Top Chef (season 6)

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Top Chef (season 6)
Country of origin United States
No. of episodes 16
Release
Original network Bravo
Original release

August 19 (2009-08-19) – December 16, 2009 (2009-12-16)

Additional information
Host(s) Padma Lakshmi
Judges Tom Colicchio
Gail Simmons
Toby Young
No. of contestants 17
Winner Michael Voltaggio
All-stars Jennifer Carroll
Mike Isabella
Season chronology
← Previous
Season 5
Next →
Season 7

Top Chef: Las Vegas is the sixth season of the American reality television series Top Chef. It was first filmed in Las Vegas, Nevada, before concluding in Napa, California.[1] The season premiered on August 19, 2009 and ended on December 16, 2009. Beginning with this season, the prize money awarded to the winner was increased to $125,000. In 2010, Top Chef: Las Vegas received the Primetime Emmy Award for "Outstanding Reality Competition Program".[2]

Contestants[edit]

17 chefs were selected to compete in Top Chef: Las Vegas.

Name Hometown Current Residence Age
Eve Aronoff Ann Arbor, Michigan Ann Arbor, Michigan 40
Jennifer Carroll Philadelphia, Pennsylvania Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 33
Ron Duprat Mare Rouge, Haiti Naples, Florida 40
Ash Fulk Pleasant Hill, California New York, New York 29
Kevin Gillespie Atlanta, Georgia Atlanta, Georgia 26
Mike Isabella Little Ferry, New Jersey Washington, D.C. 34
Eli Kirshtein Atlanta, Georgia Atlanta, Georgia 25
Robin Leventhal Sun Valley, Idaho Seattle, Washington 43
Ashley Merriman Center Sandwich, New Hampshire Seattle, Washington 32
Preeti Mistry San Francisco, California San Francisco, California 33
Mattin Noblia Biarritz, France San Francisco, California 29
Jesse Sandlin Baltimore, Maryland Baltimore, Maryland 30
Hector Santiago San Juan, Puerto Rico Atlanta, Georgia 41
Bryan Voltaggio Frederick, Maryland Urbana, Maryland 33
Michael Voltaggio Frederick, Maryland Pasadena, California 30
Laurine Wickett Rochester, New York San Francisco, California 38
Jennifer "Jen" Zavala Cromwell, Connecticut Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 31

Contestant progress[edit]

Contestant 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 12 13 14 15
Quickfire
Winner(s)
Robin
Jennifer1
Michael Jennifer Kevin2 Mike1 Robin Kevin4 Eli1 Jennifer1
Kevin1
Laurine1
Mike1
Kevin1 Eli1 Jennifer1 Michael1 N/A
Michael IN HIGH WIN HIGH HIGH HIGH LOW HIGH WIN HIGH WIN IN IN WINNER
Bryan IN WIN IN WIN WIN IN HIGH HIGH HIGH IN HIGH IN WIN RUNNER-UP
Kevin WIN IN HIGH IN2 IN WIN HIGH WIN LOW WIN HIGH WIN IN RUNNER-UP
Jennifer HIGH IN IN HIGH IN HIGH WIN HIGH LOW LOW LOW IN OUT
Eli IN HIGH HIGH IN IN IN LOW IN HIGH HIGH LOW OUT
Robin IN IN IN IN LOW IN IN LOW HIGH LOW OUT
Mike HIGH IN LOW HIGH IN IN IN IN LOW OUT
Laurine IN IN LOW IN HIGH LOW HIGH LOW OUT
Ash IN IN IN LOW IN LOW LOW OUT
Ashley IN LOW IN LOW HIGH HIGH OUT
Ron HIGH IN IN IN LOW OUT
Mattin IN IN IN LOW OUT
Hector LOW HIGH IN OUT
Jesse LOW LOW IN OUT3
Preeti IN LOW OUT
Eve LOW OUT
Jen OUT

^Note 1 : The chef(s) did not receive immunity.
^Note 2 : As a reward for winning the Quickfire Challenge, Kevin was allowed to sit out the Elimination Challenge.
^Note 3 : Jesse was eliminated by placing last in the Quickfire Challenge.
^Note 4 : As a reward for winning the Quickfire Challenge, Kevin was given the choice to receive either immunity or $15,000 as his prize. Kevin opted for the money, forfeiting his immunity.

     (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.

