Top Chef Heats Up |

Top Chef Heats Up

We’re five weeks into Season Five of Top Chef, and the competition’s heating up.

In the show’s first-ever New York competition, the seventeen chefs have faced all manner of challenges—some even before they hit the kitchen. The contestants have had to give live two-minute cooking demos, blindly identify ingredients, make hot dogs for well-known street vendor Angelina D'Angelo, serve Thanksgiving dinner to the Foo Fighters, cook in the style of one of New York’s ethnic neighborhoods, and serve lunch at Tom Colicchio’s Craft—to a dining room full of chefs who didn’t make the cut.

And if they weren’t harsh enough critics, they’ve already been judged by the famed Jean-Georges Vongerichten, celeb-chef Rocco DiSpirito, restaurateur Donatella Arpaia, and Alinea wonder-chef Grant Achatz—along with the ever-present Padma, Tom, and Gail. Not bad, for five weeks.

In the heat of battle, a number of talented chefs have emerged. Leah Cohen, sous chef at Centro Vinoteca, has won several Quickfire challenges, dazzling Achatz with a chilled white asparagus soup with brioche, tuna, and tapenade. The two European contenders have come out strong: the Finnish Stefan, whose huevos rancheros in a whole eggshell impressed Rocco DiSpirito; and the unmistakably Italian Fabio, whose beef tenderloin carpaccio won favor with Donatella. Hawaiian chef Gene rigged an impromptu hibachi for a maple-smoked pork loin, and former Vermilion chef Radhika showed creative takes on Indian flavors. Other strong performances have come from Coloradan Hosea and CIA-grad Jamie. And while New Jersey restaurant owner Ariane disappointed early on, she redeemed herself with a first-class toaster oven turkey breast and a tomato-watermelon salad that wowed the ladies of the Today show. She’s not out of the running yet.

What are your Top Chef predictions?


dgoodwin001 • 12/31/2008
Hey, we need some Top ACF Chefs to get involved in these "contests"David Goodwin, CEC, CCA, AAC
jbartyzal • 01/13/2009
I agree-At least a lot of them are comming out of culinary schools-Maybe ACF members in the near future. Jesse Bartyzal CEC ACE AAC
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