The cast of the tenth season of Top Chef initially consisted of 21 contestants. After the qualifying challenges in the first episode, the pool of chefs was narrowed down to 15. Former Top Chef competitors Josie Smith-Malave (Top Chef: Los Angeles), Chris “C.J.” Jacobsen (Top Chef: Miami), and Stefan Richter (Top Chef: New York) later joined the competition during the second episode.
Top Chef episodes consist of two challenges. The Quickfire Challenge & Elimination Challenge.
Episode 1: The Ultimate Chef Test
Each judge tests a group of cheftestants in their own real-world challenge.
The 10th anniversary season of Top Chef kicks off as 21 chefs from around the country enter the kitchens of our judges – Tom Colicchio, Emeril Lagasse, Hugh Acheson, and the newest addition, Wolfgang Puck. Each judge tests their group of cheftestants in their own real-world challenge, and only the best will move on to Seattle to compete for the title of Top Chef.
Group 1: In Los Angeles, Tom Colicchio challenged Anthony, John, Jorel, Lizzie, and Micah to work on the line in his restaurant. Each chef was given a specific task to complete.
ELIMINATED: Anthony and Jorel
Group 2: In Las Vegas, Emeril Lagasse challenged Jeffrey, Joshua, Kristen, Stephanie, and Tina to make soup in one hour.
ELIMINATED: Stephanie and Tina
Group 3: In Beverly Hills, Wolfgang Puck challenged Carla, Chrissy, Daniel, Eliza, Kuniko, and Tyler to create an omelette in 45 minutes.
Group 4: In Atlanta, Hugh Acheson challenged Bart, Brooke, Danyele, Gina, and Sheldon to prepare a salad in 45 minutes.
Episode 2: A Shock at the Space Needle
One turn of the Seattle Space Needle determines who will go home
There are 15 chefs that make it to Seattle, with their sights set on the Top Chef title. As a surprising twist changes the course of the competition, one chef cranks up the heat her own way, and one turn of the Seattle Space Needle determines who will go home. Famed Seattle chef and restaurateur Tom Douglas joins Gail Simmons, Emeril Lagasse, head judge Tom Colicchio, and host Padma Lakshmi.
Quickfire Challenge: The chefs separated themselves into teams of three and had to create a dish that highlighted the local shellfish. The winning team drew knives to determine which individual would receive immunity.
Top: John, Kuniko, Sheldon
Bottom: Danyele, Eliza, Joshua
WINNERS: John, Kuniko, and Sheldon (Geoduck Sashimi with Ponzu, Apple, and Cucumber)
Elimination Challenge: Using the same teams from the Quickfire, the chefs traveled to the Space Needle to make a dish using regional ingredients.
Red Team: CJ, Josie, Stefan
Orange Team: Carla, Chrissy, Lizzie
Yellow Team: Danyele, Eliza, Joshua
Green Team: Kristen, Micah, Tyler
Blue Team: John, Kuniko, Sheldon
Gray Team: Bart, Brooke, JeffreyWINNER: Kuniko (Chili Oil Poached Cod with Dashi, and Spot Prawn Shabu Shabu)
ELIMINATED: Jeffrey (Pan Roasted Halibut with Mushrooms, English Peas, Wheat Beer, and Herb Sabayon)
Episode 3: Tom vs. Emeril: Turkeypocalypse
Tom and Emeril don their chef coats and take to the kitchen to lead teams in an epic Thanksgiving battle.
This ain’t your mama’s chicken and dumplings! In this week’s Quickfire, the chefs must make different varieties of dumplings from all over the world. In the Elimination Challenge, Tomand Emeril don their chef coats and take to the kitchen to lead teams in an epic Thanksgiving battle. No Turkey Day would be complete without a family fight, and the Top Chef family is no different. Guest judge and Food & Wine Editor-in-Chief Dana Cowin joins Emeril Lagasse, head judge Tom Colicchio, and host Padma Lakshmi.
