Articles for Top Chef Season 9

Last week we were introduced to a large number of chefs who had to compete for the final 16 spots in the competition. For most of them that meant that they were gone as soon as we got to know them. This week, we continued this scheme. More new chefs, more eliminations.  Read more »
As we all know, and to reiterate a tired cliche, "everything‘s bigger in Texas!" That‘s exactly what the producers of Top Chef thought when they envisioned this new season. More chefs, more competition, more drama, more everything! American audiences looove them some good ol‘ "more of everything." So let‘s round up the most important changes to this season and how the first episode played out. Read more »
"Winning Top Chef requires nerves of steal!" Padma announces ominously at the beginning of the episode. "That‘s exactly what we‘re testing today." Which means the cheftestants have to cook rattlesnake in just one hour.  Read more »
This week, the heat is on. Literally. For the quickfire challenge, the cheftestants have to create a dish that highlights a chili pepper. They have twenty varieties to choose from. The twist? The hotter the pepper they choose, the more money the magical elves will throw their way if they win (plus the usual immunity, of course).  Read more »
This week the contestants are headed to Dallas. As Ed puts it: "We just got used to this beautiful house and now they‘re kicking us out." So everyone embarks on their product-placed vehicles and tells one another about their personal lives. Until they get pulled over by a cop who they somehow mistake for being real trouble.  Read more »
At the very beginning of this week‘s episode, the cheftestants seem to notice a clear divide between men and women. The men keep getting voted off while the women can just sit back and relax. Read more »
This week, the magic elves at Bravo tried to get the very talented cheftestants to screw up over one ingredient. As Ed said, "The best chef doesn‘t necessarily win. You have one night off and you‘re gone!"  Read more »
The first order of business this week? A change of location. And from the way the cheftestants cheered when they were told that the next station was Austin, you would think the holy grail was located there. Read more »
If you‘ll remember, there was kind of a conflict brewing between Beverly and Heather up until two weeks ago, when Heather was eliminated.  Read more »
Every season of Top Chef needs to have Restaurant Wars, and this season it happened this week. This time it was a battle of the sexes. Or to say it less pathetically: girls vs. boys. Read more »
First order of business this week: Tom Coliccio announces that the cheftestants are shipped back to San Antonio. In the product-placed cars, the girls are nursing some weird resentment towards Beverly because she was last week‘s winner of the best dish.  Read more »
This week‘s guest judge was Cat Cora, who was so fierce and strict that you would have thought she‘s competing against other Top Chef guest judges. The quickfire challenge is a perfect showcase of "technical precision against the clock."  Read more »
There comes a time in every season where one has to wonder if the producers have a sense of what the audience wants to see. In the case of this week‘s Top Chef episode, the magical elves decided that the foodie crowd wanted to see Pee-wee Herman.  Read more »
For people who have not been following Top Chef all that closely this season: the magical elves over at Bravo have devised a mechanism this year through which every eliminated chef can fight their way back into the competition.  Read more »
If you‘re seated in front of your telly, anxiously wondering if your favorite show‘s returning to your screens soon... well, if that show‘s on the list, it is getting renewed. Yay for you! And me. I happen to like most of these shows. What are the chances? Read more »
For the elimination challenge, the three remaining cheftestants, Sarah, Paul and Lindsay, have to team up with a Top Chef Master especially flown in for the occasion to create an Asian dish. The twist? They have to take turns cooking without being able to confer about what they are doing. Read more »
The finale is upon us and one must say that this season has been rather rocky in terms of letting the chefs just do what they do best: cooking food. Thankfully, the finale let them do just that. So let‘s dig in. Read more »
