Top Chef DC Finale: Who Will Be Named Top Chef?

Top Chef DC: Season 7 CONTESTANTS & Judges Announced (PHOTOS)

UPDATE, 9/16/10:


Top Chef DC wraps up in Singapore Wednesday night, when the season 7 winner will be named. Predict the winner, below!

Top Chef: DC's 17 Contestants:

Stephen Hopcraft

Top Chef DC Contestants

Bravo teases the finale thusly:

Fresh off that Emmy high is the season finale of Top Chef D.C.! The Final 3 chefs have been sharpening their knives to battle it out in Singapore as the season culminates in a fight to the finish and some very special Top Chef Alums are thrown into the mix to help execute these finalists' visions. But when Angelo falls ill in the very last throws of his Top Chef journey, will he muster up the strength to pull it all together? Or will it be Ed or Kevin that wins the title? Tune in to find out who will be named "Top Chef" on the *Finale Part 2* this Wednesday 9/15 @ 10/9c followed by Top Chef Just Desserts. Stay tuned tomorrow for some sweet promotions (of course that pun was intended! :))

And some previews of the action:

The Sous Chefs: The final three have experienced sous chefs at their disposal.

Angelo is Sick: Angelo Sosa is sick and him not being able to compete in the finals is a real possibility.


Take it away, Bravo:

For the Quickfire, the chef'testants attempt to create tiny culinary delights to be served at a Congressional party. And during the elimination round, they experience the true D.C. "Power Lunch" when the chefs must prepare the perfect dish for some true media heavy-hitters at the city's elite Palm restaurant. Congressman Aaron Schock of Illinois serves as the guest Quickfire judge, and Oprah Winfrey's former personal chef Art Smith is the guest judge for the elimination. D.C. power-players Senator Mark Warner of Virginia, MSNBC's Joe Scarborough & Mika Brezinski and NBC White House Correspondent Savannah Guthrie lend their taste buds in this episode. Will the chefs be able to deliver for these uber-discerning diners? Find out this Wednesday 7/28 @ 9/8c on BRAVO's TOP CHEF D.C.

And here are some preview clips of tonight's action:

The Toothpick Rule
: Politics and food come together in this tiny Quickfire Challenge with guest Congressman Aaron Schock.
A High Powered Meal
: The chefs create dishes for a these high-powered inside-the-beltway political figures.



Last night we went for a "picnic" at Mount Vernon with interns from Capitol Hill. But not before a curveball -- and quite good-for-TV -- Quickfire challenge: make a pie. It was judged by Johnny Iuzzini and Gail Simmons, hosts of Bravo's upcoming Top Chef spin-off Top Chef: Just Desserts. And the fact that Gail Simmons' home, Food & Wine, declared 2010 just yesterday "The Year Of The Pastry Chef" has nothing to do with any of this synergy.

Anyways, they made pies, and many were impressive. Kenny won immunity in the challenge with his Bananas Foster Pie With Currants and Chinese Five Spice. Also, Top Chef: Just Desserts, coming soon!

Off to the picnic. Here's Grub Street:

The picnic began by showing us those other great American traditions of croquet and badminton (what?), perhaps as a ruse to distract us from the fact that the editors forgot to show us a single second of footage of what the chefs were preparing as sides. They did include yet another tradition, sexism, with Tim arguing that only the men were happy to be grilling. Alex was definitely pleased to be outside cooking pork butt, remarking that he wanted to "eat the ass out of this pig all day."

Jonathan Waxman of Barbuto in New York served as the guest judge for the elimination challenge and was one of the best guest judges in recent memory -- past seasons included. Woudn't mind seeing him with Ripert (who returns next week) on the full-time panel. But we digress.

Angelo, Ed, Arnold and Amanda (who starred in an anti-smoking PSA with Stephen earlier in the episode) landed in the top, with Arnold named the winner for his sesame lamb meatballs with tabouli salad and gazpacho, even though he has an aversion to grilling because it clogs his pores.