Quickfire Challenge: The chefs were tasked with creating international dumplings, inspired by whatever country they took on a map; they had 5 minutes on an Amazon kindle to look up whatever they needed to know about their type of dumpling.
Top: Josie, Micah, Stefan
Bottom: Brooke, Carla, Kuniko
WINNER: Josie (Mandu - Pork, Tofu, and Shiitake Mushroom Filling)
Elimination Challenge: The chefs worked in two teams, lead by Tom Colicchio (Red) and Emeril Lagasse (Gray), to cook a Thanksgiving meal to benefit FareStart.
Red Team: Bart, Carla, CJ, Eliza, Joshua, Lizzie, Micah, Stefan
Gray Team: Brooke, Chrissy, Danyele, John, Josie, Kristen, Kuniko, Sheldon, Tyler
WINNER: Carla (Carrot Soup with Turkey Meatballs)
ELIMINATED: Kuniko (Potato Pavé)
Episode 4: ’50s Food Flashback
The chefs go back in time as they’re tasked with re-creating an original 1950s menu from one of the best restaurants in the country.
Butchery is king as two giant slabs of beef on meat hooks await the chefs for this week’s Quickfire. For the Elimination Challenge, the chefs go back in time as they’re tasked with re-creating an original 1950s menu from one of the best restaurants in the country. Push comes to shove in the kitchen, as the chefs serve up the classics while trying to save themselves from a double elimination. Emeril Lagasse and Hugh Acheson join head judge Tom Colicchioand host Padma Lakshmi.
Quickfire Challenge: The chefs were asked to butcher a part of a whole piece of beef and cook a dish with that cut.
Top: CJ, John, Joshua
Bottom: Eliza, Lizzie, Tyler
WINNER: John (Braised Oxtails and Potato Gnocchi with Roasted Vegetables and Celery)
Elimination Challenge: The chefs were tasked with recreating dishes from a classic 1950′s menu from the restaurant Canlis. The winner received $10,000.
WINNER: Kristen (Dry-Roasted Sautéed Mushrooms with Crispy-Fried Shallots)
ELIMINATED: Chrissy (Canlis‘ Special Salad) and Carla (Whole Milk-Fed Squab)
Episode 5: Pike Place Pickle
The chefs use their skill and imagination to highlight some of the rarest ingredients found at Pike Place Market.
The cheftestants team up and head to the “Soul of Seattle,” world-famous Pike Place Market, for an early morning Quickfire. The day doesn’t end there, as they will have to use their skill and imagination to highlight some of the rarest ingredients found at the market for their Elimination Challenge. Every team will have to work hard to impress, as they’ll be cooking for the artisans. Tom shocks the cheftestants with an unexpected Judges’ Table. Gail Simmonsand Hugh Acheson join head judge Tom Colicchio and host Padma Lakshmi.
Quickfire Challenge: The chefs were tasked with pairing up and creating a breakfast on a stick for 50 people at Pike Place Market.
Top: Bart, John, Joshua, Sheldon
Bottom: Danyele, Eliza, Josie, Lizzie
WINNERS: Bart and Sheldon (Green Forest Breakfast Sandwich: Eggs, Cheese, Pancetta, Bacon and Spinach)
Elimination Challenge: The same teams were kept for the Elimination Challenge. The chefs were asked to create a dish, by drawing knives, to feature an ingredient created by the vendors at Pike Place Market. The winners would have received $10,000; however, due to the poor quality of the meal, the reward was pulled off the table.
