(QF WIN) The chef won that episode's Quickfire challenge
^1 Rick Moonen and Nils Norén tied for second with 17 Stars each.
Rick Hubert Anita
(WINNER) The chef won the season and was crowned Top Chef: Master.
(RUNNER-UP) The chef was a runner-up for the season.
(WIN) The chef won that episode's elimination challenge.
(HIGH) The chef had one of the highest scores, but was not named the winner.
(IN) The chef was declared safe and wasn't eliminated, moved on in Champions' Round.
(LOW) The chef had one of the 2 lowest scores, but was not out.
(OUT) The chef lost that week's challenge and was cut.
In each episode, the chefs compete to win money for their charity. The Elimination Round winners are awarded cash donations ($10,000) for their charities. For each of the first six episodes, only four chefs compete out of the twenty-four and one of the four chefs moves forward to the Champions Round.
Each episode consists of a Quickfire and an Elimination challenge. The Quickfire is a short, simple challenge that can vary from cooking, tasting or a food-related task (e.g., peeling a certain amount of apples to certain quality standard in a limited amount of time).
The Elimination challenge is a more complex challenge which usually requires cooking a meal for many people with certain requirements. The chefs are scored based on how well they execute in the Elimination and Quickfire challenges.
The Quickfire is scored on a scale of one to five stars, and the Elimination challenge is scored on a scale of one to 20 stars (five stars given by the tasters, and fifteen given by the three critics). A chef can thus win a maximum of 25 stars. The chef with the most stars at the end of both challenges is considered the winner and moves on to the Champions Round. The six total winners then meet up for the final four weeks when one person will be eliminated in each episode until the finale where one winner is crowned Top Chef Master. The winning chef receives $100,000 for his or her designated charity.
Episode 1: Masters Get Schooled
Christopher Lee, Hubert Keller, Michael Schlow, and Tim Love are the first group of chefs competing for one spot in the Champions Round.
Quickfire Challenge: The chefs are challenged to create a creative and delicious dessert for a group of four Girl Scouts. Results:
Christopher Lee (French Toast and Caramelized Banana on a Stick with Maple Syrup Fluff) - 3½ stars
Hubert Keller (Chocolate Meringue Mousse, Fruit with Orange Foam and Tiny Surprises) - 5 stars
Michael Schlow (Milk Chocolate Cake with Peanut Butter Chocolate Candies and Honey Almond Cream) - 2½ stars
Tim Love (Strawberry Three Ways: Chocolate Covered Strawberry, Strawberry Milkshake and Chicken Fried Strawberry) - 3½ stars
WINNER: Hubert Keller
Elimination Challenge: The chefs are challenged to create a three-course meal for the critics and a group of college students using only a microwave, a toaster oven, and a hot plate. They are restricted to a limited pantry and must cook in actual dorm rooms at Pomona College in Claremont, California. Results:
Christopher Lee (Red Snapper Ceviche with Citrus Juices, Avocado and Popcorn; Creamy Risotto with Prosciutto, Sage and Parmigiano Reggiano; Pork Chop with Pipérade, Crushed Potatoes, Mâche and Fennel Salad) - 15½ stars
Hubert Keller (Fresh Scottish Salmon over Creamy Whole Grain Mustard; Hearty Carrot and Petite Pea Soup with Cinnamon Croutons; Creamy Macaroni and Cheese with Prawns, Mushrooms and Fresh Herbs) - 15½ stars
Michael Schlow (Salmon Crudo with Cucumber, Mint, Red Chilies and Kumquat; Cabbage Soup with Smoked Bacon, Fennel and White Beans; Pork a la Apicius with Broccolini and Mushrooms) - 11 stars
Tim Love (Scallop Carpaccio with Lime and Chili; Squash and Corn "Pozole"; Skirt Steak and Braised Kale) - 11 stars
WINNER: Hubert Keller (20½ stars)
2nd: Christopher Lee (19 stars)
3rd: Tim Love (14½ stars)
4th: Michael Schlow (13½ stars)
Episode 2: The Lost Supper
Elizabeth Falkner, Graham Elliot Bowles, Suzanne Tracht, and Wylie Dufresne are the second group of chefs competing for one spot in the Champions Round.
