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?