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Top Chef: San Francisco
Winner Harold Dieterle
Original run March 8, 2006
– May 24, 2006
Filming dates October 2005
– November 2005
No. of episodes 12
No. of tasks 11
No. of chefs 12
Season chronology
Next Season 2

Season 1 of Top Chef was taped in October and November 2005 in San Francisco, California. Twelve contestants from around the United States lived together in a house for approximately 21 days competing in a series of challenges. The weekly series was shown on Bravo from March 8 through May 24, 2006, and was hosted by Katie Lee Joel with regular judges chef Tom Colicchio and Gail Simmons of Food & Wine Magazine. A winning recipe from each week's episode is featured on Bravo's Top Chef website.


Host & judges



Guest judges


Contestants are listed in order of elimination.

Contestant Age Hometown Episode Eliminated
Kenneth Lee 31 Los Angeles, California Episode 1
Cynthia Sestito 52 East Hampton, New York Episode 2
Brian Hill 37 Los Angeles, California Episode 3
Candice Kumai 23 Pasadena, California Episode 4
Lisa Parks 45 Los Angeles, California Episode 5
Andrea Beaman 38 New York, New York Episode 6
Miguel Morales 27 New York, New York Episode 7
Stephen Asprinio 24 Las Vegas, Nevada Episode 8
Lee Anne Wong 28 New York, New York Episode 9
Dave Martin 40 Long Beach, California Episode 11
Tiffani Faison 28 Las Vegas, Nevada Runner-up
Harold Dieterle 28 New York, New York Winner

Ages listed are at the time of Top Chef taping in October-November, 2005. Locations are according to contestants' official Bravo biographies.

Credit order: Ken, Miguel, Andrea, Dave, Cynthia, Stephen, Lisa, Candice, Tiffani, Brian, Lee Anne, Harold

Contestant Progress

Episode 1 2 3 4 52 6 73 84 9 115 Finale
Lee Anne Stephen Tiffani Lee Anne Andrea Stephen Harold Lee Anne Harold None None

Note 1: Andrea was brought back in Episode 3, after being eliminated once, when Cynthia chose to leave because her father was ill.
Note 2: Chefs worked in teams of two with two winners and one eliminated.
Note 3: From this point on, immunity is no longer awarded to the winner of a Quickfire Challenge.
Note 4: The judges felt nobody had distinguished themselves in the Elimination Challenge, so no winner was named.
Note 5: Episode 10 was a reunion episode with no challenges.

     (WINNER) The chef won the series and was crowned Top Chef.
     (RUNNER-UP) Runner up of the season
     (WIN) The chef won that episode's Elimination Challenge.
     (HIGH) The chef was selected as one of the top entries in the Elimination Challenge, but did not win.
     (LOW) The chef was selected as one of the bottom entries in the Elimination Challenge, but was not eliminated.
     (OUT) The chef lost that week's Elimination Challenge and was out of the competition.
     (QUIT) The chef withdrew from the show.


Each episode included two challenges. The Quickfire Challenge was a short, simple challenge with a varying reward each week. The Elimination Challenge was a more complex challenge that determined who was sent home. One or more guest judges joined the show each week to evaluate both the Quickfire and Elimination challenges. Each week's elimination was announced in a segment called "Judges' Table."

Episode 1: Who Deserves To Be Here

  • Quickfire Challenge: Survive working the line at chef Hubert Keller's Fleur de Lys restaurant for 30 minutes. Prize: Immunity from elimination.
    • WINNER: Lee Anne.
  • Elimination Challenge: Prepare a signature dish to be served to the other Top Chef contestants.
    • WINNER: Harold.
    • ELIMINATED: Ken.
  • Reason for Elimination: During the Quickfire, Ken antagonized the judges, particularly Keller. Keller asked Ken to taste the sauce he was preparing but instead of using a spoon, Ken dipped his finger in the sauce. Keller kicked him out of the kitchen but once the challenge was over, Ken continued bickering with Keller and Colicchio, firmly maintaining that tasting the sauce by dipping one's fingers in it was a normal and practical method. The judges and his fellow contestants viewed him as too cocky, especially when his Elimination Challenge dish failed to live up to his tough talk.
  • Judges: Tom Colicchio; Gail Simmons; and Hubert Keller.
  • First broadcast March 8, 2006

Episode 2: Food of Love

  • Quickfire Challenge: Choosing from a large selection of fruit, prepare a plate for presentation. Prize: Immunity from elimination.
    • WINNER: Stephen.
  • Elimination Challenge: Make a sexy dessert for a fetish party at Mr. S, a sex boutique in San Francisco, and co-hosted by Paige White
    • WINNER: Miguel.
    • ELIMINATED: Andrea.
  • Judges: Tom Colicchio; Gail Simmons; and chef Elizabeth Falkner.
  • First broadcast March 15, 2006

