Top Chef (season 6)
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. 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 from US$100,000 to $125,000. In the season finale, Michael Voltaggio was declared the Top Chef, defeating Bryan Voltaggio and Kevin Gillespie. Gillespie was voted Fan Favorite. In 2010, Top Chef: Las Vegas received the Primetime Emmy Award for "Outstanding Reality Competition Program".
|Top Chef (season 6)|
|Hosted by||Padma Lakshmi|
|No. of contestants||17|
|Country of origin||United States|
|No. of episodes||16|
|Original release||August 19 –|
December 16, 2009
17 chefs were selected to compete in Top Chef: Las Vegas.
|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|
Jennifer Carroll and Mike Isabella returned to compete in Top Chef: All-Stars. Bryan Voltaggio competed in the fifth season of Top Chef Masters. Carroll, Isabella, and Kevin Gillespie later competed in Top Chef Duels. Carroll returned again for Top Chef: Colorado, competing in the Last Chance Kitchen. Carroll, Gillespie, and Bryan Voltaggio returned for Top Chef: All-Stars L.A.
|Contestant||Elimination Challenge Results|
^Note 1 : The chef(s) did not receive immunity for winning the Quickfire Challenge.
^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.
|Title||Original air date|
|74||1||"Sin City Vice"||August 19, 2009|
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.
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.
|75||2||"Bachelor/ette Party"||August 26, 2009|
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.
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.
|76||3||"Thunderbirds"||September 2, 2009|
Quickfire Challenge: Each chef created an "out of this world" dish using an assortment of different potatoes. The winner received immunity from elimination.
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.
|77||4||"Vivre Las Vegas"||September 9, 2009|
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.
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.
|78||5||"Camping"||September 16, 2009|
Quickfire Challenge: The chefs cooked dishes using a viewer-selected ingredient: cactus. The winning chef received $15,000, but no immunity.
Elimination Challenge: The chefs prepared a high-end lunch dish on an outdoor ranch for two dozen cowboys, using fire pits and limited supplies.
|79||6||"Penn & Teller"||September 23, 2009|
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.
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.
|80||7||"Dinner Party"||October 7, 2009|
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.
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.
|81||8||"Pigs and Pinot"||October 14, 2009|
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.
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.
|82||9||"Restaurant Wars"||October 21, 2009|
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.
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.
|83||10||"Meat Natalie"||October 28, 2009|
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.
|84||11||"Top Chef All-Stars Dinner"||November 4, 2009|
|85||12||"Strip Around the World"||November 11, 2009|
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.
|86||13||"Culinary Olympics"||November 18, 2009|
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.
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.
|87||14||"Napa Finale, Part 1"||December 2, 2009|
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.
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.
|88||15||"Napa Finale, Part 2"||December 9, 2009|
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.
|89||16||"Watch What Happens Reunion"||December 16, 2009|
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- Reyhani, Monica A. (October 8, 2010). "'Top Chef All-Stars' Cast is Announced!". The Daily Dish. Retrieved March 10, 2017.
- Carman, Tim (June 5, 2013). "Bryan Voltaggio to be the first 'Top Chef' contestant on 'Top Chef Masters'". The Washington Post. Retrieved March 10, 2017.
- Ng, Philiana (June 4, 2014). "Bravo's 'Top Chef Duels' Lands Premiere Date, Celebrity Guests (Exclusive)". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved December 11, 2019.
- Rosenfeld, Laura (November 29, 2017). "What?! A Top Chef Alum Could Return to the Competition in Season 15". Bravo. Retrieved November 30, 2017.
- Huff, Lauren (December 12, 2019). "Unpack your knives: Top Chef announces all-star lineup for season 17". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved December 12, 2019.