Top Chef (season 1)

Top Chef (season 1)
Top Chef: San Francisco
Winner Harold Dieterle
Original run March 8, 2006
– May 24, 2006
Filming dates October 2005
– November 2005
No. of episodes 12
No. of tasks 11
No. of chefs 12
All-Stars Tiffani Faison,
Stephen Asprinio
Next Season 2 (Los Angeles)

Top Chef: San Francisco is the first season of American reality television series Top Chef and was based first in San Francisco, California, filmed at Paulding & Company, A Creative Kitchen, in Emeryville, and concluded in Las Vegas, Nevada. The season premiered on Bravo on March 8, 2006 and ended on May 24, 2006. Season 1 of Top Chef was taped in October and November 2005 in San Francisco, California. Twelve contestants from around the United States lived together in a house for approximately 21 days competing in a series of challenges. The weekly series was hosted by Katie Lee Joel with regular judges chef Tom Colicchio and Gail Simmons of Food & Wine Magazine. The winning recipe from each week's episode is featured on Bravo's Top Chef website.


Judges, guest judges and special appearances


Guest judges

  • Hubert Keller (Ep. 1 Quickfire and Elimination, Ep. 11 Elimination)
  • Paige White (Ep. 1 Elimination)
  • Elizabeth Falkner (Ep. 2 Quickfire and Elimination)
  • Laurent Manrique (Ep. 3 Quickfire and Elimination)
  • Jefferson Hill (Ep. 4 Quickfire and Elimination
  • Mike Yakura (Ep. 5 Quickfire and Elimination)
  • Ted Allen (Ep. 6 Quickfire and Elimination)
  • Jeffrey Chodorow (Ep. 7 Quickfire and Elimination)
  • Marcy Blum (Ep. 8 Quickfire and Elimination)
  • Greg Cole (Ep. 9 Elimination)
  • Lissa Doumani (Ep. 9 Elimination)
  • Philippe Jeanty (Ep. 9 Elimination)
  • Douglas Keane (Ep. 9 Elimination)
  • Keith Luce (Ep. 9 Elimination)
  • James McDevitt (Ep. 9 Elimination)
  • Cindy Pawlcyn (Ep. 9 Elimination)
  • Victor Scargle (Ep. 9 Elimination)
  • Hiro Sone (Ep. 9 Elimination)
  • John Shafer (Ep. 9 Elimination)
  • Lee Anne Wong (Ep. 11 Quickfire and Elimination)
  • Miguel Morales (Ep. 11 Quickfire and Elimination)
  • Stephen Asprinio (Ep. 11 Quickfire and Elimination)
  • Performers from Cirque Du Soleil's (Ep. 11 Quickfire and Elimination)
  • Lorraine Bracco (Ep. 12)

12 chefs competed in Season 1. Names and hometowns below are from the Bravo website. Ages listed are at the time of the Top Chef: San Francisco taping in October-November, 2005. In the order eliminated:

Credit order: Ken, Miguel, Andrea, Dave, Cynthia, Stephen, Lisa, Candice, Tiffani, Brian, Lee Anne, Harold

Contestant Progress

Contestant 1 2 3 4 52 6 73 84 9 115 Finale
Lee Anne Stephen Tiffani Lee Anne Andrea Stephen Harold Lee Anne Harold None None

^Note 1 : Andrea was brought back in Episode 3, after being eliminated once, when Cynthia chose to leave because her father was ill.
^Note 2 : Chefs worked in teams of two with two winners and one eliminated.
^Note 3 : From this point on, immunity is no longer awarded to the winner of a Quickfire Challenge.
^Note 4 : The judges felt nobody had distinguished themselves in the Elimination Challenge, so no winner was named.
^Note 5 : Episode 10 was a reunion episode with no challenges.

     (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.
     (QUIT) The chef withdrew from the show.


Each episode included two challenges. The Quickfire Challenge was a short, simple challenge with a varying reward each week. The Elimination Challenge was a more complex challenge that determined who was sent home. One or more guest judges joined the show each week to evaluate both the Quickfire and Elimination challenges. Each week's elimination was announced in a segment called "Judges' Table."

