Top Chef (season 1)

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Top Chef: San Francisco
Country of origin United States
No. of episodes 12
Release
Original network Bravo
Original release

March 8 (2006-03-08) – May 24, 2006 (2006-05-24)

Additional information
Host(s) Katie Lee Joel
Judges Tom Colicchio
Gail Simmons
No. of contestants 12
Winner Harold Dieterle
All-stars Tiffani Faison
Stephen Asprinio

Top Chef: San Francisco is the first season of the American reality television series Top Chef. It was first filmed in San Francisco, California, before concluding in Las Vegas, Nevada. The season premiered on March 8, 2006 and ended on May 24, 2006. Twelve chefs from around the United States lived together in a house for approximately 21 days competing in a series of culinary challenges. The prizes for the winner of the competition included a feature in Food & Wine Magazine, a showcase at the annual Food & Wine Classic in Aspen, Colorado, a Kenmore Elite kitchen set, and US$100,000. The series was hosted by Katie Lee Joel in her only season as a host and judged by chef Tom Colicchio and food writer Gail Simmons.

Contestants[edit]

12 chefs were selected to compete in Top Chef: San Francisco.

Name Current Residence Age
Stephen Asprinio Las Vegas, Nevada 24
Andrea Beaman New York, New York 38
Harold Dieterle New York, New York 28
Tiffani Faison Las Vegas, Nevada 28
Brian Hill Los Angeles, California 37
Candice Kumai Pasadena, California 23
Ken Lee Los Angeles, California 31
Dave Martin Long Beach, California 40
Miguel Morales New York, New York 27
Lisa Parks Los Angeles, California 45
Cynthia Sestito East Hampton, New York 52
Lee Anne Wong New York, New York 28

Contestant progress[edit]

Contestant 12 2 3 4 5 6 7 84 9 11 12
Quickfire
Winner
Lee Anne Stephen Tiffani Lee Anne Andrea Stephen Harold1 Lee Anne1 Harold1 N/A N/A
Harold WIN IN LOW HIGH LOW IN HIGH IN HIGH HIGH WINNER
Tiffani HIGH IN LOW WIN WIN HIGH HIGH IN LOW LOW RUNNER-UP
Dave IN LOW LOW IN WIN LOW WIN IN WIN OUT
Lee Anne IN IN LOW IN HIGH WIN LOW IN OUT
Stephen HIGH HIGH WIN LOW HIGH HIGH LOW OUT
Miguel IN WIN WIN IN LOW LOW OUT
Andrea LOW OUT WIN3 HIGH LOW OUT
Lisa IN LOW WIN LOW OUT
Candice LOW IN WIN OUT
Brian IN HIGH OUT
Cynthia IN LOW WD2
Ken OUT

^Note 1 : The chef did not receive immunity.
^Note 2 : Cynthia withdrew from the competition due to her father's illness.
^Note 3 : Andrea was brought back in Episode 3, after being eliminated once, when Cynthia chose to leave.
^Note 4 : The judges felt nobody had distinguished themselves in the Elimination Challenge, so no winner was named.

     (WINNER) The chef won the season and was crowned "Top Chef".
     (RUNNER-UP) The chef was a runner-up for the season.
     (WIN) The chef won the Elimination Challenge.
     (HIGH) The chef was selected as one of the top entries in the Elimination Challenge, but did not win.
     (IN) The chef was not selected as one of the top or bottom entries in the Elimination Challenge and was safe.
     (LOW) The chef was selected as one of the bottom entries in the Elimination Challenge, but was not eliminated.
     (OUT) The chef lost the Elimination Challenge and was out of the competition.
     (WD) The chef voluntarily withdrew from the competition.

Episodes[edit]

No. Title Original air date
1 "Who Deserves to Be Here?" March 8, 2006 (2006-03-08)

Quickfire Challenge: The chefs survived working the line at chef Hubert Keller's Fleur de Lys restaurant for 30 minutes. The winner received immunity from elimination.

  • WINNER: Lee Anne

Elimination Challenge: The chefs had to prepare a signature dish to be served to the other Top Chef contestants.

  • WINNER: Harold (Steamed Red Snapper with Roasted Butternut Squash Puree)
  • ELIMINATED: Ken (Pan Seared Alaskan Halibut)
2 "Food of Love" March 15, 2006 (2006-03-15)

Quickfire Challenge: The chefs chose from a large selection of fruit to prepare a plate judged solely on presentation. The winner received immunity from elimination.

  • WINNER: Stephen ("Deconstructed" Fruit Plate)

Elimination Challenge: The chefs had to make a sexy dessert for a fetish party at Mr. S, a sex boutique in San Francisco, co-hosted by Paige White.

