Articles for Top Chef Season 3

Originally aired on Wednesday, 06/13/2007 Episode Rating:  ***(3 stars out of 5) Episode Overview: Top Chef kicks off its third season in its new location: MiamiEpisode Highlights: The chefs arrive in Miami to meet with host Padma Lakshmi, judges Tom Colicchio and Gail Simmons, and a very special - and very intimidating - first guest chef. The chefs are thrown into their first Quickfire Challenge and the competition is under way. Some chefs quickly find themselves in over their heads as the Elimination Challenge puts their technique, taste, and time management skills to the test. Read more »
Originally aired on Wednesday, 06/20/2007 Episode Rating: ***(3 stars out of 5) Episode Overview: The chefs are back for round two in Top Chef; some chefs are trying to stay on top, while others are fighting their way back from the bottom. Episode Highlights: The challenges this week focus on the food and flavors of Florida and beach living. One chef goes from the top to the bottom and back again from last week to this. Another chef‘s bad attitude is making waves amongs the other chefs. Read more »
Originally aired on Wednesday, 06/27/2007 Episode Rating: ***(3 stars out of 5) Episode Overview: The Top Chef cheftestants get fresh then go stale with some tricky challenges this week.Episode Highlights: Howie Kleinberg struggles to improve after hitting the bottom last week. This week‘s Quickfire Challenge is right up seafood chef Brian Malarkey‘s alley...but his reliance on his star ingredient gets him negative attention later. Micah Edelstein continues her roller coaster performance.  Read more »
Fans of magic realism literature and reality television might not have ever expected those worlds to intersect, but they did in the marriage between Top Chef host/resident hottie Padma Lakshmi and recently-knighted author Salman Rushdie.  The May-December couple - he‘s 60 and she is 37 - have been married since April of 2004.Unfortunately, just a couple weeks after Rushdie received the British knighthood, the two have announced that their marriage will be ending. Read more »
Episode Overview: This week on Top Chef, there is a new ingredient for the “cheftestants” to use in the competition: each other. Yes, they are working in teams. No, no one is particularly thrilled about it. For some, it‘s their teammates that create the roadblocks this week. Others manage to work together better, but one team takes a pretty serious risk and the results surprise the judges. With three chefs eliminated, and the competition getting more intense every week, the chefs probably need a stiff drink. Lucky for them, Bravo has a gratuitous product placement requirement to meet, so this week, the Quickfire Challenge involves cocktails made from their sponsor, Bombay Sapphire Gin.  Read more »
Bravo, in its first attempt in history, will be giving Top Chef fans the opportunity to witness how season three culminates as it airs the finale live this fall. Currently, five, including tonight’s elimination, out of the 15 contestants have already been axed.  With challenges getting more complicated, the tension and suspense build up week by week. Read more »
Episode Overview:  This week, two chefs who have butted heads in the past become each other‘s biggest supporters - but will it be enough to finally get one of them a win?  Meanwhile, overconfidence, lack of experience and poor timing results in some chefs taking a swift nosedive from the top all the way down to the chopping block.  Eleven cheftestants remain on Top Chef, and some are feeling more confident than others. Joey Paulino believes in his own ability, but is frustrated with being at the bottom of the pack in previous challenges. Hung Nguyen is just confident; despite being called out for poor dishes a few times now, he is still feeling sure he can make it through to the top. Read more »
While their nominations might not get quite the same amount of speculation and attention as do the noms for comedy and drama series or individual actors, reality programs are still part of the Emmy Award night. And with reality shows appearing to have outlived all the “This is just a fad” predictions, and finding themselves fairly firmly entrenched in nearly every network‘s schedule, the competition for the gold statuette can be just as fierce as any Survivor challenge. Reality television awards are divided into two categories, Reality-Competition Programs, and plain ol‘ Reality Programs. The nominations for each category bring some heavy-hitters, some old contenders and a couple of new faces. Read more »
Episode Overview:  It‘s time for a mid-season break on Top Chef.  Instead of a new episode, this week we get a relaxed chat with the judges and chefs from all three seasons.  While there are no shocking disclosures or revelations, it‘s a chance to see the chefs outside the pressure cooker environment of competition, and get a few behind-the-scenes laughs.  Read more »
