'Top Chef' recap: These are the people in your neighborhood | EW.com

TV Recaps | Top Chef

'Top Chef' recap: These are the people in your neighborhood

After what seems like a simple challenge that sends one chef home immediately, the other new contestants have to make dishes that represent New York neighborhoods, and we see their different styles and levels of ability

Top Chef

‘Top Chef’ recap: These are the people in your neighborhood

Welcome, foodies! It’s hard to believe it’s that time already, but Project Runway has ended, thus leaving room for the classiest show on television: Top Chef. Allow me to introduce myself. Hi! I’m Kate Ward. You might remember me from such fill-in TV Watches as America's Next Top Model and Project Runway. This time around, though, I’ll be with you for the entire season to watch our finest — or at least most attention-hogging — chefs slice and dice their way to the title of Top Chef. But before we begin, you should know the following: I’ve never made a dessert for a fetish party, eaten wasabi with white chocolate, or tried to shave the head of a coworker (yet). In fact, I’ve hardly mastered the art of Kraft mac ‘n’ cheese. But that doesn’t mean I love Top Chef any less. What other show could inspire me to walk into my kitchen to brainstorm what I could make from a piece of chewed-up gum, some chocolate, and a bobby pin? Alas, I’m hardly a Bravo-ized MacGyver, so I’m better off marveling at their genius than trying it out for myself. But here’s where you come in: Since I’m no Grant Achatz — or even Rachael Ray for that matter — I’m hoping some of you more refined TV Watchers can add your knowledge and expertise to our comment board following this article.

Now that we’re done with that, we can move on to the show. And the premiere left quite a bit to cover. We’ll get to the action in a second, but since it’s ever-so-hard to differentiate between our contestants at this level in the competition, let’s first take the time to look at our new crop of chefs — including the first two ousted this season — for Top Chef’s “toughest season yet” and personify them through some tasty dishes (with some help from EW’s resident foodie, Adam Markovitz).


Current Job: Owner of Café Firenze Italian Restaurant Martini Bar

Why he’ll win: The enthusiastic chef has the drive and enthusiasm to take him to the top. And if the name of his restaurant is any indication, he knows how to prepare quite a vast array of foods.

Why he won’t: Top Chef marks his first time in New York. Will that and a mangled English accent prove a disadvantage?

Cuisine Comparison: Astronaut ice cream, since he’s multi-layered and works as William Shatner’s private chef.


Current Job: Executive chef, Absinthe Brasserie and Bar

Why she’ll win: The tattooed one brings a creative edge to the kitchen and garnered great praise with her first elimination dish.

Why she won’t: She admits that she doesn’t like people telling her what to do. And teamwork is a vital part of becoming a capable chef.

Cuisine Comparison: Baked Alaska. Jamie’s hard on the outside but seems to have a gooey center.


Current Job: Executive chef, executive sushi chef and chef consultant

Why he’ll win: The Hawaii native has a great story: He never went to culinary school and instead, started his training as a dishwasher. Plus, he excelled in his first elimination challenge — without even realizing it.

Why he won’t: He never went to culinary school, and that’s sure to hurt him somewhere down the line.

Cuisine Comparison: Eugene is nice and simple, so I’d peg him as Hawaiian sweet bread.

NEXT: Jeff, Radhika, Arianne, Daniel, Stefan, Richard, Leah, and Alex