Week three was the best episode of the season so far. In spite of the fierce competition, it was all about love, and balls (rice balls). Apparently, the word balls can reduce even a grown man like Curtis Stone into behaving like a 12-year-old boy.
While Mike's dishes were more inventive, the judges preferred the taste of Antonia's more traditional take on Italian cuisine. Mike faced Brooke Williamson in The Knockout, and this time, emerged victorious. This means both will move on to the final round.
Week four doesn't promise to be as friendly, with cocky European and season 5 Runner-Up Stefan Richter, going up against Top Chef Miami
and Seattle Contestant Chris "C.J." Jacobson.Stefan Richter
Richter has opened restaurants in Santa Monica as well as a full-time event and catering company. This globe trotter also owns multiple steak houses in his native Finland. When not overseeing his American eateries, Stefan forgoes summer vacations in favor of clocking time in the kitchens of his overseas businesses.Why He'll Win:
With Stefan, it's more a question of, in his mind anyway, why wouldn't he? He has a total of nine combined Quickfire and Elimination challenge wins from his tenures on season 5 and Top Chef Seattle
. Not only is he a top-notch chef, Stefan loves to get under the skin of his competitor in an attempt to throw them off their game. He's a proven success on two continents. Why He'll Lose:
Stefan can be overly confident, convinced his food is great, even if a dish is flawed. This was his downfall as a finalist. His performance on Top Chef Seattle
was lackluster. If he spends too much time trying to goad C.J., his cuisine could suffer.C.J. Jacobson
This former professional volleyball player and cancer survivor has an internationally-influenced palette. His experience in the kitchen ranges from cooking for celebrities to working as an executive chef. He's participated in the James Beard Celebrity Chef Tour, and not content to rest on his accomplishments, continues to educate himself in the art of food preparation.Why He'll Win:
The biggest advantage this chef has is his competitive nature. His resume isn't nearly as impressive as Stefan's, but his apparent disdain for his competitor could be a driving force. It can all come down to one mistake and nobody, not even Stefan, is infallible. C.J. will have to find that same inner mojo that helped him win six rounds of Last Chance Kitchen
, if he hopes to stay around.Why He'll Lose:
C.J. only won two challenges while in Miami, and none during his second go around in Miami. His experience just doesn't measure up to Stefan's.
My money (and current streak of correct predictions) is on Stefan.
Top Chef Duels
airs Wednesdays at 10pm on Bravo.