|Top Chef: Charleston|
|Hosted by||Padma Lakshmi|
|No. of contestants||16|
|Country of origin||United States|
|No. of episodes||14|
|Original release||December 1, 2016 –|
March 2, 2017
Top Chef: Charleston is the fourteenth season of the American reality television series Top Chef. The season was announced by Bravo on October 13, 2016, which premiered on December 1, 2016, and concluded on March 2, 2017. Filming initially took place in Charleston, South Carolina, beginning in May 2016, while the season's final episodes were filmed in areas across Mexico, including Guadalajara and the Yucatán Peninsula. Top Chef: Charleston featured eight new contestants competing against eight returning contestants from previous seasons. MasterChef and Top Chef Masters alumnus Graham Elliot debuted as a recurring judge, alongside returning judges Padma Lakshmi, Tom Colicchio, and Gail Simmons. In the season finale, Top Chef: Seattle runner-up Brooke Williamson was declared the winner over Top Chef: New Orleans finalist Shirley Chung. Top Chef: Seattle finalist Sheldon Simeon was voted Fan Favorite, his second Fan Favorite win.
Top Chef: Charleston features a cast of 16 chefs, consisting of half newcomers and half returnees.
|Silvia Barban||Castronno, Varese, Italy||Brooklyn, New York|
|Emily Hahn||Lynchburg, Virginia||Charleston, South Carolina|
|Jamie Lynch||Rochester, New York||Charlotte, North Carolina|
|Annie Pettry||Asheville, North Carolina||Louisville, Kentucky|
|Sylva Senat||Port-au-Prince, Haiti||Philadelphia, Pennsylvania|
|BJ Smith||South Bend, Indiana||Portland, Oregon|
|Jim Smith||Troy, Alabama||Montgomery, Alabama|
|Gerald Sombright||St. Louis, Missouri||Marco Island, Florida|
Jim Smith returned for Top Chef: Kentucky, competing in the Last Chance Kitchen. Jamie Lynch returned for Top Chef: All-Stars L.A.
|Amanda Baumgarten||Los Angeles, California||Chicago, Illinois||Season 7|
|Shirley Chung||Beijing, China||Irvine, California||Season 11|
|Sheldon Simeon||Hilo, Hawaii||Maui, Hawaii||Season 10|
|Sam Talbot||Charlotte, North Carolina||Brooklyn, New York||Season 2|
|Katsuji Tanabe||Mexico City, Mexico||Los Angeles, California||Season 12|
|John Tesar||New York, New York||Dallas, Texas||Season 10|
|Casey Thompson||Cedar Hill, Texas||Napa Valley, California||Season 3, 8|
|Brooke Williamson||Los Angeles, California||Los Angeles, California||Season 10|
|Contestant||Elimination Challenge Results|
^Note 1 : The chef(s) did not receive immunity for winning the Quickfire Challenge.
^Note 2 : Gerald lost the Sudden Death Quickfire Challenge and was eliminated.
^Note 3 : Jim lost the Sudden Death Quickfire Challenge and was eliminated.
^Note 4 : Feeling that his dish contributed the most to his team's loss, Jamie voluntarily forfeited his immunity, resulting in his elimination.
^Note 5 : Casey lost the Sudden Death Quickfire Challenge and was eliminated.
^Note 6 : Brooke won Last Chance Kitchen and returned to the competition.
Main article: List of Top Chef episodes
|Title||Original air date|
|204||1||"Something Old, Something New"||December 1, 2016|
Sudden Death Quickfire Challenge: The contestants competed in two different groups. The eight new chefs had to cook as many dishes as possible within one hour using a whole chicken, while the eight returning chefs had to create their own version of shrimp and grits. The winners of each group received immunity from elimination.
|205||2||"Southern Hospitality"||December 8, 2016|
Elimination Challenge: The rookies and veterans were separated into two teams. Each team dined at the home of a local Charleston chef. They then had to create a family-style meal inspired by the home-cooked dishes served to them. The guest judges for the challenge included chefs Carrie Morey, BJ Dennis, Frank Lee, Sean Brock, Robert Stehling, Kevin Johnson, and Michelle Weaver.
