Next Level Chef Episode 11: Next Level Finale

NEXT LEVEL CHEF: L-R: Contestants Mariah, Reuel and Stephanie in the “The Final Level” episode of NEXT LEVEL CHEF airing Wednesday, March 2 (8:00-9:00 ET/PT) on FOX © 2022 FOX Media LLC. CR: FOX.
NEXT LEVEL CHEF: L-R: Contestants Mariah, Reuel and Stephanie in the “The Final Level” episode of NEXT LEVEL CHEF airing Wednesday, March 2 (8:00-9:00 ET/PT) on FOX © 2022 FOX Media LLC. CR: FOX. /

The Next Level Chef finale has arrived. The journey for Pyet, Reuel and Mariah is about to come to an end with one being named the Next Level Chef and winning the quarter of a million dollar prize and a year of mentorship from Nyesha Arrington, Richard Blais and Gordon Ramsay.

However, achieving that victory will be anything but easy. For the finale, each chef will have to cook in each of the three levels, an appetizer in The Basement, a fish course in the Middle Kitchen and then a main course that has to include a protein in the Top Level.

But it gets better. Each chef has a total of 90 minutes to cook all three courses, but how much time they spend on each individual course is entirely up to them. The faster they complete the appetizer and fish courses, the more time they can spend on the all important main course.

Which means the clock will be at the forefront of each of their minds as the chefs try to create a three-course meal that has flavors that compliment each other. It’s tricky task, one that derailed one chef very early in the finale.

Who won the finale and the mentorships on Season 1 of Next Level Chef?

From the moment the appetizer course started, Reuel was obsessed with finishing as fast as possible. He decided to make a fairly simple dish that included steamed clams with chorizo. While the judges enjoyed it, they definitely felt it didn’t hit the ball out of the park. Unlike Pyet and her pork filled empanadas. All three judges were just blown away by the flavors and that she could make empanada dough from scratch.

It was obvious that Pyet had won the appetizer level but unfortunately her hot streak didn’t continue into the seafood course. They enjoyed her striped bass with sweet potato puree but because she burned the chili oil she was preparing, it didn’t have that extra something that would push it over the edge.

Mariah’s pan seared snapper in broth was a hit with all three judges but much like in the appetizer level, it didn’t help her to stand apart from Reuel, whose cod was all anyone could talk about. Unfortunately for Mariah, it was looking like unless she could pull off an amazing main course, the title of Next Level Chef was between Pyet and Reuel.

Going into the main course, Reuel had a lead of over 15 minutes over Pyet and Mariah. It gave him plenty of time to pick whatever ingredients he wanted while the other two chefs could only stand and watch.

Reuel finally went with a rib cap with a demi-glace and pomme soufflé. Ask any cook and they will tell you pomme soufflé is incredibly difficult to get right, so he was obviously swinging for the fences. Mariah went with a herb crusted fillet mignon and potatoes while Pyet decided on trying to cook a rack of lamb in under 30 minutes. Talk about gutsy.

In the end, each of the chefs did themselves and their original mentors proud. All three main courses has some minor issues but nothing that stood out. Somehow Pyet got her lamb cooked perfectly which astounded all three of the judges and both Reuel and Mariah presented beautiful dishes.

That said, there could only be one winner. And after what seemed like an agonizing thought process and going over each of the three courses in minute detail, the judges came to their decision. The first ever Next Level Chef and winner of the grand prize and mentorships was Pyet.

And she more than deserved it. In each of her dishes and over the course of the series she pushed herself out of her comfort zone and didn’t play it safe, which is the definition of what a next level chef is supposed to do. To their credit, Mariah and Reuel made trying to figure out who would win almost impossible.

Keep your eye out for Pyet. We have a funny feeling you haven’t seen the last of her. Not by a long shot.

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So what did you think of the finale of Next Level Chef, or the series on the whole? Will you be watching Season 2? Leave a comment below and let us know or join the conversation on our Twitter and Facebook pages.