Top Chef (season 3)
|Top Chef: Miami|
Judges Ted Allen and Gail Simmons (center left), hosts Padma Lakshmi and Tom Colicchio (center right), along with the chefs participating in Top Chef 's third season
|Country of origin||United States|
|No. of episodes||16|
June 13, 2007– October 10, 2007
|Filming dates||April 2007– May 2007|
|No. of contestants||15|
|No. of tasks||14|
Top Chef: Miami is the third season of American reality television series Top Chef and was filmed first in Miami, Florida, and concluded in Aspen, Colorado. The season premiered on Bravo on June 13, 2007 and ended on October 10, 2007. Padma Lakshmi returned with Tom Colicchio, Gail Simmons and new judge Ted Allen, who will switch off with Simmons throughout the season. First season contestant Lee Anne Wong was brought in as a food consultant and assisted in planning the challenges. Production took place in April and May 2007 in Miami Beach, Florida, with 15 contestants living, and the production activity centered, at the historic Fontainebleau Hotel. The prize money awarded to the Top Chef was $100,000. As with Season 2, the winning recipe from each week's episode of Season 3 is featured on Bravo's Top Chef website and prepared by Season 1 contestant Lee Anne Wong in a web video called The Wong Way to Cook. Another former contestant, Season 2's Carlos Fernandez, is featured on a Yahoo!/Telemundo blog called Sabrosazon in which he presents recipes and writes about Season 3 in Spanish, as well as a Bravo blog called Miami Spice in which he presents recipes in English.
- 1 Judges, guest judges and special appearances
- 2 Contestants
- 3 Contestant progress
- 4 Episodes
- 4.1 Episode 1: First Impressions
- 4.2 Episode 2: Sunny Delights
- 4.3 Episode 3: Family Favorites
- 4.4 Episode 4: Cooking By Numbers
- 4.5 Episode 5: Latin Lunch
- 4.6 Episode 6: Watch What Happens
- 4.7 Episode 7: Freezer Burn
- 4.8 Episode 8: Guilty Pleasures
- 4.9 Episode 9: Restaurant Wars
- 4.10 Episode 10: Second Helping
- 4.11 Episode 11: Chef Overboard
- 4.12 Episode 12: Snacks on a Plane
- 4.13 Episode 13: Manhattan Project
- 4.14 Episode 14: Aspen Finale, Part 1
- 4.15 Episode 15: Aspen Finale, Part 2
- 4.16 Episode 16: Reunion
- 5 References
- 6 External links
Judges, guest judges and special appearances
Beginning this season, Simmons and Allen alternated episodes beginning with the preview episode "Four-Star All Stars", which featured a cook-off between teams of four top chefs from the first two seasons.
- Anthony Bourdain (Ep. 1 and Ep. 12 Elimination)
- Norman van Aken (Ep. 2 Quickfire and Elimination)
- Alfred Portale (Ep. 3 Quickfire and Elimination)
- Jamie Walker of Bombay Sapphire (Ep. 4 Quickfire)
- Angel Helene Cooper (Ep. 16 Elimination)
- Barton G. Weiss (Ep. 4 Elimination)
- Maria Frumkin (Ep. 5 Quickfire and Elimination)
- Rocco DiSpirito (Ep. 71 Quickfire and Elimination, Ep. 15)
- Govind Armstrong (Ep. 8 Quickfire and Elimination)
- Daniel Boulud (Ep. 9 Quickfire and Elimination)
- Geoffrey Zakarian (Ep. 10 Elimination)
- Michael Schwartz (Ep. 11 Quickfire and Elimination)
- Jimmy Canora (Ep. 12 Elimination)
- Sirio Maccioni (Ep. 13 Quickfire)
- André Soltner (Ep. 13 Elimination)
- Eric Ripert (Ep. 14 Quickfire and Elimination)
- Todd English (Ep. 15)
- Michelle Bernstein (Ep. 15)
