|Top Chef: San Francisco|
|Hosted by||Katie Lee Joel|
|No. of contestants||12|
|Country of origin||United States|
|No. of episodes||12|
|Original release||March 8 –|
May 24, 2006
Top Chef: San Francisco, originally broadcast simply as Top Chef, is the first season of the American reality television series Top Chef. It was first filmed in San Francisco, California, before concluding in Las Vegas, Nevada. The season premiered on March 8, 2006 and ended on May 24, 2006. The show featured chefs from around the United States living together in one house and competing in a series of culinary challenges. The prizes for the winner of the competition included a feature in Food & Wine Magazine, a showcase at the annual Food & Wine Classic in Aspen, Colorado, a Kenmore Elite kitchen set, and US$100,000. The series was hosted by Katie Lee Joel, in her only season as a host, and judged by chef Tom Colicchio and food writer Gail Simmons. In the season finale, Harold Dieterle was declared the winner over runner-up Tiffani Faison.
Twelve chefs were selected to compete in Top Chef: San Francisco.
|Stephen Asprinio||Las Vegas, Nevada||24|
|Andrea Beaman||New York, New York||38|
|Harold Dieterle||New York, New York||28|
|Tiffani Faison||Las Vegas, Nevada||28|
|Brian Hill||Los Angeles, California||37|
|Candice Kumai||Pasadena, California||23|
|Ken Lee||Los Angeles, California||34|
|Dave Martin||Long Beach, California||40|
|Miguel Morales||New York, New York||27|
|Lisa Parks||Los Angeles, California||45|
|Cynthia Sestito||East Hampton, New York||52|
|Lee Anne Wong||New York, New York||28|
Tiffani Faison and Stephen Asprinio returned to compete in Top Chef: All-Stars. Faison later competed in Top Chef Duels. Lee Anne Wong returned for Top Chef: Colorado, competing in the Last Chance Kitchen, and Top Chef: All-Stars L.A.
|Lee Anne||Stephen||Tiffani||Lee Anne||Andrea||Stephen||Harold1||Lee Anne1||Harold1||—||—|
|Contestant||Elimination Challenge Results|
^Note 1 : The chef(s) did not receive immunity for winning the Quickfire Challenge.
^Note 2 : Cynthia voluntarily withdrew from the competition due to her father's illness.
^Note 3 : Andrea was brought back in Episode 3, after being eliminated once, when Cynthia chose to leave.
^Note 4 : The judges did not feel that anyone had distinguished themselves in the Elimination Challenge, so no winner was named.
Main article: List of Top Chef episodes
|Title||Original air date|
|1||1||"Who Deserves to Be Here?"||March 8, 2006|
Elimination Challenge: The chefs had to prepare a signature dish to be served to the judges and the other Top Chef contestants. Hubert Keller reappeared as a guest judge.
|2||2||"Food of Love"||March 15, 2006|
Quickfire Challenge: The chefs chose from a large selection of fruit to prepare a plate judged solely on presentation. The winner received immunity from elimination. The guest judge for the episode was chef Elizabeth Falkner.
Elimination Challenge: The chefs had to make a sexy dessert for a fetish party at Mr. S, a sex boutique in San Francisco, for 50 guests, including drag queen RuPaul.
|3||3||"Nasty Delights"||March 22, 2006|
Quickfire Challenge: The chefs were given one hour to prepare octopus. The winner received immunity from elimination. The guest judge for the episode was chef Laurent Manrique.
|4||4||"Food on the Fly"||March 29, 2006|
Quickfire Challenge: The chefs created dishes in 30 minutes using $20 worth of ingredients from a gas station store. The winner received immunity from elimination. The guest judge for the episode was chef Jefferson Hill.
Elimination Challenge: Each chef created a gourmet entrée that could be reheated in a microwave. They then presented their dishes to a group of women from the Junior League of Oakland-East Bay, who would rate their meals.
|5||5||"Blind Confusion"||April 5, 2006|
Quickfire Challenge: The chefs competed in a blindfolded taste test, where they were given five minutes to identify as many ingredients as possible. The winner received immunity from elimination. The guest judge for the episode was chef Mike Yakura.
