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July 24, 2014

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Michael Voltaggio Beats Brother Bryan to Win 'Top Chef Las Vegas' (VIDEO)

by Donald Deane, posted Dec 10th 2009 2:33PM
Michael Voltaggio won the sixth season of 'Top Chef' last night, beating out older brother Bryan and Atlanta chef Kevin Gillespie.

It was indeed a stellar crew of chefs that made it to the 'Top Chef' finale. The top three contestants won a combined total 12 of the 13 elimination challenges in the show, but it was the younger Voltaggio who took top honors with a four course meal including sweet-and-sour rockfish and fennel-scented squab dishes.

Watch the video after the jump.

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'Top Chef: Las Vegas' Results December 2: Jennifer Carroll Elimination Interview

by Michael D. Ayers, posted Dec 3rd 2009 8:00AM
And then there were three: as Top Chef: Las Vegas relocated to Napa Valley, the four remaining chefs duked it out by making dishes out of grapes for their Quickfire and catering a 150 person party for the elimination challenge. Oh, and the kicker on that last part: they had to use all local ingredients in every aspect of their dishes.

In the end, Jennifer Carroll-once thought to be a huge frontrunner – was eliminated for a salting issue. While this wasn't that noticeable on screen, head judge Tom Colicchio explains on his blog that "What it came down to was that both of her dishes were way too salty. Jen's over seasoning of both her dishes stood out to the judges like a sore thumb."

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Review: Top Chef - Season Finale: Part 1

by Allison Waldman, posted Dec 3rd 2009 2:45AM
season_finale_part_one_top_chef_season_six(S06E14) Well, if you think this competition was getting easier, forget it. This is the toughest Top Chef I can remember. These final four were all excellent and as they gathered for the last leg to the finale, you could see that it was game on.

Unlike other seasons, there aren't any obvious villains in this group. Who are you rooting for? I don't know. I like them all in some ways, and yet there isn't a clear favorite either.

I like Kevin, but the Voltaggio brothers have been excellent, too. Their food really does look good enough to eat! And Jen, for all her insecurities, has been great throughout. Tonight would be a close call. More after the jump.

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'Top Chef: Las Vegas' Results November 18: Eli Kirshtein Eliminated

by Michael D. Ayers, posted Nov 19th 2009 8:45AM
After a grueling competition that involved recreating a miniature version of a Bocuse d'Or, chef Eli Kirshtein was eliminated for serving what judge Tom Colicchio described as "raw lamb."

This week's challenge was not only a showcase of cooking nouvelle French cuisine; it also served to highlight each chef's technique. And that it did, causing everyone except Kevin to struggle. In the end, it boiled down to Eli's raw lamb verses Michael Voltaggio's directionless Mediterranean dish, which featured a cauliflower couscous and salmon.

The winner was Kevin (again), who took home a $30,000 prize and the chance to represent the U.S. in the 2011 Bocuse d'Or competition. While he's only earned a chance to try out for the team, Colicchio said on his blog, "I think that though it's not his normal inclination to cook as they do for the Bocuse d'Or, if given the time to prepare for the competition, Kevin would apply that same intelligence about food to that particular challenge and would rise to it not only ably but admirably."

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Review: Top Chef - Culinary Olympics

by Allison Waldman, posted Nov 19th 2009 1:05AM
tom_padma_top_chef(S06E12) When I saw that the title of tonight's episode was "Culinary Olympics," I didn't really imagine what the chefs would be going through. Were they going to be pole vaulting into the kitchen, did they have to prepare a meal on an ice skating rink? What could be the Olympian angle? Well, apparently there's a culinary competition that's as intense as the Olympics -- and it's not held in a kitchen stadium with Alton Brown doing play by play.

That said, this may have been one of the toughest assignments ever on Top Chef. I tried to envision how past season winners -- let alone the runners up -- would have done in the same circumstances that these final five faced. I can't say for sure that I can think of one that would have aced it ... and for how this five did, read on.

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Review: Top Chef - Strip Around The World

by Kona Gallagher, posted Nov 12th 2009 9:29AM
top chef(S06E11) This episode isn't about drama, stunts, or (gasp!) vegetarians. It is simply a case of "we have six chefs and we need to get down to five," so it kind of felt like a filler episode. The guest judge was Nigella Lawson, and while Nigella Lawson would be a welcome edition to any TV show, there just isn't a whole lot going on here.

Although, I will say that the quickfire challenge probably provided foodie fantasy fodder worldwide, as it opened up with Padma in bed, wearing a robe with tousled hair -- and if that wasn't enough, we find that Nigella is also in a robe and in bed as well. Granted, they're different beds, but still: same room. The ostensible reason for this was to to a breakfast in bed Quickfire challenge, but come on-- they didn't have Tom Colicchio in that bed.

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'Top Chef': Natalie Portman Drops by as Guest Judge

by Donald Deane, posted Oct 29th 2009 10:49AM
Natalie Portman guested on this week's 'Top Chef: Las Vegas' and threw the remaining contestants a curveball with her vegetarian dietary requirements. The final seven chefs were prepared to create a reimagined TV dinner using a variety of meat at Tom Colicchio's Craftsteak restaurant, but were instead asked to prepare a dish using nothing but veggies.

In this clip, diners react during the elimination challenge to Chef Michael Voltaggio's asparagus salad, Japanese tomato sashimi and banana polenta. Although Voltaggio wasn't the winner of the challenge, diners responded favorably to his unusual pairing of polenta with banana.

Watch the video from TV's Top 5! after the jump.

