The issue heading into the season 3 finale of Food Network’s Tournament of Champions was whether Brooke Williamson would become the show’s second winner in its three-season run. Or would Tobias Dorzon, Tiffani Faison, or Jet Tila win the $100,000 prize?
The final battle took held the day after the semifinals, and there were three encounters in total (in past seasons, the final battle was filmed on the same day as the semi-final competitions, as I reported about in my behind-the-scenes piece).
Iron Chef Masaharu Morimoto was added as a fourth judge, requiring the last two chefs to create an additional plate of food. An unknown component was also added to the production wheel of the Randomizer.
Despite having twice as many cooks as the previous season, TOC3 only had eight episodes, one more than the previous season, and they all move at a breakneck pace, which is one of the show’s many attractions.
While I wish there were more, I believe its limited nature makes it unique; I don’t want it to become another Chopped.
Because of the level of chefs, the basic but successful competition framework, and the judging, the Tournament of Champions felt new and distinct when it debuted three years ago, in the early days of the pandemic.
Brooke Williamson has dominated over the three seasons, finishing with a tournament-best 10 wins and advancing to the finals for the third consecutive year. Jet Tila, for the second year in a row, was in the semi-finals.
Despite the fact that several of the same chefs have returned, the level of talent and competition has grown.
Tiffani Faison vs. Amanda Freitag, Michael Voltaggio vs. Brooke Williamson, and Brooke Williamson vs. Jet Tila are among the rematches that have been announced.
(While I enjoy the rematches, I think the program should abandon the east against the west concept in future seasons in order to change up the returning chefs.)
I was going to call Michael vs. Brooke a “grudge match” because she’s now beaten him every season, but that doesn’t fit what’s going on here because, while Michael clearly wanted to win, they’re all extremely friendly.
Whether the chefs are friends, strangers, or have previously met on TOC, they are basically competing against each other, seeking to win the most points from the judges.
The winner of the third edition of the Tournament of Champions
Three match-ups were featured in TOC’s Season 3 finale. The semi-finals will be held first:
1 Jet Tila vs. #1 Brooke Williamson
7 Tiffani Faison (#3) vs. Tobias Dorzon (#3)
Brooke was the overwhelming favorite to win in two somewhat unscientific surveys I conducted, with Brooke, Jet, and Tiffani being fairly evenly split in terms of who people wanted to win, with Tobias—who is significantly less well-known—not far behind.
Related – WHO IS TOBIAS CORE FROM THE BLACKLIST?
There were a lot of record-breaking opportunities in the finals.
There were two guys in the final four for the first time ever. Is it possible for a man to win? Top Chef, the gold standard of cooking competitions, has featured male champions in two-thirds of its seasons, but unlike TOC, it is not judged blind. Hmm.
Is Brooke the first woman to win the race twice? Tiffani Faison has a history of second-place results dating back to Season 1 of Top Chef in 2006.
Brooke and Jet were required to use both blowfish tails and salsify in the first round, as well as a combi oven and a quenelle technique.
Brooke received a score of 84, while Jet received a score of 82. He complimented her, “You made the better dish.”
Tobias and Tiffani were then tasked with creating a “velvety” dish with goose and bergamot, as well as liquid nitrogen.
Tiffani got a 91, while Tobias got an 84.
As a result, two Top Chef alumni faced off in a final duel. “Oh, no!” Really?!” When Tiffani learned she would go up against Brooke, she expressed her displeasure.
Tiffani Faison and Brooke Williamson are the final two women in TOC 3.
Tiffani and Brooke had to use an anti-griddle and prepare one ingredient three ways in 60 minutes because the randomizer chose rabbit and natt for the final battle.
Morimoto commented after sampling Brooke and Tiffani’s plates, “This is a really difficult judgment.”
It came down to a two-point difference in the end: 90 to 92. Brooke was beaten by Tiffani by one point in taste and one point in randomizer use.
Tiffani told the camera, “I have this incapacity to break through,” in addition to discussing her professional and personal struggles, which included her divorce from her marriage. “I’ve spent a lot of time in second.”
Tiffani became the third champion of TOC, as well as made her own history by winning a competition—and a huge one at that.