These Are The Best Dishes Nyesha Arrington Ate On Next Level Chef - Exclusive

The first season of "Next Level Chef" has reached its finale, crowning Native American chef Pyet DeSpain the winner after 10 grueling rounds of competition cooked up by none other than Gordon Ramsay himself. The show saw chefs competing across three different kitchens to prove they have the chops to make next-level dishes no matter the circumstances.

Mashed got the chance to chat with chef Nyesha Arrington, one of the show's mentors and judges, for the real scoop — including some of the most mouthwatering creations she tried throughout the challenges. It's worth noting that chef Arrington, along with her fellow judges Gordon Ramsay and Richard Blais, tasted nearly 100 dishes from the 15 contestants over the course of the 10-episode season. So, standing out from the crowd is no small feat. But there were a few creations that immediately came to mind for Arrington when we put her on the spot, and that in itself deserves a shoutout. "My brain works in taste memory, so we're all good," Arrington assured us during an exclusive interview as she revealed the most "Next Level" dishes she ate on the show, from the early standouts to the prize-winning showstoppers from the Season 1 winner.

The best dishes from 'Next Level Chef' winner Pyet DeSpain

You don't walk away as the winner of "Next Level Chef" without cooking up some pretty memorable and delicious dishes along the way. So, it should come as no surprise that some of the best things judge Nyesha Arrington ate on the show were made by the Season 1 champion Pyet DeSpain (who also happened to be her mentee).

First, Arrington says she loved DeSpain's "wojapi sauce, which has a cult following now." It's a traditional Native American condiment made from berries. DeSpain wowed the judges by using the thick, sweet sauce on a wagyu beef burger during one of the show's earlier challenges (via Twitter). Arrington also raved about DeSpain's authentic empanadas. She made them from scratch during the "Next Level Chef" finals, and the dish may just be what won her the whole competition. "[It was] nail biting watching her execute with such calmness and precision and love simultaneously while making one of the most delicious bites of food that I have had, ever. I can truly still taste the spice notes and the flaky dough. That was one of my favorite dishes," said Arrington.

These other 'Next Level' standouts were just as good

While judging a culinary competition could go either way for your taste buds, judging "Next Level Chef" meant getting to try a whole lot of next-level cooking throughout the season. "Specifically, like in the earlier stages, Chef Jonathan [Harrison's] Swiss chard gratin was a standout dish," declared judge Nyesha Arrington in an interview with Mashed. It was the second dish Harrison, who competed under team Richard Blaise, whipped up for the show, and it was such a hit that Gordon Ramsay called it a piece of art. Arrington agreed. "Texturally, the depth of flavor, the elements of excitement, the vessels that he chose, the story behind it. He articulated his vision very well."

Another show-stopping dish for Arrington came from finalist Mariah Scott. "Mariah's dish with the kebab and the thinly sliced pork with a stone fruit, that was a next-level dish." And one that propelled her into the show's semifinals. "The flavor, the char, the cook of the pork, the inventiveness, the freshness, [were] impeccable," said Arrington.

The first season of "Next Level Chef" is now available to stream on FOX NOW and Hulu.