1 Episode 6 was a reunion special.
- Members of Confrérie de la Chaîne des Rôtisseurs
- Cast and Crew of Telemundo's Dame Chocolate
- Andrea Strong, author of the food blog The Strong Buzz
- Christopher Ciccone, brother of Madonna
- Stephen Asprinio, a contestant from Top Chef Season 1
- Esteban Cortazar, fashion designer
- Dana Cowin, Editor-in-Chief of Food & Wine Magazine
- Clay Bowen, 28 — Resides in: Santa Barbara, California (Hometown: Columbus, Mississippi)
- Sandee Birdsong, 39 — Resides in: Miami Beach, Florida (Hometown: St. Simons Island, Georgia)
- Micah Edelstein, 33 — Resides in: Boca Raton, Florida (Hometown: Bridgewater, Massachusetts)
- Camille Becerra, 34 — Resides in: Brooklyn, New York (Hometown: Elizabeth, New Jersey)
- Lia Bardeen, 28 — Resides in: Brooklyn, New York (Hometown: Tacoma, Washington)
- Joey Paulino, 29 — Resides in: New York (Hometown: Long Island, New York)
- Sara Nguyen, 25 — Resides in: Chicago (Hometown: Santa Monica, California)
- Tre Wilcox, 30 — Resides in: Cedar Hill, Texas (Hometown: Duncanville, Texas)
- Howie Kleinberg, 31 — Resides in: Miami
- Chris "C.J." Jacobsen, 31 — Resides in: Venice, California (Hometown: El Toro, California)
- Sara Mair, 34 — Resides in: Miami, Florida (Hometown: Kingston, Jamaica)
- Brian Malarkey, 34 — Resides in: San Diego (Hometown: Bend, Oregon)
- Casey Thompson, 29 — Resides in: Dallas (Hometown: Cedar Hill, Texas) -- Runner-up / Fan Favorite
- Dale Levitski, 34 — Resides in: Chicago -- Runner-up
- Hung Huynh, 29 — Resides in: Las Vegas (Hometown: Pittsfield, Massachusetts) -- Winner
Credit order: Brian, Joey, Hung, Sara M, Howie, Dale, Micah, Tre, Lia, Sandee, Sara N, Clay, Casey, CJ, Camille
^Note 1 : From Episode 9 forward, the winner of the Quickfire does not receive immunity from elimination.
^Note 2 : Episode 6 was a non-competition reunion special.
^Note 3 : Dale, as winner of the Quickfire, was excused from the Elimination Challenge.
^Note 4 : No one was eliminated in Episode 9. While Brian and Dale were brought back for the second appearance at the Judging Table, they were only there as representatives of their teams, not because they were the worst. They were told that the judges chose to give each team a second run for this Elimination Challenge in Episode 9.
- (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 that episode's Elimination Challenge.
- (HIGH) The chef was selected as one of the top entries in the Elimination Challenge, but did not win.
- (LOW) The chef was selected as one of the bottom entries in the Elimination Challenge, but was not eliminated.
- (OUT) The chef lost that week's Elimination Challenge and was out of the competition.
- (IN) The chef neither won nor lost that week's Elimination Challenge. They also were not up to be eliminated.
Each episode includes two challenges. The Quickfire Challenge is a short, simple challenge with a varying reward each week; in the initial episodes of the season, it usually guarantees the winner immunity from being sent home that week. The Elimination Challenge is a more complex challenge that determines who goes home. One or more guest judges join the show each week to evaluate both the Quickfire and Elimination challenges. Each week's elimination is announced in a segment called "Judges' Table."
Episode 1: First Impressions
- Quickfire Challenge: The chefs must create an amuse bouche within 10 minutes using only existing appetizer food and the plastic service-ware from their introductory party. The winner gets immunity from elimination.
- Elimination Challenge: The chefs are asked to create a "surf and turf" dish within two hours using exotic proteins, such as ostrich, buffalo, abalone, alligator, snake, black chicken, geoduck and eel.
- Elimination Challenge Prize: A collection of books by Anthony Bourdain. Bourdain also promised to take the winner out for yakitori in New York City.
- Guest Judge: Anthony Bourdain
- Original Airdate: June 13, 2007
Episode 2: Sunny Delights
- Quickfire Challenge: The chefs must create a dish featuring Florida citrus within 30 minutes using oranges, lemons, key limes, grapefruit, tangeloes, and/or blood oranges from the display and any items from the Top Chef pantry. The winner gets immunity from elimination.
- WINNER: Hung (Slow-Roasted Sea Bass, Citrus Crumble Watercress and Radish Salad)
- Elimination Challenge: The chefs need to create an "upscale barbecue" dish with two hours to prep and two hours the following day to cook on a barbecue grill on location at a barbecue party.