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Top Chef: Pigs and Pinot

by Allison Waldman, posted Oct 15th 2009 1:10AM
top_chef_tom_colicchio_season_six
(S06E08)
Well, things have certainly heated up on Top Chef, haven't they? Oh, I'm not talking about in the kitchen; I'm talking about in the house. These chefs are getting testy, or some are. Eli mentioned in the open that there was a lot of "emotional stress." Well, he should know because he's behind some of it. Then there's motor mouth Robin. Could she really be as yappy as she appears to be on camera?

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The Next Iron Chef is sizzling

by Allison Waldman, posted Oct 8th 2009 11:26AM
the_next_iron_chef_season_two
Even though I watch a lot of programming on the Food Network, I have to admit I missed almost all of the The Next Iron Chef in season one. Last Sunday, the second season of The Next Iron Chef blasted off with the best ratings for a series opener in Food Network history. Over two million viewers, a 1.1 rating among adults 25-54.

Why the big jump? Well, I think a lot of other people are like me. On Sunday, before I switched over to watch pro football, I clicked on Food Network where they were showing a marathon rerun of the first season of The Next Iron Chef. It only took half an episode for me to kick myself for not having watched the whole first season when it aired. It was terrific.

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Bravo bringing back Top Chef for seventh season

by Allison Waldman, posted Oct 6th 2009 9:02AM
padma_lakshmi_top_chefAmid the real housewives and matchmakers, millionaire real estate brokers and house flippers, there is one unscripted series that has been top shelf on Bravo. With Project Runway not on Lifetime, the best of Bravo's reality is Top Chef. In the five seasons past and the current season playing out, Top Chef has been a winner for the cable net, so it's not a big surprise that today Bravo renewed Top Chef for a seventh season.

If I were a drinker, I'd drink to that. Top Chef is in the midst of season six, which is shaping up to be one of the best yet. The location, Las Vegas, has opened up a lot of options for challenges, including a French food episode that might have been one of the most intense ever on the series.

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Top Chef: Camping

by Kona Gallagher, posted Sep 17th 2009 1:13AM
top chef camping

(S0605) Last week was a big one, with two contestants being eliminated. I'm all for double-eliminations, since the fewer contestants there are, the easier my job generally is. Though Mattin was spared, he is understandably a little embarrassed, since he's from France and completely biffed the French cuisine challenge. I mean, you don't see Kevin screwing up barbecue or anything.

Tim Love is the guest judge; he's one of those rough-and-tumble types who infuses rustic food into fine dining. So I love the idea of letting the audience choose this week's Quickfire Challenge, but the fact that Top Chef is trying to make me believe that with cactus, snake, and kangaroo as choices, 57% of the people asked for cactus? Shenanigans! You know that vote was for Kangaroo Jack to bite the big one. I simply will not believe otherwise.

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Top Chef: Vivre Las Vegas

by Allison Waldman, posted Sep 10th 2009 12:27PM
Top_Chef_Las_Vegas_group
(S06E04)
If the names Joël Robuchon, Daniel Boulud, Hubert Keller, Laurent Tourondel and Jean Joho don't strike fear in your heart, you are probably not a Top Chef contestant. Even Tom Colicchio seemed über-impressed by these French chefs. This season the producers have really turned up the heat on Top Chef, pushing the chefs to truly earn the title of Top Chef as never before. This challenge -- cooking for the aforementioned master chefs -- was the most difficult in the series yet.

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Five reasons why Top Chef tops Hell's Kitchen

by Allison Waldman, posted Mar 16th 2009 11:02AM
TC/HKWhen it comes to cooking competition shows, the two that consistently make the grade are Bravo's Top Chef and Fox's Hell's Kitchen. But while the two shows are ostensibly both about aspiring chefs competing for a prime position -- to beat the competition and emerge as number one -- there are really more things about the shows that separate them.

In terms of quality competition, food expertise and cooking skills, Top Chef is superior to Hell's Kitchen. They're both fun to watch, and I have followed every season of each of them. But the main thing they have in common is the kitchen. Read my five reasons and see if you don't agree with me that Top Chef has it all over Hell's Kitchen.

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Top Chef serves up a new winner

by Allison Waldman, posted Feb 26th 2009 3:02PM
The fifth edition of Top Chef came to a conclusion last night. I'd like to say it was one of the all-time best seasons, that I was on the edge of my seat with excitement, that I was really rooting for one competitor more than another... I'd like to say that, but I can't. All in all, Top Chef New York, which became Top Chef New Orleans in the last few episodes, was kind of a dud.

Before I talk about the winner and what happened specifically in the finale, I have to ask why Top Chef failed to really make use of the location this time around? New York is all about food and great restaurants and amazing chefs, but I can't think of one episode that really used the city in a creative way. Where was the Little Italy challenge? What about a trip to Chinatown for wild ingredients? Gail Simmons' bridal shower could have taken place anywhere. The Super Bowl challenge was generic. And when it was time for the finale, TC went to the Big Easy. Is that any way to honor the Big Apple?

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Top Chef's Tom saves the day...and a life

by Allison Waldman, posted Jan 20th 2009 10:22PM
Tom CIf you're a regular Top Chef watcher -- like me -- you know that when it comes to being a straight-shooter, down to earth, regular person, professional chef Tom Colicchio fills the bill. He's a tough judge, but pretty fair. He's also supposedly a world-class chef and restaurant mogul, but since I've never been to any of the Craft restaurants to had him cook a meal for me, I have to assume that's true.

One thing I do know is true, however, is that Tom Colicchio saved a life. Seriously.

On Monday night at a pre-Inaugural benefit in Washington, D.C., hosted by cookbook scribe Joan Nathan, when the hostess choked on a piece of chicken and author Alice Waters screamed for someone to help her, Chef Tom rushed over, assessed the situation and gave Ms. Nathan the Heimlich maneuver. After a few pulls, the chicken was dislodged and the party resumed.

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