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If You Could Only Pick 1 Top Chef Contestant (any season) to Cook You a Meal, It'd Be:

  • JAB Feb 28, 2011 12:04 PM
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Kevin Gillespie for me.

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  1. SAME!

    1. If Kevin and Carla had a love child, but then they were tragically killed, and then the love child had to be raised by his uncle, Richard Blais, THAT'S who I'd want to cook my meal!

      5 Replies
      1. re: runwestierun

        love that!!!!

        1. re: runwestierun

          Ditto

          1. re: runwestierun

            That's a TERRIBLE story!

            1. re: Shrinkrap

              that's awsome, but Kevin Gillespie would have to be my pick..........But then there those Voltaggio brothers......and Blais....man why are you making me pick

              1. re: jiminy

                Those would be my choices also. Anyone one of the 4 and I would be happy.

          2. Bryan Voltaggio - he didn't win but I thought of all the chefs who have been on Top Chef, he had the most consistently imaginative and refined food all season long.

            1. i'm torn between the Volt brothers!

              4 Replies
              1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                if the volt brothers had a love child and...

                oh wait uhm....

                1. re: mattstolz

                  {shudder} that's just SO wrong.

                  1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                    Why? :-)
                    It's theoretically possible but folks don't have the practical ability to make it happen yet with humans - but in the future... ;-) It's been sort-of done in mice...

                  2. re: mattstolz

                    Sick. Funny, but sick all the same.

                2. Susur Lee

                  8 Replies
                  1. re: ipsedixit

                    i was waiting for someone to go the Masters route. that's a choice i really couldn't make.

                    1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                      that's a choice i really couldn't make.
                      __________________________________

                      Going the Masters route? Or choosing Lee?

                      1. re: ipsedixit

                        Masters.

                        Lee...Bayless...Samuelsson...Lo...Burke...Keller...Cimarusti...Besh...Waxman...Moonen...

                        too hard.

                        1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                          Actually, your answer suggests you meant "both" right?

                          Can't go the Masters route AND can't choose any of the Master cheftestants.

                          1. re: ipsedixit

                            can't go the Masters route *because* i can't choose just one...or even 2 or 3 :)

                          2. re: goodhealthgourmet

                            oh thats a easy choice for me. Bayless for sure!

                            oh... and susar could make a appetizer or something.

                            1. re: mattstolz

                              I'd go with Besh among the Masters. I think he should have won The Next Iron Chef over Symon based on food alone, but Symon's personality is PERFECT for iron Chef.

                            2. re: goodhealthgourmet

                              agree, it'd be a hard choice.

                      2. Volt brothers or Hung. Although it'd be fun mess with season one sommelier Stephen's head for a while. maybe hide his watch fob.

                        4 Replies
                        1. re: brooklynkoshereater

                          nah, if you REALLY wanted to mess with Stephen's head you could bring your own plonk - 2 Buck Chuck, a box of Franzia, Sutter Home white zin - and insist on drinking it with the meal.

                          1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                            Now that *would* be fun . . . I bet his head would explode :)

                            1. re: gaffk

                              i think itd just be fun to tell him that i dont drink. what would he do??? does he even know how to prepare food that doesnt involve a wine pairing to hold it up??

                              1. re: mattstolz

                                he'd certainly be a lot less chatty if you took away his excuse to lecture you on everything you never even cared to know about each glass he was pouring.

                        2. I'll go the Masters route . . . Hubert Keller.

                          2 Replies
                          1. re: gaffk

                            +1 for Keller

                            1. re: araknd

                              Make that +2

                              And Kevin Gillespie if we are only talking about Top Chef....

                          2. Ditto on Kevin Gillespie.

                            That's my final answer, but settling on just one is hard.

                            I'd have to put Dale Talde & Bryan Voltaggio up there pretty high too.

                            If I was choosing a TC Master, I think I'd have to go with Rick Bayless hands down with Jonathon Waxman & Hubert Keller a close second.

