Gabe Erales, Shota Nakajima, and Dawn Burrell will face off tonight in the Top Chef Finale. Who will win? Lets look at how the three competitors have been cooking this season.

The 18th season of Top Chef was set in Portland, Oregon and featured many of the traditions and food that were native to the region. Last week’s episode shocked many fans of the show, because instead of sending one chef home and letting the final two battle it out for the title, all three chefs were able to make it to the final episode.

Shota Nakajima (left), Dawn Burrell (middle), and Gabe Erales (right) all made it to the Top Chef Finale. But only one of them will win. (Photo Credit: Bravo Top Chef Instagram)

Gabe, Shota and Dawn will be serving a four-course meal to the judges tonight at Willamette Valley Vineyards. Judges will include Padma Lakshmi, Tom Colicchio, and Gail Simmons, along with many past faces from Top Chef history that have made up the All-Star dining panel for the season. The winner will recieve 250,000 dollars and the title of “Top Chef.”

Gabe Erales

Gabe is a sauce man and has spent the season allowing his Mexican roots to influence his dishes and blow the judges away. He’s a native of El Paso, Texas and has been working in a kitchen since he was 15. While being a contestant on Top Chef he has also found time to create his own restaurant. Bacalar, which will be serving Mexican inspired food, is scheduled to open in Fall 2021 in Austin.

Last week’s episode gave us a new skill of Gabe’s. Apparently the man is good with clam. With a quickfire challenge that found the final three on clamming boats at 5am they were tasked with using the local seafood to inspire them. Gabe created a “Sopa de mariscos,” poached caper and butter clams in broth, which won him the last quickfire before tonight’s finale.

Shota Nakajima

Shota has been spending all season staying true to his Japanese style. With his classic dishes he has made a spot for himself in the final three, but will it be enough for the win?

He is a Seattle native and owns his own restaurant there called Taku. Shota was most notable in episode 6 when he teamed up with fellow chef Sara Hauman and won the surf and turf elimination challenge. They were able to combine rabbit and smelt in a dish that surprised even world famous judge Tom Colicchio. “No chef has ever said, let’s do a dish with rabbit and smelt. Being able to execute that was just amazing to watch. It really was.”

Dawn Burrell

Dawn has been known throughout the season for not always finishing her dishes, and fans are worried that this will carry into the finale. Before coming on Top Chef, Dawn was actually a member of the 2000 U.S. Olympic team in Sydney, Australia. She competed in the long jump and after injuries made her give up athletics in 2008 she went on to go after her dreams of cooking and became the executive chef at Kulture, in Houston, Texas.

Throughout the season, Dawn has brought her style to the Top Chef kitchen. She focuses on street food and food that brings comfort to those to eat it. Fans love her and she might be edging out Shota for winning Fan Favorite. She has won three quickfires, the most of any chef in season 18, and she won over Richard Blais, winner of Top Chef All-Stars, with her curried goat and crispy roti dish from Week 3. This dish won her the elimination challenge!

Gabe Shota Dawn Top Chef Finale
The final three chefs celebrate after finding out they all would be going to the Top Chef Finale!

Tonight’s episode will determine who will go home with $250,000 and the title of Top Chef. It could be anyone’s game at this point. All three chefs are talented in his or her own way. Stay tuned!