Bart and Sheldon: Salmon Candy
Danyele and Lizzie: Coconut Curry Chocolate
John and Joshua: Truffled Popcorn
Eliza and Josie: Cardamom Bitters
Brooke and Stefan: Rose Petal Jelly
CJ and Tyler: Spicy Dill Pickles
Kristen and Micah: Cheese Curds
ELIMINATED: CJ and Tyler (Pork Crumpet Burger with Fried Spicy Dill Pickles)
Episode 6: Even the Famous Come Home
It’s holiday time in the Top Chef kitchen, and a twist in the Quickfire will test the cheftestants’ ability to share as they cook up dishes based on their family lineage. Celebrities Anna Faris and Chris Pratt are returning home, and for the Elimination Challenge the cheftestants will cater their homecoming party. It’s a family affair filled with laughs for the Hollywood couple, but unfortunately for one chef it’s the end of the road. Guest judge Rick Moonen joins Gail Simmons, head judge Tom Colicchio, and host Padma Lakshmi.
Quickfire Challenge: The chefs were asked to cook a holiday-themed sweet and savory dish that reminds them of their heritage using Truvia baking blend sugar. However, there was only one knife available for all the chefs; those who needed to use it were forced to either share it or improvise using other tools or methods.
Top: Brooke, Joshua, Stefan
Bottom: Bart, Micah
WINNER: Brooke (Apple Crostata with Cheddar Cheese, Candied Pine Nuts and Apple Salad)
Elimination Challenge: The chefs were tasked to cater a homecoming party for actors Anna Faris and Chris Pratt, along with their families and friends. The winner received a Toyota Prius c.WINNER: Brooke (Lamb-Stuffed Squid on Black Rice with Coconut Milk)
ELIMINATED: Eliza (Elk Ribeye with Elk Sausage Polenta, Spiced Carrots and Huckleberry Port Sauce)
Episode 7: Foiled Again
In this Quickfire, the cheftestants struggle with an entire pantry wrapped in aluminum foil. Tempers flare and competitive juices boil in the Elimination Challenge when the cheftestants fight it out in head-to-head battles that end in one chef going home. Season 4 winner andFood & Wine magazine’s Best New Chef, Stephanie Izard appears as guest judge, alongsideGail Simmons, head judge Tom Colicchio, and host Padma Lakshmi.
Quickfire Challenge: All ingredients in the Top Chef pantry were completely wrapped in Reynolds Wrap aluminum foil. The chefs had 30 minutes to make whatever they wanted, with the limitation that each chef must incorporate any ingredient he or she unwrapped. In addition, all pots, pans, and bowls were off-limits; only the aluminum foil could be used as a cooking vessel.
Top: Danyele, Kristen, Sheldon
Bottom: Brooke, Joshua, Micah
WINNER: Kristen (Almond and Chocolate Sponge Cake)
Elimination Challenge: The chefs paired up and competed against each other to make dishes that featured berries from Remlinger’s Farm. As the winner of the Quickfire Challenge, Kristen cooked by herself. The dishes were served to 150 guests, who voted which contestant had the better dish in each head-to-head battle. The winner received $10,000.
Danyele vs. Joshua: Blueberries
Bart vs. Brooke: Blackberries
Stefan vs. John: Gooseberries
Josie vs. Lizzie: Raspberries
Micah vs. Sheldon: Strawberries
Kristen: TayberriesWINNER: Kristen (Matcha Goat Milk Custard with Macerated Tayberries)
ELIMINATED: Danyele (Chicken Pine Nut Terrine with Blueberry Mostarda)
Episode 8: Jalapeño Business
The cheftestants cook for one of the hottest sports teams in Seattle.
It’s oysters on the half shell for Emeril. In this week’s Quickfire, the cheftestants must harvest oysters and serve them up for judge Emeril Lagasse.
In the Elimination Challenge, the cheftestants cook for one of the hottest sports teams in Seattle. Padma makes her first appearance on roller skates, and one chef pushes everyone to their limits. Emeril Lagasse and Hugh Acheson join head judge Tom Colicchio and host Padma Lakshmi.
Quickfire Challenge: The chefs were challenged to make either a hot or cold preparation of oysters that they had harvested themselves from local oyster beds in Bow, Washington. The winner received $5,000.