Episodes[edit]

No. Title Original air date
1 "Sin City Vice" August 19, 2009 (2009-08-19)

Quickfire Challenge (Round 1): The 17 chefs were divided into four teams to compete in a mise en place relay race in which each member performed one of four tasks: shuck 15 clams, peel 30 spot prawns, clean five lobsters, or butcher two chops from an entire prime rib. The chefs drew poker chips to determine their teams (black, blue, green, or red); whoever drew the single gold chip was exempt from participating in the Quickfire and received immunity in the Elimination Challenge. The first team to finish all four tasks won the challenge.

  • Red Team: Eve, Kevin, Michael, Preeti
  • Blue Team: Bryan, Jennifer, Jesse, Mattin
  • Green Team: Ash, Jen, Laurine, Ron
  • Black Team: Ashley, Eli, Hector, Mike
    • WINNING TEAM: Blue Team

Quickfire Challenge (Round 2): Each member of the winning team was given 30 minutes to cook a dish using the ingredients they worked with during the mise en place. The chef with the winning dish received $15,000. The receiver of the gold chip from the previous round was also given the opportunity to trade in their immunity for a chance to compete.

Elimination Challenge: The chefs, battling against the other contestants in their Quickfire teams, cooked a dish inspired by one of their personal vices. The receiver of the gold chip from the Quickfire was able to join the team of their choice. One member from each team was eligible for the win and another member was put up for elimination.

2 "Bachelor/ette Party" August 26, 2009 (2009-08-26)

Quickfire Challenge: The chefs each rolled a pair of six-sided dice at a craps table in the Top Chef kitchen. They then had 30 minutes to create a dish with the number of ingredients they rolled on the dice (two through ten), not counting salt, pepper, and oil. The winner received immunity from elimination and $15,000.

  • WINNER: Michael (Nitro Gazpacho, Compressed Cucumbers & Toast)

Elimination Challenge: In order to cater a bachelor/bachelorette party, the group split between males and females for a battle of the sexes. The men prepared dishes for the bride-to-be, while the women cooked for the prospective groom. At least two dishes had to be paired with each of the three cocktails the couple had chosen to serve their guests: Moscow Mule, tequila shots, or Golden Delicious (Goldschläger and sparkling apple cider). Each team was given $800 with 30 minutes to shop, two hours to prep, and one hour to set up their tables before poolside service the next day.

  • WINNER: Bryan (Tequila Shot: Sweet & Sour Macaroon Filled with Guacamole, Corn Nuts & Corn Purée)
  • ELIMINATED: Eve (Tequila Shot: Shrimp & Avocado Ceviche with Smokey Tomato Salsa & Popcorn)
3 "Thunderbirds" September 2, 2009 (2009-09-02)

Quickfire Challenge: Each chef created an "out of this world" dish using an assortment of different potatoes. The winner received immunity from elimination.

  • WINNER: Jennifer (Steamed Mussels, Yukon Gold and Blue Potatoes with Lemongrass Potato Sauce)

Elimination Challenge: With limited time and supplies, the chefs catered a meal for 300 airmen at Nellis Air Force Base. The contestants worked as one team, but they later decided to split up into smaller groups of two and make one dish each.

  • WINNER: Michael (Braised Pork Belly with Soy-Mustard Sauce & Peanuts)
  • ELIMINATED: Preeti (Pasta Salad with Broccoli, Peppers, Sun-Dried Tomatoes & Artichoke Hearts)
4 "Vivre Las Vegas" September 9, 2009 (2009-09-09)

Quickfire Challenge: As a tribute to the continuing popularity of French cuisine in the United States, each chef created a dish using escargot. The winner received immunity in the Elimination Challenge and a prize to be announced later, while the loser was sent home. After announcing the bottom three dishes, the chefs who cooked them were each given a second chance to save themselves, with 20 minutes to make an amuse-bouche.

  • WINNER: Kevin (Escargot Fricassee with Mushrooms, Brussels Sprouts & Candied Bacon Jam)
  • ELIMINATED: Jesse ("ELT": Escargot, Mache & Fried Tomato; Tuna Tartare with Sorrel, Gooseberries, Fried Quail Egg & Fried Bread)

Elimination Challenge: Each chef drew a knife that showed either a traditional French sauce or a protein on it. The chefs then paired up each protein with its traditional sauce to create a six-course meal for a table of esteemed French chefs, including Hubert Keller, Jean Joho, Laurent Tourondel, and Joël Robuchon. The winner of the Quickfire was exempt from the challenge.