Top Chef fans: while you‘re waiting for a new season of Bravo‘s hit culinary competition, host Padma Lakshmi has some suggestions to make your summer.Padma has teamed up with the folks at Nespresso, who know a thing or two about coffee machines, to make espresso more accessible - as in the comfort of your own home.She recently talked with me about her involvement with Nespresso, including giving you a great recipe for a coffee dessert that you can use at your next summer party - and, of course, Top Chef.Check out the video interview below as Padma and I talk about coffee, food and whether you‘ll see a tenth season of Top Chef on Bravo. Make sure to watch carefully as she‘ll show you how to make a great coffee and ice cream desser for your next summer event.  Read more »
It‘s good to be the king. The 2012 Emmy Award nominations were announced Thursday morning and four-time Drama Series winner Mad Men and two-time Comedy Series winner Modern Family remained the top nominees.  Read more »
One of the best things about Top Chef has always been expediency. No long-winded bios, just, "These are the competitors, this is what they did, these ones made the cut (haha) and the rest got axed." The season 10 opener stuck to those guidelines and the deadwood was quickly identified and discarded. Read more »
As the 15 remaining Top Chef competitors who made the trip to Seattle basked in their glory, they learned their first challenge would be judged by three contestants from past seasons. Not winners, mind you, but contestants with axes to grind and marks to make: Josie from season 2, CJ from season 3 and Stefan from season 5, a notorious sore loser.Quickfire, Quick ExtinquishThe contestants broke down into teams of three and had 20 minutes to make a winning dish highlighting local shellfish. Despite having some of the world‘s best crabs and mussels at their disposal, two of the teams chose geoduck and one picked razor clams as their main ingredients. Bad choice for the bland loser, razor clam and corn chowder, concocted by Eliza, Danyele and Josh but good news for Sheldon, Kuniko and John who claimed victory with geoduck sashimi, ponzu, apple and cucumber. Yum. Read more »
NBC was banking on Smash returning as a hit. They brought in a new showrunner, removed certain characters and storylines, and even cast big name guest stars like Jennifer Hudson. Did the overhaul work? Well, the numbers speak for themselves.Plus, Justin Bieber is hosting Saturday Night Live this weekend, and NBC has released some SNL promos featuring the Biebs. The Wanted is getting their very own reality show. Buckwild and Top Chef have been renewed. And John Corbett is set to star in a potential NCIS spin-off. Read more »
The 2013 Emmy Award nominations were announced Thursday morning, and as usual, it‘s a crazy mix of established frontrunners and a few new faces. American Horror Story: Asylum led all programs with 17 nominations, followed closely by Game of Thrones with 16. 30 Rock was the top comedy with 13 nominations for its final season.  Read more »
The biggest night of TV is here with the 65th Annual Emmy Awards. Hosted by Neil Patrick Harris, the three-hour telecast will honor the best in television over the past year, and I‘ll be here through the evening with the winners and my live analysis.  Read more »
The Broadcast Television Journalists Association has announced nominations for the 2014 Critics‘ Choice TV Awards, and both network and cable TV lead the field. The Big Bang Theory, The Good Wife, Fargo, Masters of Sex and the recent HBO film The Normal Heart are tied for the most nods with five each.The Americans, Breaking Bad, Orange is the New Black and Sherlock: His Last Vow all have four nominations. Read more »
The nominations for the 66th Annual Emmy Awards were announced Thursday morning. The list is cable-heavy, with a slew of nominations for Netflix‘s newest comedy and Breaking Bad‘s final season. But, in its fourth season, it‘s actually Game of Thrones that earned the most nominations of any program.  Read more »
Top Chef Duels, Bravo‘s latest incarnation has memorable-for reasons both good and bad-former Top Chef and Top Chef Masters contestants going head-to-head in three rounds of "extreme culinary challenges." Each episode is sure to be packed full of surprises, especially since the cheftestants can call each other out to prove their chops. That should be irresistible to some of these culinary egomaniacs. The winner of each round on Top Chef Duels will move on to the finals and the chance to become $100,000 richer and receive a spread in "Food and Wine" Magazine. Read more »