Quickfire Challenge: The chefs must create an amuse-bouche using ingredients found in a vending machine. This quickfire was originally used in Top Chef season 2, and season 2 contestants Ilan, Betty, and Michael were brought back to judge the quickfire. Results:
Elizabeth Falkner (Braised Beef Jerky with Orange Juice, Lemon and Horseradish Ice Cream) - 3½ stars
Graham Elliot Bowles (Tuna Salad with Ginger Orange Bubbles and Beef Jerky Miso Powder) - 4½ stars
Suzanne Tracht (Fried Shallot Rings with Microgreen Salad and Dr. Pepper Aioli) - 5 stars
Wylie Dufresne (Red Onion and Grilled Cheese Sandwich with Dr. Pepper Reduction) - 3 stars
WINNER: Suzanne Tracht
Elimination Challenge: The chefs must make a meal inspired by the television series Lost. They must only use fresh and preserved ingredients purchased from a Dharma Initiative-themed shopping list, and they cannot use the Top Chef pantry. Results:
Graham Elliot Bowles (Maki Roll with Tuna & Dehydrated Pineapple, Tuna Niçoise, Tuna a la Plancha) - 16 stars
Suzanne Tracht (Risotto with Uni, Clams & Prawns, Wild Boar with Oyster Beer Sauce, Mango Corn Salad) - 17½ stars
Wylie Dufresne (Roasted Chicken with Poached Egg, Beets with Dried Corn, Plantain Purée) - 17 stars
WINNER: Suzanne Tracht (22½ stars)
2nd: Graham Elliot Bowles (20½ stars)
3rd: Wylie Dufresne (20 stars)
4th: Elizabeth Falkner (16½ stars)
Episode 3: Offal Tasty
Cindy Pawlcyn, Ludo Lefebvre, Rick Bayless, and Wilo Benet are the third group of chefs competing for one spot in the Champions Round.
Quickfire Challenge: The chefs are challenged to create themed meals based on the colors red, orange, yellow and green, with each contestant drawing knives to see what color they must work with. Results:
Cindy Pawlcyn (Yellow - Yellow Vegetable Curry over Sweet Corn Grits and Fried Corn Tortillas) - 3½ stars
Quickfire Challenge: The chefs are challenged to turn classic junk food items into fine-dining cuisine. The cast of the television series Flipping Out are the diners for this challenge. Results:
Lachlan MacKinnon-Patterson (Prosciutto Stufado with Pork Hot Dog) - 3 stars
Michael Chiarello (Swordfish Meatballs with Fisherman's Sauce) - 4½ stars
Nils Norén (Shrimp with Creamed Corn, Capers and Pickled Cherry Tomatoes) - 3 stars
Rick Moonen (None) - 0 stars
WINNER: Michael Chiarello
NOTE: Rick Moonen did not plate a dish within the time limit. His attempted dish was "Shrimp Moon Doggie with Herb Slaw and Mustard Caviar."
Elimination Challenge: The chefs are challenged to create a mini three-course "meal" of hors d'œuvres for 100 people, without any help whatsoever. The meal must be based on an appetizer, an entree, and a dessert. Results:
Lachlan MacKinnon-Patterson ("Fritta Esotica"—Tempura Pineapple Wrapped in Speck; Grilled All-Natural Nebraska Beef Short Ribs; Strawberry Frangipane Tart with Yogurt Semifreddo) - 12½ stars
Michael Chiarello (Shaved Brussels Sprouts and Asparagus Salad; Pissed-Off Prawns with Olive Oil; Twenty-Year-Old Balsamic Marinated Strawberries with Goat Milk Basil Gelato and Bittersweet Chocolate Crème Fraiche) - 15 stars
Nils Norén (Scallop with Smoked Potato Cream, Apple and Curry; Salmon with Napa Cabbage, Chorizo, Broccoli Puree and Madeira; Chocolate-Goat Cheese Ganache, Cara Cara Orange Gel, Lapsang Cream) - 14 stars
Rick Moonen (Opakapaka and Barramundi Ceviche; Brandade of Shrimp and Scallop; Preserved Lemon Custard with Macadamia, Coconut and Pineapple Emulsion) - 17 stars
Quickfire Challenge: The chefs are challenged to create a dish using items found in only one aisle of the grocery store Whole Foods, with each chef drawing knives to determine their aisle. However, they only have a budget of $20. The diners for this challenge are workers at Whole Foods. Results:
Art Smith (Multi-Grain Risotto with Crispy Grain Salad) - 4½ stars
Jonathan Waxman (Mint, Lentil and Roasted Red Pepper Salad) - 3½ stars