- WINNER: Brian ("Chino Latino": Scallops, Shrimp and Seabass Sausage with Ginger Slaw and Chili Glaze)
- ELIMINATED: Sandee (Vanilla Lobster and Pancetta-Wrapped Date Skewers with Black Truffle and Walnut Slaw)
- Elimination Challenge Prize: None noted in the broadcast airing.
- Guest Judge: Norman van Aken
- Original Airdate: June 20, 2007
Episode 3: Family Favorites
- Quickfire Challenge: The chefs must "catch and cook" a shellfish dish in 30 minutes after using nets to fish scallops, crawfish, and conch out of tanks. The winner gets immunity from elimination.
- WINNER: Brian ("Tres Rios" (3 Rivers): Wine, Butter, Garlic, Chives with Clams, Scallops, Mussels and Crawfish; Oyster Mignonette and Conch Toast)
- Elimination Challenge: The chefs are asked to update traditional "family favorites" such as tuna casserole, stuffed cabbage, and chicken and dumplings by creating a healthier, more modern dish with reduced cholesterol in one hour for judgment by members of an Elks club.
- WINNER: Howie (Fennel Crusted Pork Chops with Apple Fennel Salad and Sultana Raisin Emulsion)
- ELIMINATED: Micah (Italian-style Meatloaf with Smashed Garlic Potato and Roasted Pepper Sauces)
- Elimination Challenge Prize: Three books from guest judge, Chef Alfred Portale and an invitation to spend a week at the Gotham Bar and Grill working with Chef Portale and his staff.
- Judges: Alfred Portale
- Original Airdate: June 27, 2007
Episode 4: Cooking By Numbers
- Quickfire Challenge: The contestants are challenged to create an appetizer to pair with Bombay Sapphire mixed drinks; the specific drink was selected by random draw. The winner gets immunity from elimination.
- Elimination Challenge: In teams of three, the contestants prepare a tasting menu of four courses, each consisting of trios around a central ingredient. The contestants were to divide themselves up into teams, and select the main ingredient for each course and the order of the courses.
- First Course: A trio of shrimp (Brian, Hung, Lia)
- Second Course: A trio of tuna (Casey, Howie, Joey)
- Third Course: A trio of beef (CJ, Sara N., Tre)
- Fourth Course: A trio of pineapple (Camille, Dale, Sara M.)
- The meal is served to the judges and members of Confrérie de la Chaîne des Rôtisseurs at Barton G. The Restaurant, owned by one of the diners, Barton G. Weiss.
- WINNING TEAM: Brian, Hung, and Lia
- WINNER: Lia (Olive Oil Poached-Key West Pink Shrimp with Avocado, Cucumber, Lime and Grilled Pepper Salad)
- ELIMINATED: Camille (Pineapple Upside-Down Cake with Ginger Sabayon)
- Guest Judges: Jamie Walker, Barton G. Weiss
- Original Airdate: July 11, 2007
Episode 5: Latin Lunch
- Quickfire Challenge: The contestants are challenged to create a course starting with a pre-made pie crust, using additional ingredients from the Top Chef pantry. The winner gets immunity from elimination.
- WINNER: Joey ("A Trio of Tarts": Berry Cream with Balsamic Vinegar, Roasted Mango Purée with Rum, Warm Apple Compote with Brandied Whipped Cream and Cardamom Syrup)
- Elimination Challenge: The contestants are asked to prepare a classical Latin lunch course to be served to the cast and crew of the Telemundo telenovela Dame Chocolate. They had $150 in grocery money to spend and initially had three hours to prep but were told, on the day of the lunch, that they only had 90 minutes to complete their meals and pack them for service.
- Elimination Challenge Prize: A bottle of Argentine wine from guest judge Maria Frumkin (which Howie gave to Joey).
- Guest Judge: Maria Frumkin
- Original Airdate: July 18, 2007
Episode 6: Watch What Happens
- Various chefs from all three seasons are reunited to discuss the series. Hosted by Bravo vice president and bravotv.com blogger Andy Cohen, the episode includes Padma Lakshmi, Tom Colicchio, Gail Simmons, and guest judge Ted Allen, along with Season 1 chefs Harold, Lee Anne, and Dave; Season 2 chefs Ilan, Michael, Cliff, and Sam; and Season 3 chefs Clay, Camille, Lia, Micah and Sandee. Participants were asked questions drawn from viewer emails, and were shown video segments highlighting footage from all three seasons. Questions included what Cliff thought when he saw himself wrestling with Marcel; whether Lee Anne and Harold are dating (Lee Anne says "no"); and what Micah really thought about American comfort food. Clips include Harold introducing his restaurant, Perilla, and Ilan competing in a cook-off against Jacques Pepin at the Food & Wine Classic.
