Top Chef

Season 1 Episode 1

Who Deserves to Be Here

Aired Wednesday 10:00 PM Mar 08, 2006 on Bravo
out of 10
User Rating
27 votes

By Users

Episode Summary


The 12 contestants are introduced.

Guest Judge: Hubert Keller.

QuickFire Challenge: Survive 30 Minutes on the Line under the Critical Eye of Hubert Keller in His Restaurant Fleur de Lys.

Elimination Challenge: Cook Signature Dish.

Round One

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  • The previous reviewer went through how the show works. I thought it was interesting on the interaction between the chefs and the judges.

    As a veteran watcher of this show I do not think I ever saw the complete first episode until today. I can relate to the nervousness several of the chefs had on the line in a top named eating establishment. Ken deserved to go because of his attitude and his poor kitchen skills.

    It is also interesting to see how some of the personalities grew from the first episode. Some chefs you hardly noticed came out of their shells and others went from cute to overbearing.

    It was a very good first try at a cooking reality show. Also the chefs were using foods we could relate to, which is where the show gets off it's course in later shows.moreless
  • This first episode has everything- we meet the competitors, the judges, we learn the format of the competition, and we see the first chef win top che for the week and one chef is sent to pack his knives and go home.moreless

    This is the innaugural episode of the series Top Chef, and they do it in style. We are introduced to twelve chefs: Harold, Tiffani, Dave, Lee Anne, Stephen, Miguel, Andrea, Lisa, Brian, Cynthia, Candice and Ken. Then we meet the judges: Head Judge Tom Colicchio, Gail Simmons, and judge/host Katie Lee Joel. We start the competition with a preliminary challenge known as a Quickfire, and the winner has immunity for the longer Elimination challenge. This week's Quickfire was to go to guest chef Hubert Kelly's restaurant Fleur de Lys and work his line for 30 minutes under the chef's eye. Simple, right? Wrong, as our competitors found out the hard way. Cynthia wasn't even allowed to go on the line because she was wearing inappropriate shoes. Others were failed for going too slow or being too sloppy. Ken almost started a fight when he was told to leave the line for tasting a sauce with his finger. A few hardy souls made it the full 30 minutes (Lee Anne, Tiffani, and Dave), and Lee Anne won the coveted immunity.

    The Elimination challenge was more straight forward. The chefs divided into two sets and were told to each cook their signature dish, which was then judged by the other set of cooks. The judges were tough on each other but Harold was declared this week's top chef. Ken was voted down for his attitude as much as his food, much to the relief of the other competitors, who viewed him as a disruptive influence.

    The interaction between the chefs was interestng, the challenges were well thought out, and the judging (which I considered the toughest sell, since America couldn't taste the food being judged) was clear, specific, and enlightening. All in all, this is the second reality show that I admit to viewing as a guilty pleasure and share with my friends and family (the other being another Bravo show Project Runway).moreless

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


  • TRIVIA (4)

    • QuickFire Challenge: the competitors were asked to hold down the line in Chef Hubert Keller's restaurant Fleur de Lys.

      • Lisa – Asked to leave because her food fell over (23 min).
      • Miguel – His nerves got the better of him (3 min).
      • Cynthia – Not allowed on the line at all because she was wearing unsafe shoes (0 min).
      • Andrea – Dismissed for dropping food (16 min).
      • Candice – Too slow (10 min).
      • Brian – Too slow (19 min).
      • Stephen – Too nervous (26 min).
      • Harold – Too nervous (7 min).
      • Ken – Kicked off the line for unsanitary tasting (1 min).
      • Dave, Tiffani, and Lee Anne – completed the full 30 minutes.

      Lee Anne was given the coveted immunity because of her superior communication skills.

    • Cynthia's pomegranate goes missing; this is the first incidence of possible sabotage on Top Chef.

    • Elimination Challenge Dishes:

      • Andrea – Rock Shrimp with Spicy Plum Sauce
      • Kenneth – Pan Seared Alaskan Halibut
      • Cynthia – "Krazy Rice" with Lamb
      • Lisa – Mushroom & Shrimp Risotto
      • Candice – Chicken Shiitake Roulade
      • Dave – Braised Lamb Enchiladas
      • Lee Anne – Smoked Sturgeon Appetizer
      • Brian – Jerk Chicken and Country Coconut Mash Potatoes
      • Harold – Steamed Thai Snapper
      • Miguel – Duo of Beef
      • Stephen – Threesome of Colorado Lamb
      • Tiffani – Pumpkin Lasagna

    • Ken Lee is kicked off the show.

  • QUOTES (8)

  • NOTES (2)

    • The house in which the contestants were domiciled was located at 3159 Baker Street in San Francisco. When it went on the market in mid-2009 the rent was $12,500 per month.

    • Season One Prizes:

      A feature in Food & Wine magazine.
      The chance to showcase culinary talent at the annual Food & Wine Classic.
      A state of the art Kenmore Elite Kitchen.
      $100,000 to kick-start the winner's culinary career.


    • Lee Anne: (about Ken) It's time to vote the a****** off the island.

      This is a definite reference to the perennial reality series Survivor, which eliminates their contestants by voting them off the "island" location.

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