  • WINNER: Miguel ("The Total Orgasm": Lemon Pastry Puffs, Tapioca Pillows, Cold Hot Chocolate Shot, and Spicy Whipped Cream)
  • ELIMINATED: Andrea ("Creamy Balls & Crunchy Nuts": Chocolate Peanut Butter Balls, Chocolate Almond Flowers, Almonds)l
3 "Nasty Delights" March 22, 2006 (2006-03-22)

Quickfire Challenge: The chefs prepared octopus in one hour. The winner received immunity from elimination.

  • WINNER: Tiffani (Red Wine Braised Angel Hair Pasta with Cold Octopus & Tomato Succo with Octopus Frit)
  • WITHDREW: Cynthia (Octopus with Tarragon Whiskey Sauce)
    • Note: Cynthia chose to leave the show following the Quickfire Challenge to be with her sick father, who was battling cancer. Andrea was then brought back to keep an even number of contestants for the following Elimination Challenge.

Elimination Challenge: Working in two teams, the chefs prepared monkfish for a group of children who would rate the food.

  • Red Team: Andrea, Candice, Lisa, Miguel, Stephen
  • Blue Team: Brian, Dave, Harold, Lee Anne, Tiffani
    • WINNER: Red Team
    • ELIMINATED: Brian
4 "Food on the Fly" March 29, 2006 (2006-03-29)

Quickfire Challenge: The chefs created dishes in 30 minutes using $20 worth of ingredients from a gas station store. The winner received immunity from elimination.

  • WINNER: Lee Anne (Funyun and Oscar-Meyer Spiedini)

Elimination Challenge: Each chef created a gourmet entrée that could be reheated in a microwave. They then served their dishes to a group of Junior League women who would rate their meals.

  • WINNER: Tiffani (Mirin Glazed Sea Bass)
  • ELIMINATED: Candice (Shrimp & Spinach Quiche)
5 "Blind Confusion" April 5, 2006 (2006-04-05)

Quickfire Challenge: The chefs had to identify a variety of ingredients by taste while blindfolded for five minutes. The winner received immunity from elimination.

  • WINNER: Andrea

Elimination Challenge: Working in teams of two, the chefs created dishes fusing Latin American cuisine with one other ethnic cuisine. Dave and Tiffani had Moroccan, Andrea and Miguel had Indian, Lee Anne and Stephen had Chinese, and Harold and Lisa had Japanese. They then had to distribute the dish from a cart in the Mission District of San Francisco.

  • WINNERS: Dave and Tiffani (Latin/Moroccan: Curry Pork, Stone Fruit Chutney, Flour Gorditas, Pickled Carrots & Red Onion)
  • ELIMINATED: Lisa (Japanese: Seared Tuna, Daikon Sprouts)
6 "Guess Who's Coming to Dinner" April 12, 2006 (2006-04-12)

Quickfire Challenge: Each chef created an appetizer in 20 minutes using $3 worth of ingredients, priced by the ounce.

  • WINNER: Stephen (Poached Baby Manila Clams over Grilled Sea Beans)

Elimination Challenge: The chefs had to create a seven-course dinner party for guest judge Ted Allen. Each chef was able to choose the course they wanted to execute. However, the producers later introduced a random knife-block draw, forcing each chef to work on another chef's recipe.

  • WINNER: Lee Anne (Tiffani's Dish: Duck Breast with Fig Stuffed Gnocchi)
  • ELIMINATED: Andrea (Miguel's Dish: Smoked Scallops & Caviar on a Latke)
7 "Restaurant Wars" April 19, 2006 (2006-04-19)

Quickfire Challenge: Each chef was asked to make a sandwich in 30 minutes using any of the available ingredients. The winning sandwich would be put on the menu at the San Francisco location of Tom Colicchio's 'wichcraft restaurant. From this point on, immunity was no longer awarded to the winner of a Quickfire Challenge.

Elimination Challenge: Working in two teams of three, the chefs transformed raw restaurant spaces, including the decor and menu. Twenty-four hours later, the diners arrived, choosing which restaurant to dine in, and rated their experience.

  • Sabor: Lee Anne, Miguel, Stephen
    • Appetizer: Tapas Trio: White Gazpacho, Bocarones, Prosciutto Wrapped Stuffed Fig
    • Entrée: Pan Seared Snapper on Breaded Risotto Paella Cake
    • Dessert: Olive Oil Ice Cream
  • American Workshop: Dave, Harold, Tiffani
    • Appetizer: Tuna Tartare with Pita Chips
    • Entrée: Roasted Chicken with Fall Vegetables & Natural Jus
    • Dessert: Fruit Crisp
      • WINNER: Dave
      • ELIMINATED: Miguel
8 "Wedding Bell Blues" April 26, 2006 (2006-04-26)

Quickfire Challenge: The chefs designed a wedding reception menu in 90 minutes and pitched it to the wedding couple. The winner's menu would be used for the upcoming Elimination Challenge.