Episode 3: Nasty Delights

  • Quickfire Challenge: Prepare octopus in 60 minutes. Prize: Immunity from elimination.
    • WINNER: Tiffani.
  • Elimination Challenge: Working in two teams, prepare monkfish for a group of children who will rate the food.
    • WINNER: Red Team (no single person was chosen as winner).
    • ELIMINATED: Brian.
    • LEFT: Cynthia.
  • Replacement: Cynthia Sestito chose to leave the show during this episode to be with her sick father. Andrea was then brought back to keep the two sides balanced for the team elimination challenge.
  • Judges: Tom Colicchio; Gail Simmons; and chef Laurent Manrique.
  • First broadcast March 22, 2006
  • As shown on Bravo Top Moments, Candice and Steven fight over buying cookie cutters

Episode 4: Food on the Fly

  • Quickfire Challenge: Create a dish in 30 minutes using US$20 worth of ingredients from a gas station store. Prize: Immunity from elimination.
    • WINNER: Lee Anne.
  • Elimination Challenge: Create a gourmet entree that can be reheated in a microwave. Serve it to a group of Junior League women who will rate the meals.
    • WINNER: Tiffani.
    • ELIMINATED: Candice.
  • Judges: Tom Colicchio; Gail Simmons; and chef Jefferson Hill.
  • First broadcast March 29, 2006

Episode 5: Blind Confusion

  • Quickfire Challenge: In five minutes, identify a variety of ingredients by taste while blindfolded. Prize: Immunity from elimination.
    • WINNER: Andrea.
  • Elimination Challenge: Working in teams of two, create a dish fusing Latin American cuisine with one other ethnic cuisine, then distribute the dish from a cart in the Mission District of San Francisco.
    • WINNERS: Dave and Tiffani.
    • ELIMINATED: Lisa.
  • Judges: Tom Colicchio; Gail Simmons; and chef Mike Yakura.
  • First broadcast April 5, 2006
  • Following the Quickfire Challenge, the contestants held an impromptu junk food blindfold taste test to make light of the fact that most did not score highly in the challenge. Miguel won.
  • Tiffani Faison was the first person in Top Chef history to win two elimination challenges.

Episode 6: Guess Who's Coming to Dinner

  • Quickfire Challenge: Create an appetizer in 20 minutes using US$3 worth of ingredients, priced by the ounce. Prize: Immunity from elimination.
    • WINNER: Stephen (Poached Baby Manila Clams over Grilled Sea Beans).
  • Elimination Challenge: Create a seven-course dinner party for Ted Allen. Each chef got to choose the course he or she wanted, but then the producers changed everything: A random knife-block draw forced each chef to work on another chef's recipe.
    • WINNER: Lee Anne (Tiffani's Duck Breast with Fig Stuffed Gnocchi).
    • ELIMINATED: Andrea (Miguel's Smoked Scallops & Caviar on a Latke).
  • Judges: Tom Colicchio; Gail Simmons; and Ted Allen.
  • First broadcast April 12, 2006

Episode 7: Restaurant Wars

  • Quickfire Challenge: Create a sandwich in 30 minutes using any of the available ingredients. Prize: Winning sandwich will be put on the menu at the San Francisco location of Tom Colicchio's 'Wichcraft restaurant.
    • WINNER: Harold (Mortadella Dandelion Sandwich on Grilled Sourdough with Trumpet Royales and a Black Olive Aioli).
      • From this point on, immunity is no longer awarded to the winner of a Quickfire Challenge.
  • Elimination Challenge: Working in two teams of three, transform raw restaurant spaces, including decor and menu. Twenty-four hours later, diners arrive, choose which restaurant to dine in, and rate their experience.
  • Blue Team "Sabor" (Lee Anne, Miguel, Stephen)
  • Red Team "American Workshop" (Dave, Harold, Tiffani)
    • WINNER: Dave.
    • ELIMINATED: Miguel.
  • Judges: Tom Colicchio; Gail Simmons; and restaurateur Jeffrey Chodorow.
  • First broadcast April 19, 2006
  • In this episode, Dave famously said to Tiffani "I'm not your bitch, bitch", after she constantly nagged him. It became the most quoted line of the season.
  • Before the teams get to work on their restaurant concepts, Chodorow reveals that the winner of the Elimination Challenge will accompany him to the Cannes Film Festival.