Top: Brooke, Lizzie, Micah
Bottom: Bart, John, Josie
WINNER: Micah (Crispy Fried Oysters with Arugula Salad, Hot Sauce, and Lemon)
Elimination Challenge: In teams of two, the chefs had to cater an after-game party for Seattle roller derby team, the Rat City Rollergirls. The dishes each team cooked were inspired by the name of one of the rollergirls.
Josie and Bart: Teriyaki Terror
John and Brooke: Kutta Rump
Lizzie and Micah: Jalapeño Business
Kristen and Stefan: Eddie Shredder
Joshua and Sheldon: Tempura TantrumWINNERS: Brooke and John (Thai Beef with Lobster Jasmine Rice and Thai Slaw)
ELIMINATED: Bart (Steak Teriyaki with Forbidden Rice, Beet Blood, and Green Papaya Salad)
Episode 9: Past Suppers
In the Elimination Challenge, tribute is paid to the most memorable moments in ‘Top Chef’ history.
Blades are drawn in this week’s Quickfire Challenge, and we’ll find out which cheftestants’ knife skills are truly on the cutting edge. In the Elimination Challenge, tribute is paid to the most memorable moments in Top Chef history, and sabotage is afoot when two chefs cook to save their lives. Judge Wolfgang Puck returns and is joined by culinary super stars Wylie Dufresne, Jonathan Waxman, and Chris Cosentino, as well as head judge Tom Colicchio and host Padma Lakshmi.
Quickfire Challenge: The chefs were tested on their knife skills. Beginning in three teams of three, the contestants had to sharpen dull knives enough to cut cleanly through paper. The two teams to finish the fastest advanced to the next round preparing 50 potatoes using the Tourné cutting method. The members of the winning team continued to the final round, competing against each other to break down the rack of two rabbits. A chef cutting themselves was treated as an automatic disqualification. The winner received a custom chef’s knife from master bladesmith Bob Kramer, worth roughly $4,000, and immunity from elimination.
Elimination Challenge: Each chef was tasked with cooking a dish inspired by a memorable moment from a previous season of Top Chef, but had to prepare a healthier version than the original. The winner received $15,000, and their dish would be used as inspiration for a new Top Chef Healthy Choice frozen entrée. In a surprise twist, the bottom two contestants competed head-to-head based on a memorable moment from this season: CJ’s elimination in Episode 5.
Season 1: Josie
Season 2: Stefan
Season 3: John
Season 4: Sheldon
Season 5: Lizzie
Season 6: Joshua
Season 7: Brooke
Season 8: Kristen
Season 9: Micah
WINNER: Kristen (Poached Chicken Breast, Carrot Purée, with Garlic and Tofu Emulsion)
ELIMINATED: John (Umami Risotto with Chicken, Salmon Roe, Burdock Root, and Carrot Emulsion; Lamb Burger with Fried Egg and Spicy Pickle, Tomato, and Pomegranate Salad)
Episode 10: Battle Before the War
The chefs cook up new concepts for more than 200 people at the city’s premier food event, Bite of Seattle.
The pressure is on in this Quickfire as the cheftestants must impress culinary icon Wolfgang Puck with one of his favorite ingredients. In the Elimination Challenge, Restaurant Wars begins! The chefs will be cooking up new concepts for more than 200 people at the city’s premier food event, Bite of Seattle. Legendary restaurateur Danny Meyer joins as guest judge alongside Gail Simmons, head judge Tom Colicchio, and host Padma Lakshmi.
Quickfire Challenge: The chefs had 15 minutes to prepare a dish containing ginger. The winner received immunity from elimination.
Top: Brooke, Lizzie, Stefan
Bottom: Joshua, Sheldon
WINNER: Brooke (Ginger-Caramel Squid with Fresh Lime and Chili Powder)
Elimination Challenge: The chefs created a restaurant concept, and presented their concept via a representative dish at the Taste of Seattle Food Festival. The two winning chefs each received $10,000 and will act as executive chef for their teams during Restaurant Wars in the next episode. The two winners picked their teams from the other remaining contestants, but without knowing the results of the elimination, guaranteeing that one would be handicapped in the following challenge.