|206||3||"Choke Holds and Clammy Hands"||December 15, 2016|
Quickfire Challenge: The contestants, separated into two teams, competed in the traditional mise en place relay race. The tasks involved peeling and mincing garlic, dicing onions, turning artichokes, deveining shrimp, and shucking clams; the first team to complete all five tasks could hit the opposing team's "pause button", forcing them to wait out a three-minute penalty. Once finished, each team then had to cook a dish using the prepped ingredients. The MVP from the winning team, designated by guest judge and Top Chef Masters winner Chris Cosentino, received immunity from elimination.
Elimination Challenge: Working in the same teams, the chefs had to create a seven-course, progressive meal for the judges and a group of select Top Chef fans; in addition, every dish had to highlight radishes. Each course was compared by the judges and guest diners in head-to-head battles. If the chef won the match-up, they earned their team one point. The first team to receive four points won the challenge. The chefs on the losing team who lost their head-to-head battles were eligible for elimination.
|207||4||"The Feast of Seven Trash Fishes"||December 22, 2016|
Quickfire Challenge: The chefs had to create dishes using a bizarre collection of tools and ingredients packaged within gift boxes, including a pressure cooker, Patrón tequila, pomegranate, chocolate pretzels, cloves, wasabi, squab, and a melon baller; the winner received immunity from elimination. The guest judge for the challenge was Food & Wine editor-in-chief Nilou Motamed.
Dishes from Sheldon, Silvia, Amanda, Jamie, and Sylva were not shown.
Elimination Challenge: Split into pairs, the contestants had to create a meal based on the Feast of the Seven Fishes using "trash fish". Each pair was randomly assigned a trash fish through knife draw; the types of fish included amberjack, mullet, tunny, blackbelly rosefish, barrel fish, triggerfish, and gray tilefish. As the winner of the Quickfire Challenge, Casey was able to work alone and choose the fish for her dish. The guest judge for the challenge was chef Mike Lata.
|208||5||"Smoke 'Em If You Got 'Em"||December 29, 2016|
Quickfire Challenge: The chefs walked into an empty Top Chef kitchen; shortly thereafter, the challenge clock began to count down and the doors to the kitchen pantry opened. Without further instructions, the chefs had to surmise the challenge requirements based on the ingredients located in the pantry. Once time expired, Lakshmi returned to inform the contestants that the challenge was to create their own take on a biscuit; the winner received immunity from elimination. The guest judge for the challenge was chef John Currence.
Dishes from Casey, Amanda, and Emily were not shown.
Elimination Challenge: The chefs, split into three teams, had to work through the night to prepare a whole hog barbecue. Each team was required to serve their hog with either a vinegar or mustard-based sauce, as well as create three side dishes for their meal. The guest judges for the challenge were pitmaster Rodney Scott and country singer Darius Rucker.
|209||6||"A Southern Legend"||January 5, 2017|
Quickfire Challenge: The chefs were tasked with creating vegetarian versions of traditional comfort foods. In addition, following the theme of health and physical activity, the contestants were allowed to grab only one ingredient or cooking utensil at a time, forcing them to run between the kitchen and pantry; the winner received immunity from elimination. The guest judge for the challenge was U.S. Surgeon General Vivek Murthy.
Dishes from Sheldon and Shirley were not shown.
Elimination Challenge: The chefs created dishes paying homage to Edna Lewis, a pioneer of Southern cuisine. The luncheon was served at Middleton Place to a table of guest judges, including Alexander Smalls, Art Smith, BJ Dennis, Glenn Roberts, Irv Miller, Mashama Bailey, Nathalie Dupree, and Toni Tipton-Martin.
|210||7||"Booty"||January 12, 2017|
Sudden Death Quickfire Challenge: The chefs had to create a dish using ingredients and cooking techniques inspired by the elements (earth, air, fire, or water) corresponding to their zodiac signs; the winner received immunity from elimination. The guest judge for the challenge was chef Michael Cimarusti.
