Top Chef

Season 3 Episode 1

First Impressions

Aired Wednesday 10:00 PM Jun 13, 2007 on Bravo
out of 10
User Rating
32 votes

By Users

Episode Summary

Getting to know each other is the theme for this first round. The new crop of fifteen chefs arrives in Miami, and then they are given two challenges - one with leftovers, and another with exotic proteins to introduce themselves and their cooking to their fellow contestants and the judges.

Guest Judge: Anthony Bourdain.

QuickFire Challenge: Create an Amuse-Bouche in 10 Minutes.

Elimination Challenge: Create a Surf & Turf Dish Using Exotic Ingredients.

Round One.moreless

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  • quickfire: amusche bouche and elimination challenge is surf and turf

    this was a really good way to start the season b/c it was a good way to get to know the new contestants as well as their culinary skills right off the bat..unlike the other two seasons the personalities came out very quickly in the first ep of the third season so i had already decided who i wanted to win and who i wanted to go dad had decided what order they would go home in lol..but the cooking looked delicious and i think the right person won the challenge and immunity and the right person went home this timemoreless
  • Top Chef returns and does not disappoint!

    Top Chef is back and it does not disappoint! I thought with the rise of "Hell's Kitchen" that this show was going to take that turn. Good thing it didn't! This show features great talent and it didn't change one bit since last season. Amazing! Shows what a true well thought out reality T.V. show should be like. I was very happy with this opening episode. I liked all the characters except for that annoying Asian guy that is really mean and takes everything way to seriously. Yeah, so check this show out if you ever have time.moreless
  • The show is back with the same quality as before. Unfortunately, my Mississippi boy went home first though.

    Well, I didn't know if I was going to be able to catch the season premiere because Reunited: The Real World was coming on @ the same time but thankfully Bravo, I think the king of reality TV, repeats certain shows back to back. At first glance, during the quickfire, my favorite personality is Tre. The winner of the quickfire didn't really stand out during the preparation and I didn't really know she was there, but her dish were one of the most appealing visually. When the group gets to the house, I learn that Clay is from MS and thats my home time and anxious to see what he's going to cook up despite the disastrous attempts during the quickfire. I was especially hoping him to do good after hearing the story of his father. During the main challenge, its something about the confidence of Hung, and the way he handles the food which makes him a favorite of mine also, but I'm still rooting for my MS boy. Unfortunately, my MS boy is the first to go home. I think some of the others might specialize in sauteed lamb while he would specialize in sauteed chiterlings. Someone who tries to turn deep southern cooking into gourmet food. Just didn't cut it on Top Chef and I completely understand as compared to the others, he wasn't really cutting it. My favs @ this point is Tre & Hung. Not really aquainted with any of women yet, but I'm hoping to see more as the season progresses. Great season opener.moreless
  • This is going to be an interesting season, but the one character that would have made it better is gone, Clay.

    I watch each episode twice, and it seems that I pick up more little things in the second go round. I really liked Clay, but I have a feeling he was really in way over his head, but was fun to watch. The surprise quick fire was interesting, at least they show producers are trying to keep the chefs guessing and the audience entertained. Now let's not go off on a tangent here, and have them cook a gourmet meal for 200 using a flamethrower, or something equally stupid as they did in Top Cuts, cutting hair with a hedge clipper, the epitome of TV stupidity.

    This season seems to have some interesting characters and they will grow throughout the season. It also appears that there are a few chefs in that kitchen that can really cook and will leave a lot of them in the dust. But just when you think that they are shoe in for the finale, take a look at the Season one versus season two, the weakest dishes were by the winners, and the strongest dish was by the wine steward who did not wow me with his cooking in season one. He must have learned how to cook in the mean time.

    I am sure some of the people there are there for wow factor, a guy and gal with spiked hair, what's with that. Where is the guy that will wow us with flavors like Dave, and I hope they don't have a foam specialist. I still dislike Marcel because of his being a poor loser, not only in the finale but in the cook off where he says use plenty of saffron. Marcel you lost because your dishes were not the best and in my opinion you never deserved to be in the finale but the producers thought it would be a good TV move to have a good guy versus bad guy finale.

    Back to this season, I saw some glimmers or talent in most of them, now let's see if they can show it on a regular basis. Now that we had exotic meats and fish, let's cook with something us mere mortals eat and can relate to.

    Hung not winning because he did not have color on his plate is lame, take off for plating, but do not give extra for great taste, give me a break. He is talented, but so was the winner.moreless
  • Party in the city where the heat is on/Every night on the beach/’Til the break of dawn (Those are the lyrics, right? I haven’t heard that song in a long time…)moreless

    I’m filled with anticipation for this third season of Top Chef. It seems that the chefs are all of a superb quality, and I look forward to seeing them go through the various challenges!

