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Real Top Chef Allstars

Best Top Chef Competitors in order:

Michael Voltaggio
Bryan Voltaggio
Harold Dieterle
Kevin Sbraga
Angelo Sosa
Ed Cotton
Mike Isabella
Stephanie Izard
Kelly Liken
Tiffany Derrt
Kenny Gilbert
Eli Kirshtien
Marcel Vigneron
Sam Talbot
What do you guys think?

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  1. Initial thoughts:
    I don't remember who Ed Cotton is or "Carrol" or which Kelly is Kelly Liken. Also am not sure which Tiffany is Tiffany Dernt (season one or last season) or which Kevin is Kevin Sbraga (the guy who won last season? pure luck if it is.)

    Jen is notably missing. I don't agree, but I think it is defensible.

    I would put Sam and Stephanie higher and I doubt if I would have Marcel, even at the bottom of that list. I would not have Angelo as high as you've placed him.

    it's difficult to rate people who cook different styles and have never met or competed with each other

    2 Replies
    1. re: chicgail

      "I don't remember who Ed Cotton is or "Carrol" or which Kelly is Kelly Liken. Also am not sure which Tiffany is Tiffany Dernt (season one or last season) or which Kevin is Kevin Sbraga (the guy who won last season? pure luck if it is.)

      Jen is notably missing. I don't agree, but I think it is defensible."

      1) Ed Cotton was the red-faced fellow on TC season 7 (TC:DC) who poached Angelo's girlfriend from him back in the day, and was one of the final four?
      2) "Carrol" is Jennifer Carroll, the "Jen" you say is 'notably missing'...
      3) "Tiffany Derrt" is Tiffany Derry, the Texan African-American woman on TC:DC who just fell short of the 'final four' last season and is currently on TC:AS?
      4) "Kevin Sbraga" is indeed the fellow who won last season on TC:DC?

      All these people are listed on bravotv's website and on various reference articles about Top Chef - see the Wiki link, for example...

      1. re: huiray

        Thanks. I see you have a much better handle on who's who over the past 7 seasons than I did.

    2. My biggest changes to that list - Hung should be higher (top 5) and Harold should be much lower. Marcel, Kenny, and Kelly Liken wouldn't be on my list. Sam Talbot would be a bit higher. Angelo would be above Kevin sbraga. I'm assuming Carrol is Jen Carroll?

      Oh, and your list is sorely missing Stefan. He would be hovering just out of my top 5.

      1. Why are Eli and Mike Isabella even on that list?

        With just a minute of further thought I would put Stefan and Carla Hall on the list as well as Tiffini and maybe remove Kenny and Kelly as well.

        4 Replies
        1. re: John E.

          "Why are Eli and Mike Isabella even on that list?"

          I might not rank them quite so high on the all time list, but I can see the justification for it. Season 6 was tough. Mike I and Eli both cooked some very good dishes that were often just lost among those of the Voltaggios, Kevin, & Jen. IMO, they seemed to be cooking about as well, week to week, as Harold or Tiffany Derry.

          1. re: cowboyardee

            Did you see the circus peanut popcorn thing that Eli made? He easily could have been sent packing instead of Robyn for that dish. Or what he did to the gnocci that got Ashley sent home? Mike I. hung onto the coattails of the Voltaggio brothers several times. He could have been easily sent home for the shrimp salad dish he made at the airbase. He talked like he was in the same class as the Voltaggios and maybe Kevin and Jen but I don't think he was.

            1. re: John E.

              They're also the only chefs who took wins over the top 4 that season (though never in elimination challenges). That's no small feat.

              Even more importantly - take a look at their recipes from the bravo website - they did a lot of good work that was just overlooked in lieu of the front runners.

              That popcorn dish was an ambitious mess (though IIRC Tom expressed some admiration for the dish anyway), but just about everyone whose been on Top Chef has made a dish or two that bombed (though the Voltaggios and Kevin G never sank too low). The very talented Hung make a very weak aros con pollo; beloved Harold made Tuna avocado salad that got his teammate, Lisa, sent home; Richard Blais made a sous vide salmon dish that no one seemed to like; Angelo made a truly uninspired rethinking of boeuf bourguignon. If you judge a contestant by their worst dish, you won't have a very accurate notion of his abilities. The popcorn dish wasn't representative of Eli's cooking.

              1. re: cowboyardee

                It might seem obvious but I might also be a bit biased against them because I didn't care for the behavior they displayed during the competition.

        2. *Hearty belly laugh*
          Mike Isabella?!?!? I pretty much think of that guy as the Voltaggio Bros'. groupie. I'm actually very surprised he made your list. You can make an argument for everyone else on there, but Mike is as big a hack as Spike. [Is it a coincidence their names rhyme?]

