Top Chef: Season 6, Top 10

One of our favorite shows of the last couple of years has been the BravoTV reality show, Top Chef (as well as the excellent Top Chef Masters that was on this summer).

I think that this season has been particularly strong – the contestants seem to be of an overall better quality than the past couple of seasons and seem more interested in cooking great food rather than being “personalities”.

So, being a scientist I decided to “score” the contestants so far to see who was in the drivers’ seat.  I used a scoring system of:

Bottom of Quickfire: -1
Top of Quickfire: +1
Win Quickfire: +3

Bottom of Elimination: -2
Top of Elimination: +2
Win Elimination: +5

And the remaining 10 chefs break down into pretty clear groups:

The Contenders
Michael V    16
Kevin           16
Jennifer       14
Bryan           12

The Guys That Aren’t As Good As They Think They Are
Mike I        6
Eli              4

Just Go Already
Ashley        0
Robin         0
Laurine     -2
Ash           -5

I think any of the top four could win this competition and each has been very strong.   I’d thought that the inclusion of brothers Bryan and Mike Voltaggio was a bit of pandering for TV, but those guys have been strong.  Michael has been consistently excellent, while Bryan (who seems like a super-focused Eagle Scout to me) has half of the elimination challenges.  Bryan has thrown out a few duds on Quickfires however, and his tendency to put out a bad dish may come back to haunt him.


Jen started off incredibly strong, but has been good-but-not-great in recent weeks – but even when flustered seems to put out good-looking and good-tasting food.  Kevin is probably the most thoughtful of the contenders and probably has the capacity to put out the most unusual and captivating dish.  Of the contenders, only he and Jennifer have never been in the bottom of either a Quickfire or an Elimination challenge.

The two guys in the middle (Mike I and Eli) have big mouths and big egos, but haven’t produced as many successes as the top group and I think they’ll be in for a rude awakening after the bottom tier gets swept out in the next couple of weeks – the only possible survivor is Ashley, who seems to be making better food in the last couple of episodes.

Can we lobby just to get rid of the bottom six and have a multi-week cook-off from the Top Four?

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9 thoughts on “Top Chef: Season 6, Top 10

  1. Yup, those four are my favorite. I really don't have much of a preference of any of them to win, although if I was forced to pick, I would probably go with Kevin. I like his personality and style of cooking AND he's from the South. :) (Although both of the brothers are quite cute.) I wish Mike and Eli (and all the others) would go already, too. Mike may have the biggest ego of the entire group, and he's definitely nowhere near as good as he thinks he is.This is probably my second-favorite season, but only because I just really, really liked Stephanie, Richard, and Antonia from Season 4.

  2. I liked Masters too. Did you notice how Wylie Dufresne was such a good team player? I enjoyed seeing them conduct themselves so professionally and for charity as well. Quite a switch from the Marcell days.
    Jen and the Brothers Ego (the younger one reminds me of Eminem) look pretty determined to win.

  3. Love TOp CHef and also Project RUnway (now sadly not on Bravo)….but I keep forgetting to watch it, one day i am just going to have to get allepsiodes on computer and watch it all day.

  4. See, that's why I'm voting for Jen –in your face Philly-girl… :) I really like Kevin too. And Bryan's restaurant is in the same town in Maryland that my sister lives in, so you know where we're going for dinner next time we're there! :)

  5. I LOVED Top Chef Masters (I really should have posted about it…) — we, too, really enjoyed seeing these absolutely masterful chefs doing amazing things with such a great attitude. I really like Rick Bayless (who won) — what a great guy. We've also eaten in Susan Tracht's restaurant (she was one of the final 6) in West LA — it was awesome.

  6. You have the same thoughts I do when it comes to the grouping. What I fear though is someone going home to early you could have one bad dish and your out. I hoping their are not to many upsets but Ashley could rise up through the rankings I know Ash, Robin, and Laurine won't last long, but think someone like Mike I. could or Eli could have one bad dish and go before someone like Ash. Like I think Hector went home a little too early.
    The final 5 is going to be nail biting if the fav 4 are in it with lets say an ashley, or eli, or mike I. there could be a possible upset there as well.
    This season is just complete quality, it's sad to say that some of the chefs that are at the bottom or have been sent home would have gotten a lot father if they were cast with last season. This how long Hosea would last in this bunch? He wouldn't stand a chance.

  7. I agree — I think Ashley is starting to "figure things out" — about how to cook within the time limits and make things she's happy with that the judges will appreciate. I'll be really curious to see if one of the top guys goes down with "the one bad day" — but that's the nature of the competition. I can totally see Mike-I flubbing one and heading home.

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