Michael Cimarusti (Chocolate Parfait with Ginger Sauternes Syrup and Sesame Crackers) - 5 stars
Roy Yamaguchi (Pasta with Fried Egg and Asian Flavors) - 4 stars
WINNER: Michael Cimarusti
Elimination Challenge: The chefs are challenged to make a meal using ingredients one of their fellow chefs have chosen for them with each chef drawing knives to see who they get paired with. A group of culinary students joined the critics in the judging. Results:
Art Smith (Fried Chicken Leg with Smashed White Yams and Apples; Smothered Chicken Thigh with Cheddar Grits; Mango Pie with Sugar Crust) - 17½ stars
Jonathan Waxman (Pork Sausage and Chop with Cauliflower Celery Root Pureé, Black Truffle and Mandarin Red Wine Reduction) - 16½ stars
Michael Cimarusti (Loin of Lamb with Sunchoke Purée, Broccoli Rabe, Purple Cauliflower and Rosemary Mandarin Lamb Jus) - 12½ stars
Roy Yamaguchi (Short Rib Kalbi with Blood Orange Vinaigrette and Mahi Mahi with Yuzu Ginger Essence Sauce, Soy Mirin Broth and Soba Noodle Mixture) - 11 stars
WINNER: Art Smith (22 stars)
2nd: Jonathan Waxman (20 stars)
3rd: Michael Cimarusti (17½ stars)
4th: Roy Yamaguchi (15 stars)
Episode 7: Champions Round Begins
Quickfire Challenge: The chefs are divided into two teams: Team Salt consists of Rick Bayless, Hubert Keller and Anita Lo. Team Pepper consists of Michael Chiarello, Art Smith, and Suzanne Tracht. The teams must slice five onions, dress four chickens, shuck 15 oysters, and separate five eggs and whip the whites so that they hold in an upside-down bowl for five seconds, all in the shortest amount of time.
WINNERS: Anita Lo, Hubert Keller and Rick Bayless (5 stars)
The losing team (Art Smith, Michael Chiarello and Suzanne Tracht) each got four stars.
Elimination Challenge: After an informal session where each chef presents the group with their signature dish, each chef must recreate one of the other chef's dishes. The signature dishes are: Hubert Keller's Lobster and Truffle Cappuccino with Corn Madeline; Art Smith's Seared Grouper with Hearts of Palm, Trumpet Mushrooms, and Meyer Lemon; Anita Lo's Seared Scallops with Potato Puree and Bacon, Sea Urchin and Mustard Greens; Michael Chiarello's Fennel Balsamic Quail with Mostrocotto Mostrada, Sauteed Greens, and Roasted Apples; Suzanne Tracht's Chopped Sirloin with Green Peppercorn sauce and Fried Egg; and Rick Bayless' Rack of Lamb and Black Pasilla Chile with Mission Figs.
Art Smith: Suzanne Tracht's Ground Lamb Scotch Egg, Sweet Potato Fries and Tomato Tart - 11 stars
Hubert Keller: Anita Lo's Seared Scallop with Cream of Sea Urchin over Fingerling Mashed Potatoes - 16½ stars
Michael Chiarello: Rick Bayless's Rack of Lamb Stuffed with Fig Mostarda, Chickpeas and Fried Rosemary - 14½ stars
Rick Bayless: Michael Chiarello's Quail with Parsnip and Prosciutto Stuffing over Wild Greens - 18 stars
Suzanne Tracht: Art Smith's Roast Grouper with Gnocchi, Peas, Bacon, and Parsnip - 10½ stars
WINNER: Anita Lo (24 stars)
ELIMINATED: Suzanne Tracht (14½ stars)
Episode 8: Dietary Restrictions
Quickfire Challenge: The chefs are challenged to create a gourmet take on the common hamburger and serve it to chef Sang Yoon, former Top Chef contestant Spike Mendelsohn, and documentary filmmaker Morgan Spurlock.
Anita Lo - Cheddar Burger soup with ketchup crouton and onion rings (1½ stars)
Art Smith - Hoe Cake burger with coleslaw and fried green tomatillos (3½ stars)
Hubert Keller - Beef and Roquefort burger with onions and potatoes (3 stars)
Michael Chiarello - Hamburgese Enorme with truffle potato chips (4 stars)
Rick Bayless - Queso Fundido burger with three kinds of Guacamole (4 stars)
WINNERS: Michael Chiarello and Rick Bayless
Elimination Challenge: The chefs have to come up with a five-course meal for actress and musician Zooey Deschanel, who does not eat foods containing gluten or soy and is a vegan, and 20 other people.