Elimination Challenge: The chefs, working in teams of three, hosted a pirate-themed party inspired by Blackbeard's exploits in Charleston. However, in order to collect ingredients, each team was given a map of the city which they had to use to find seven treasure chests, each filled with a choice of three ingredients; the ingredients were available on a first-come, first-served basis. The teams were required to collect ingredients from all seven chests before they could return to the Top Chef kitchen and begin cooking.
|211||8||"Restaurant Wars"||January 19, 2017|
Elimination Challenge: The chefs competed in Top Chef's traditional Restaurant Wars challenge. The contestants, split into two teams, were responsible for transforming an empty space into a fully functioning pop-up restaurant within 24 hours. Unlike past seasons, the teams took turns transforming the same space, serving their meals on two different days. The guest judges for the challenge were chef Daniel Humm and restaurateur Will Guidara.
|212||9||"For the Kids"||January 26, 2017|
Quickfire Challenge: The chefs competed in a blindfolded taste test; they had 5 minutes to identify as many ingredients as possible, out of a total of 20. Beginning with this episode, immunity was no longer awarded to the winner of the Quickfire Challenge. Instead, the winner received 14 cases of Terlato wine. The guest judge for the challenge was Top Chef: Las Vegas winner Michael Voltaggio.
Elimination Challenge: The chefs drew inspiration from their favorite childhood memories to create dishes for the MUSC Shawn Jenkins Children's Hospital charity gala.
|213||10||"Shrimp Boats and Hat Ladies"||February 2, 2017|
Sudden Death Quickfire Challenge: After going on a shrimping trip with head judge Colicchio, the chefs had to create a dish using their freshly caught shrimp.
Elimination Challenge: The chefs were tasked with making creative and whimsical breakfast and lunch mash-up dishes for a southern brunch. The guest judge for the challenge was pastry chef Dominique Ansel.
|214||11||"Adiós Charleston, Hello James Beard"||February 9, 2017|
Quickfire Challenge: The chefs had to cook a dish while simultaneously giving instructions to a mystery partner, hidden behind a partition, on how to cook the same exact dish. The mystery partners were Brooke's sister Jessica, John's wife Tracy, Sheldon's wife Janice, and Shirley's husband Jimmy. The contestants were judged based on how closely both dishes resembled each other in terms of taste and presentation. The winner received $10,000 and a new sous-vide machine. The guest judge for the challenge was chef Michael Solomonov.
Elimination Challenge: The chefs prepared dishes that represented their journeys through Charleston. The winner received the honor of serving their dish and an accompanying menu at the James Beard House in New York City. The guest judges for the challenge included Top Chef Masters alumna Mary Sue Milliken and James Beard Award winners Michael Solomonov, Sean Brock, Ken Oringer, and Renee Erickson.
|215||12||"Cooking Away in Margaritaville"||February 16, 2017|
Quickfire Challenge: The three remaining chefs arrived at the Estadio Chivas in Guadalajara, Mexico for the final rounds of the competition. There, the winner of Last Chance Kitchen, Brooke, was reinstated. The four competitors had to cook dishes featuring goat, the team mascot for C.D. Guadalajara. The winner received $10,000 and an advantage in the Elimination Challenge. The guest judge for the challenge was chef Francisco Ruano.
Elimination Challenge: At the Patrón Hacienda, the chefs created dishes to pair with their own original margaritas using Patrón tequila. The dishes were expected to incorporate the sweet, salty, sour, and bitter notes of a margarita. To assist them with cooking and serving, the chefs were paired up with the four most recently eliminated contestants. As the winner of the Quickfire Challenge, Brooke was able to choose her own sous chef and assign her opponents' sous chefs. She chose to work with Casey and picked Emily for Sheldon, Sylva for Shirley, and Katsuji for John. The winner received a limited edition bottle of tequila, Patrón En Lalique, worth approximately $7,500. The guest judge for the challenge was chef Ray Garcia.
|216||13||"Trial By Fire"||February 23, 2017|
Quickfire Challenge: After arriving in the Yucatán Peninsula, the chefs were challenged to create a dish featuring habaneros and ingredients from the local market. The winner received a seven-night trip with a guest to any Secrets Resorts & Spas location of their choice. The guest judge for the challenge was chef Ricardo Muñoz Zurita.