          1. As long as the Voltaggios are on the list, I'm content.

            1 Reply
            1. re: brooklynkoshereater

              as long as the Voltaggios are somewhere in the *top three* spots on the list i'm content ;)

            2. Top 6:
              Michael V
              Bryan V
              Richard Blais
              Hung Hyunh
              Kevin Gillespie
              Stephanie Izard

              beyond that, i think the next 7 or 8 become almost interchangeable, so in no particular order:
              Harold Dieterle
              Angelo Sosa
              Sam Talbot
              Tiffani Faison
              Stefan Richter
              Ed Cotton
              Kevin Sbraga

              of course i'd still love to see my boy Tre pull off an upset this season :)

              25 Replies
              1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                I'm liking your list, but I might put Hung a bit higher up than Blais.

                1. re: attran99

                  i was debating that. but i decided that if push came to shove, Blais would trump Hung in the creativity & excitement department...Smurf village notwithstanding ;)

                  1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                    You're right about creativity, but Hung's technique and use of flavors is spot on. Guess we'll have to agree to disagree :)

                    1. re: attran99

                      Guess we'll have to agree to disagree :)
                      always happy to do so :) though we're not really in disagreement here. Hung may very well be the best technician who has ever competed on TC (with Michael V a very close second)...he just needed to show a little more soul in his cooking, which didn't really come out until the finale. Blais, on the other hand, pours himself into every dish [from what i've seen], and i'll take a soulful, passion-filled, creative dish over a safe yet technically perfect one every time. or to put it simply, if someone told me i had to choose between the two of them who was going to cook the final meal of my life, i'd choose Blais without hesitation.

                      1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                        I'm not sure why Hung would be considered to have cooked with little (or no) soul "until the finale". IIRC he cooked just fine and with suitable feeling. Perhaps people were looking for more 'drama' or more demonstrative chest beatings from him, or that his technical skills made him seem "cold" to some people? Just wondering. Colicchio accused him of this lack of soul, too, in his Asian-influenced Western dishes - yet said nothing similar about Casey's or Lisa's faux Asian dishes... Here's a post on this from elsewhere: http://forums.televisionwithoutpity.c...

                        1. re: huiray

                          just once i'd like to state my *opinion* without you telling me i'm wrong. what IS it with you? no, i wasn't looking for "drama," i was looking for something in his food that gave me little insight into his personality, passion, or the way his mind works beyond the mechanics of flawlessly executed technique. he showed a glimpse of his sense of humor with the Smurf village, but then everything until the finale seemed a bit uninspired and predictable. no whimsy, nothing unexpected...and my statement was about Hung. not Casey. not Lisa. this wasn't about comparing them to decide who showed the least soul, this was about Hung vs Blais in the top 2, and about my personal OPINION that Hung's cooking wasn't as inspired or inspiring as i think it could have been. so seriously, how about *just once* letting me state my opinion without turning it into a federal case? i have mine, you have yours, and the Earth continues to turn on its axis.

                          1. re: goodhealthgourmet


                            You stated your opinion. I stated mine, and asked about why Hung would be considered in that way, gave an example of someone else having a different opinion, and made a comment about a reverse situation in my view which in my opinion IS salient to the discussion. If you feel that this constituted my telling you that you were wrong then I will keep in mind the next time that I need to tiptoe on eggshells around you.

                            In any case thank you for explaining why you felt that way about Hung.

                            1. re: huiray

                              for some reason the mods seem to have deleted your first reply (and my response to it) in which you said that my statement about Hung was a canard - that comment was why i reacted the way i did.

                              no need to walk on eggshells, i just feel like you've tried to change my mind or refute my opinion on several occasions. every once in a while i just want to speak my mind, not engage in a debate :)

                2. re: goodhealthgourmet

                  I like your list but would move Brian down and Kevin g up.

                  I would also probably choose gay Dale mowhawk over Kevin.

                  1. re: C. Hamster

                    really? Dale Levistski over Kevin Gillespie? totally don't see that.

                    1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                      No I meant last year's Kevin who should not even be on the list.

                      1. re: C. Hamster

                        oh, okay - i thought you were commenting on my top 5 list, and i certainly didn't put Kevin S near the top, nor do i think Dale L has shown he belongs even in the top 20...but based on the feedback from Tom C and the fact that he did beat Angelo and Ed in the finale, i thought Kevin at least deserved to be somewhere in there :)

                        1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                          I was commenting on your excellent list!

                          Kevin S is, in fact, on your "second tier" list

                          I'd switch him out for Dale

                          1. re: C. Hamster

                            you're quick :) i edited my reply, but you beat me to it! re-read...

                            1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                              HAHA ... the hamster can be quick.

                              Anyway, I think Dale is a dark horse and generally underappreciated.

                              I think Kevin S. shouldn't even have been in the finals last year. That cast was a disappointment.

                              At least Hosaia isn't on your list!! :-)

                                1. re: ladybugthepug

                                  Hosea is a good example of "sh*t happens." Not sure Kevin doesn't fall into that same category.

                                  1. re: chicgail

                                    I wholeheartedly agree on Kevin. Hell, judging by the look on his face when he was selected as Top Chef, HE might even agree with you. A bad day by Ed and Angelo's illness were two very big breaks. What would have taken the cake is if Lisa from Season 4? would have won it. That would've hurt.