Episode Overview:  This week‘s "supersized" - aka needlessly 15-minutes longer - Top Chef serves up the cheftestants‘ favorite dish: a team challenge (groans all around).  To their own surprise, some chefs find themselves paired up into a strong partnership.  Some of the more notoriously difficult chefs find themselves - to no one‘s surprise - having difficulty working successfully together.  However, the dynamic might be a little different than you would expect.Today‘s Quickfire Challenge brings Padma Lakshmi to the kitchen with a special guest: Rocco DiSpirito, of The Restaurant reality show fame (or infamy).  His brush with the world of celebrity has apparently rub off on him: he‘s very Hollywood skinny. Read more »
Episode Overview: What time is it?  It‘s time for another team challenge!  Everyone‘s favorite.  And in case working together wasn‘t bad enough, this time on Top Chef, they‘re working together in a really tiny space.  Everyone better keep the knifes away from the spaz attack that is Hung Huynh.   And just in case that wasn‘t quite enough discomfort, the challenge itself is a sort of pop quiz thrown at the unsuspecting chefs.  One team manages to pull together and work well together as a team.  But for the other team, the presence of one of the least successful team players creates an apprehensive atmosphere that eventually leads to their downfall.Once again, the cheftestants only have a short time to mourn the loss of their last eliminated fellow chef (Joey Paulino) before it‘s time to get right back into things. This week‘s Quickfire Challenge is an appropriate one for summer: the chefs have forty-five minutes to prepare a mix-in ingredients for a plain sweet cream Coldstone Creamery ice cream. While this certainly sounds delicious, it‘s deceptively difficult. Finding an original component to add to ice cream that will still be successful as a dessert is a definite challenge.  Read more »
Episode Overview: It‘s the team challenge the eight remaining cheftestants are actually happy to see: Restaurant Wars!  It‘s the Top Chef equivalent of playing house: who can create the best restaurant in 24 hours?  It‘s not just delicious food prepared well that will win this challenge; it‘s also a question of menu, decor and service.  But once the thrill of spending a wad of cash on table linens and planning a menu wears off, the chefs realize they might be in over their heads.  After a disappointing service, both teams are in for a very surprising Judges‘ Table. Read more »
Episode Overview:  Last week, the chefs all received an unexpected reprieve when the judges decided that the first battle in Restaurant Wars was a draw.  With the critiques from Judges‘ Table as their guides, the two teams set out to try, try again.   Working together, one team makes the improvements the judges were hoping to see, while the other wishes they‘d never heard the phrase "do-over."  On an individual level, it‘s Top Chef  Freaky  One chef who‘d previously flown under the radar at best and seemed seriously mediocre at worst makes some real strides, while another cheftestant who has been one of the strongest competitors so far heads into a decline so fast it‘s a basically a nosedive. Read more »
After reaching millions of viewers with Bravo‘s competitive reality series Top Chef, host Padma Lakshmi returns to the page with recipes for refined international cuisine that are easy to prepare.  This October, the 36-year-old model-actress will launch her latest cookbook entitled Tangy, Tart, Hot & Sweet: A World of Recipes for Everyday.Roasted Citrus Chicken, Barbecue Korean Short Ribs, and Honeycomb Ice Cream are just a few of the recipes featured in Tangy, Tart, Hot & Sweet.  With over 200 savory dishes to choose from, ranging from appetizers, hearty meals, soups to desserts, Lakshmi shares the roots of her newest exotic recipes as inspired by her travels while providing the easiest and simplest cooking methods to impress one‘s guest. Read more »
Fans of Bravo‘s Top Chef expected 30-year-old Tre Wicox to be there at the finals.  Yet, this week, he was abruptly sent home after failing to deliver quality dishes.  In the challenge, he was placed on a team along with Brian Malarkey, Casey Jonson, and CJ Jacobsen to create their own restaurant.  Wilcox was chosen as executive chef and two of his dishes bombed with the judges.  In the end, Padma told him to pack his knives and go home.  Tre sits down with BuddyTV to dish about his rivalry with Hung and whether or not the judges should have kept him around.Below, you will find the complete transcript and mp3 of the interview. Read more »
