We're a few weeks into Season Six of Top Chef,
the Vegas edition. And while Tom, Padma, and Gail are the same as ever, this year's crop of chefs appears to be unusually talented—Palmer proteges, Ripert chefs de cuisine, and Michelin stars, among them. Now that the top talent has started to separate itself out, let's look at the biggest contenders.
"I've made boys cry in the kitchen," said Jennifer Carroll
in the first episode, without batting an eye. Tenacious, focused, and ruthlessly skilled, Carroll worked at Le Bernardin before Ripert selected her to be Chef de Cuisine at his 10 Arts in Philadelphia.
Jennifer Carroll's Steamed Mussels, Yukon Gold and Blue Potatoes with Lemongrass Potato Sauce. Photo: Bravo
Similar in the skill and authority he commands is Michael Voltaggio
, who paired with Carroll in a recent challenge that revealed the two as natural partners. The recipient of a Michelin Star at Charlie Palmer’s Dry Creek Kitchen in California, he went on to be nominated for a James Beard "Best New Restaurant" award. But for the show's purpose, the real story is the rivalry between him and his brother
, also an early favorite; a CIA grad, Bryan owns and commands the kitchen of Maryland three-star restaurant VOLT.
Rounding out the top four is the earnest, bearded Kevin Gillespie
, whose dishes tend towards the bizarre, showstopping, and ultimately brilliant. Only 26, the Atlanta chef is a partner and Executive Chef at Woodfire Grill in the city.
It's sure to be a fierce fight to the end—but our bet is on one of these four contestants to earn the title of Top Chef. What do you think?