'Top Chef Duels' Prediction: Who Will Survive Week 2?
'Top Chef Duels' Prediction: Who Will Survive Week 2?
Jennifer Lind-Westbrook
Jennifer Lind-Westbrook
Contributing Writer, BuddyTV
The first episode of Top Chef Duels revealed the exact format of the new series. Each chef gets a chance at ten thousand dollars by besting their rival at a challenge of their own design. The fact that Richard Blais and Marcel Vigneron each failed their own tests, demonstrates that none of the contenders can take anything for granted.

The final challenge, the one that determines who goes to the finals, and who heads to The Knockout, is pretty typical Top Chef fare. It does feel as if the elimination round was tailor made to fit Vigneron and Blais' strengths as molecular gastronomists.

Week two is a tougher call. Shirley Chung, second runner-up from Top Chef New Orleans, faces off against Brooke Williamson, a finalist from Top Chef Seattle. Singer and sometimes actress Pink has a hand in the final challenge, so expect something with a bit of an edge. This week, it's all about girl power.

Shirley Chung

Although, trained in classical French and Italian cuisine, when it comes to food, Chung doesn't recognize borders, just great flavors. She is also versed in Chinese and Mexican cuisine and plans to open her first restaurant this summer.

Why She'll Win: Chung was a strong competitor during her time on Top Chef New Orleans, winning eight challenges. She's worked with world-renowned chefs Thomas Keller, Guy Savoy and Mario Batali. Chung is a bit more refined than Williamson, but is able to fuse old school with modern. She doesn't shy away from the unfamiliar.

Why She'll Lose: I'm always going to be wary of chefs who haven't successfully left the nest so to speak. Working under a great culinarian is one thing, but making a go of it on your own, without the protection of a mentor to fall back on, speaks volumes.

Brooke Williamson

Williamson, in addition to being a successful restauranteur, is currently hosting MTV's first cooking show, House of Food. Not content just to cook, Williamson has a vast knowledge of libations.

Why She'll Win: While Chung was second runner up, Williamson actually made it to the big show. This one-time wunderkind isn't formally trained but still manages to make everything she touches turn to gold. She is a media darling, having received accolades from Forbes and the Los Angeles Times. Williamson also recently prevailed on the Esquire series Knife Fight.

Why She'll Lose: She dropped the ball before, and she's not immune to cracking under pressure. Time spent in front of the camera means less time in the kitchen. Williamson has enjoyed an abundance of success and Chung may just be a little bit hungrier for this win.

My Prediction

I'm going to have to go with Chung. There's no arguing that Williamson is talented, but she's gotten swept up into the same celebrity chef lifestyle as Vigneron. I think Chung has kept her nose to the grindstone and will be more focused.

Top Chef Duels airs Wednesdays at 10pm on Bravo.

(Image courtesy of Bravo)