  • First Course: Frogs' Legs (Ron) and Sauce Meunière (Robin)
  • Second Course: Trout (Bryan) and Sauce Béarnaise (Mike)
  • Third Course: Lobster (Laurine) and Sauce Américaine (Eli)
  • Fourth Course: Young Chicken (Ashley) and Sauce Velouté (Mattin)
  • Fifth Course: Rabbit (Michael) and Sauce Chasseur (Jennifer)
  • Sixth Course: Chateaubriand (Hector) and Sauce au Poivre (Ash)
    • WINNER: Bryan (Warm Cured Trout with Deconstructed Béarnaise)
    • ELIMINATED: Hector (Chateaubriand, Sauce au Poivre with Confit de Pommes & Spinach)
5 "Camping" September 16, 2009 (2009-09-16)

Quickfire Challenge: The chefs cooked dishes using a viewer-selected ingredient: cactus. The winning chef received $15,000, but no immunity.

  • WINNER: Mike (Cactus & Tuna Ceviche with Pipián)

Elimination Challenge: The chefs prepared a high-end lunch dish on an outdoor ranch for two dozen cowboys, using fire pits and limited supplies.

  • WINNER: Bryan (Roasted Pork Loin, Corn Polenta, Dandelion Greens & Glazed Rutabaga)
  • ELIMINATED: Mattin (Ceviche Three Ways: Salmon with Apple, Spicy Tuna & Cod with Corn)
6 "Penn & Teller" September 23, 2009 (2009-09-23)

Quickfire Challenge: The chefs had to create two contrasting dishes, inspired by "the angel and the devil on their shoulder." The winner received immunity in the Elimination Challenge.

  • WINNER: Robin (Angel: Arugula, Apple & Fennel Salad; Devil: Cardamom Apple Ginger Crisp)

Elimination Challenge: The chefs were asked to deconstruct a classic recipe and re-imagine its components into their own signature dishes to be served at a meal for Penn & Teller.

  • WINNER: Kevin (Chicken Mole: Chicken Croquette, Mexican Coffee Fig Jam, Pumpkin Seed Romesco)
  • ELIMINATED: Ron (Seafood Paella: Lemon & Herb Oil, Chayote & Peas)
7 "Dinner Party" October 7, 2009 (2009-10-07)

Quickfire Challenge: The chefs used a slot machine to determine the themes (mood, taste/texture, and origin of cuisine) of their dish. The winner was given a choice between immunity or $15,000.

  • WINNER: Kevin (Stressed, Hot and Spicy, Asian: Char-Grilled Pork with Vietnamese Herb Salad)

Elimination Challenge: The chefs were teamed up via a blind knife draw and received market bags from various dinner guests, including Tyler Florence, Nancy Silverton, Govind Armstrong, Takashi Yagihashi, and Tom Douglas. Working in teams of the two, the contestants cooked and served a dinner for the guests at the Top Chef house. The winner received a $10,000 gift card from Macy's.

  • Armstrong: Ashley and Eli
  • Douglas: Jennifer and Kevin
  • Florence: Bryan and Laurine
  • Silverton: Ash and Michael
  • Yagihashi: Mike and Robin
8 "Pigs and Pinot" October 14, 2009 (2009-10-14)

Quickfire Challenge: The chefs made dishes to pair with a designated type and brand of crunchy snack foods. From this point forward, the winners of the Quickfire no longer received immunity from elimination.

  • WINNER: Eli (Potato Clam Salad with Fennel, Celery & White Truffle Sauce)

Elimination Challenge: The chefs were required to create a dish using a designated cut of pork, which they had to pair with a self-chosen Pinot noir as part of Chef Charlie Palmer's annual Pigs & Pinot charity fundraiser. Cuts of pork were assigned by blind knife draw. The chef that drew the "wildcard" knife was allowed to select their cut. The winner received an invitation to participate in the 2010 Pigs & Pinot event.

