Restaurant Wars Is A Game Changer On Top Chef All-Stars Los Angeles

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Restaurant Wars is the most anticipated elimination challenge of any Top Chef season.

It's a worthy way of testing the cheftestants' skills and makes for dramatic TV.

Most of all, it has resulted in some of the most shocking eliminations in Top Chef history.

Top Chef LA All-Stars

The concept of the challenge is this: the cheftestants divide into teams to open up a pop-up restaurant.

Leadership is essential to winning Restaurant Wars, which is why the strongest competitors often take or have the executive chef position thrust upon them.

Unless the person in charge of the front of the house causes the team's loss, the executive chef takes the fall and is eliminated from the competition.

Notable Restaurant Wars casualties include Tre from Top Chef Season 3, Dale from Top Chef Season 4, Kristen from Top Chef Season 10, and -- the newest addition to the list -- Kevin from Top Chef Season 17. 

Kevin first competed on Top Chef Season 6. To this day Top Chef Season 6 is lauded as one of Top Chef's best seasons because of Kevin, Jen, and the Voltaggio brothers' talent. 

Kevin - All-Stars - Top Chef

Before Top Chef Season 17 season started, and even among the other all-stars competing, Kevin stood out as someone poised to take the title.

The competition wasn't always smooth sailing for Kevin. On Top Chef Season 17 Episode 1, he was fortunate not to be on the bottom team, or he could've been on the chopping block. Immunity saved him on Top Chef Season 17 Episode 3. 

Despite those off days, Kevin -- bagging three elimination challenges and four quickfires -- came into Restaurant Wars with the best win record among the cheftestants.  

Being such a strong competitor was also his undoing. On Top Chef Season 17 Episode 7, the elimination challenge was to create and pitch a restaurant concept. The top two concepts would become the restaurants the cheftestants ran during Restaurant Wars.

The judges chose Kevin and Gregory's concepts, and both of them knew winning was a double-edged sword. Since the restaurants were their babies, it was obvious one of them would be going home.

Gregory - All-Stars - Top Chef

Unfortunately, Kevin let his ambition get the better of him and, combined with service issues, his restaurant lost the war. Although he was noble to the end -- the judges told Kevin to pack his knives and go. 

With Kevin gone from the main competition, what does this mean for the remaining cheftestants?

With four elimination challenge wins and two quickfire wins under his belt, Gregory is now the unquestioned frontrunner. 

He can't take it easy though because there remains some very stiff competition left in the game. 

Melissa has won three elimination challenges and one quickfire.

Melissa - All-Stars - Top Chef

Bryan Voltaggio remains a favorite in the competition and the chef with the most scores to settle.

He was a runner-up on Top Chef Season 6 and Top Chef Masters Season 5. Making it even more personal for him is the fact his brother, Michael, won Top Chef Season 6.  

Quickfires continue to be his Achilles heel, but his food for the elimination challenges consistently earns praise from the judges.  

However, he doesn't always translate the theme of the challenge onto his plate as strongly as some of the others, which seems to be costing him the win.

Despite that, it seems unlikely he wouldn't make it to the finals.

Bryan - Top Chef

Where Kevin's elimination shakes things up is for the cheftestants who have been on the bubble or the bottom.  

Stephanie won a quickfire, does well in team challenges, but has been on the bottom several times. 

Brian Malarky is a true wild card. He's as likely to land on top as he is on the bottom in any challenge.

Lee Anne has been on the bottom a lot during the competition.

Karen was eliminated on Top Chef Season 17 Episode 6 but Last Chance Kitchen'd her back into the competition. Her cooking hasn't been any stronger since her return though. 

Karen - All-Stars - Top Chef

The beauty, or perhaps the bane of Top Chef, is any cheftestant is only as good as their last dish. As long as the cheftestant in the competition, he or she has a chance of making it through the next challenge(s) and taking the title.

There have also been cheftestants throughout Top Chef history who performed badly or were mediocre at best at the beginning but then peaked at exactly the right time and became a serious contender for the title.

Some of those include Dale from Top Chef Season 3, Carla from Top Chef Season 5, and Adrienne from Top Chef Season 15. 

With Kevin's elimination, it looks like Stephanie, Brian Malarky, Lee Anne, and Karen have an opportunity to prove why they're considered All-Stars and possibly create another upset in the competition.

Or will it be Kevin himself who changes the game again? Kevin's out of the main competition, but he can fight his way back in via Last Chance Kitchen.

Kevin Cooks on All-Stars - Top Chef

Given how well he has been performing in quickfires, the odds look good for him to make a comeback.

It's anyone's game on Top Chef Season 17. 

Over to you, TV Fanatics!

Who do you think will win Top Chef Season 17?

Did you agree with the judges' decision to eliminate Kevin?

Hit the comments below.  

You can watch Top Chef online at TV Fanatic.

Becca Newton is a staff writer for TV Fanatic.

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