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Pressure Cooker- Winner And Top Contestants

Pressure Cooker is Netflix’s reality competition show where 11 talented chefs were put under one roof and made to compete for $100,000. A cross over between Survivor and cooking show competitions, this show displays the creativity and skill of each participant and builds on the intensity of having social elements as part of the competition. Plus, the host is a ticket machine! Pressure Cooker Netflix premiered on 6 Jan 2023.

Read below on the winner and top casts of the reality TV show.

Warning: This article contains spoilers on the winner and contestant’s journey on the show.

Streaming on Netflix

Winner: Robbie Jester

Pressure Cooker Netflix winner
Robbie and the cast in the confessional room after his win. Photo: Netflix

After the intense competition, Pressure Cooker had crowned its first winner- Chef Robbie Jester from Newark. Having attended The Culinary Institute of America in New York, Robbie is not short of culinary skills. In fact, he runs and own Pizzeria Mariana on Cleveland Avenue .

Throughout the competition, Robbie had worn his heart on his sleeve. He refused to play any form of dirty game and instead was there to build real connections and cook good food. This has led to some emotional moments throughout the competition as he had to see some of his good friends leave the show.

It is safe to say that Robbie did not particularly stand out as a chef in the beginning of the show. However, he has consistently produced solid work, and was one of those who showed his valuable asset as a team player. What eventually pushed him to the final $100,000 was the connections he had built and the growth he had shown throughout the season.

Runner Up: Mike Eckles

Scene from Pressure Cooker Netflix showing the runner up
Mike pouring liquid nitrogen to set the mousse. Photo: netflix

Unlike the winner, our runner up Mike Eckles has been a standout since the start of the competition. Even though it was his honestly harsh critiques of other contestants that stole the scene initially, it became clear that Mike is an extremely passionate, detail-oriented and highly technical chef that was a force to be reckoned with. Therefore, it was no surprise that he was the clear winner in the Monochromatic Challenge when actual food critics were the judges.

His growth was also evident in the competition. From being told to check his ego at the door, Mike eventually became a very valuable team player. For example, in the All Seasons challenge, he saved his team’s cheesecake mousse with liquid nitrogen after a mistake from the team. That dish eventually won the panel judges over for its unique texture. 

After a few challenges, the other contestants started to respect Mike and were constantly in awe of his “wizardry”. If the final challenge was on culinary skills alone, it might be safe to say that Mike would’ve won the competition.

Mike is a founder and private chef at Abode Fine Dining.

Renee Blackman

Renee as team leader in the 2nd challenge.

37-year old Renee is a private chef and caterer to some big stars. She has appeared on the TV shows Chopped and Real Housewives of New Jersey. Her resume is also stellar as she has worked for Jared Leto, Odell Beckham Jr., and Kevin Durant.

During the show, Renee quickly became one of the top threats as she was voted as one of the top dishes in Episode 1 alongside Lana. Renee managed to strike quite a good balance in her social game and cooking skills throughout the competition. She formed tight bonds with a lot of contestants and was also willing to take risks in her dishes like going for purple in the Monochromatic Challenge

Renee is a personal chef and founder at Bleu Lemonade Parties.

Sergei Simonov

Infamously part of the Sergeiline duo with Caroline, Sergei is also one of the immediate standout contestants in the Pressure Cooker. Sergei is definitely one of the more experienced chefs on the panel of contestants. He is an executive chef at Loquita Santa Barbara and has worked with celebrity chef Brian Malarkey.

A few episodes in, Sergei was called out by Robbie for serving raw fish twice in the competition. However, Sergei soon brought forward his stellar cooking chops. In the Just Desserts Challenge, he managed to make a Ricotta Fritter within 35 minutes. He even made nitrogen liquid ice cream. Despite having the least amount of time, Sergei ended up raking first in that challenge.

Sergei's confessionals

Caroline Gutierrez

The other half of Sergeline is Caroline Gutierrez. She studied in Le Cordon Bleu and had worked in Michelin tiered restaurants before and after graduation. She is now a private chef at Chef’s C+M, which she founded with her fiancé Matthew Ryder. 

During the course of the competition, Caroline has been very detailed with her dish and her presentation. Similarly to Sergei, Caroline managed to do very well in the Just Desserts challenge despite having the second least amount of time. When the show threw a twist in the Flavors of the World Challenge where she had to compete against Sergei instead of teaming up with him, Caroline lost and was voted out.

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2 thoughts on “Pressure Cooker- Winner And Top Contestants”

  1. The one contestant I couldn’t stand was Jeana. Loud-mouthed, mediocre cook, backstabbing and lying to her “friends”, and bragging about her game play which basically involved voting out people who were better than she was. Plus, her hair was so greasy; girl, I would not eat anything you cooked without a hairnet on.

    Everybody else, I actually liked.

  2. Kinda bummed at the finale.

    First, the producers clearly put their thumb on the scale. They didn’t make it a blind tasting (although the other chefs would clearly have known whose dishes were whose, anyway), and then they put their thumb on the scale with the final ticket:

    “This final decision is about culinary achievement, but it’s also about how these two chefs have handled the pressure of this unprecedented journey.”

    Translation: don’t judge it solely on the food. Their choice – but I disagree. When I go to a restaurant and pay my hard-earned money for a meal, I don’t really care about the chef’s personality or back story – I care about what’s on my plate.

    Second, TWO of the judges voted for Robbie based on growth in the kitchen during the course of the series. So, because Mike started at a very high level of technical skill and STAYED at that level, he was at a disadvantage?

    Third, if you judged the final four-course meal on the comments by the tasters, Mike seemed to have the advantage. Brian even said it was even going into the dessert course. He raved about Mike’s dessert … then voted for Robbie? SMH

    To be honest, if I was going to a restaurant I’d probably want to eat Chef Robbie’s food more than Chef Mike’s. But Chef Robbie made two big mistakes in the final challenge – some of the bison he plated was “still moving” in the words of the tasters, and his panna cotta was set way too hard. Those would both be “send it back to the kitchen” issues in an actual restaurant.

    So in my heart I think Mike should have won. But hey, I didn’t actually eat any of their food so what do I really know?

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