On Sunday, Tournament of Champions IV will make its long awaited return to Food Network. Guy Fieri has once again assembled 32 of the best chefs in the country and will pit them against each other (and the dreaded Randomizer) in a lose and go home bracket style format.
Unlike the previous three seasons, the chefs who are competing and where they are seeded on the bracket have already been revealed. This season sees 14 brand new faces enter the competition as well 18 returning favorites.
However, Brooke Williamson will not be among them. The first Tournament of Champions winner and three-time West Coast Champion will not be taking part this season.
And while that may one of the reasons for how this year’s bracket broke down, it doesn’t explain why the seeding, which was always subjective, is such a mess this season. Where some chefs were seeded makes zero sense while others deserved a much better position.
Tournament of Champions IV premieres on Food Network February 19.
First off, in what universe does Antonia Lofaso deserve a No. 1 seed? Jet Tila, sure. He has shown how good he is year after year, but Lofaso? In Season 2 she didn’t make it to the quarter finals and last year she was bounced by Joe Sasto in the first round. Not No. 1 seed material.
Then in the East Coast you have Tobias Dorzon as the No. 1 seed along with Season 3 winner Tiffani Faison. Now, according to the rules set forth by Fieri, the four semifinalists from the previous tournament are automatically the No. 1 seeds the following season.
Which is fine. But that means Maneet Chauhan comes in as a No. 2 seed. Which considering she won Season 2 makes no sense whatsoever. Shouldn’t a former winner be a No. 1 seed? Especially over a chef who has only competed once and had to be talked down by Fieri before he could continue?
The bracket has Jose Garces, a first time Tournament of Champions competitor, as a No. 2 seed which seems ridiculously generous. Yes he’s a Iron Chef but c’mon. The same can be said about the other new Iron Chef Stephanie Izard being seeded a No. 3.
The list goes on and on. Graham Elliot, another first timer, a No. 3 seed while Darnell Ferguson a No. 4? Brian Malarkey a No. 4 seed? It makes no sense.
Now I fully realize that this is a reality television series and that the seeding is based more on likely match-ups and bringing in ratings. That being said, Guy Fieri has always called Tournament of Champions the greatest culinary competition in the world. If that’s the case the seeding should reflect that.
Bracketology is an actual science. Just ask the folks who run the Men’s and Women’s NCAA Basketball Tournaments. It might be time to bring in some people who know about this stuff instead of leaving it to Fieri and his son if they want Tournament of Champions to be taken more seriously.