Thank you, MFWalkoff and tears.and.rain for your answers to my questions. :)
Although someone could fly under the radar and just hit it lucky at the final, it does seem unlikely that would happen. First of all, they're all really good chefs or they wouldn't be there but we're looking for the best of the best.
I have always felt that the judging in each episode has been very fair. I rarely disagree with their final choice so I guess the cream will rise to the top :winkgrin in most instances.
I hadn't really given the final decision that much thought because I just enjoy each of the episodes so much. I love learning the personalities of each chef, the inventive ideas (especially if you like to cook, like I do) and the interaction between all the "artists."
I think the middle of the road player who came closet to winning is Lisa in TC4. She snuck in there n(edging out Antonia) with Blaise and Stephanie and if I remember correctly cooked her best meal of the entire competition. Had Blaise and Stephanie both screwed up Lisa would have run away with the TC title even though the other two were the standouts that season.
Is this season done yet?
Two more episodes I believe.....