That's the unfortunate recipe of Reality TV. There needs to be a "hero" and a "villain". So when there isn't a defined "hero" or "villain" (especially villain), us the audience will try to gravitate and make a villain in the cast.
I feel like the past 4-5 seasons of top chef, there hasn't really been a main villain in general, especially compared to the early seasons (Tiffani, Illan, Betty, Lisa, Mike Isabella etc.) So whoever is the contestant the comes off the tiniest whiny, or have a bit of a bitch face, or feels frustrated is going to get the brunt.
I do think Kelsey deserved to win, but I realized her basket ingredients were cashews, cabbage, and oranges. To be honest, it didn't even look like she even higlighted them.
Eric's basket is even harder than I realized. He had water chestnuts as his ingredient, is also a hard ingredient to highlight. It doesn't really have a flavor of in itself.
Sara's basket frustrated me, because she could really been creative with Chinese cooking instead of shrimp and grits. Like would been awesome to do something like a cauliflower pork dry pot or fusing something like this.