Former Tournament of Champions Winners Reflect on Their Wins

Food Network

Get ready for the thrill of Guy Fieri’s Tournament of Champions returning for its fifth season! This time, 32 talented East and West Coast chefs are battling it out for the grand prize of $150,000. But that’s not all—some familiar faces, previous winners, are back for another shot at glory. Learn more about their past victories and how they’re gearing up to regain the title of TOC Champion.


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Related: Meet the Chefs Competing on Tournament of Champions Season 5

Maneet Chauhan

Maneet understands the determination and skill needed to succeed in the Tournament of Champions. “Spending five years in that kitchen gets you comfortable with the chaos, or at least as comfy as you can (in such a crazy setting),” she explains. She mentions that her experience as a judge on Chopped has given her valuable insights into winning high-stakes food competitions. Her words of wisdom? Don’t cook solely for the judges. “You must stay true to your style, prepare your best dish, and let the judges see why it’s awesome,” she explains.

Even with this experience, the seasoned Tournament of Champions pro admits to feeling like she has a target on her back — especially as a reigning champ. But instead of letting it get her down, she turns it into fuel for her fire to try and go for another big win.

Tiffani Faison

Looking back at her win during the third season of Tournament of Champions, Tiffani recognizes that she wasn’t as focused as she should have been. “I remember struggling to find Parmesan cheese in the fridge, even though it was right before me. That’s not like me,” she says. Even though she won a battle last season, and trusts in her skills to do so again, Tiffani doesn’t want to be judged solely based on her past. “All the past winners have targets on their backs this season.” Instead, Tiffani’s concentrating on maintaining the right mindset and tackling each round as it comes.

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Mei Lin

As the 2023 Tournament of Champions winner, Mei feels the pressure of being a reigning champion — but she’s ready for it. “I’m here to defend my title,” she says. The familiarity with the arena and knowing that she’s cooked there before makes her feel confident in whatever the randomizer selects for the contestants. “I have what it takes,” she shares confidently. “I’ve done it before, so I could definitely do it again.”

Brooke Williamson

After a busy year, Brooke was excited to return to the Tournament of Champions kitchen. “People tell me I make this competition look easy, but it doesn’t feel easy,” she says. “I am good at internalizing my stress and anxiety, so what you see on the outside doesn’t reflect what’s happening on the inside.” Brooke reflects on the importance of appreciating and respecting that anything can happen. Despite the high stakes, she knows the main pressure she feels originates from within, whether it’s the beginning or the final round. When it comes to winning the final belt, Brooke echoes it can be anyone’s game. “The ball is in the court of four people this year. I came here because I would love for it to be me.”

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