Anita Lo - Spicy Grilled Eggplant with Lentil Salad and Cashew puree (11½ stars)
Art Smith - Strawberry Champagne Soup with Strawberry Rice Ice Cream and Almond Brittle. (9 stars)
Hubert Keller - White Gazpacho with Timbale of Avocado and Asparagus and Roasted Beet salad. (16 stars)
Michael Chiarello - Quinoa Noodles with Salsa Verde, Gremolata, and dried Heirloom Tomatoes. (18 stars)
Rick Bayless - Corn Tamale with Braised Beans, Braised Greens, and Mushrooms. (15 stars)
WINNER: Michael Chiarello (22 stars)
ELIMINATED: Art Smith (12½ stars)
Episode 9: Masters of Disaster
Quickfire Challenge: The chefs are challenged to identify ingredients while blindfolded.
Anita Lo - 6 ingredients correctly identified (4 stars)
Michael Chiarello - 7 ingredients correctly identified (5 stars)
Rick Bayless - 6 ingredients correctly identified (4 stars)
WINNER: Michael Chiarello
Elimination Challenge: Each chef must create a buffet-style meal for 200 guests. Chefs are allowed to choose three past Top Chef contestants as their sous chefs. Two hours before service, the venue is changed from an indoor dining room to an outdoor terrace. One hour later, it is announced that one sous chef per contestant must be dropped; Jamie, Spike, Brian, and Betty are chosen.
Anita Lo (teamed with Ilan Hall, Dale Talde, and Jamie Lauren) - Asian buffet with an array of sauces and condiments (13 stars)
Hubert Keller (teamed with Antonia Lofaso, Elia Aboumrad, and Spike Mendelsohn) - 18-Dish Buffet (18½ stars)
Michael Chiarello (teamed with Fabio Vivani, CJ Jacobsen, and Brian Malarkey) - Rustic Italian Buffet (14½ stars)
Rick Bayless (teamed with Richard Blais, Alex Eusebio, and Betty Fraser) - Mexican Food Buffet (17½ stars)
WINNER: Hubert Keller (22 stars)
ELIMINATED: Anita Lo (17 stars)
Episode 10: Finale
Final Challenge: In the challenge, the finalists are tasked with preparing a four-course meal that is their biography. The first course is their first cooking memory. The second course is the meal that encouraged them to become a chef. The third course is the food that represents their first restaurant. And the fourth course represents who they are now, and who they want to become. There are two twists in this episode. First, the diners include the Top Chefs from the previous five seasons (Harold Dieterle, Ilan Hall, Hung Huynh, Stephanie Izard, and Hosea Rosenberg), as well as Padma Lakshmi, Tom Colicchio, and Gail Simmons. Since there was no quick-fire, the diners score counts for 25% of the total. The second twist was a video appeared of the sous chefs of each of the finalists appearing, and wishing them good luck before the sous chefs walked into the kitchen to help their respective bosses.
"Baekeoffe": Alsatian Lamb, Beef, Pork and Potato Stew
Salmon Soufflé with Royal Osetra Caviar and Riesling Sauce, Choucroute Flan
Lamb Chop with Vegetable Mousseline, Blanched Garlic and Vanilla- Merlot Sauce
Wagyū Beef Cheeks and Celery Purée with Pinot Noir, Lemongrass and Ginger Sauce
Crispy Potato Gnocchi with Black Truffle and Taleggio Fonduta and Ricotta Gnocchi with Old Hen Tomato Sauce
Ancient Grain Polenta with Wild Mushroom and Balsamic Rabbit Ragu, Asparagus and Grilled Rabbit Liver
Ginger Stuffed Rouget with Mango Salad, Fresh Wasabi and Bottarga
Brined Short Ribs with 5 Onion Cavolo Nero and Essence of Smoldering Vines
Barbequed Quail with Hickory House Sauce, Sour Slaw and Watermelon Salad
Seared Ahi Tuna over Oaxacan Black Mole with Braised Chicken, Plantain Tamales, and Grilled Nopales
Achiote-Marinated Cochinita Pibil with Sunchoke Purée, Crispy Pigs Feet and Pickled Red Onion
Arroz a la Tumbada with Tomato-Jalapeño Broth and Chorizo Air
Rick Bayless won the title of Top Chef Master and the $100,000 to his charity, Frontera Farmer Foundation.