    I’m not going to lie, I was quite surprised to see Hung receiving accolades in both challenges, primarily because of the way his character was portrayed in the 4 Star All-Star Challenge; the producers seemed to want to make it appear that he was clearly pro-Marcel, which was not entirely a good thing in the eyes of the judges. I’m pleased to have been so surprised, though.

    I agree with stillplaygpc, who wrote that last season had a very Spanish flair to it and that this season does not, although I think there will be quite a bit of influence from deep Southern cooking, Cajun, and Caribbean flavors in addition to the more ‘classical’ European styles. Speaking of Spanish, though – every time a sea urchin popped onto the screen all I could think of was Salvador Dali, who considered sea urchins a delicious delicacy and at one point shaved his head and posed with a sea urchin on top of his skull in reference to the William Tell legend.

    I look forward to learning more about the personalities of Season 3’s contestants!moreless

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


  • TRIVIA (8)

    • First Run Fan Poll:

      Is Anthony Bourdain a tougher judge than Tom Colicchio?

      A. Yes 87%
      B. No 13%

      (all percentages are as of the end of the episode.)

    • Micah uses three exotic proteins in her Elimination Challenge dishes- kangaroo, monkfish liver, and ostrich.

    • The initial broadcast of this episode was a "super-sized" edition that ran 15 minutes longer than normal. The first rerun version removed the extra commercials, and these scenes:

      Sandee's introduction, various comments and shots during the QuickFire, Howie's dish in the QuickFire, parts of the tour of the penthouse, the shopping trip – including Joey's response to Micah bolstering Clay, various comments and shots during the elimination prep, Tom speaking to Lia and commenting on group two during elimination prep, various comments and shots during Judges' Table.

    • GE Monogram furnished the kitchen for this season.

    • Quick Fire Dishes Shown:

      • Howie – Poached Shrimp with Heirloom Tomatoes & Champagne Basil Vinaigrette
      • Micah – "Tuscan Sushi Revisited": Italian Ham with Figs & Balsamic Dressing
      • Dale – Beef Tenderloin with Bleu Cheese, Radish & Sea Salt
      • Clay – Fruit Gazpacho Served in an Apple
      • Sara M. – Oyster with Pineapple & Smoked Salmon
      • Hung – Hamachi with Creamy Egg Rice, Grapes, Chili Sauce, Olives & Pesto Vinaigrette
      • Tre – Hamachi with Avocado, Strawberries, & Champagne Served in an Oyster Shell

      Note: Although Casey's dish, Thai Vegetable Roll with Smoked Salmon, was not described on-camera, it was printed in Top Chef: The Quickfire Cookbook (2009) a couple years later.

    • Elimination Dishes:

      Group One
      * Joey - Seared Buffalo Rib Eye, Grilled Scorpion Fish with Mediterranean Salad & Potato Chips
      * Sara N. - Razor Clams with Sweet Corn Chowder, Buffalo Rib Eye with Black Truffle Sauce
      * Clay - Pan Seared Wild Boar Chop & Cornbread Dressing with Scorpion Fish
      * Lia - Crusted Rack of Boar with Sesame Chili & Lentils, Sea Urchin Panna Cotta
      * Casey - Alligator Fried Steak & Braised Greens with Razor Clams
      * C.J. - Ostrich Tartare with Horseradish, Spider Crabs with Anise & Tomato Broth
      * Sandee - Cajun Fried Frog Legs with Spider Crab Jambalaya
      * Howie - Sea Urchin & Chanterelle Risotto, Crispy Frog Leg Lollipop (Not served due to expired time.)

      Group Two
      * Tre - Roasted Ostrich Fillet with Heirloom Tomato Risotto & Abalone Sauce
      * Brian - "Hair of Medusa": Eyes with Fries with Sriracha & Lime Aioli, Sea Eel, "Electric Venom Soup," Miso & Blood Orange Salad (Not served due to expired time.)
      * Camille - Spicy Maple Crusted Abalone Fritter, Pan Seared Kangaroo with Herb Sauce & Salad
      * Sara M. - Braised Black Chicken & Geoduck Ceviche with Cucumber Ribbons
      * Hung - Slow Cooked Black Chicken & Raw Geoduck with Fennel
      * Micah - Seared Kangaroo on Sweet Potato Pudding, Poached Egg Topped with Monkfish Liver, Ostrich Carpaccio with Monkfish Liver
      * Dale - Mustard Seed Alligator Tail & Monkfish Liver Braised with Apple Hash

    • The top three for the QuickFire are Micah, Sara M. and Hung; Micah is the winner of the challenge. Clay, Dale and Tre are the bottom three for the QuickFire Challenge.

