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:
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:
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?”
"What are you making?"— @CowboysRFF Grandfather (@RobertW_OkSt) March 19, 2021
"Some sort of pea situation besides me peeing in my pants."
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.
This is gonna be close....— @CowboysRFF Grandfather (@RobertW_OkSt) March 19, 2021
Not that close and a little confusing based on the chefs comments. pic.twitter.com/wIGbLnbgJQ
Up next was Elizabeth Falkner vs Bobby Marcotte. The Randomizer gave them:
The Randomizer says...— @CowboysRFF Grandfather (@RobertW_OkSt) March 19, 2021
Guy says this is easy. pic.twitter.com/ALr7eoM4vy
Fieri was right, this was one of the easier offerings and neither did well.
Not great scores but it's about survive and advance... pic.twitter.com/TPPFqZjqDl— @CowboysRFF Grandfather (@RobertW_OkSt) March 19, 2021
It was now Fiason vs Falkner for the #8 seed in the East, and the “Randomizer” gave them:
The Randomizer says... pic.twitter.com/rSCUUzXrRr— @CowboysRFF Grandfather (@RobertW_OkSt) March 19, 2021
Falkner reminds everyone (and yes, I misspelled her name all night long):
"The Randomizer is not your friend."— @CowboysRFF Grandfather (@RobertW_OkSt) March 19, 2021
With the panini press and hot lunch involved both went for panini-style sandwiches and again the judges' comments felt a bit misleading:
The battle of the panini sandwiches goes to...— @CowboysRFF Grandfather (@RobertW_OkSt) March 19, 2021
Wow...not what I expected after the judges comments.
Faison is #8 in the East. pic.twitter.com/NNvgshDq8o
With the wild card spots decided, it was time for the main event to get underway.
Tournament of Champions full bracket.— @CowboysRFF Grandfather (@RobertW_OkSt) March 24, 2021
They are continuing the donation of $10k to the restaurant of choice for each winning chef. That's incredible. pic.twitter.com/Dx1Q7D8rc9
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.
Tonight's first matchup is West #2 Lofaso (returning) vs #7 Malarkey (new). pic.twitter.com/cCD1avotZV— @CowboysRFF Grandfather (@RobertW_OkSt) March 24, 2021
Had it not been for a later response to the Randomizer, this would have been the “Randomizer Reaction of the Night”...
I think the West 7 seed thinks the Randomizer is full of malarkey... pic.twitter.com/lSuHrCJCLU— @CowboysRFF Grandfather (@RobertW_OkSt) March 24, 2021
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:
Wow...West #2 pulls out a close one. Some undercooked pork AND a little too much seasoning ultimately cost West #7. pic.twitter.com/TgTe0QYeWc— @CowboysRFF Grandfather (@RobertW_OkSt) March 24, 2021
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 Randomizer says... pic.twitter.com/MyKSzMAAew— @CowboysRFF Grandfather (@RobertW_OkSt) March 24, 2021
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:
Yep, poor use of the fryer definitely cost East #5 Murphy. Not really close. pic.twitter.com/62Q0NMNNt3— @CowboysRFF Grandfather (@RobertW_OkSt) March 24, 2021
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:
The last requirement...30 minutes.— @CowboysRFF Grandfather (@RobertW_OkSt) March 24, 2021
Both chefs were way not ok with that. pic.twitter.com/E4ATXglVaM
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:
What a shame. A score of 88 would win most matches, but not against a chef who prepared a dish that the judges all requested doggy bags for. Defending champ moves on. pic.twitter.com/7zOaYtg5J7— @CowboysRFF Grandfather (@RobertW_OkSt) March 24, 2021
Seriously, the judges literally walked out with the plates Williamson prepared.
That’s it for round 1, see you for the next update!