Top Chef

Season 3 Episode 1

First Impressions

Aired Wednesday 10:00 PM Jun 13, 2007 on Bravo



  • Trivia

    • 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

    • 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

    • 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.)

  • Allusions

    • 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.

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