The Champions Round begins with the eight finalists from previous rounds returning to try to earn the title of Top Chef Master.
Quickfire Challenge: They break up into two teams of four. Each team member must cook a dish for ten minutes while the others are blindfolded in a relay style. Jay Rayner will pick the winning dish. The Red Team (Carmen, Susur, Marcus and Tony) makes a prosciutto pan-seared bass with truffle-spiced shellfish broth. They earn four stars. The Blue Team (Susan, Jody, Rick, and Jonathan) makes mussel and scallop stew with orange and fennel. They earn four and a half stars, and win.
Elimination Challenge: They stay in their teams and must cater a wedding, including a cake. The Red Team must cook for the groom, who wants meat and potatoes, with carrot cake for dessert. The Blue Team cooks for the bride, who likes French and Asian food and wants Bananas Foster for dessert.
The Blue Team takes the win, mostly on the strength of their entrees, because their dessert, a semolina cake, is a disaster. I mean, seriously. It’s like a lump of cake that someone pooped frosting onto and then sprinkled with berries. The overall winner is Jody.
The Red Team takes the loss, and Carmen is the one eliminated, largely because the critics feel she didn’t do enough, since one of her dishes was corn relish, which is almost not even a dish.
The chefs arrive in the kitchen one-by-one, and then Kelly walks in and congratulates them for making it to the Champions Round. She reminds them that, in each round, one of them will go home until there are three left in the finale, after which one of them will be crowned Top Chef Master. Wait, what is Kelly wearing? It's an electric blue top with a black lace overlay. It looks like something she picked up at Deb in her local mall. Marcus Samuelsson compares being on the show to being in the World Cup, and points out that no one remembers who won the quarterfinals.
Quickfire Challenge. Kelly commands them to grab a pot but not remove the lid quite yet. Susan chuckles that she's done this before, when they chose teams in her first round, so presumably they will be teaming up once again. Each chef pulls an apron from his or her pot, either blue or red. The Red Team ends up being Susur, Tony, Marcus, and Carmen. The Blue Team is Susan, Jody, Jonathan, and Rick. Kelly explains that they will be competing in a tag team cooking competition. Each team will make one dish, with each chef cooking for ten minutes and then handing it off to the next chef. They can't talk to one another at all, and while waiting their turn, they have to wear blindfolds. Rick immediately recognizes this challenge from Season Six, because he was a judge. The teams are given thirty seconds to decide their order. Marcus tells the Red team that he will go last and interviews that he's the best. Wow. That takes some balls, given his company. On the Blue Team, Rick nominates Jonathan to go last. Jonathan seems a little reluctant, and interviews that he's claustrophobic and really doesn't want to sit around that long with a blindfold on. I don't know why he doesn't tell anyone that. Maybe they could make some accommodation like have him go stand in the freezer or something and skip the blindfold. He doesn't need to be a martyr. Jay Rayner will be the judge.
Time starts with Tony for the Red Team and Susan for the Blue Team. Susan has a dish in mind already -- fish stew. Tony, on the other hand, tries to keep his team's options open by setting up lots of pots and pans with butter and olive oil, and cleaning vegetables. Susan pulls out mussels and scallops and starts cleaning them. Tony grabs the same two items because he's trying to play to Susur and Marcus's strengths. I don't know if he notices that he and Susan have the same proteins or not, but he says that he wanted to make things a little different, so he added in some prosciutto.