Tracey, Stephen, Timothy and Kevin landed in the bottom, and although Stephen's bacon-wrapped Chilean seabass effort was universally panned (Waxman called it "inedible") and horribly executed, Tracey went home for her over-fenneled, sloppy, poorly-cooked italian sausage 'sliders' that Jonathan Waxman claimed his son could make, and that Colicchio said would be insulting to Italians, and therefore himself. Unmentioned was Stephen's choice of Chilean seabass, which probably should have sent him home regardless of how he cooked it. We were surprised to see the judges let him off the hook for serving a fish even most notoriously stubborn New York chefs don't have on their menus anymore.

Next week, TWO chefs get axed.


From Bravo:

The chef'testants are none too pleased when they must put their pastry skills to the test for the Quickfire challenge by constructing a delicious pie from scratch -will the curse of the Top Chef dessert get the best of them? Then for the elimination round, the chefs prepare a classic picnic feast for a group of Capitol Hill interns at the home of the first U.S. president, George Washington -will the remaining chefs wow the interns and guest judge, past Top Chef Masters contestant Jonathan Waxman, or will they get schooled by the discerning eye of these go-getters? Find out this Wednesday 6/30 @ 9/8c on BRAVO's TOP CHEF D.C.

Pastry! Curses! Interns! Tonight!


The second episode or Top Chef DC airs tonight on Bravo, and we'll be liveblogging it right here, on this very page. Do join us! In the meantime, here's what we've learned about last week and the competition ahead:

Multiple chefs cut themselves in last week's Quickfire, and several contestants showed up with unsharpened knives, Tom Colicchio blogged over at Bravo:

In fact, you saw only one of three instances in which chefs cut themselves. (As a side note: I'm constantly amazed at the chefs who show up with dull knives! It's ridiculous - sharpen the things before you arrive, please.)

Tom also maintains that despite Angelo cleaning up in the first episode, it is an evenly matched field:

[N]otwithstanding the fact that [Angelo] won both the Quickfire and Elimination Challenges this week, I'd like to be clear that this is an evenly matched group. Remember: I tasted all of the food. I was glad to see creativity and skill across the board, despite the range in the nature and length of experience of the chefs, from a 51-year old instructor at the Culinary Institute of America to some whom I call "cooks' cooks" -- the type of line cooks who show up at the restaurant every night, roll their sleeves up, put their heads down and deliver excellent food. While these hardworking and reliable cooks are not always the most creative, you never know when one will suddenly emerge from the pack and distinguish him- or herself in a season of Top Chef!

Is Chef Colicchio alluding to a latter-season Cinderella upset? Who knows.

In a Top Chef video blog taped at Le Bernardin, new permanent judge Eric Ripert said, "What surprised me was a lack of humbleness from Angelo, who seemed to be very cocky..."

On John's departure, Ripert says he "really" did not like his maple dish and the presentation was "extremely sloppy." All judges agreed that he was the one who "really, really did not succeed that day." Watch:

But that's all in the past. TONIGHT, well, over to Bravo:

With the economy and childhood obesity among the nation's leading concerns, the Top Chef contestants are presented a unique challenge to help alleviate these issues. For their second test in D.C., the cheftestants have the important task of supporting First Lady Michelle Obama's Let's Move! campaign to fight childhood obesity. The chefs must take over the cafeteria at a local school to create healthy, kid-friendly meals spending only $2.68 per child! Will the contestants be able to make something nutritious and delicious with such a limited budget? And they get first-hand feedback when white House Assistant Chef Sam Kass serves as guest judge. Who will impress and who will crash and burn? Find out this Wednesday 6/23 @ 9/8c on BRAVO's TOP CHEF D.C.


The Washington Post reports on the ratings for the premiere episode of Top Chef DC and they are the smallest opening audience since the show premiered in 2006:

The cooking competition series' seventh edition opened inauspiciously when just 1.8 million people tuned in. [...]

This is the first time in its history that Bravo's "Top Chef" has not grown or at least remained flat-ish each cycle. Last August, for instance, 2.6 million people caught the launch of "Top Chef: Las Vegas."


Reviews are coming in on the premiere of Top Chef DC last night. Here's a taste of the word on the street:

One has a Michelin star. The words 'James' and 'Beard' are thrown around so much, I've ceased to know what they even mean. There's no element of youthful striving (or, in fact, youth); it's become a show in which older chefs seek validation and buzzy PR.