Episode 1: Who Deserves To Be Here

  • Quickfire Challenge: The chefs must survive working the line at chef Hubert Keller's Fleur de Lys restaurant for 30 minutes. The winner gets immunity from elimination.
    • Chefs that survived 30 minutes: Tiffani, Dave, and Lee Anne
    • WINNER: Lee Anne
  • Elimination Challenge: The chefs must prepare a signature dish to be served to the other Top Chef contestants.
    • WINNER: Harold (Steamed Thai Pink Snapper with Brussel Sprout Leaves and Chanterelle Mushrooms)
    • ELIMINATED: Ken (Pan Seared Alaskan Halibut w/ Soy Bean Green Onion Parsnip Puree and Heirloom tomato Compote)
  • Reason for Elimination: During the Quickfire, Ken antagonized the judges, particularly Keller. Keller asked Ken to taste the sauce he was preparing but instead of using a spoon, Ken dipped his finger in the sauce. Keller kicked him out of the kitchen but once the challenge was over, Ken continued bickering with Keller and Colicchio, firmly maintaining that tasting the sauce by dipping one's fingers in it was a normal and practical method. The judges and his fellow contestants viewed him as too cocky, especially when his Elimination Challenge dish failed to live up to his tough talk.
  • Guest Judge: Hubert Keller
  • Original Airdate: March 8, 2006

Episode 2: Food of Love

  • Quickfire Challenge: The chefs choose from a large selection of fruit to prepare a plate for presentation. The winner gets immunity from elimination.
    • WINNER: Stephen
  • Elimination Challenge: The chefs have 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": Pastry Puffs, Tapioca Pillows, and Hot Chocolate Shot)
    • ELIMINATED: Andrea ("Creamy Balls and Crunchy Nuts": Chocolate Peanut Butter Balls w/ Chocolate Almond Flowers and Almonds)
  • Guest Judge: Elizabeth Falkner
  • Original Airdate: March 15, 2006

Episode 3: Nasty Delights

  • Quickfire Challenge: The chefs must prepare octopus in one hour. The winner gets immunity from elimination.
    • WINNER: Tiffani (Tomato Succo w/ Octopus Frit and Red Wine Braised Angel Hair Pasta w/ Cold Octopus)
  • Elimination Challenge: Working in two teams, the chefs must prepare monkfish for a group of children who will rate the food.
    • Red Team: Andrea, Candace, Lisa, Miguel, & Stephen
      • Deep Fried "Monkey Dogs"
      • Fresh Fruit Kabobs with Dipping Yogurt
      • Potato Chips
    • Blue Team: Brian, Dave, Harold, Lee Anne, & Tiffani
      • Baked Cereal-Coated Monkfish Nuggets
      • Cheesy Tater Tots
      • Glazed Baby Carrots w/ Maple Syrup
      • Strawberry Applesauce
    • WINNING TEAM: Red Team (no single person was chosen as winner)
    • ELIMINATED: Brian
    • QUIT: Cynthia
  • Replacement: Cynthia Sestito chose to leave the show during this episode to be with her sick father. Andrea was then brought back to keep the two sides balanced for the team elimination challenge.
  • Guest Judge: Laurent Manrique
  • Original Airdate: March 22, 2006
  • As shown on Bravo Top Moments, Candice and Stephen fight over buying cookie cutters.

Episode 4: Food on the Fly

  • Quickfire Challenge: The chefs must create a dish in 30 minutes using $20 worth of ingredients from a gas station store. The winner gets immunity from elimination.
    • WINNER: Lee Anne (Funyun Battered Oscar Meyer Spiedie)
  • Elimination Challenge: Each chef must create a gourmet entree that can be reheated in a microwave. They must then serve their dishes to a group of Junior League women who will rate the meals.
    • WINNER: Tiffani (Miso and Mirin Glazed Seabass)
    • ELIMINATED: Candice (Shrimp and Spinach Quiche)
  • Guest Judge: Jefferson Hill
  • Original Airdate: March 29, 2006

