Top Chef

Melting Pot

Season 5, Ep 1, Aired 11/12/08
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  • Episode Description
  • An introduction to the 17 new chefs and their skills, demonstrated with challenges that send them into the ethnic districts of New York City. Guest Judge: Jean-Georges Vongerichten

  • Cast & Crew
  • Tom Colicchio

    Lead Judge/Co-Host

  • Gail Simmons

    Judge

  • Alex Eusebio

    Season 5 Contestant

  • Ariane Duarte

    Season 5 Contestant

  • Carla Hall

    Season 5 Contestant

  • Fan Reviews (2)
  • Fifth season of Top Chef!

    By JPPT1974, Nov 16, 2008

  • The new chefs get right at it with an elimination quick fire. There were 17 at the start and after the quick fire 16 remain. It looks like a good group, some very strong chefs, and two from Europe.

    By QuakertownBob, Nov 14, 2008

  • Trivia & Quotes
  • Quotes (4)

    • Daniel: (shopping with Patrick for the Elimination Challenge) He's telling me what he's going to do. Why would you tell me what you're going to do, this is a competition?! It's like, we're in a football game, I'm the linebacker, I'm going to stand right in that hole, wait for you, and knock you out.

    • Fabio: (teasing Stefan) In Europe, there are two kinds of people: the Italian, and who wants to be Italian.

    • Leah: Seeing Padma and Tom for the first time, I'm just very anxious and nervous. So, I'm kind of thinking, like, my mom said, 'One thing you do, you just don't cry!' Because, she's like, a really tough woman, and, she thinks if I cry, then, I'm like, I look like a little b****.

    • Richard: We're on the ferry, and we're heading over to Governor's Island, and the same question that all of us keep asking each other is, 'So, what's going to happen first?' Of course, the inner queen inside me is screaming to know, 'Where's Padma and what is she wearing?' Not that it really matters, but I have a bunch of queens back home who really want to know.

    Notes (5)

    • In her blog, Lee Anne recommends cooking rice noodles, including the black rice noodles chosen by Patrick, by pouring hot water over the noodles and allowing them to steep for five minutes, rather than boiling them as is done with pasta.

    • The contestants did not just shop at their specialty markets for their Elimination Challenge ingredients, they were also given a budget for shopping for extras at the Whole Foods Market.

    • According to Lee Anne Wong, who yet again is a Culinary Producer for Top Chef, they considered several alternatives for the opening QuickFire, including cracking lobsters, dicing a watermelon, or making butter by hand. Lee Anne remembered watching Iron Chef Sakai demonstrate his knife skills to a group of culinary students by racing them in peeling apples using only a chef's knife, and used that as inspiration for the Challenge here.

    • According to Lee Anne, the QuickFire was supposed to take a total of six hours to shoot, but ended up taking ten.

    • The song used in the season five promos was "The City Is at War" by Cobra Starship.

    Trivia (5)

    • Goof: When Jean-Georges Vongerichten walks into the Top Chef Kitchen, the show graphics misspell his name as "Jean-George".

    • Fabio and Daniel argue as to whether a vinaigrette is an emulsion. An emulsion is created when the molecules of a liquid are suspended in another liquid, such as in a blended oil and vinegar dressing like most vinaigrettes. There are, however, "broken" vinaigrettes, which are not emulsions.

    • During the QuickFire, the competitors seem to stop every time someone calls for a "check". That means anyone calling for a premature "check" is not punished by having their competitors continue to work while they are having Tom look at their apples.

    • Lauren who was a student at the CIA with Patrick is eliminated at the quick fire challenge. Patrick the culinary student is eliminated in the elimination challenge.

    • For the final round of the QuickFire, the contestants were given a selection of steaks, pork chops, chicken, shrimp, scallops, crème fraiche, a variety of cheeses, and plenty of fresh produce in addition to a small pantry table.

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