Elimination Challenge: Working in teams of two, the chefs created street food fusing Latin American cuisine with one other ethnic cuisine. After a random knife draw, Dave and Tiffani were assigned Moroccan, Andrea and Miguel were assigned Indian, Lee Anne and Stephen were assigned Chinese, and Harold and Lisa were assigned Japanese. The teams then had to distribute their dish from a cart in the Mission District of San Francisco.
|6||6||"Guess Who's Coming to Dinner"||April 12, 2006|
Quickfire Challenge: The chefs had 20 minutes to create an appetizer using $3 worth of ingredients, priced by the ounce. The guest judge for the episode was television host and author Ted Allen.
Elimination Challenge: The chefs had to create a seven-course dinner party for Ted Allen to celebrate the launch of his latest cookbook. At first, each chef was able to choose which course they wanted to execute. However, the producers later introduced a random knife draw, forcing each chef to work on another contestant's recipe.
|7||7||"Restaurant Wars"||April 19, 2006|
Quickfire Challenge: Each chef was asked to make an original sandwich in 30 minutes using any of the available ingredients. The winning sandwich would be put on the menu at the San Francisco location of Tom Colicchio's 'wichcraft restaurant. From this point forward, immunity from elimination was no longer available as a reward.
Elimination Challenge: Working in two teams of three, the chefs had 24 hours to transform an empty restaurant space into a pop-up restaurant. The teams were responsible for their restaurants' decor and menu. The guest diners chose which restaurant to attend and rated them based on food, atmosphere, and overall experience, which determined the winning and losing teams. The guest judge for the challenge was restaurateur and financier Jeffrey Chodorow. The winner received the opportunity to accompany Chodorow and his associates to the Cannes Film Festival in France.
|8||8||"Wedding Bell Blues"||April 26, 2006|
Quickfire Challenge: The chefs had 90 minutes to design a wedding reception menu and pitch it to the wedding couple. The winner's menu would be used for the upcoming Elimination Challenge.
Elimination Challenge: Working as a team, the chefs were required to cater a wedding reception for 100 guests using the menu chosen in the Quickfire Challenge; however, the team had less than a day to prepare. The guest judge for the challenge was wedding planner Marcy Blum.
|9||9||"Napa's Finest"||May 3, 2006|
Quickfire Challenge: The chefs were asked to recreate a classic junk food element into a gourmet dish in 45 minutes. The winner's performance counted in the overall assessment of the week's challenges. The winner also received a bottle of Shafer Hillside Select Cabernet Sauvignon.
Elimination Challenge: The remaining chefs traveled to the Napa Valley's Copia museum to prepare a dish incorporating expensive black Périgord truffles to be served with 2001 Shafer Hillside Select Cabernet Sauvignon wine. The dishes were served to a group of top professional chefs from Northern California, including Douglas Keane, Cindy Pawlcyn, Philippe Jeanty, Lissa Doumani, Hiro Sone, Greg Cole, James McDevitt, Keith Luce, and Victor Scargle, alongside founder of Shafer Vineyards John Shafer.
|10||10||"Reunion"||May 10, 2006|
|11||11||"Vegas Finale - Part 1"||May 17, 2006|
Quickfire/Elimination Challenge: The three finalists met at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, Nevada, where they competed in a series of three elimination-style Quickfire Challenges to determine which two chefs would remain to compete in a final challenge for the grand prize. For each challenge, the chefs had to prepare hotel room service meals in 30 minutes for different customers: first, a room of high rollers, including eliminated competitors Lee Anne, Miguel, and Stephen; then, a table of poker players, including Phil Hellmuth; lastly, performers from Cirque du Soleil. Each group of patrons decided on their favorite dish. The three groups' favorites were taken into consideration during the judging process. The guest judge for the challenge was chef Hubert Keller.
|12||12||"Vegas Finale - Part 2"||May 24, 2006|
Elimination Challenge: The two finalists each prepared a five-course tasting meal to be served to a table of luminaries from the culinary world. Each finalist was also assisted by two sous chefs, consisting of the four most recently eliminated contestants: Dave, Lee Anne, Stephen, and Miguel. Harold was assisted by Lee Anne and Miguel, while Tiffani was assisted by Stephen and Dave. Though not required, Tiffani chose to make two preparations of each course. The guest judges for the challenge were actress Lorraine Bracco, Food & Wine editor-in-chief Dana Cowin, restaurateur Drew Nieporent, and chefs Hubert Keller and Michael Mina.