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Twenty-one chefs gather in Los Angeles, Nevada, Beverly Hills, and Atlanta to compete for fifteen spots in the competition. They are divided into groups of five or six and assigned to one of the judges' restaurants in which they will prove their skills in the real-world with basic challenges, ability to handle themselves in a kitchen, and their interaction their fellow potential competitors.
Colicchio Tasks: Stuff & Shape Tortellini, Break Down Whole Ducks, Filet & Portion Salmon, Filet Black Bass, and Butcher Whole Chickens
Lagasse Task: Make a Bowl of Soup
Puck Task: Make an Omelet with Perfect Presentation
Acheson Task: Create a Beautiful Salad
Two weeks after the heats the fifteen chefs who qualified gather in Seattle. Though all of them are excited and committed to winning the title, they are about to learn the first lesson of Top Chef: there's always a twist. This time it's a major change to the game and occurs halfway through the round. The Elimination brings unlabeled proteins and planning a dish that will impress an acclaimed chef.
Guest Judges: Josie Smith-Malave, Chris "CJ" Jacobsen, Stefan Richter and Tom Douglas
Quickfire Challenge: Each Team Must Create a Dish That Highlights Local Shellfish
Elimination Challenge: Make a Dish Using Regional Ingredients for Legendary Seattle Chef, Tom Douglas
The chefs make a Hunger Games-style dash in the Quickfire to get the best possible international dumpling to cook for the challenge. Next, they team up with either Tom or Emeril to cater a Creole- or Italian-inspired Thanksgiving dinner for a charity association.
Guest Judge: Dana Cowin
Quickfire Challenge: Create an Authentic International Dumpling
Elimination Challenge: Create a Thanksgiving Meal Inspired by Chef Tom & Chef Emeril
First the chefs must demonstrate their knife skills, and then they board a time machine, metaphorically at least, so they can design menus from the 1950s.
An early morning Quickfire at Pike Place Market has ramifications for the Elimination Challenge as the teams must showcase the rare ingredients they bought in their dishes.
The chefs cater a homecoming party for two married celebrities, but first they must apply the Golden Rule to the holidays in a Quickfire based on their families and whether they can share.
A Quickfire where the chefs tackle a wrapped pantry starts the day off shiny. Then, they must gear up for head-to-head challenges in the Elimination.
The contestants cater an event for a local sports team after they shuck and serve oysters for Chef Lagasse.
A back-to-basics Quickfire tests the contestants' knife skills. In the Elimination the chefs create their versions of memorable Top Chef dishes, and two of them must go head-to-head for survival.
Wolfgang Puck drops by early for the Quickfire, and then the chefs cater a Seattle foodie event.
It's not just restaurant wars tonight, it's also gender wars when the women are pitted against the men to create a restaurant from the ground up.
The contestants attempt perfect fried chicken in the elimination, but first they must demonstrate their sushi skills.
The remaining contestants board a cruise ship bound for Alaska. But there is no rest for the weary; the challenges that highlight their trip require ingenuity and skill. First, they must create an appetizer from iceberg lettuce and then they wrap up the day with a unique take on surf and turf.moreless
The cruise ship arrives in Juneau, Alaska, and the remaining contestants must immerse themselves in the local fishing industry for both challenges. First up is a Quickfire that is all about one of Alaska's best-known exports, King Crabs. Next, the chefs must make their renditions of a local dish, salmon and sourdough. With only three spots available in the finale, each chef will need to execute perfect dishes.moreless
Tonight's Quickfire is all about the cold, but the Elimination warms up things with emotions that are started by Chefs Lagasse and Choi's sample meal. Unfortunately, emotions take over on of the contestants and only two move forward to the finales.
The two remaining chefs arrive in Los Angeles and cook for one of their final challenges.
The chefs cook the best meal of their lives.