- Original Airdate: July 25, 2007
Episode 7: Freezer Burn
- Quickfire Challenge: The contestants are challenged to the culinary equivalent of a spelling bee, and have to identify foods by either taste or appearance. The winner gets immunity from elimination.
- Elimination Challenge: The contestants are randomly paired up and challenged to create Bertolli-inspired Mediterranean entrees that will be frozen overnight. The food will be served to shoppers the next day in the style of pre-packaged frozen dinners. They are given $100 to shop at Fresh Market to buy enough food to make 15 full courses and sampling dishes, two hours to prepare prior to freezing, and another hour after freezing before serving their meals.
- Team 1: Hung & Joey (Tri-Color Fusilli with Garlic and Sun-Dried Tomato Sauce and Chicken)
- Team 2: Howie & Sara M. (Mediterranean Shrimp Pasta with Fennel and Sun-Dried Tomato Vinaigrette)
- Team 3: Brian & Sara N. (Chicken Rigatoni with Kalamata Olives, Peppers, Sun-Dried Tomatoes and Rosemary)
- Team 4: Tre & CJ (Black Truffle and Parmesan Linguini, Kale, Tomato Confit and Grilled Chicken)
- Team 5: Casey & Dale (Turkey and Pork Meatballs with Orecchiette and Pesto)
- WINNERS: Tre and CJ
- ELIMINATED: Joey
- Elimination Challenge Prize: Two tickets to Italy for each member of the team.
- Guest Judge: Rocco DiSpirito
- Original Airdate: August 1, 2007
Episode 8: Guilty Pleasures
- Quickfire Challenge: The chefs are given 45 minutes to prepare ingredients to be mixed into Cold Stone Creamery ice cream just prior to serving. The winner gets immunity from elimination and gets to have dinner with restaurateur Govind Armstrong at Table 8.
- WINNER: Dale (Cobbler Topping: Flambéed Peaches with Candied Pecans)
- Elimination Challenge: The chefs initially are told they were to have the night off to enjoy Miami nightlife. They discover later that they would be cooking outdoors for patrons at the Nikki Beach night club. The eight chefs drew knives to divide into two groups: Black Team (Brian, Hung, Sara M., and Tre) and Orange Team (Casey, CJ, Howie, and Sara N.). Each team was given a catering truck to use as a mobile kitchen; thirty minutes and $300 to shop; and two hours to prepare a number of "late-night" bar food dishes. The menus were:
- Black Team
- Orange Team
- WINNING TEAM: Black Team
- WINNER: Tre
- ELIMINATED: Sara N.
- Elimination Challenge Prize: A first-edition copy of Armstrong's book and a platinum card good for entry into all Club Nikki locations.
- Guest Judge: Govind Armstrong
- Original Airdate: August 8, 2007
Episode 9: Restaurant Wars
- Quickfire Challenge: The chefs are given 30 minutes to prepare a burger, as inspired by Red Robin's line of "Adventuresome" Burgers. The winner gets the first choice of three teammates for the upcoming Elimination Challenge.
- WINNER: CJ (Scallop Mousse & Shrimp Burger with Tangerine)
- From this point on, immunity is no longer awarded to the winner of a Quickfire Challenge.
- Elimination Challenge: The chefs divide into two teams, and each one will be responsible for taking an empty space and opening an operating restaurant out of it in 24 hours; teams have $2,500 and 45 minutes to purchase decor items, and $500 and 30 minutes to shop for food items at The Fresh Market. Each restaurant is connected to the Top Chef kitchens and thus teams would share the kitchen space. As CJ won the Quickfire, he will select all 3 members of his team. The teams are unaware prior to the challenge that Andrea Strong, author of the food blog "The Strong Buzz", would also be dining in each restaurant and commenting on decor, service, and food, with her comments partially influencing the judging decisions.
