticed by the judges.

Both Gabe and Byron have received lots of compliments from the Judges’ Table and if Sara or Shota make a misstep, either might swoop in to take the top spot. Could either chef win the whole thing and become Top Chef? It might be unlikely but it could certainly happen.

Gabe and Byron have both impressed the Top Chef judges.

In Episode 5 Byron got some outstanding compliments from the judges. During the drive-in Elimination Challenge, he served Korean fried chicken that was a huge hit with everyone. It was such a huge hit that his dish was voted the favorite of the night and he won a cool $10,000.

While Byron plays by the rules and has a fine-dining background, he is able to think on his feet and not get lost in his own head. While he faltered a bit in Elimination Challenge in Episode 6, that had more to do with being teamed up with Maria than anything else.

For Gabe, it was the opposite. His offering in Episode 5 was a disaster and the only reason he didn’t go home was that he was on the winning Green Team. However, it was obvious from the start of Episode 6 that he listened to the judges and learned from what they told him. Gabe rebounded in spectacular fashion, almost winning the Quickfire Challenge and coming in second in the surf and turf Elimination Challenge, teamed with Dawn.

While currently neither Byron nor Gabe are a serious threat to topple Sara or Shota from the summit of the Top Chef leaderboard, they are two cheftestants to watch. Things can change from week to week and it wouldn’t take much for anyone chef’s fortunes to go up or down in a big way.

Can any other chefs break from the pack and take the spotlight from our four leaders? That’s a really big if that will begin to be answered next Thursday as the Top 10 begin the road to the finale.

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What do you think Guilty Eats Nation? Do you think Gabe of Byron have a serious shot at winning Top Chef? Leave a comment below and let us know or join the conversation on our Twitter and Facebook pages.