  • WINNER: Kevin (Pork Leg Pâté; 2006 Sokol Blosser Dundee Hills Pinot Noir)
  • ELIMINATED: Ash (Chilled Pork Tenderloin; 2007 Sanford Pinot Noir)
9 "Restaurant Wars" October 21, 2009 (2009-10-21)

Quickfire Challenge: The chefs, in two teams of four, competed in a tag team cook-off, with Rick Moonen serving as a guest judge. First, the contestants drew knives. The two chefs who drew the knives designated "first choice" and "second choice" picked the teams. Next, the teams had to decide what order they would cook in. During their designated cooking time, the chefs were not allowed to communicate with each other in regards to the components of their dish. The teams had 40 minutes total (10 minutes individually) to alternate execution of the dish. The winning team was given a choice between splitting $10,000 between the group members or carrying it into the Elimination Challenge. In the latter case, if the same team won, each chef would receive $10,000 instead; however, if the team lost, the prize money would be surrendered to the opposing team.

  • Red Team: Bryan, Eli, Michael, Robin
  • Blue Team: Jennifer, Kevin, Mike, Laurine
    • WINNER: Blue Team (Sablefish with Sautéed Mushrooms, Shiitake Broth & Radish Salad in Yuzu Vinaigrette)

Elimination Challenge: Using the same teams as in the Quickfire, the chefs participated in "Restaurant Wars". Each team cooked and served in one of Moonen's kitchens and dining rooms at his restaurant, RM Seafood. The winning Quickfire team was given their choice of the kitchen; the Blue Team chose the upstairs restaurant. The Blue Team also decided to gamble their prize money from the Quickfire Challenge.

  • R∃Volt: Michael, Bryan, Eli, Robin
    • 1st Course: Smoked Arctic Char with Beets, Horseradish Sour Cream & Potatoes (Bryan); Pressed Chicken with Calamari Noodles, Tomato Confit & Fennel Salad (Michael)
    • 2nd Course: Duo of Beef, Braised Short Ribs & Prime NY Strip (Bryan); Cod with Parsley Sauce, Billi-Bi Croquette & Zucchini Tenderloin (Michael)
    • 3rd Course: Ganache with Spearmint Ice Cream & Chocolate Tuiles (Bryan); Pear Pithivier with Vanilla Ice Cream & Elderflower Syrup (Robin)
  • Mission: Jennifer, Kevin, Mike, Laurine
    • 1st Course: Asparagus and Six-Minute Egg (Mike); Arctic Char Tartare (Mike)
    • 2nd Course: Trout with Brown Butter Emulsion, Hazelnuts & Braised Endive (Jennifer); Alaskan Halibut with Mussels, Clams & Saffron Aioli in Consommé (Jennifer)
    • 3rd Course: Lamb with Carrot Jam, Green Bean Salad & Morel Mushroom Sauce (Kevin & Laurine); Glazed Pork Belly, Pork Sausage, Cornmeal Mousseline & Red-Eye Gravy (Kevin)
      • WINNER: Michael
      • ELIMINATED: Laurine
10 "Meat Natalie" October 28, 2009 (2009-10-28)

Quickfire Challenge: The chefs picked classic television series by blind knife draw and were told to make a TV dinner inspired by the series. The winning chef had their dish featured in the Top Chef line of frozen foods.

  • WINNER: Kevin (The Sopranos: Meatballs with Polenta, Roasted Cauliflower & Roasted Pear)

Elimination Challenge: At Tom Colicchio's Craftsteak restaurant, the chefs each prepared a vegetarian dish for Natalie Portman and her friends.

  • WINNER: Kevin (Duo of Mushrooms, Smoked Kale, Candied Garlic & Turnip Purée)
  • ELIMINATED: Mike (Whole Roasted Leeks with Onion Jus, Baby Carrot Purée & Fingerling Potatoes)
11 "Top Chef All-Stars Dinner" November 4, 2009 (2009-11-04)
12 "Strip Around the World" November 11, 2009 (2009-11-11)

Quickfire Challenge: The chefs created "breakfast in bed" dishes for host Lakshmi and guest judge Nigella Lawson. The winning recipe was the only Quickfire dish from Season 6 to be put in the Top Chef Quickfire cookbook.

Elimination Challenge: The chefs prepared small plates inspired by Vegas casinos for 175 guests at a reception held at the World Market Center. The winner received a bottle of Terlato Wine and a two-day, three-night trip to the Terlato Family Vineyards in Napa Valley.

13 "Culinary Olympics" November 18, 2009 (2009-11-18)

Quickfire Challenge: The final five chefs participated in a version of the Bocuse d'Or cooking competition that was established by legendary French chef Paul Bocuse. The chefs had to create their own version of Gavin Kaysen's dish for the 2007 Bocuse d'Or: a ballotine of chicken, chicken liver, and crayfish. The winner received an extra thirty minutes of cooking time during the Elimination Challenge.