The first episode of Top Chef Duels revealed the exact format of the new series. Each chef gets a chance at ten thousand dollars by besting their rival at a challenge of their own design. The fact that Richard Blais and Marcel Vigneron each failed their own tests, demonstrates that none of the contenders can take anything for granted.The final challenge, the one that determines who goes to the finals, and who heads to The Knockout, is pretty typical Top Chef fare. It does feel as if the elimination round was tailor made to fit Vigneron and Blais‘ strengths as molecular gastronomists. Read more »
It looked like Brooke Williamson had the judges eating out of the palm of her hand during last week‘s Top Chef Duels when she won two challenges and twenty thousand bucks. But when it came down to executing a big-top themed three-course meal, it was Shirley who emerged the ring leader. Shirley‘s presentation and sense of whimsy had her flying high while Brooke juggled furiously to keep up.Fans of Williamson have reason to rejoice: she may be down, but she‘s not out. Brooke competed against Marcel Vigneron in The Knockout, and prevailed. Now she‘s guaranteed a spot in the final round and a second chance to re-enter the Duels. Read more »
It‘s the biggest night of the year for TV fans, the 2014 Emmy Awards. Hosted by Seth Meyers and airing on a Monday in August, this year‘s awards are highly unusual, but will the winners be the usual suspects or a lot of fresh blood?  Read more »
Week three was the best episode of the season so far. In spite of the fierce competition, it was all about love, and balls (rice balls). Apparently, the word balls can reduce even a grown man like Curtis Stone into behaving like a 12-year-old boy.While Mike‘s dishes were more inventive, the judges preferred the taste of Antonia‘s more traditional take on Italian cuisine. Mike faced Brooke Williamson in The Knockout, and this time, emerged victorious. This means both will move on to the final round. Read more »
Week four of Top Chef Duels was a tense one with two bona fide nemesis‘, Stefan and CJ, competing. Good-natured banter was replaced with a hostile back and forth that left a bad taste in my mouth. The two did make amends of sorts, each finally giving the other his due.It was the first, and probably the only time, the cheftestants went foraging for twigs and berries to incorporate into their food, and the first clean sweep this season. I‘m certain that myself and the fans were as surprised as Stefan who stated that God himself couldn‘t have cooked better than he did. CJ just really embraced the concept of the challenge more so than Stefan. Read more »
Week 6 featured Top Chef Duels‘ first vegan challenge. Tiffani Fiason and Dale Talde had to cater to the pallets of three heavy metal rock legends: Rob Zombie (filmmaker/musician/screenwriter), Gary Holt (Exodus and Slayer) and Scott Ian (Anthrax). Both chefs went into the final round with a challenge victory each. While the diners and former hot heads Talde and Fiason were mellow, the food rocked. Salad on a skewer? Who even knew that was possible? Even though the judges gushed over Tiffani‘s mushroom scallops, Dale prevailed. He can probably attribute his sweet victory to his dessert, a PB&"J" style dim sum.  Read more »
Week 8 of Top Chef Duels had the only two female winners of the series, Stephanie Izard (Top Chef Chicago) and Kristen Kish (Top Chef Seattle) showcasing their skills. These two women have very different styles when it comes to preparation and plating. They also favor different flavor profiles. Kristen is still all tingly from her win, and she‘s very meticulous when it comes to preparation. Stephanie‘s focus is creating rustic flavor and not necessarily sweating the small stuff. Even though the judges loved Kristen‘s take on a sinful dessert, experience prevailed when the judges found Stephanie‘s food more "tempting." Read more »
Week 7 of Bravo‘s Top Chef Duels had a law enforcement theme with some of the POPO from Brooklyn Nine-Nine sitting in as guest judges. For the final challenge, Jen Carroll and Nyesha Arrington had to create a three-course meal that included a "Culinary Crime," a "Steak" out and a doughnut for dessert. It was a hotly contested race, but Nyesha‘s tuna with blue cheese caused the judges to find her guilty of a creating a dish with questionable flavor profiles. So, Jen escaped with the win.Nyesah went on to face Tiffani Fiason in The Knockout. The challenge was to take trend-worthy ingredients and showcase them in a dish. Tiffani pulled out her second win even though she was allergic to her primary ingredient.  Read more »

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