  • WINNER: Lee Anne

Elimination Challenge: Working as a team, the chefs were required to cater a wedding reception for 100 guests using the menu chosen in the Quickfire Challenge. The reception started in 16 hours.

  • Canapé: Crispy Prawn Toast, Crab Meat with Pita Chips
  • Amuse-bouche: Lobster Hamuraki, Glazed Oysters, Yazu Marinated Roe, Crab Soup Dumplings
  • First Course: Seared Salmon Salad, Thai Green Papaya, Lime & Chili Vinaigrette
  • Second Course: "The Lover's Nest": Seafood & Fresh Vegetables, Potato Taro Root Basket, Mango & Coconut
  • Third Course: Peking Style Beef, Crispy Scallion Pancakes, Cucumber Salad
  • Wedding Cake: Passion Fruit & Ginger Scented Cake, White Chocolate Butter Cream
  • Truffles: Milk Chocolate & Sesame, White Chocolate & Sake, Dark Chocolate & Ginger
    • ELIMINATED: Stephen
9 "Napa's Finest" May 3, 2006 (2006-05-03)

Quickfire Challenge: The chefs were asked to recreate a classic junk food element into a gourmet dish in 45 minutes. The winner's performance counted in the overall assessment of the week's challenges. The winner also received a bottle of Shafer Hillside Select Cabernet Sauvignon.

  • WINNER: Harold (Popcorn Cakes with Ecuadorian Shrimp Ceviche, Calamari, and Clementines)

Elimination Challenge: All of the remaining chefs traveled to the Napa Valley's Copia to prepare a dish incorporating expensive black Périgord truffles to be served with 2001 Shafer Hillside Select Cabernet Sauvignon wine. Each chef's dish would be served to a group of top professional chefs from Northern California.

  • WINNER: Dave (Truffle & Cognac Cream Macaroni & Cheese, Filet of Beef, Collard Greens & Radicchio)
  • ELIMINATED: Lee Anne (Butternut Squash & Truffle Risotto, Braised Treviso & Mushrooms, Crusted Lamb Loin)
10 "Reunion" May 10, 2006 (2006-05-10)
11 "Vegas Finale - Part 1" May 17, 2006 (2006-05-17)

Quickfire/Elimination Challenge: The three finalists met at the MGM Grand where they competed in a series of three elimination-style Quickfire Challenges to determine which two chefs would remain to compete in a final challenge for the grand prize of Top Chef. For each challenge, the chefs had to prepare hotel room service meals in 30 minutes for different customers: first, a room of high rollers, including eliminated competitors Lee Anne, Miguel, and Stephen; then, a table of poker players including Phil Hellmuth; lastly, performers from Cirque du Soleil. Each group of patrons decided on their favorite dish. The three groups' favorites were taken into consideration during the judging process.

  • WINNERS: Harold and Tiffani
  • ELIMINATED: Dave
12 "Vegas Finale - Part 2" May 24, 2006 (2006-05-24)

Elimination Challenge: The two finalists each prepared a five-course tasting meal to be served to a table of eight luminaries from the culinary world. Each finalist was also assisted by two sous chefs, consisting of the four most recently eliminated contestants: Dave, Lee Anne, Stephen, and Miguel. Harold was assisted by Lee Anne and Miguel, while Tiffani was assisted by Stephen and Dave. Though not required, Tiffani chose to make two preparations of each course.

  • Harold:
    • First Course: Seared Diver Scallop with Blood Orange & Fennel Salad
    • Second Course: Olive Oil Poached Bass
    • Third Course: Pan Roasted Quail with Herb Spaetzle, Cherries & Foie Gras
    • Fourth Course: Duo of Beef with Kobe Beef & Braised Short Ribs with White Polenta
    • Fifth Course: Fig Tart with Cheeses
  • Tiffani:
    • First Course: Seared Diver Scallop on Squid Ink; Scallop Crudo with Citrus
    • Second Course: Artichoke Risotto with Porketta; Crispy Artichokes with Dipping Sauce
    • Third Course: Steamed Bronzino with Ratatouille; Crispy Bronzino with Black Olive Pappardelle
    • Fourth Course: Saltimbocca with Primitivo Glace; Veal with Minted Peas & Spinach Crema
    • Fifth Course: Bread Pudding with Rum Cocktail; Vanilla Panna Cotta with Amaretto Cocktail
      • WINNER: Harold
      • RUNNER-UP: Tiffani

External links[edit]