Elimination Challenge: In honor of traditional Mayan cooking, which laid the foundation for modern Mexican cuisine, the chefs had to create dishes using only ancient Mayan ingredients and tools. While they were allowed to keep their knives, the contestants were unable to use electrical kitchen equipment and were forced to rely on an open flame as a heat source. The guest judges for the challenge were Top Chef México head judge Guillermo González Beristáin and chefs Jeremiah Tower, Roberto Solís, and Carlo Cardenas.
|217||14||"Comida Final"||March 2, 2017|
Elimination Challenge: The finalists had to create a four-course progressive meal for a full dining room of guests. Each finalist received help from three sous chefs, consisting of two previously eliminated contestants and one chef from their restaurants back home. Brooke was assisted by Sheldon, Sam, and her chef de cuisine Chris, while Shirley was assisted by Casey, Katsuji, and her chef de cuisine Jay. The guest judges for the challenge were Top Chef Masters alum Jonathan Waxman, Food & Wine editor-in-chief Nilou Motamed, and chefs Martha Ortiz, Joachim Splichal, Jonathon Sawyer, and Daniel Boulud.
Main article: Top Chef § Last Chance Kitchen
|No.||Title||Original air date|
|1||"The Clock"||December 8, 2016|
Challenge: The first two eliminated chefs competed in a challenge designed to test their time management skills. The contestants had two minutes to shop for ingredients from the Top Chef pantry. Each section of the pantry was labeled with a specific amount of time; for example, spices were worth +1 minute, while pork and ground beef were worth +4 minutes. Every ingredient the chefs chose would add to their total cook time, and they were required to incorporate these ingredients into their final dish.
|2||"Celery Me on Your Dish"||December 15, 2016|
Challenge: The chefs had 30 minutes to create a dish featuring celery.
|3||"Holiday Leftovers"||December 22, 2016|
Challenge: The chefs had 20 minutes to create a dish using holiday leftovers.
|4||"With a Little Luck"||December 29, 2016|
Challenge: The chefs had 20 minutes to create a dish incorporating at least seven "lucky" ingredients, such as pork, sage, garlic, kale, onions, fish, and black-eyed peas.
|5||"Duck!"||January 5, 2017|
Challenge: The chefs had 30 minutes to cook a soulful dish "from the heart" using the ingredients from Amanda's dish that got her eliminated, including duck, red onion, pecans, dandelion greens, sweet potato, and balsamic vinegar.
|6||"Raw Deal"||January 12, 2017|
Challenge: The chefs had 25 minutes to create a steak and potatoes dish.
|7||"Treasured Ingredients"||January 12, 2017|
Challenge: The chefs had 30 minutes to cook a dish using the ingredients assigned to Jamie's team during the pirate-themed Elimination Challenge.
|8||"Just Five"||January 19, 2017|
Challenge: The chefs had 30 minutes to create a dish using five ingredients selected by Jamie; he chose sweet potatoes, onions, shishito peppers, sorghum, and limes.
|9||"No Second Guesses"||January 26, 2017|
Challenge: To test their confidence and decision-making, the chefs had only 45 seconds to shop for ingredients. They then had 20 minutes to cook their dish.
|10||"Snack Attack"||February 2, 2017|
Challenge: The chefs had 30 minutes to create an original snack concept. The dishes were required to incorporate at least one variety of Hidden Valley ranch dressing, and the chefs had to serve enough portions to feed the gallery of eliminated contestants. Instead of one winner, two chefs would move on to the next challenge.
|11||"3-Way, 2 Ways"||February 9, 2017|
Challenge: The chefs had 30 minutes to create a dish featuring a protein prepared using two different cooking techniques: braising and sautéing. The contestants with the two best dishes advanced to the final challenge.
|12||"Who Wants to Go to Mexico?"||February 9, 2017|
Challenge: To test their consistency, the chefs had 45 minutes to cook two separate dishes. Once finished, the dishes were concealed under cloches. Colicchio then randomly selected one dish from each contestant for judging.