  • WINNER: Jennifer (Calamari Steak, Scallops, Salmon, Shiitake, Shiso with Rice Noodle Salad)

Elimination Challenge: Each chef prepared a presentation platter for the Bocuse d'Or with one protein (Atlantic salmon or lamb) and two garnishes. The winner received $30,000 and the opportunity to compete to represent the United States in the 2011 Bocuse d'Or.

  • WINNER: Kevin (Poached Lamb Loin, Sherry-glazed Golden Beets & Asparagus in Sunchoke Cream)
  • ELIMINATED: Eli (Sausage-Wrapped Lamb Loin, Ras el Hanout & Carrot Puree, Tomato-Piquillo Marmalade)
14 "Napa Finale, Part 1" December 2, 2009 (2009-12-02)

Quickfire Challenge: After the competition moved to Napa, California for the season finale, the four remaining chefs had to create a dish using grapes. The winner received a brand new third generation Toyota Prius.

  • WINNER: Michael (Grape Leaf Stuffed with "Couscous", Vinegar Glazed Grape & Scallop Kabob)

Elimination Challenge: The chefs created two dishes to serve to 150 guests at a "crush party" to celebrate the grape harvest. With the exception of salt and pepper, all the ingredients had to be local. In addition, one dish had to be vegetarian.

  • WINNER: Bryan (Goat Cheese Ravioli, Delicata Squash Purée & Bronze Fennel; Fig-Glazed Short Ribs, Celeriac Purée, Wax Beans & Wild Arugula)
  • ELIMINATED: Jennifer (Chevre Mousse with Honey Mushrooms, Braised Radishes & Basil; Braised Duck Legs, Confit of Duck Breast, Squash Purée & Foie Gras Vinaigrette)
15 "Napa Finale, Part 2" December 9, 2009 (2009-12-09)

Elimination Challenge: The finalists were asked to create a four-course tasting menu, with each dish meeting certain requirements. The first course had to be inspired by a favorite dish from the chefs' childhoods. The second course required the contestants to use all the ingredients contained in a mystery box. The third course was the chef's choice, and the final course had to be a dessert. The finalists drew knives to determine which two previously eliminated contestants from the season would act as their sous chefs. Kevin drew Ash and Preeti; Bryan drew Ashley and Jennifer; and Michael drew Eli and Jesse.

  • Bryan:
    • First Course: Sardine, German Butterball Potato, Heirloom Tomato & Panko Bread Crumbs
    • Second Course: Rockfish Sous Vide, Kabocha Squash with Curry & Meyer Lemon
    • Third Course: Venison Saddle with Purée of Sunchokes & Orange Juniper Sauce
    • Fourth Course: "Dulce de Leche" Cheesecake with Fig Sorbet, Poached Pear & Basil
  • Kevin:
    • First Course: Southern Fried Chicken Skin with Squash Casserole & Tomato
    • Second Course: Pacific Rockfish, Roasted Squash, Crab Broth & Roasted Matsutake Mushroom
    • Third Course: Slow Roasted Pork Belly with Brussels Sprouts, Broccoli & Caramelized Ham Jus
    • Fourth Course: Roasted Banana, Toasted Peanut with Chocolate Bacon Mousse & Bacon Brittle
  • Michael:
    • First Course: Cream of Dehydrated Broccoli, Fried Broccoli & Spot Prawn
    • Second Course: Dashi-Glazed Rockfish, Sweet and Sour Crab Salad with Squash & Meyer Lemon
    • Third Course: Fennel-Scented Squab Breast, Pistachio Cassoulet & Textures of Mushrooms
    • Fourth Course: Chocolate Caramel Coulant, Butternut Squash Brûlée & Butternut Ice Cream
      • WINNER: Michael
      • RUNNERS-UP: Bryan and Kevin
16 "Watch What Happens Reunion" December 16, 2009 (2009-12-16)

References[edit]

  1. ^ Reyhani, Monica A. (November 2, 2009). "Top Chef Finale Location Revealed!". Bravo. Retrieved November 20, 2015. 
  2. ^ Reyhani, Monica A. (August 29, 2010). "'Top Chef' Wins the Emmy!". Bravo. Retrieved November 20, 2015. 

External links[edit]