Episode Overview: Seven cheftestants are left on Top Chef, and once again, they find themselves forced to set aside competition to work as a team to cater a fancy fashion luncheon aboard a yacht.  Despite all the differences the chefs have had in the past - or more accurately, despite all the differences Howie Kleinberg has had in the past with the other chefs - the group actually seems to come together well with few sparks flying in the kitchen.  Unfortunately, this doesn‘t result in either excellent food or scintillating on-screen drama.  Read more »
Top Chef‘s Tom Colicchio will be making an appearance at next year‘s Naples Winter Wine Festival, an annual fundraising event founded by the Naples Children and Education Foundation.  This will mark Colicchio‘s fourth time participating in the event‘s vintner dinners. “[Tom Colicchio is] an extraordinary person whose culinary greatness is equaled only by his philanthropic spirit,” chef‘s committee chairwoman and festival trustee Shirlene Elkins said.  “Tom‘s reality TV show is such a big hit, we‘re hoping he‘ll arrange for one of the season‘s winners to join him in preparing a vintner dinner.  Our guests would love it.” Read more »
Episode Overview: The Top Chef road show makes its first stop in New York City…well, almost. The six remaining chefs don‘t quite make it there; they make it to the Newark Airport instead. They only have to go through two things to make it to Manhattan: the Holland Tunnel and an Elimination Challenge.  The chefs learn that potentially the only thing more arduous than eating airline food is making it. Read more »
Howie Kleinberg, of Bravo‘s Top Chef, has never been once to mince words.  A tough-talking chef from New York, he butted heads with just about every contestant on the show this season.  Yet, underneath that tough exterior, is man with a true passion for what he does.  On last week‘s episode, he surprised everyone when he refused to serve his dish in the Quickfire challenge, saying he would never serve something he is not proud of.  His lackluster performance in dinner service resulted in his dismissal from the kitchen.  Now, back home, Howie looks to his future and sits down to chat with BuddyTV about his time on Top Chef.Below, you will find the transcript and mp3 of the interview. Read more »
Openly gay Top Chef second-season finalist Josie Smith-Malave said in a recent interview with the New York Post that she felt much anger from the people who allegedly beat her, sister Julie and gay friend Emily Durwood on September 1. "It was a very large group of young adults.  I mean, they were so angry," Smith-Malave told the tabloid.  "I‘ve never experienced something like that before, when you come face to face with people who are so angry." Read more »
Episode Overview: With a crucial elimination standing between the chefs and the final four heading to the finale, it‘s time for the chefs to get serious. The challenge is classic cuisine, and for some of the chefs, their lack of classical training might be about to catch up with them. Which chef will take Manhattan in the Top Chef roadshow and secure their spot in the finale?  And who will find that when it comes to New York, they just can‘t make it there? Read more »
On last night‘s episode of Top Chef, CJ aka Chris Jacobsen, was eliminated.  The chefs were asked to prepare compact meals that could be heated up and served to airline travelers.  Sara, Brian, and CJ ended up in the bottom three but it was CJ who ended up being sent home for serving broccolini that didn‘t cut it with the judges.  He felt that the side dish wasn‘t up to par, but says he was told to serve it.  A solid chef throughout the game, he unfortunately met his demise last night.  CJ talked to BuddyTV today about his time on Top Chef and his future plans to open a restaurant or get back on television.Below, you will find the transcript and mp3 of the interview. Read more »
On Bravo‘s Top Chef, we‘re down to the final four contestants.  Dale Levitski, Casey Thompson, Hung Huynh, and Brian Malarkey now head to Aspen, Colorado to compete for the title of Top Chef.  On the last episode, the five remaining chefs were given three simple ingredients to prepared for several members of the French culinary institute.  Hung, who has been on top throughout the competition, ended up winning, while Dale and Sara were left in bottom two.  It was a tossup between the one who failed in execution and the one who failed in concept.  In the end, Padma, Tom, and the other judges chose to eliminate Sara.  Now, Dale moves on to the final four and sat down with BuddyTV to dish on Top Chef.Below, you will find the complete transcript and mp3 of the interview. Read more »