WINNERS: Kristen (Atelier Kwan – Onsen Egg with Camembert-Mustard Sauce and Buttered Radishes) and Sheldon (Urbano – Sour Tamarind Soup with Pork Belly, Shrimp and Snapper)
ELIMINATED: Micah (Raw – Salmon, Snapper, Hamachi, Squid, Scallop and Mackerel with Raw Vegetables)
Episode 11: Restaurant Wars
It’s men versus women as the cheftestants go into Restaurant Wars with the hopes of impressing world-renowned restaurateur Danny Meyer.
It’s men versus women in this week’s episode, as the cheftestants go into Restaurant Wars with the hopes of impressing world-renowned restaurateur Danny Meyer. Relationships are tested as restaurants are built from scratch, and each team must try to overcome the destructive mistakes of one of their fellow chefs. Emeril Lagasse and Gail Simmons join head judge Tom Colicchio and host Padma Lakshmi.
Elimination Challenge: The chefs had 48 hours to create a restaurant pop-up based on the winning concepts from the prior episode: Urbano (modern Filipino) and Atelier Kwan (reinterpreted classical French). They set up both the dining area and the kitchen area, and executed a multi-course dinner service. One member from the losing team was eligible for elimination. The winner received a Toyota Avalon.
- Kilawen: Yellowtail with Cilantro, Spicy Chili & White Soy Sauces
- Balut: Poached Egg, Duck Confit & Foie Gras Mousse
- Miki: Prawns, Tapioca Roll with Achiote
- Adobo: Pork Belly with Mung Bean Puree & Pea Shoots Salad
- Halo-Halo: Coconut Sorbet, Avocado Mousse, Banana & Shredded Coconut
- Dark Chocolate with Macadamia Nuts, Ginger & Peppermint Oil
- Charcuterie: Rabbit, Pickled Turnips & Yellow Beets in Chicken & Rabbit Broth
- Bouillabaisse: Halibut, Dungeness Crab, Bay Scallops with Shellfish Broth
- Beef Bourguignon: Braised Short Rib, Garlic Puree, Mushrooms & Carrots
- Baked Bouberes, St. Agur Blue Cheese, Roasted Radish & Stone Fruit Compote
- Almond Cake Macaron with Coconut Custard & Caramel Buttercream
Episode 12: Wolfgang Clucks
And it’s fried chicken for the Elimination Challenge as the cheftestants head to Tom’s Seattle digs to cook for a table full of culinary superstars.
In this Quickfire, the cheftestants are tasked with impressing the master of sushi, Katsuya.
And it’s fried chicken for the Elimination Challenge as the cheftestants head to Tom’s Seattle digs to cook for a table full of culinary superstars. It’s an epic dinner service filled with big laughs and great stories. David Chang, Michelle Bernstein, Jon Shook, and Vinny Dotolo join judges Emeril Lagasse, Wolfgang Puck, head judge Tom Colicchio, and host Padma Lakshmi for a night to remember.
Quickfire Challenge: The chefs had 30 minutes to create a dish to impress a sushi master. The winner received $5,000.
Top: Brooke, Stefan
Bottom: Joshua, Lizzie
WINNER: Stefan (Yellowtail with Grilled Shiitake and Raw Lobster with Seaweed and Unagi)
Elimination Challenge: The chefs had to make a fried chicken dish for a dinner party. The winner received a year’s supply of Terlato wine.
WINNER: Joshua (Smoked Fried Chicken with Hot Sauce and Blue Cheese)
ELIMINATED: Josie (Chicken with Black Garlic, Cayenne, Thyme, and Hot Sauce with Daikon Salad)
Episode 13: Chefs at Sea
Chefs, ahoy! The cheftestants are setting sail for Alaska.