                  2. re: goodhealthgourmet

                    OK, I'll play.

                    Top 5 technicians:
                    Michael V

                    Top 5 I'd like to eat (full disclaimer: I like simple food prepared well):
                    Kevin G
                    Kevin S

                    Another full disclosure: I have eaten both Jennifer C's and Kevin S's food, and they were excellent.

                    1. re: gaffk

                      interesting. i'd put Brian V in Angelo's place for the technicians but i definitely can't argue with the other four.

                      i *love* the "whose food i'd like to eat" angle...Michael V, Kevin G & Stephanie would definitely be at the top of my list.

                      1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                        Now that I think about it, you are right. Remove Angelo for Brian V. Truth told, I'd like to eat the top 10.

                        1. re: gaffk

                          easy there gaff, your inner cannibal is showing ;)

                          1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                            You must admit ghg, they look tasty ;)

                            1. re: gaffk

                              meh, Michael V is the only one in that group who does it for me. the ones we listed in our other discussion, however...

                    2. re: goodhealthgourmet

                      I like this list in general, but I would reverse Blais and Stephanie. She did beat him out in the finals, and everything Stephanie did was consistantly top 3. Blais, on the other hand, flamed out a few times (sous vid salmon with scales and bones, etc.). I agree that he may have had a fewer higher notes, but I dont think Stephanie ever crashed and burned.

                    3. Eli, Mike I and Ed Cotton can go.

                      I would add Stefan to the top 5, and place Hung and Marcel higher, i'd also add dark haired Dale...maybe the other Dale too, but I don't remember allot of his food...

                      21 Replies
                      1. re: NellyNel

                        i like the idea of adding Dale Talde (dark hair) to the lower half of my list if he continues to prove himself. Dale Levitski doesn't wow me as a competitor - i've heard the food at his Chicago restaurant is great, but that doesn't mean much in this scenario!

                        1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                          This is so irrelevant - but here goes!

                          If I were to list my Top HOT Top Chefs -

                          1) STEFAN - no question
                          2) Dale T (thanks for the last names there GHG!!)
                          3) Sam

                          1. re: NellyNel

                            good to know you & i wouldn't be fighting over them :)

                            1) Tre Wilcox
                            2) Tre Wilcox
                            3) Tre Wilcox

                            and honorable mention to Sam Talbot.

                            1. re: goodhealthgourmet


                              yeah, Stefan would be all my top ten really~
                              God, I had the hots for him...

                              1. re: NellyNel

                                Oh - and let me guess -
                                Lind Whits would be:

                                1) Ripert
                                3) Ripert

                                Maybe Tre and Sam thrown in for a change!

                                1. re: NellyNel

                                  Linda can have Ripert AND Sam Talbot...just leave Tre for me and nobody gets hurt ;)

                                  1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                    I'll take Gail Simmons, a rejuvinated Katie Lee, and in the words of Le Cirque owner, Sirio Maccioni, "...and yes, Casey too."

                                    1. re: James Cristinian

                                      i see the appeal of Gail & Casey, but Katie Lee, really? and what do you mean by rejuvenated?

                                      1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                        I'm not sure about rejuvenated, but she's gorgeous.

                                      2. re: James Cristinian

                                        Any such list that doesn't include Padma is silly.

                                        1. re: donovt

                                          Not that Padma isn't gorgeous, I I like the change Katie Lee brings. She seems like a bit less cold than she came off on the first season. Maybe she could sub for Padma every now and then, just as Gail is not on every episode.

                                      3. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                        I'll leave Sam . . . a little too scruffy and negative. But I call a share of Tre, Ripert and Tom :)

                                        1. re: gaffk

                                          nope, no sharing allowed. you can have Tom C all to yourself, LW gets Ripert, and Tre is *all mine* :)

                                          1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                            Works out fine ;) I get Tom, LW gets Ripert , ghg gets Tre. What a feast!

                                            1. re: gaffk

                                              Well, if Stefan wasnt interested, I would fight you for Tom - I forgot all about him when I made my list!

                                              BTW, I thought Katie Lee looked stunning in that episode...not sure if she's lost weight or what - she looks different to me.
                                              Still 0 personality though!

                                            2. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                              I love how you saved my Eric for me, ghg. :::vbg:::

                                              1. re: LindaWhit

                                                well, since you wouldn't let me bake you some treats, i figured it's the least i could do ;)

                                                1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                  ::::snicker:::: Not sure Eric, Sam, and Tre would appreciate being traded around like pieces of meat, but hey - a gal's gotta do what a gal's gotta do. ;-)

                                                  1. re: LindaWhit

                                                    Speaking as a guy, there are worse things than being traded round like a piece of meat. Not that I can speak from personal experience......

                                          2. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                            Deal. I get a twofer. :-) (I'm just seeing this thread now.)

                              2. tre shoud be on this list....
                                hung over isabella