Episode 8: Wedding Bell Blues

  • Quickfire Challenge: Design a wedding reception menu in 90 minutes and pitch it to the wedding couple. Prize: Menu will be used for the wedding reception.
    • WINNER: Lee Anne.
  • Elimination Challenge: Working as a team, cater a wedding reception for 100 guests using the menu chosen in the Quickfire challenge. The reception starts in 16 hours.
    • WINNER: None.
    • ELIMINATED: Stephen.
  • Judges: Tom Colicchio; Gail Simmons; and wedding planner Marcy Blum.
  • First broadcast April 26, 2006

Episode 9: Napa's Finest

  • Quickfire Challenge: Recreate a classic junk food element into a gourmet dish in 45 minutes. Prize: Performance counts in overall assessment of the week's challenges, as well as a bottle of Shafer Hillside Select Sauvignon. [1]
    • WINNER: Harold (Popcorn Cakes with an Ecuadorian Ceviche of Shrimp, Calamari and Clementines with Lime Juice).
  • Elimination Challenge: Travel to Napa Valley's COPIA to prepare a dish incorporating expensive black Périgord truffles to be served with 2001 Shafer Hillside Select Cabernet Sauvignon wine. Each chef's dish will be served to a group of top professional chefs from Northern California who are the guest judges.
    • WINNER: Dave (Truffle & Cognac Cream Macaroni & Cheese, Filet of Beef, Collard Greens & Radicchio).
    • ELIMINATED: Lee Anne (Pistachio Crusted Lamb Loin, Butternut Squash & Black Truffle Risotto, Red Wine Sauce).
  • Judges: Tom Colicchio; Gail Simmons; and a collection of top professional chefs from Northern California, including Greg Cole, Lissa Doumani, Philippe Jeanty, Douglas Keane, Keith Luce, James McDevitt, Cindy Pawlcyn, Victor Scargle, Hiro Sone and winery owner John Shafer.
  • First broadcast May 3, 2006

Episode 10: Reunion

  • All twelve chefs are reunited with Tom Colicchio, Gail Simmons and Katie Lee Joel in a discussion and behind-the-scenes review of their experiences on Top Chef. Though it was shown before the finale, the reunion was actually taped in late April 2006, after the finale took place. It is unknown how many of the chefs other than the winner, Harold, finalists Tiffani and Dave, and participants Miguel, Stephen and Lee Anne, knew the results of the finale at the time of the reunion taping.
  • First broadcast May 10, 2006

Episode 11: Las Vegas Finale, Part 1

  • The three finalists, Dave, Harold and Tiffani, meet at the MGM Grand where they compete in a series of three Quickfire Challenges to determine which two chefs will remain to compete in a final challenge for the grand prize of Top Chef.
  • Quickfire/Elimination Challenges: For each challenge, prepare hotel room service meals in 30 minutes for different customers: first a room of high rollers, including former competitors Lee Anne, Miguel and Stephen; then a table of poker players including Phil Hellmuth; and, finally, performers from Cirque du Soleil. Each group of patrons were to decide who was their favorite. Harold won with the "high rollers" and Cirque du Soleil performers, Dave won with the poker players, and Tiffani won none.
  • Judges: Tom Colicchio; Gail Simmons; and Hubert Keller.
    • ADVANCING TO FINAL TWO: Harold and Tiffani.
    • ELIMINATED: Dave.
  • First broadcast May 17, 2006
  • Although his kobe beef dish was the overall favorite among the performers, Dave was disqualified for the round because he misunderstood the challenge and only served two dishes instead of the required three.

Episode 12: Las Vegas Finale, Part 2

  • Elimination Challenge: The two finalists, Harold and Tiffani, each prepare a five course tasting meal to be served to a table of eight luminaries from the culinary world. Note: Tiffani chose to make two preparations of each course. Harold is assisted by former competitors Lee Anne and Miguel. Tiffani is assisted by former competitors Stephen and Dave. The final menus for each chef are:
  • 1st Course: Seared Diver Scallop with Blood Orange & Fennel Salad
  • 2nd Course: Olive Oil Poached Bass
  • 3rd Course: Pan Roasted Quail with Herb Spaetzle & Cherries and Foie Gras
  • 4th Course: Duo of Beef with Kobe Beef and Braised Short Ribs
  • 5th Course: Fig Tart with Cheeses
  • 1st Course: Seared Diver Scallop on Squid Ink and Scallop Crudo with Citrus
  • 2nd Course: Artichoke Risotto with Porketta and Crispy Artichoke with Dipping Sauce
  • 3rd Course: Steamed Bronzino with Ratatouille and Crispy Bronzino with Black Olive Pappardelle
  • 4th Course: Saltimbocca with Primitivo Glace and Veal with Minted Peas and Spinach Crema
  • 5th Course: Bread Pudding with Rum Cocktail and Vanilla Panna Cotta with Amaretto Cocktail
  • Judges: Tom Colicchio; Gail Simmons; and Lorraine Bracco.
    • RUNNER-UP: Tiffani.
  • First broadcast May 24, 2006

External links

Contestant and judge sites



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