- Restaurant April: Brian, Casey, CJ, Tre
- Amuse bouche: Bluepoint Oyster with Ginger and Watermelon Granita
- First course: Seared Sea Scallop on Corn and Black Truffle Custard
- Second course: Seared Grouper with Shellfish, Basil Pistou and Artichoke Hearts
- Third course: Wild Mushroom and Gorgonzola-Crusted Beef Tenderloin on Smoked Fingerling Potatoes
- Desserts: Mango Lemongrass and Sake Sorbet, Tarte Tatin with Brandy Sauce and Creme Anglaise
- Restaurant April: Brian, Casey, CJ, Tre
- The Garage: Dale, Howie, Hung, Sara M.
- First course: Tuna Tartare with Egg Vinaigrette, Niҫoise Olive Purée and Herb Salad
- Second course: Wild Mushroom Risotto with Foie Gras and Black Truffles
- Third course: Braised Lamb Shank with Sunchoke Potatoes and Baby Vegetables
- Dessert: Sweet Crêpes with Dark Chocolate and Orange Grand Marnier Sauce
- The Garage: Dale, Howie, Hung, Sara M.
- WINNER: None
- No team won the Elimination Challenge, since the judges felt both teams' respective successes in their restaurants were canceled out by the relative mis-steps. However, the judges decided not to send anyone home this round, rather opting for a re-do of the challenge the next day, where someone will be going home afterwards.
- ELIMINATED: None
- Elimination Challenge Prize: Each chef received a copy of Guest Judge Daniel Boulud's Letters to a Young Chef.
- WINNER: None
- Guest Judge: Daniel Boulud
- Original Airdate: August 15, 2007
- One unusually vocal diner, who complained about food tasting like metal and protested the scented candle on his table by putting it out with his napkin and setting it on the floor, was later identified by Bravo staff as Christopher Ciccone, brother of Madonna. Bravo executive Andy Cohen also mentioned at that time that Ciccone would be appearing in the following week's episode in an unnamed capacity. Ciccone would reappear in Episode 10 to assist with interior decoration for both restaurants.
Episode 10: Second Helping
- Quickfire Challenge: Continuing with the same teams from the previous week, both teams compete to be the first to complete the following mise en place tasks, in relay:
- Shucking 15 oysters (Howie v. Brian)
- Finely chopping 5 large onions (Sara M. v. Casey)
- Breaking down 4 whole chickens (Hung v. Tre)
- Separating 3 egg whites and beating them until the peaks stand in an upside-down bowl for at least five seconds without falling out. (Dale v. CJ)
- WINNING TEAM: Team Garage
- The winning team receives the help of Season 1 contestant and sommelier Stephen Asprinio for pairing wine with their courses, along with an extra $200 to spend on wine.
- Elimination Challenge: Each team reopens its restaurant, using input from the previous challenge, along with the assistance of Christopher Ciccone, who appeared as a diner in the previous episode, for interior decoration. The teams are allowed to change anything else they wanted with their restaurant, including its name. Each team must prepare two different options for three of the four courses. They are given four hours of preparation time before both restaurants opens. Head judge Tom Colicchio is present in the kitchen during the preparation time and into the serving period.
- Restaurant April
- First course: Seared Sea Scallop on Corn and Black Truffle Custard or Beet-Cured Wild King Salmon with Macadamia Nut Pesto and Grapefruit
- Second course: Chilled Carrot and Ginger Soup or Lobster Salad with Arugula and Caramelized Cauliflower
- Third course: Wild Mushroom and Gorgonzola Crusted Beef Tenderloin on Smoked Fingerling Potatoes or Monkfish with Mascarpone Potatoes
- Dessert: Apple and Brioche Bread Pudding with Cinnamon and Brandy Anglaise
- Quatre (formerly The Garage)
- First course: Tuna Tartare with Egg Vinaigrette, Nicoise Olive Purée and Herb Salad or Poussin with Mint Gnocchi, Sweet Pea Purée, Carrots and Hazelnuts
- Second course: Halibut with Grapes and Braised Leeks or Lamb with White Beans and Haricots Vert
- Dessert: Panna Cotta with Fresh Berries or Sweet Crêpes with Dark Chocolate and Orange Grand Marnier Sauce
- WINNING TEAM: Quatre
- WINNER: Sara M.
- ELIMINATED: Tre
- Elimination Challenge Prize: A fully stocked pantry from Town & Country (not shown on the aired episode but revealed by Sara M. on "Watch What Happens" following her elimination).
- Guest Judge: Geoffrey Zakarian
- Original Airdate: August 22, 2007
- Eliminated chefs were among the diners. Joey and Sara N. dined at Quatre, while Camille and Lia dined at April.