Episode 5: Blind Confusion

  • Quickfire Challenge: The chefs must identify a variety of ingredients by taste while blindfolded for five minutes. The winner gets immunity from elimination.
    • WINNER: Andrea
  • Elimination Challenge: Working in teams of two, the chefs must create a dish 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 (Moroccan Cubano Pork Sandwich)
    • ELIMINATED: Lisa (Japanese Seared Tuna Avocado Salad}
  • Guest Judge: Mike Yakura
  • Original Airdate: April 5, 2006
  • Following the Quickfire Challenge, the contestants held an impromptu junk food blindfold taste test to make light of the fact that most did not score highly in the challenge. Miguel won.

Episode 6: Guess Who's Coming to Dinner

  • Quickfire Challenge: Each chef must create 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 have to create a seven-course dinner party for Ted Allen. Each chef got to choose the course he or she wanted, but then the producers changed everything: A random knife-block draw forced each chef to work on another chef's recipe.
    • WINNER: Lee Anne (Tiffani's Duck Breast with Fig Stuffed Gnocchi)
    • ELIMINATED: Andrea (Miguel's Smoked Scallops and Caviar on a Latke)
  • Guest Judge: Ted Allen
  • Original Airdate: April 12, 2006

Episode 7: Restaurant Wars

  • Quickfire Challenge: Each chef are asked to make a sandwich in 30 minutes using any of the available ingredients. The winning sandwich will be put on the menu at the San Francisco location of Tom Colicchio's 'Wichcraft restaurant.
    • WINNER: Harold (Mortadella Dandelion Sandwich on Grilled Sourdough with Trumpet Royales and a Black Olive Aioli)
      • From this point on, immunity is no longer awarded to the winner of a Quickfire Challenge.
  • Elimination Challenge: Working in two teams of three, the chefs must transform raw restaurant spaces, including the decor and the menu. Twenty-four hours later, diners arrive, choose which restaurant to dine in, and rate their experience.
  • Sabor: Lee Anne, Miguel, Stephen
    • Tapas Trio
    • Red Snapper on Paella Cake
    • Olive Oil Ice Cream
  • American Workshop: Dave, Harold, Tiffani
    • Tuna Tartare
    • Roasted Chicken w/ Fall Vegetables
    • Fruit Crisp
  • WINNING TEAM: American Workshop
    • WINNER: Dave
    • ELIMINATED: Miguel
  • Guest Judge: Jeffrey Chodorow
  • Original Airdate: April 19, 2006
  • In this episode, Dave famously said to Tiffani "I'm not your bitch, bitch", after she constantly nagged him. It became the most quoted line of the season.
  • Before the teams get to work on their restaurant concepts, Chodorow reveals that the winner of the Elimination Challenge will accompany him to the Cannes Film Festival.

Episode 8: Wedding Bell Blues

  • Quickfire Challenge: The chefs must design a wedding reception menu in 90 minutes and pitch it to the wedding couple. The winning team's menu will be used for the wedding reception.
    • WINNER: Lee Anne
  • Elimination Challenge: Working as a team, the chefs are required to cater a wedding reception for 100 guests using the menu chosen in the Quickfire challenge. The reception starts in 16 hours.


    • Canapé: Crispy Prawn Toast and Crab Meat on Pita Toast
    • Amuse-bouche: Lobster Hamuraki, Glazed Oysters, Yazu Marinated Roe, and Crab Soup Dumplings
    • First Course: Seared Salmon on Thai Green Papaya Salad w/ Lime & Chili Vinagrette
    • Second Course: "The Lover's Nest" - Seafood and Fresh Vegetables, Potato Taro Root Basket, Mango, & Coconut
    • Third Course: Peking Style Beef, Crispy Scallion Pancakes, and Cucumber Salad
    • Dessert: Passion Fruit and Ginger Scented Cake w/ White Chocolate Butter Cream along with an assortment of Chocolate Truffles
      • WINNER: None
      • ELIMINATED: Stephen
  • Guest Judge: Marcy Blum
  • Original Airdate: April 26, 2006

