The four chefs are introduced as they enter the Top Chef Masters kitchen in Los Angeles, California:
> Michael Schlow – Chef, Co-Owner of Radius, Boston, Massachusetts. Cuisine: Italian. Charity: Cam Neely Foundation.
> Hubert Keller – Chef, Owner of Fleur de Lys, San Francisco, California. Cuisine: French with a Mediterranean Accent. Charity: Make a Wish Foundation.
> Christopher Lee – Executive Chef of Aureole, New York, New York. Cuisine: Progressive American. Charity: Autism Speaks.
> Tim Love – Chef, Owner of Lonesome Dove Western Bistro, Fort Worth, Texas. Cuisine: Urban Western. Charity: March of Dimes.
QuickFire Challenge: Make the best dessert you possibly can for four Junior Girl Scouts who will be the only judges.
Time Allotted: 60 minutes (original challenge 90 minutes)
• Michael – Milk Chocolate Cake, Peanut Butter Chocolate Candies & Honey Almond Cream
• Tim – Strawberries Three Ways (Chocolate Dipped, Milk Shake and Chicken Fried)
• Hubert – Chocolate Mousse Swan, Whipped Cream Mouse, Fruit with Orange Sabayon
• Christopher – French Toast with Caramelized Banana, Orange Sauce & Maple Syrup Fluff
Scores: Michael / 2.5 stars, Tim / 3.5 stars, Christopher / 3.5 stars.
Quickfire Winner: Hubert / 5 stars
Elimination Challenge: Create a fantastic three-course meal for the critics and a group of students at Pomona College using only the appliances a dorm room will support.
Budget / Shopping (Day One):
Store: Whole Foods
Time Allowed: 45 Minutes
Prep and Cook (Day Two):
Site: Pomona College Dorm Rooms
Time: Two Hours from Start to Presenting 1st Dish
Note: Tim discovers that the night before he put all his groceries in a freezer instead of the empty refrigerator he thought it was. This leaves him in a seat-of-pants situation – since the produce will turn to mush upon defrosting, and the meat will be less tender – and only the two hours of prep and cooking time to rework his menu.
• Tim – Scallop Carpaccio with Lime & Chili
• Michael – Salmon Crudo with Cucumber, Mint, Red Chilies & Kumquat
• Christopher – Red Snapper Ceviche with Citrus Juices, Avocado & Popcorn
• Hubert – Fresh Scottish Salmon Mi Cuit over Creamy Whole Grain Mustard
• Michael – Cabbage Soup with Smoked Bacon, Fennel & White Beans
• Christopher – Creamy Risotto with Prosciutto, Sage & Parmigiano-Reggiano
• Hubert – Hearty Carrot & Petite Pea Soup with Cinnamon Croutons
• Tim – Squash & Corn "Pozole"
• Tim – Skirt Steak & Braised Kale
• Michael – Pork à la Apicius with Broccolini & Mushrooms
• Hubert – Creamy Mac & Cheese with Prawns, Mushrooms & Fresh Herbs
• Christopher – Pork Chop with Pipérade, Crushed Potatoes, Mâche & Fennel Salad
• Michael – Diners 3.5, Gael 2.5, James 2.5, Jay 2.5 (+ 2.5 QF) = 13.5 Stars
• Tim – Diners 3, Gael 2.5, James 2.5, Jay 3 (+ 3.5 QF) = 14.5 Stars
• Christopher – Diners 4, Gael 4, James 3.5, Jay 4 (+ 3.5 QF) = 19 Stars
• Hubert – Diners 4, Gael 4, James 4, Jay 3.5 (+ 5 QF) = 20.5 Stars
Elimination Winner: Hubert Keller who wins $10,000 for the Make a Wish Foundation and returns for the Champions Rounds.