Episode 11: Chef Overboard
- Quickfire Challenge: The chefs draw numbered knives corresponding to an aisle in a supermarket. Each chef has 20 minutes to create a dish using only $10 worth of products from that aisle, in addition to a limited selection of items from the Top Chef pantry. The winner receives the ability to choose the team leader for the Elimination Challenge.
- WINNER: Brian (Spam, Corned Beef Hash and Fried Egg with Onions and Balsamic Reduction)
- NOTE: Howie failed to present any dish for judging.
- Elimination Challenge: Working as a team, the chefs are to cater a party for fashion designer Esteban Cortazar and 60 guests aboard the yacht Venetian Lady chartered by the Pure nightclub. The entire team has a total of $350 to spend for supplies, and has two hours of preparation time on board the yacht prior to service.
- Elimination Challenge Prize: A 17-inch Apple MacBook Pro laptop computer.
- Guest Judges: Dana Cowin, Michael Schwartz
- Original Airdate: September 5, 2007
- During Judges' Table, Howie initially tried to withdraw from the competition and his request was denied by the judges. They then said that his two dishes were the worst and eliminated him anyway.
Episode 12: Snacks on a Plane
- Quickfire Challenge: The chefs are awakened in their penthouse by Padma Lakshmi and have 20 minutes to serve her breakfast using only a butane burner, a Breville blender, and a selection of ingredients brought over from the Top Chef pantry. The winner receives an early copy of Padma's new cookbook Tangy, Tart, Hot and Sweet and is first to choose a protein for the Elimination Challenge.
- WINNER: Hung (Steak and Eggs with Papaya, Banana and Grand Marnier Shake)
- Elimination Challenge: The contestants fly to Newark Liberty International Airport and, using the Continental Airlines kitchen at Newark Airport, prepare a meal for first class. The meal must be reheated and served aboard a Boeing 777 in a hangar to 14 Continental flight attendants plus the judges.
- Elimination Challenge Prize: Two Continental Business First tickets to any Continental destination worldwide.
- Guest Judges: Anthony Bourdain, Jimmy Canora
- First aired September 12, 2007
- Beginning with this Elimination Challenge, no further part of the competition was held in Miami.
Episode 13: Manhattan Project
- Quickfire Challenge: The chefs dine at Le Cirque on a classic dish of sea bass wrapped in thinly sliced Russet potatoes over leeks. They then have 25 minutes to recreate the dish as close as possible to the original. This challenge is judged by Sirio Maccioni, owner of Le Cirque and the co-creator of the dish. The winner earns an extra 30 minutes of cooking time for the Elimination Challenge and the opportunity to serve the elimination judges first.
- WINNER: Hung
- Elimination Challenge: At the French Culinary Institute, the chefs must create a dish highlighting what are said to be the three hardest French cuisine ingredients to be creative with: onion, chicken, and potato. The chefs have a $200 budget to shop at the Union Square Greenmarket and two hours to cook (except Hung, who has an extra 30 minutes). The dishes are served to a panel of FCI deans consisting of André Soltner, Nils Norén, Jacques Torres, Alain Sailhac, Cesare Casella, and Dorothy Hamilton. The four judged as the best will advance to the Top Chef finale in Aspen, Colorado.
Episode 14: Aspen Finale, Part 1
- Quickfire Challenge: The chefs are each given a fresh trout from the Fryingpan River Valley area of Aspen, Colorado, along with a frying pan, camping stove, and several basic pantry ingredients. They then have 20 minutes to create an original dish to impress guest judge Eric Ripert, executive chef of Le Bernardin restaurant in New York City.
- Winner: Casey (Trout Filet with Crisped Skin, Grapes and Summer Corn)
- Elimination Challenge: At the Moon Run Ranch, the chefs will cater the annual dinner for the Snowmass Rodeo Riders, using supplies already in place for the event's original caterers. Once the chefs arrive in the kitchens, the protein is revealed: elk. Each chef has three hours to create his or her own menu of dishes, and an hour for service. As the winner of the Quickfire Challenge, Casey is the only one who will be able to use the items she brought from home in the Elimination Challenge. All others must use what is provided. Casey, however, told Colicchio before judging that she had chosen not to use the advantage which she won in this episode's Quickfire in order to save those items for the finale.
