Top Chef

Season 5 Episode 1

Melting Pot

Aired Wednesday 10:00 PM Nov 12, 2008 on Bravo
out of 10
User Rating
19 votes

By Users

Episode Summary

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

Who was the Episode MVP ?

No results found.
No results found.
  • Fifth season of Top Chef!

    Really am glad to see Top Chef back and it didn't skip a beat at all. Seventeen new contestants. And get this, the judges all make their home in NY. So they could sleep in their own beds. What is more shocking is that one of the chefs. Wouldn't make it to wear the TC logo chef thing. And she really looked ticked off when she couldn't move on. Otherwise, we have two Europeans, mixing in with the Americans. And you have the gay people on there. They line up to cook foods from different kinds of ethnicities. That made it very interesting. A kid from cooking school went home. Knew he would go home to be honest. Great start so far!moreless
  • 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.moreless

    After watching the Next Food Network Failure again, I was glad we would be watching people that could actually cook. I am not upset that they have non Americans in the show, I think it just ups the ante. I know there is a screening process but the kid still in school just like the Next Food Network Failure kid does not have the experience in my opinion.

    I read that apple paring was an idea from Iron Chef Sakai and I do remember that segment. While not what I was expecting, having some knife skills does come in handy.

    I also liked the elimination challenge by doing pairs and having them do ethnic foods, it put a lot of people out of their comfort zones. I do have to agree that if someone came into a place I owned and asked for and Indian dish, I would not be that comfortable and might go to one of my books on the shelf.

    Did you notice how this show is sort of mirroring the Food Network disaster, by having a young kid and an Indian woman, guess that is part of being politically correct.

    I think the two Europeans are among the best, and one or two of the Americans will give them a run for the money, the rest of the field is there for filler.

    If you watch the previews, Stefan wins another quick fire someone else in the show, and I think it is much later in the season. My pick is Stefan, he has it all.moreless
Tom Colicchio

Tom Colicchio

Lead Judge/Co-Host

Gail Simmons

Gail Simmons


Alex Eusebio

Alex Eusebio

Season 5 Contestant

Ariane Duarte

Ariane Duarte

Season 5 Contestant

Carla Hall (II)

Carla Hall (II)

Season 5 Contestant

Daniel Gagnon

Daniel Gagnon

Season 5 Contestant

Featured Episode Clip

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


  • 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.

  • 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.


  • 8:00 pm
    500 Questions