Joshua David Stein with Gawker/Defamer's recap touches on the same issue and how it affects frontrunner Angelo (the "Most Gracelessly Arrogant Chef" as Slashfood dubbed him, who obnoxiously declared that he'd like to be the first contestant to win every single challenge this season:

Angelo Sosa from Xie Xie in New York -- who, by the way, is already a very established chef to the point that it would probably be detrimental to his career if he doesn't walk away with the win -- made Arctic Char with Pickled Shallots, Chillied Tapioca & Smoked Bacon Froth because that's what they eat in Connecticut where he's from. [Whereas I always thought of Connecticut cuisine as bits of Ritz crackers with a little bit of cheese spread on top and a couple very strong martinis.] Sosa won. His baby blue pants won. His little spoon of char and foam, his big city ways, his spiky hair, broad smile, mischievous eyes, arrogance, dimples and stubble won.

At first glance, Michigan's John Somerville had that tragic, middle-aged bohemian look so common to early-round rejects from previous seasons. Dreadlocked, wild-eyed and bespectacled, this babe-in-the-woods seemed ill-suited to the cutthroat hipsters that surrounded him. But his time at the acclaimed Lark restaurant -- and his James Beard nominations -- suggested skills far beyond the store-bought puff pastry he managed to burn in the fancy-schmancy Top Chef ovens in an attempt to make an ode-to-maple-syrup dish. At least the judges recognized that his dessert fell far short of his capabilities as they told him to pack his knives.

One thing everyone can agree on? Eric Ripert is a welcome addition to the judging panel in lieu of Toby Young. Alexandra Martell at Grub Street writes in her recap:

...Stephen, who overcooked his potato-crusted rib eye until it looked like "chicken nuggets," according to new regular judge Eric Ripert; and Tim, who messed up his fish so badly that Ripert commented on how terrible his technique was three times. Beware, all ye who cook seafood; Kenny wasn't kidding when he called Ripert the Seafood God. We're sorry, Toby, but you are not missed.

UPDATE, 6/16:

Top Chef DC premieres tonight (Wednesday 6/16) on Bravo at 9/8c. Join us on HuffPost Food for live coverage and commentary during the show. In the meantime, here are some preview clips to whet your appetite.

Previously, 5/13:

Top Chef has announced its contestants, judges and some details on the seventh season of the series, set in DC, and airing beginning June 16. The most interesting news: Eric Ripert of Le Bernardin in New York joining the longstanding judging panel of Tom Colicchio, Padma Lakshmi and Gail Simmons. As always, the winning chef will "receive $125,000, a feature in Food & Wine magazine, a showcase at the Annual Food & Wine Classic in Aspen and will earn the title of "Top Chef."

The 17 new cheftestants come face to face in the nation's capitol for the ultimate power play that will determine just who has the chops to become Top Chef. This season captures the varied tastes of Washington D.C. and features appearances by some of the town's top names including Apollo Astronaut Buzz Aldrin, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, White House chef Sam Kass, MSNBC host Joe Scarborough, Congressman Aaron Schock of Illinois, Senator Mark Warner of Virginia, CIA Director Leon Panetta and NBC White House Correspondent Savannah Guthrie. The challenges featured will be some of the most creative and inventive yet: the chefs take over the concession stands at the Nationals stadium, go inside the CIA's closely guarded headquarters and literally receive out of this world direction on one challenge from a NASA astronaut orbiting Earth.

Top Chef DC, Episode Two Liveblog:

Episode Two Previews:

"Who Got High and Came Up with This?: This challenge will have the chefs check their egos and just get to work."

"The Birthday Curse: It's Arnold Myint's birthday and he is fully aware of what have become of past chefs who has had a birthday during the competition."

Top Chef DC Premiere Liveblog:

Top Chef DC premieres tonight (Wednesday 6/16) on Bravo at 9/8c. Join us on HuffPost Food for live coverage and commentary during the show. In the meantime, here are some preview clips to whet your appetite.

Welcome to DC: The chefs enter their D.C. home

Represent: The chefs prepare dishes from where they are from in the inaugural competition
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