Sara Mair was a dark horse cheftestant during her time on Top Chef. She was riding in the middle of the pack for the first several episodes, and it wasn‘t really until after her contentious teaming with Howie Kleinberg that she seemed to start distinguishing herself.Unfortunately, some underdone chicken – although she might disagree with that assessment – and some overall execution issues meant that she had to “pack her knives and go” on last Wednesday‘s episode. She shared her thoughts on the judges‘ assessment and gave her thoughts on Hung Huynh‘s chances for winning Top Chef. Read more »
Episode Overview: After a month break, the four remaining chefs have to get back on their game as they head back to Aspen for the final elimination before someone is named Top Chef. That‘s right, it‘s going to be three people heading into the finale, not the usual two. The past few episodes have made seemed to make it abundantly clear that it was going to be Hung Huynh vs. Casey Thompson, with a lot of talk about his technique and her soul. So will it, in fact be those two? And if so, who‘s the third person – Brian Malarkey or Dale Levitski – who will be tagging along? Or Top Chef pull off a major twist that sends one of the leading cheftestants home? Read more »
On Wednesday of this week, it will be time to finish up our dessert, pay our checks, and head on home: the chefs will be done cooking for us as it is the Top Chef finale.Heading into the final show, we‘re taking a look back at some of the highlights – and lowlights – of this season. I have, so far, enjoyed watching and recapping this season, so I was surprised that when I reviewed the recaps, there actually weren‘t that many moments that really stood out as highlights for me. I think the season has been more uniformly entertaining, rather than having a lot of standout moments. Here is my list of highlights…tomorrow, we‘ll bring you the lowlights! Read more »
As we get ready for the Top Chef season finale tomorrow, we are taking a trip down memory lane with our cheftestants. Yesterday, I went over my picks for the top moments so far, today, it‘s the lowlights. Somehow I had an easier time selecting these; I guess that‘s the nature of reality TV. Take a look at what I came up with and see if you agree! Read more »
Tonight, Bravo will air the finale of Top Chef where Casey Thompson, Dale Levitski, and Hung Huynh will compete for the grand prize in Aspen.  Though he is considered to be the strongest chef technically, Hung has only won one elimination challenge.  He has, however, pulled off four wins in the quickfire challenges.  He has been criticized by the judges for not showing enough of himself in his food.  He feels that he has been passionate about his work and is clearly the strongest chef there.  Surprised to be in the finale with Casey and Dale, Hung promises that, tonight, he‘ll show his best work to date.  Today, he took a few minutes before the live finale to talk to BuddyTV.Below, you will find the complete transcript and mp3 of the interview. Read more »
It all comes down to tonight.  In a live finale aired from Chicago, we will learn who truly is the Top Chef for Season 3.The three Top Chef finalists will have their last chance to impress the judges.  Will Hung Huynh‘s strong technique come out on top?  Can Casey Thompson continue the momentum she started mid-season?  Can Dale Levitski come from behind and win the whole thing?  I‘ll be here with live thoughts throughout the episode.  Don‘t read this if you don‘t want to know who won. Read more »
Episode Overview: It‘s the last supper for Dale Levitski, Hung Huynh and Casey Thompson. For this, their final opportunity to show the Top Chef judges what they can do, and they need to pull out all the stops. With the supported of their sous chefs – some expected, some a surprise – each chef has to prepare the best three-course meal of their lives. After one final last-minute challenge thrown at the three, the results will be announced live from Chicago. Read more »
The season finale of Top Chef aired last night. In the end, the judges chose Hung Huynh over Casey Thompson and Dale Levitski to be this year‘s Top Chef. BuddyTV provided live thoughts during the entire broadcast, and readers were quick to weigh in with their two cents as well.There were many readers who were happy with the result. Read more »
When Top Chef first aired, it wasn‘t clear if the show was going to be able to find its own tone or if it would remain the foodie version of Project Runway. Luckily, it didn‘t go the way of Top Design, and despite the fact that we can‘t truly judge the contestants‘ work for ourselves – after all, other than plating, our opinions are all based on what other people tell us about the food since we can‘t taste it – Top Chef now has the kind of passionately-opinionated viewers that can help give a show longevity.The third season was based in Miami, and from the beginning, the show stayed true to the Bravo formula for the relatively sophisticated and high-brow (or, I suppose more precisely, high-ish brow) reality program. The opening scene hit the mark: the new group of chefs met at the former house of Gianni Versace. Read more »
