Next Level Chef Episode 9: Next Level Fusion

NEXT LEVEL CHEF: Contestants in the “Fusion Confusion” episode of NEXT LEVEL CHEF airing Wednesday, Feb. 16 (9:00-10:00 ET/PT) on FOX © 2022 FOX Media LLC. CR: FOX.
NEXT LEVEL CHEF: Contestants in the “Fusion Confusion” episode of NEXT LEVEL CHEF airing Wednesday, Feb. 16 (9:00-10:00 ET/PT) on FOX © 2022 FOX Media LLC. CR: FOX. /

Going into Week 9 of Next Level Chef, there have been definite gaps between the chefs who have some professional experience, those who are home cooks and those who are so called social media chefs.

Overall the home cooks, such as Angie and Courtney, have been able to keep pace with the pros like Reuel and Mariah. Then you have chefs like Kenny and Tricia, who you have to wonder how exactly they made it this far on Next Level Chef. Because both have yet to really impress anyone.

However, Week 9 showed that the competition is anyone’s to win. Because while you can be on the top one week, all it takes is one lousy dish and you can tumble all the way to The Basement.

This week it was all about fusion cooking. The chefs had to grab two baskets off the Ingredient Platform, each representing the foods of a particular country. They then had to meld them together into not only a good tasting dish, but one that had cohesion and used the ingredients well.

Which chef went home this week on Next Level Chef?

Some chefs rose to the occasion, with Angie all but celebrating as she was able to mix German and Italian cuisine. Mariah again showed her fearlessness by fusing Mexico and Thailand and Pyet, who was in The Basement, grabbed Brazil and Israel and knew exactly what she wanted to do.

That confidence didn’t extend to everyone. Reuel, who had been one of the strongest competitors, seemed all but lost as he tried to fuse Japan and Spain. And of course Tricia was a mess the entire episode, trying to mix French and Greek foods.

Overall it was a terrible week for Tricia. She is the last of the social media chefs and as things have continued to go up levels, she seemed more and more like a fish our of water. She (once again) tried to set the kitchen on fire and the result was one of the best moments of the series so far.

Nyesha Arrington got in her face and told her point blank that Next Level Chef is about more than pretty pictures of food and threw the pan over the edge of the Middle Kitchen. It put an exclamation point on the difference between social media cooks and real chefs.

And things didn’t get any better for Tricia. Her roasted duck with a Béarnaise sauce got uniformly negative reviews. This despite Arrington warning Tricia repeatedly not to make a Béarnaise sauce due to it having too much fat. It was so bad that it landed her in the Elimination Challenge.

Kenny also ended up in the bottom (again) after his Chinese and Moroccan inspired pork fried cous cous didn’t work. They were joined by Reuel whose hamachi with Spanish seasoning didn’t wow anyone.

That meant that Gordon Ramsay‘s entire original team was headed into the Elimination Challenge, which he took a bit personally and accused the other judges of ganging up on him. It made for some tense, awkward moments and some great television.

For the Elimination Challenge the chefs had to fuse Korean and American Soul food, which is something that is near and dear to Chef Arrington’s heart. All three dishes looked amazing but as soon as Ramsay sliced into Tricia’s smoked rolled Korean egg and dipping sauce and realized the chicken thigh was raw, it was game over.

If we’re being honest, Tricia should have gone home long before now. She is a inventive cook but is nowhere near at the same level as someone who prepares meals every day. Cooking for social media is one thing, being a real chef is another.

Going into the semifinals next week it’s anyone’s game. Will Mariah’s hot streak continue? Can Angie stay on the Top Level? Will Kenny ever make it out of The Basement? We’ll find out next week.

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What did you think of this week’s episode of Next Level Chef? Did Tricia deserve to go home? Leave a comment below and let us know or join the conversation on our Twitter and Facebook pages.