Chefs, ahoy! The cheftestants are setting sail for Alaska. While aboard, they’ll tackle a Quickfire of cruise ship proportions, elevating iceberg lettuce into a flavorful amuse bouche.
For the Elimination Challenge, they must create a new spin on the cruise ship classic, Surf and Turf. The pressure is on to make the final four, and one cheftestant disembarks in a heartbreaking elimination. Guest judge Curtis Stone joins Hugh Acheson, head judge Tom Colicchio and host Padma Lakshmi.
Quickfire Challenge: The competition left Seattle and boarded a cruise ship en route to Juneau, Alaska. The chefs prepared 200 portions of a one-bite appetizer incorporating iceberg lettuce. The winner received an advantage in the following Elimination Challenge.
WINNER: Sheldon (Vietnamese Lettuce Wrap with Pork, Shrimp & Pickled Iceberg Hearts)
Elimination Challenge: The chefs prepared a creative reinterpretation of a surf and turf. The winner of the Quickfire Challenge was allowed to choose their two proteins first, which became off-limits to the rest of the competitors.
WINNER: Brooke (Mussels & Frog Legs with Celery Root & Fennel Purée, Papadums & Shallot Chutney)
ELIMINATED: Stefan (Braised Pork Belly with Beer Sauce, Parsnip & Eel Ravioli)
Episode 14: Kings of Alaska
As the chef’testants dock in Juneau, Alaska, they are quickly put to task in a Quickfire focused on the local million-dollar export — King Crab.
Keeping to Alaska’s culinary roots for the Elimination Challenge, the cheftestants must impress the judges as well as the locals with their take on salmon and sourdough. It’s a bear of a challenge as each chef fights to be part of the final three. Guest judge Sean Brock joinsEmeril Lagasse, Hugh Acheson, Gail Simmons, head judge Tom Colicchio, and host Padma Lakshmi.
Quickfire Challenge: The chefs had 30 minutes to create a dish highlighting Alaskan crab. The winner received $5,000.
Top: Brooke, Sheldon
Bottom: Joshua, Lizzie
WINNER: Sheldon (King Crab, Dungeness Crab “Miso,” Pine-Smoked Asparagus & Charred Corn)
Elimination Challenge: The chefs had to make a dish using salmon and sourdough bread for the residents of Juneau. The winner received a trip for two to Costa Rica.
WINNER: Brooke (Sockeye Salmon & Seafood Broth with Mustard Seed Caviar & Dill Sourdough)
ELIMINATED: Lizzie (Citrus & Beet Glazed Salmon Slider with Poppyseed Bun & Pickles)
Episode 15: Glacial Gourmand
Helicopter! Dog sled! Glacier! The chefs experience an adventure of a lifetime in this glacial Quickfire.
Helicopter! Dog sled! Glacier! The chefs experience an adventure of a lifetime in this glacial Quickfire.
For the Elimination Challenge, Emeril and award-winning chef, Roy Choi cook an emotional meal to set the tone for the cheftestants. Josh is on 24-hour baby watch, and a panic attack threatens one chef’s ability to compete. In the end, only two will be victorious and move on to the final rounds in Los Angeles. Guest judge Roy Choi joins Emeril Lagasse, Wolfgang Puck,Gail Simmons, head judge Tom Colicchio, and host Padma Lakshmi.
Quickfire Challenge: The chefs prepared a meal for the athletes training for the Iditarod using only the supplies already available at their training camp.
WINNER: Brooke (Pan-Roasted Halibut, Panzanella Salad with Red Currant & Beet Vinaigrette)
Elimination Challenge: The chefs cooked a dish inspired by their memory of the moment they decided to be a chef.
WINNER: Brooke (Braised Chicken, Grilled Quail with Carrot Barley & Pickled Vegetables )
ELIMINATED: Josh (Foie Gras Three Ways: Torchon, Pan-Seared & Profiterole)
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