Top Chef Canada Season 9 Episode 5 power rankings: Skills, grills and spills

The ups and downs of drawing inspiration from hometown favourites

7. Aicia Colacci (eliminated, last week: 6)

There is no denying it, what Aicia delivered during the Elimination Challenge was an extremely rough-looking dish to serve to the judges this far into a Top Chef Canada season.

Aicia had a pleasant demeanour over the past five episodes and definitely had a high point last week with her stunning dumplings and fermented mushroom broth dish. Though, she did seem outmatched by most of her competitors more often than not.

6. Emily Butcher (last week: 7)

This was another topsy-turvy week for Winnipeg's Emily Butcher. Whether it's a Quickfire Challenge or an Elimination Challenge, the chef has seemed to have developed a track record of overthinking the dishes she is creating.

The explanation of being inspired by a simple hot dog to conjure up the everything-but-the-kitchen-sink plate that she served to the judges made things even more confusing as a viewer. I am still a bit bewildered at whatever happened here.

With all of this said, Emily's eternally fun demeanour–and quirky facial expressions–make it easy to forget the mishaps that she has in the TCC Kitchen.

5. Alex Edmonson (last week: 6)

Alex's Top Chef Canada journey thus far has had more downs than ups. The repeated low points seem to have brought the chef to a breaking point at the end of this week's episode as we saw him break down to Erica and Josh.

You can certainly tell that the Calgary-based chef has the fundamental culinary skills to do well in this competition–which he did reinforce during the skills challenge–but for whatever reason, he's just not hitting his stride. Some chefs just do not excel in the high-pressure environment like this one.

If Alex finds himself in the bottom again next week, odds are that he'll probably be the one heading home.

4. Erica Karbelnik (last week: 3)

Though I was not a fan of the way the skills challenge was organized (in terms of having members of last episode's losing team compete against previously eliminated chefs), it happened nonetheless. Erica was the last of the three still-in-the-running chefs to complete the skills challenge and had to cook to keep her spot in the competition as a result.

Her middle-of-the-pack dish she served during the Elimination Challenge looked good, but not great. Seeing as the chef has been a frontrunner for most of the season, we'll chalk this one up to a bad day in the TCC Kitchen.

3. Andrea Alridge (last week: 4)

As Amanda Marshall would sing: My money's riding on this dark horse, baby.

Vancouver's Andrea Alridge may have started slow out of the gates, but her trot has turned into a full-on gallop as the chef secured one of the top spots yet again this episode; her third top-placing week in a row. Andrea's superpower is being able to create especially memorable dishes that are rooted in both comfort and authentic memories.

Outside of her interesting approach to most challenges, the chef is always smiling and providing charismatic commentary. Win or lose, the culmination of these things make her an easy fan favourite.

2. Josh Karbelnik (last week: 2)

Aside from a small timing hiccup in episode three, Josh Karbelnik has proved to be the textbook definition of consistent so far in this competition.

His bread-crusted halibut dish he created for the Elimination Challenge appeared both stunning and expertly prepared. Like Mark remarked, a bread crust on a fish fillet is not easy to do well.

While consistency is clearly an attribute that will help Josh make it to the bitter end, we do tend to see more dynamic flavour combinations in the dishes that Erica, Kym and Andrea have been cooking up. In that vein, I think Josh will have to get a bit more inventive to win the title of Canada's Top Chef.

1. Kym Nguyen (last week: 1)

One thing that Kym has going for them–aside from winning the most challenges so far this season and having a cool, calm energy that radiates through the television screen–is that every dish they offer up feels very, well, Kym. It is a powerful thing to have a clear identity with the food you're serving, especially when the judges are eating it up (both figuratively and literally) episode after episode.

As I've said before, they are the one to beat and it is seeming less and less likely that they can be beat.

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