Two nights ago, live from Chicago, Hung Huynh was crowned the winner of Bravo‘s Top Chef.  A frontrunner throughout the season, his biggest competition, Tre Wilcox, was eliminated around the halfway point.  With Wilcox out of the way, Huynh didn‘t see anybody else as competition or a threat.  He worked hard, even giving off arrogance occasionally, but he is a man who knows just how good he is.  Today, exhausted from all the celebrating, a very tired but happy Huynh called BuddyTV to talk about the finale and the victory he knew was his. Read more »
With the addition of Hung Huynh as the third of Top Chef winners, following Harold Dieterle from season 1 and Ilan Hall from season 2, we can start seeing some patterns emerge. Most obvious: they‘re all men. But that‘s not all they have in common. They also all attended the Culinary Institute of America. And they‘re all brunets!Despite their similarities, they each took a different path to that Top Chef spot. When it came to hard numbers, can you guess which of the three winners had the best track record on the show? It might surprise you. Read more »
You would think after the potentially career-killing experience of The Restaurant, Rocco DiSpirito wouldn‘t be caught dead within a mile of more reality TV cameras. But he braved them once again this season to act as a judge and sous chef on Top Chef, and online comments have even some of the contingency anti-Rocco begrudgingly appreciating his appearance on the show.Rocco recently gave some behind-the-scenes scoop on the competition. Whose dish tasted like “Indian sewer water?” Who was “the sweetest, most deferential, well-valued, [and] talented?” Read more »
The gang is all back to talk about season 3 of Top Chef on tonight‘s Reunion Show. It‘s all the judges, Padma Lakshmi, Tom Colicchio, Gail Simmons and Ted Allen, and all the contestants, along with Andy Cohen from Bravo. In addition to reminiscing about the season, they will also hear which chef has won the title of fan favorite, which comes with the prize of $10,000. Who will it be? Not Hung Huynh, everyone is fairly certainly, and Tom laughingly tells him he has no shot at that prize. Read more »
After the finale of season 3 of Top Chef, our BuddyTV comment sections were full of debate about the merits of one chef‘s talents versus another, and whether or not Hung Huynh truly deserved to win. Unfortunately, everybody except those present at that final meal were missing one key detail: what the food actually tasted like. Well, for now, there aren‘t any plans to stage nationwide recreations featuring all of the participants, but at the least, you can at least sample the winning contestant‘s meal.Hung Huynh was frequently praised for his technical know-how but also criticized for not moving past that precision. However, he seemed to hit his stride in the final challenge of Top Chef. Want to know what that tasted like? Now you can taste it for yourself next time you are in Las Vegas. Read more »
No matter how harried the competition got in season 3 of Top Chef, seafood chef Brian Malarkey seemed determined to remain upbeat. His good attitude, along with his skills – especially with seafood – took him all the way to final four. While he didn‘t make it to the top of Top Chef, he did win some respect for the way he handled the game.Since the show, Brian has talked about what brought him to Top Chef, dished a bit about his fellow chefs, and let us know whether or not we‘ll see him on another reality show any time in the near future. Read more »
Mia Gaines-Alt was a memorable presence on the second season of Top Chef. She brought her love of barbecue and comfort food to the competition, but it was probably her self-elimination in the eighth episode that stands out most for many viewers. She stepped aside in order to give Elia Aboumrad a chance to continue in the competition.She left the competition, but at least got a free trip to Hawaii out of the bargain. Although she wasn‘t selected by either Ilan Hall or Marcel Vigneron to assist with the final meal at the Hawaii finale, she still got a life-changing opportunity. Read more »
Padma Lakshmi has been going through a difficult time in her personal life, with the announcement in recent months of her separation and divorce from husband, author Salman Rushdie. She has been able to keep busy, though, with her own career, both as host of Top Chef and as an author in her own right. Her most recent book is Tangy Tart Hot and Sweet, and she‘s been crossing the country on a book tour. She has been talking about her new cookbook as well as the next season of Top Chef. Read more »