    • Tre wins the elimination challenge, and Clay is asked to pack his knives.

  • QUOTES (9)

    • Hung: I've been labelled a CPA for about a year now. Certified Professional @$#*!^&, that's me!

    • CJ: I went the private chefing route basically because I came down with cancer. I'm totally in remission, and I'm fine- I've got a false testicle and I'm ready to cook.

    • Clay: (asking the others' opinions about his amuse-bouche) When you looked at my ****ing apple, were you like, 'that dude's ****ed!' Be honest, you're not going to hurt my feelings.
      Hung: Yeah, yeah I did. That dude's ****ed!

    • Clay: (referring to his oversized amuse-bouche offering) Hell, I'm from Mississippi, pick it up and eat that son of a bitch! That's the way I see it!

    • Padma: (to Tre and Hung before announcing the winner) You know, both in season one and in season two the chef who won the first Elimination Challenge went on to win the title of 'Top Chef'.
      Gail: But no pressure, really!

    • Anthony Bourdain: (to Howie at the Judges' Table) I have a question.
      Howie: Sure.
      Anthony Bourdain: What's your major malfunction?!

    • Howie: (when Anthony Bourdain takes him to task for not getting his frog legs on his plate) In your book, though, you know, there's a little part that says about Ecuadorian line cooks, I believe? Ecuadorian?
      Anthony Bourdain: (as his fellow Judges laugh) Oh, that's unfair, man!
      Howie: Wait a minute, wait aminute! And what does it say? It says you can yell at this person, at that person and they'll give it to you when it's wrong, but these particular people- they give it to you when it's right.
      Anthony Bourdain: (with rueful respect) You son of a bitch.

    • Anthony Bourdain: (on Clay's dish) He pulled the trigger 45 minutes early and ended up with prison chow.

    • Anthony: (about Clay's dish) It's kind of, like, got a home cooking kind of a thing, but a home I wouldn't want to live in.

  • NOTES (7)

    • International Airdates:
      Australia – May 21, 2008 on Arena

    • This episode won the 2008 Creative Arts Primetime Emmy for "Outstanding Picture Editing For Reality Programming."

    • Season three was nominated for a 2008 James Beard Media Award in the category "Television Food Show, National or Local." It was beat out by Diary of a Foodie on June 6, 2008.

    • On the night before the Elimination Challenge Hung and Clay competed in a blind taste test back at the penthouse. It was a very close contest, with Hung edging Clay 7-6.

    • Lee Anne says in her blog at the Bravo website that the buffet at Casa Casuarina was created by her with some help from her culinary assistant Shannon Wilkinson. Their task was to decide on a menu with a wide variety of proteins, sauces, garnishes, and table decorations so that the contestants would have plenty of raw materials with which to create their own amuse bouche.

    • Guest Judge Anthony Bourdain returns for seconds after appearing in the second season episode "Thanksgiving". Anthony graduated from the Culinary Institute of America before running kitchens at New York City's Supper Club, One Fifth Avenue and Sullivan's. He is also a highly sought after commentator on cuisine, with his articles appearing in such periodicals as the New York Times, The Times, Black Book and the Independent, among others, and he is a contributing authority for Food Arts magazine. He is the executive chef at Brasserie Les Halles and lives in Manhattan when he isn't on the road doing his show, the travel and food series called Anthony Bourdain: No Reservations, which airs on the Travel Channel.

    • This season's prizes:

      • A feature in Food & Wine magazine.
      • A showcase at the annual Food & Wine Classic in Aspen.
      • A gourmet dream vacation in the French Alps. (New this season, provided by Evian, and replacing the Kenmore kitchen of seasons one and two.)
      • $100,000 to help turn the winner's culinary culinary dreams into reality. (Provided by Glad.)


    • David: (referring to his rattlesnake dish) We have the 'Hair of Medusa Eyes with Fries' right there...

      Medusa is a figure from Greek mythology. She and her two sisters were known as The Gorgons. According to the Roman poet Ovid, Medusa was a beautiful nymph who served as a priestess in the temple of Athena. Poseidon raped the virgin priestess in the temple itself, and Athena in her anger transformed Medusa into a winged monster with snakes as hair who was so horrifying to look upon that any mortal who saw her was turned into stone.