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TOURNAMENT OF CHAMPIONS II: Let the main competition begin

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Let’s update you on the East Coast Wild Card play-in and the first round of the main competition...

My apologies for missing a week, but we’ll get you updated and up-to-speed quickly!

If you don’t watch the show and missed my first installment for Season 2, you can check that out here:

TOURNAMENT OF CHAMPIONS: Guy Fieri brings a fantastic show back for Season 2

Following the West Coast Wild Card play-in, the East Coast had its turn, featuring our first “repeat” contestant (Elizabeth Falkner). All wild card matches are 30 minutes, so the “Randomizer” is reduced to just four determinations:

  • Protein
  • Produce
  • Equipment
  • Style

And for our first match between Cliff Crooks and Tiffani Faison, the “Wheel of Satan” dropped some early nonsense and Faison had the “Randomizer Reaction of the Night” when Guy Fieri asked “What are you making?”

In the end I couldn’t really get a handle on what either made that would make sense in English, but Faison advanced rather easily with the highest score so far despite the fact that the judges seemed to give some contradictory indications of what they preferred.

Up next was Elizabeth Falkner vs Bobby Marcotte. The Randomizer gave them:

Fieri was right, this was one of the easier offerings and neither did well.

It was now Fiason vs Falkner for the #8 seed in the East, and the “Randomizer” gave them:

Falkner reminds everyone (and yes, I misspelled her name all night long):

With the panini press and hot lunch involved both went for panini-style sandwiches and again the judges' comments felt a bit misleading:

With the wild card spots decided, it was time for the main event to get underway.

It’s tough to see because of the Food Network’s Chiron, but the #2 seed in the East is Maneet Chauhan. The vast majority are returning competitors, including Antonia Lofaso who lost in the West finals to Williamson last season. My favorite is Darnell Ferguson in the East, who I thought would go all the way last season except for he failed to “plate” one of the Randomizer requirements in his Elite Eight matchup after pulling off the 8/1 upset in the first round.

The first night for the main brackets featured three matchups, one in the East and two in the West, with the marquee battle featuring the defending champ, Brooke Williamson, against the West wild card winner Nyesha Arrington.

First up:

Had it not been for a later response to the Randomizer, this would have been the “Randomizer Reaction of the Night”...

Again, hard to get a handle on the dishes although the chefs navigated it pretty well. I’ll also add this...one of the emerging storylines is the judges’ “fine line” between too much seasoning and not enough seasoning. Reared its head a couple of times on this night, even overshadowing improperly cooked meat:

Match #2 would feature a 4/5 pairing of two returning competitors, the aforementioned Ferguson and Marc Murphy, both providing us with our “Randomizer Reaction of the Night”...

The “bad matchup” in this one was the fryer, as Murphy’s culinary style is not suited to that, and it ultimately decided the outcome. Ferguson obviously fried his catfish, while Murphy “pan-seared” his and only fried some capers as a garnish. The judges absolutely noticed that as #4 moved on:

As previously mentioned, the last matchup of the evening brought us Season 1 defending champion Brooke Williamson against newcomer and West Coast wild card winner Nyesha “The Ninja” Arrington, and HOLY SHIT THE RANDOMIZER IS DRUNK:

Even Fieri was astonished at the “30 Minutes” involving lamb chops, and even the judges seemed to have a bit of consideration for what was almost an impossible task. “Tamis” is just a fancy word for a very tightly woven strainer.

Both chefs went with similar preps for the lamb chops as again they had little choice in the matter due to the time, but both dishes were outstanding. Thought the judges were a bit harsh on Arrington’s meal, but in the end the returning champ showed why she will be really hard to beat:

Seriously, the judges literally walked out with the plates Williamson prepared.

That’s it for round 1, see you for the next update!