Episode 9: Napa's Finest

  • Quickfire Challenge: The chefs are asked to recreate a classic junk food element into a gourmet dish in 45 minutes. The winner's performance counts in the overall assessment of the week's challenges, and also receives a bottle of Shafer Hillside Select Cabernet Sauvignon. [1]
    • WINNER: Harold (Popcorn Cakes with an Ecuadorian Ceviche of Shrimp, Calamari and Clementines with Lime Juice)
  • Elimination Challenge: All of the remaining chefs travel to 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 will be served to a group of top professional chefs from Northern California who are the guest judges.
    • WINNER: Dave (Truffle and Cognac Cream Macaroni and Cheese, Filet of Beef, Collard Greens and Radicchio)
    • ELIMINATED: Lee Anne (Pistachio Crusted Lamb Loin, Butternut Squash and Black Truffle Risotto with Red Wine Sauce)
  • Guest Judges: Greg Cole, Lissa Doumani, Philippe Jeanty, Douglas Keane, Keith Luce, James McDevitt, Cindy Pawlcyn, Victor Scargle, Hiro Sone, John Shafer
  • Original Airdate: May 3, 2006

Episode 10: Reunion

  • All twelve chefs are reunited with Tom Colicchio, Gail Simmons and Katie Lee Joel in a discussion and behind-the-scenes review of their experiences on Top Chef. Though it was shown before the finale, the reunion was actually taped in late April 2006, after the finale took place. It is unknown how many of the chefs other than the winner, Harold, finalists Tiffani and Dave, and participants Miguel, Stephen and Lee Anne, knew the results of the finale at the time of the reunion taping.
  • Original Airdate: May 10, 2006

Episode 11: Las Vegas Finale, Part 1

  • The three finalists, Dave, Harold and Tiffani, meet at the MGM Grand where they compete in a series of three Quickfire Challenges to determine which two chefs will remain to compete in a final challenge for the grand prize of Top Chef.
  • Quickfire/Elimination Challenges: For each challenge, the chefs must prepare hotel room service meals in 30 minutes for different customers: first a room of high rollers, including former competitors Lee Anne, Miguel and Stephen; then a table of poker players including Phil Hellmuth; and, finally, performers from Cirque du Soleil. Each group of patrons were to decide who was their favorite. Harold won with the "high rollers" and Cirque du Soleil performers, Dave won with the poker players, and Tiffani won none.
    • FINAL TWO: Harold and Tiffani
    • ELIMINATED: Dave
  • Guest Judge: Hubert Keller
  • Original Airdate: May 17, 2006
  • Although his Kobe beef dish was the overall favorite among the performers, Dave was disqualified for the round because he misunderstood the challenge and only served two dishes instead of the required three.

Episode 12: Las Vegas Finale, Part 2

  • Final Challenge: The two finalists, Harold and Tiffani, each prepare a five course tasting meal to be served to a table of eight luminaries from the culinary world. Note: Tiffani chose to make two preparations of each course. Harold is assisted by former competitors Lee Anne and Miguel. Tiffani is assisted by former competitors Stephen and Dave. The final menus for each chef are:
  • 1st Course: Seared Diver Scallop with Blood Orange and Fennel Salad
  • 2nd Course: Olive Oil Poached Bass
  • 3rd Course: Pan Roasted Quail with Herb Spaetzle and Cherries and Foie Gras
  • 4th Course: Duo of Beef with Kobe Beef and Braised Short Ribs
  • 5th Course: Fig Tart with Cheeses
  • 1st Course: Seared Diver Scallop on Squid Ink and Scallop Crudo with Citrus
  • 2nd Course: Artichoke Risotto with Porketta and Crispy Artichoke with Dipping Sauce
  • 3rd Course: Steamed Bronzino with Ratatouille and Crispy Bronzino with Black Olive Pappardelle
  • 4th Course: Saltimbocca with Primitivo Glace and Veal with Minted Peas and Spinach Crema
  • 5th Course: Bread Pudding with Rum Cocktail and Vanilla Panna Cotta with Amaretto Cocktail
  • TOP CHEF: Harold
  • RUNNER-UP: Tiffani

External links

Contestant and judge sites


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