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Here are Tournament of Champions 5’s chefs—minus one, plus four

Here are Tournament of Champions 5’s chefs—minus one, plus four
Mei Lin plating her winning dishes during the finale of Tournament of Champions season 4. She'll return for TOC 5. (Photo by Food Network)

Food Network’s best competition, Tournament of Champions, is returning for season five in mid-February, about a week earlier than season four premiered.

And it’ll be preceded by a new mini-spin-off competition, Food Network announced today.

Tournament of Champions season five’s 32 chefs were also announced, and include all four previous winners: Maneet Chauhan, Tiffani Faison, Mei Lin, and Brooke Williamson.

A person holding their hands pressed together in front of their face in anticipation
Maneet Chauhan watches the Randomizer spin during the final match of Tournament of Champions season 4 (Photo by Food Network)

One chef not on the cast list is Darnell Ferguson, whose show has been taken off the air after his recent arrest. That he is not competing is surprising since he has represented the East Coast in all four of the previous seasons of TOC.

However: Of the chefs announced today (the full lists are below), the east coast list has 13 chefs, while the west coast list has 14. A bracketed competition doesn’t exactly work with an odd number of chefs.

Hmm. Sounds to me like someone was edited out—and perhaps even lost their first battle, making that a lot easier than if he’d gone deeper into the competition. If that’s what happened, I wonder if we’ll see that battle at all, and if not, how the show will acknowledge a winner that just appears in the second round.

With only 27 chefs announced out of 32, there will be four more chefs added to the lists, for a total of 16 on each side.

Those four will be chosen in a show-before-the-show, Tournament of Champions V: The Qualifiers, which will air on Feb. 7 and 14 at 8. That will feature “16 chefs go[ing] head-to-head to win four coveted 8th seed slots in the tournament bracket,” according to Food Network.

Tournament of Champions season five itself will premiere Feb. 18, airing Sundays at 8. It’ll be preceded by another special on Feb. 14: Road to Tournament of Champions V, which recaps last year’s competition.

TOC V will continue for just under two months, with the finale airing Sunday, April 7.

Tournament of Champions V’s chefs and judges

A person standing in between two tables, with a large Tournament of Champions IV logo behind them
Guy Fieri on the TOC 4 finale (Photo by Food Network)

TOC V was filmed last fall, in October.

Guy Fieri returns as host, of course, and Simon Majumdar and Justin Warner are back for color commentary.

Judges include:

  • Donatella Arpaia
  • Scott Conant
  • Cat Cora
  • Rocco DiSpirito
  • Susan Feniger
  • Lorena Garcia
  • Carla Hall
  • Michael Mina
  • Eric Ripert
  • Marcus Samuelsson
  • Nancy Silverton
  • Ming Tsai
  • Michael White
  • Jonathan Waxman
  • Geoffrey Zakarian
  • Andrew Zimmern

Chefs from the East Coast are:

  1. Eric Adjepong
  2. Karen Akunowicz
  3. Kelsey Barnard Clark
  4. Maneet Chauhan (past winner)
  5. Tobias Dorzon
  6. Tiffani Faison (past winner)
  7. Amanda Freitag
  8. Jose Garces
  9. Stephanie Izard
  10. Marc Murphy
  11. Britt Rescigno
  12. Jonathon Sawyer,
  13. Dale Talde

The chefs from the West Coast are:

  1. Carlos Anthony
  2. Shirley Chung
  3. Mei Lin (past winner)
  4. Antonia Lofaso
  5. Crista Luedtke
  6. Brian Malarkey
  7. Shota Nakajima
  8. Joe Sasto
  9. Adam Sobel
  10. Casey Thompson
  11. Jet Tila
  12. Michael Voltaggio
  13. Brooke Williamson (past winner)
  14. Lee Anne Wong

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Happy discussing!

Mitchell Haley

Monday 26th of February 2024

Im so excited my family have spent so long just re-watching every past season and since TOC-5 is here we cant wait to start episode 1.

Dan

Monday 19th of February 2024

Why isn;t Aaron May back?

Andy Dehnart

Monday 19th of February 2024

He was in the qualifiers, and lost.

Crissy

Friday 16th of February 2024

I am soooo happy Jet Tila came back!!

Jeff Metzner

Wednesday 14th of February 2024

After the qualifiers tonight, there's a "Road to TOC" special that FN describes as "Guy Fieri and his sideline reporters, Justin Warner and Simon Majumdar, reveal the Tournament of Champions bracket and introduce all 32 chefs; they preview every twist, turn and spin of the mean culinary machine, the Randomizer." I wonder how they'll handle being one short of "all 32 chefs"?

Jeff Metzner

Friday 16th of February 2024

@Melissa, Right, and Ferguson was also visible in a shot of all 32 chefs at the beginning of the hour.

Melissa

Thursday 15th of February 2024

@Jeff Metzner, they just didn't talk about it at all. They announced three of the match ups in that bracket and moved on. But you could see in the background that it was Amanda Frietag vs DF, so you have to assume Amanda won.

Rita

Tuesday 6th of February 2024

I think its getting a bit tiresome to see the same people over and over again. Love to see Ming, the MA boy he is, but Nancy is just so over used, as much as she is respected and loved. What would be cool, is if GF takes the past winners out for a season and puts them on the judges line up. IF there are going to be more TOC's (quite frankly FoodNetworks competitions are TIRING), then the rule is, if you win, you can't compete next year and you head over to the judges table. It just helps with chef fatigue.

I hope Jet Tila FINALLY got his redemption!

Melissa

Tuesday 6th of February 2024

@Rita, I agree with that. I like all the chefs, but I don't want to see Antonia Lofaso vs Jet Tila AGAIN. I'm rooting for Shota and Michael Voltaggio.