August 18th, 2009 by thetvchick
I love basically anything within the “Top” franchise: Top Chef, Top Design, Top Haircut (aka Shear Genius). Top Chef is my favorite though. And the Season 6 premiere does not disappoint. It is set in sizzling hot (yeah, I went there) Las Vegas (Sin City). All the regulars are back (Tom and Padma, of course) as well as Gail Simmons (love her!) and Toby Young (not super thrilled).
Here is a rundown of the 17 new “chef-testants:”
- Ash Fulk, 29: Sous Chef at Trestle on Tenth
- Ashley Merriman, 32: Chef at Branzino in Seattle, Washington
- Bryan Voltaggio, 33: Chef/Partner, VOLT Restaurant
- Eli Kirshtein, 25: Executive Chef, Eno Restaurant and Wine Bar
- Eve Aronoff, 40: Chef-Owner, Eve
- Hector Santiago, 41: Chef-Owner, Pura Vida ~ Latino Tapas Restaurant & Bar
- Jennifer Carroll, 33: Chef de Cuisine 10 Arts by Eric Ripert
- Jennifer Zavala, 31: Executive Chef, El Camino Real
- Jesse Sandlin, 30: Executive Chef, Abacrombie Fine Foods
- Kevin Gillespie, 26: Executive Chef & Partner, Woodfire Grill
- Laurine Wickett, 38: Chef / Owner Left Coast Catering
- Mattin Noblia, 29: Owner, Iluna Basque
- Michael Isabella, 34: Executive Chef, Zaytinya
- Michael Voltaggio, 30: Chef de Cuisine at The Dining Room, Langham Huntington Hotel & Spa
- Preeti Mistry, 33: Executive Chef, Google, Bon Appetit Management Company
- Robin Leventhal, 43: Chef, Artist and Teacher
- Ron Duprat, 40: Executive Chef
Each chef has their own very interesting reason for being on the show, and they focus on that in the premiere episode. Also, the season is packed with famous guest judges. Everyone from Wolfgang Puck (on the premiere) to Todd English, Natalie Portman, Daniel Boulud, Penn & Teller, Hubert Keller, Laurent Tourondel, Tim Love, Michelle Bernstein, Tyler Florence, Charlie Palmer, Paul Bartolotta, Nigella Lawson and Jerome Bocuse. Crazyness! I just wish Ted Allen could still be a judge.
So let’s start with the Quick Fire challenge, which is one of my favorites from seasons past. It’s called the Mise En Place Relay where the contestants are divided into teams of 4 people, and given various different tasks (cleaning up lobsters was one). Whichever team finishes the fastest wins. However, a little Las Vegas twist involves choosing chips to determine the team, and one contestant pulls a gold chip (which turns out to be a very lucky chip). This is a new aspect of this season called The High Stakes Quickfire. And in another part of the twist, each contestant who is a part of the winning team, has a cook-off to win a chip worth 15 thousand dollars. I liked this new addition–I thought it was a good way to incorporate the city. However, I hope that these challenges only pop up every once and a while. Because while the end prize is ultimately money, the show needs to focus on the food.
The Elimination Challenge (influenced by Vegas of course) was to cook a dish based on a vice that each contestant possesses. The contestants still cook in teams, however each individual is competing against the others on their team. Let me say there were some interesting and amusing vices. Some were basic (alcohol, excess, etc.) but some were heartfelt and some even funny. I don’t want to spoil their dishes (ha!) so you will have to tune in to find out.
The premiere is full of competition, drama, and absolutely delicious looking food. Also, there are brothers competing against each other! Each year, the quality of contestants continues to increase. This year is no exception. The chefs are fantastic (many are award winners)–and there are some great personalities to boot! Don’t miss a minute of this action-packed 6th season! And if you do, you should really just pack your knives and go.
Top Chef premieres tomorrow (August 19th) at 9 pm on Bravo.Tweet