Tournament of Champions III: Battle Recap – Week 4

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

Guy Fieri promised that everything about Tournament of Champions III would be bigger and bolder and as the first round comes to a close, he has certainly proved his point. From a string of upsets to battles that were way closer then anyone saw coming, this season has been anything but predictable.

Week 4 saw the last eight chefs compete for the final four spots left in the Super Sixteen. They include a No. 1 seed, a bunch of newcomers, a tournament seasoned veteran and two chefs that have never made it past Round 1.

And if you thought the upsets were over after last week’s pair of shockers, you would be wrong. Week 4 only further demonstrated that the new kids on the block came to play and they ain’t taking prisoners.

This week the judging panel included a trio of culinary legends and one of the most impressive Fieri has assembled yet. Latin superstar chef Lorena Garcia and food legend Eric Ripert return from last week and they are joined by none other than the one and only Jonathan Waxman.

Battle 1
No. 2 seed Christian Petroni vs No. 7 seed Tobias Dorzon
Randomizer: Strip Steak/Parsley/Cookie Cutter/Blackened/30 Minutes

From the East Coast B bracket we have Tournament of Champions mainstay Petroni going up against frequent Guy’s Grocery Games winner Dorzon. Petroni has made it out of the first round in the previous two seasons only to be sent home by Maneet Chauhan so he might have been already looking past the first round to an eventual rematch.

Which could have proven to be his downfall. Dorzon is an executive chef in of all things, a high end steak house so he knew exactly what dish he wanted to make. Petroni was a bit all over the place and quickly lost track of time which resulted in being an issue when he started plating.

Dorzon made a Blackened Strip Steak with Fried Potatoes and a Chimichuri that included the parsley which he served in the cookie cutter. While the judges enjoyed the dish they felt there was too much steak and the use of the cookie cutter could have been better.

Meanwhile, Petroni’s Butter Poached Strip Steak and Frisee Salad with Blackened Mortadella was also a huge hit. However, due to losing track of time, the Parsley Salsa Verde he prepared never made it to the plate.

It resulted in Dorzon getting a one point 75-74 win. If Petroni had included the Salsa Verde there’s no question he would be moving on instead of going home.

Which chefs went home during Week 4 of Tournament of Champions III?

Battle 2
No. 3 seed Michael Psilakis vs No. 6 seed Einat Admony
Randomizer: Ground Veal/Tomatillos/Waffle Bowl Maker/Chewy/30 Minutes

This was actually the second time Food Network regular Psilakis and New York chef Admony had faced each other. The two battled on an episode of Beat Bobby Flay where Psilakis got the better of Admony.

However, neither chef had to figure out how to use a waffle bowl maker in their dish during that show. While Admony knew from the get go that she would be making falafel waffles Psilakis appeared stumped by the equipment the Randomizer gave him and was creating his dish as he prepared it.

Each chef figured out a way to incorporate the waffle maker which might have been the most surprising part of the battle. Eric Ripert seemed fascinated by the piece of equipment during the judging and had no clue what it was.

Admony’s Ground Veal and Raisin Falafel Waffle got a great overall reaction with all three judges complimenting the Tomatillo Sauce. Meanwhile the Broken Tortilla Bowl with Ground Veal made by Psilakis got an equally good reaction, however none of the chefs could find the tomatillos in his dish.

The lack of tomatillos caused Psilakis to see his dream of winning dashed as Admony got a
79-76 win and earned the second upset of the evening.

Battle 3
No. 4 seed Chris Cosentino vs No. 5 seed Elizabeth Falkner
Randomizer: Lamb Loin/Green Beans/Brick/Nutty/30 Minutes

This marks Falkner’s third time on Tournament of Champions, having lost in Round 1 during the first season and then not making it out of last year’s play-in. Like Falkner, Cosentino also didn’t get out of the play-in last season, losing to Nyesha Arrington so both chefs were hungry for their first win.

The Randomizer was ridiculously kind to the chefs with one of the best list’s of requirements yet. Falkner seemed entirely laser focused on getting her first win, to the point where it felt like Justin Warner had to all but pry information about her dish from her.

Cosentino prepared a Smashed Lamb Loin with Haricots Verts and Napa Valley Salad that the judges enjoyed but had some issues with. The presentation was lacking and Garcia felt the “smashed” component was missing. Falkner’s Butter-Basted Lamb Loin with Green Bean Salad was also a hit but her lamb was ever so slightly underdone.

In the end Falkner utilized the Randomizer elements better and it got her a 84-80 victory and her first ever win on Tournament of Champions.

Main Event
No. 1 seed Jet Tila vs No. 8 seed Carlos Anthony
Randomizer: Bacon/Navel Oranges/Toaster/Flaky/30 Minutes

Tila shocked everyone last season when, after two tries, he defeated Antonia Lofaso and became the last member of the Final Four. This year he appears determined to show everyone that it wasn’t a fluke and earn the title. Standing in his way is Anthony, one of a new generation of chefs trying to shake things up.

After seeing what the Randomizer gave them, both chefs went in a breakfast direction. While Anthony decided to make something very traditional and tried to play to the Randomizer, Tila went with his strengths and made a Vietnamese dish called Banh Xeo, which are essentially Asian crepes.

Anthony’s Perfect Egg and Bacon with Radicchio Salad got rave reviews although Lorena Garcia remarked her egg wasn’t exactly perfect. In addition, they were having some problems finding the oranges in the dish.

They also had some problems finding the oranges in Tila’s Flaky Bacon Banh Xeo and Orange Nuoc Mam Cham Sauce. However, the flavors were off the charts with Jonathan Waxman praising the dish profusely. To the surprise of no one Tila got the win with a decisive 85-81 final score.

And with that Round 1 is over and the Super Sixteen are set to begin battle on Tournament of Champions III.

Next. New Food Network series Bake or Break arrives this April. dark

What did you think of Week 4 of Tournament of Champions III? Did it live up to the hype? Leave a comment below and let us know or join the conversation on our Twitter and Facebook pages.