- Brian: Whiskey-Braised Elk Shank, Horseradish and Sour Cream Potato Purée, Pancetta Corn Asparagus Relish, Blackberry Balsamic and Sage Brown Butter
- Casey: Mushroom-Crusted Elk Loin with a Cauliflower Duo and Tomato Butter
- Dale: Spiced Elk Loin, Huckleberry and Blackberry Sauce, Cauliflower and Fingerling Potatoes
- Hung: Seared Elk Loin, Pommes Boulangère, Chocolate Red Wine Sauce
- Note: Chief Judge Tom Colicchio announced that, for the first time in the show's history, three of the four chefs would advance to the finale.
- WINNER: Dale
- ELIMINATED: Brian
- Guest Judge: Eric Ripert
- Original Airdate: September 26, 2007
- The events in this episode took place approximately one month after the last elimination challenge in New York.
Episode 15: Aspen Finale, Part 2
- Final Challenge: The chefs take a ski lift to the Aspen Mountain Club, elevation 11,200 feet. Their instructions for the final challenge are simple: "Cook us the best meal you've ever cooked in your life." They are shown a large, diverse array of proteins and produce and are given 35 minutes to plan a three-course menu. This final meal will be served head-to-head rather than back-to-back: Each chef's course will be presented at the same time as his or her competitor's. The chefs then draw knives to see with which of three sous-chefs they will be paired for the three-hour prep period on the first day.
- On the second day, the chefs are given two hours to complete their dishes before service. With an hour left, however, they are told they must now add a fourth course to their menus. It can be composed of any ingredient available in the kitchen, and can be served at any point in the meal. Eliminated contestants CJ, Howie and Sara M. are randomly paired through knife drawing with Dale, Casey and Hung, respectively, as sous-chefs to assist in the fourth course preparation. The four judges were joined at the dining table by the three celebrity sous-chefs and the eliminated contestant Brian. The final menus for each chef (with the surprise course italicized) are:
- 1st Course: Cinnamon-Scented Scallop with Celery and Foie Gras with Apple
- 2nd Course: Poached Prawn with Rice Cake in Lobster Mushroom Broth
- 3rd Course: Crispy Pork Belly over Pea Shoots with a Roasted Peach and Crème Fraîche
- 4th Course: Seared Sirloin with Potatoes, Mushrooms, Ruby Chard and Parsley Purée
- At "Judge's Table", the judges all agreed that Hung presented the best first and third courses, while Dale presented the best second and fourth courses.
- TOP CHEF: Hung
- RUNNERS-UP: Dale and Casey
- Original Airdate: October 3, 2007
- This was the first time that the winner of Top Chef was announced live following the pre-taped portion of the show, at a live event in Chicago.
Episode 16: Reunion
- All Season Three chefs were reunited to discuss the season. Hosted by Bravo vice president and bravotv.com blogger Andy Cohen, the episode also included Padma Lakshmi, Tom Colicchio, Gail Simmons, and guest judge Ted Allen. Participants were asked questions drawn from viewer emails, and were shown video segments highlighting the season. The chefs joked about Hung's speed in the kitchen, CJ's issues with his height, CJ's flirtation with Padma and Casey, the chefs' time spent in the "stew room" (the room in which they waited while the judges discussed the elimination challenges), and the unlikely friendship which developed between Howie and Joey. More serious issues discussed included Tre's elimination in "Restaurant Wars, Part 2", Hung's refusal to assist other chefs, Casey's performance at the dinner service in the "Finale, Part 2", Dale's regaining his confidence as a chef, and the chefs' back-talking to the judges during Judges' Table. Additionally, Casey was announced as "Fan Favorite" from an online and SMS poll, winning a $10,000 prize underwritten by Calphalon and a suite of Calphalon cookware.
- Original Airdate: October 10, 2007
- "Bravo Announces Contestants for Top Chef 3 Miami". MovieWeb. 2007-05-09. Retrieved 2007-05-11.
- Ted Allen."I'm Not Wearing Teal," Bravo Top Chef blog, June 11, 2007
- "Top Chef Season 3 Cast". Bravo. 2007-05-09. Retrieved 2007-05-14.
- Andy (2007-08-16). "An Unidentified Christopher Ciccone Spices Up Top Chef". Towleroad. Retrieved 2007-08-16.
- "What's Cooking?", New York Post Page Six column, August 17, 2007.