                            1. Ditto on Kevin Gillespie, but Stephanie Izard is a close second. I almost *always* liked the look of her dishes.

                              For TCM - Hubert Keller.

                              8 Replies
                              1. re: LindaWhit

                                Her food is great. I've eaten at Girl and the Goat. I would love to eat Richard Blaise's food, and while the Volt bros are unquestionably skilled, there seemed to be something a little cold about them that has to be reflected in the food. Precise and brillant but with little soul. I guess that's why I lean toward Izard, Blaise - oh, and Gillespie..

                                1. re: chicgail

                                  yeah, I agree with the "coldness" - but only of Michael Voltaggio. Brian seemed a bit more human. :-)

                                  And lucky you to have eaten at Girl and the Goat.

                                  1. re: LindaWhit

                                    I'm a Chicago girl and GATG is a very touch res to get, but really worth it.

                                    I've also eaten at Sprout, Dale Levitsky's place and the night we were there (with my son the chef) so were Carla and Tiffany. Carla was every bit as sweet and charming as she appears on TV. Tiffany was surprisingly pretty but very clearly didn't want to be disturbed.

                                    1. re: chicgail

                                      I actually ate as a WALK IN at GATG, but this was in like August of 2010, pretty shortly after it opened. It was like 5pm on a Sunday. We sat at the community-style tables (which we were told were reserved for walk-ins, not sure if it's still that way) in the back, which my friend and I actually preferred as we faced the open kitchen all throughout our meal. Stephanie was there expediting. The food was absolutely amazing.

                                      1. re: juliejulez

                                        That's really lucky. Good for you!

                                    2. re: LindaWhit

                                      Well, you can have a meal from Bryan Voltaggio if you dine at Volt. Or from Michael Voltaggio if you ate at Ink.
                                      p.s. Table 21 at Volt is excellent. Great value too.

                                    3. re: chicgail

                                      Bryan isn't really cold, as much as quiet but friendly. But, it could come off as cold on TV. Perfectionist but not in the same Blais seems.

                                    4. re: LindaWhit

                                      Stephanie Izard's food is very nice, yes, and I've eaten at GATG too. Great roasted goat too.

                                      I agree with choosing Hubert Keller from TCM as my chef-of-choice for my meal.

                                      From the regular TC my choice would be Michael Voltaggio.

                                    5. Stephanie Izard. Everything about her -- food, attitude, presentations, her whole mien -- attracted me to her from the first episode. ( Not to mention she has a terrific reputation in Chicago).

                                      Although I wouldn't turn down a meal from that hottie, Tre. I think the food would probably be enhanced just be cause it was him preparing it.;)

                                      I have eaten the food of Ariane Duarte and Kevin Sbraga, and would be delighted to do so again.

                                      As for the Masters, I have eaten in quite a number of their restaurants. The only place I would NOT go back to is Bayless'. But my favorite is Rick Moonen. Fish is my specialty, too, and he does them so well. Besides, we've been friends for years.

                                      Love love love Hubert Keller, Tony Mantuano, Marcus Samuelson, Susan Feniger.... and of course, my girl, Jody. We've been friends longer than Rick and I.

                                      So much for "just one!" (rolling eyes)

                                      14 Replies
                                      1. re: ChefJune

                                        Do tell about Bayless. Watching the show made me really really want to try his mole.

                                        1. re: lenwood

                                          ive used to recipe from the site at least five times already, which is really sayin something cuz it takes like five hours!

                                          its delicious!!!

                                          1. re: mattstolz

                                            Yeah....that mole is pretty awesome! Time consuming but so worth the effort. He and Diana Kennedy are my go-tos for Mexican cooking. Mostly Bayless though.

                                            I couldn't choose any one contestant. I'd have to go back and watch all the seaons first! I live somewhat close to Nashville so I could try Arnold's restaurant....I'm a few more hours from Atlanta so Hugh Acheson and Kevin Gillespe are not far away.

                                            I'll just have to pass on this one!

                                            1. re: mattstolz

                                              D'you mean the Oaxacan mole negro? That's a yummy one. I've had his lamb and that mole dish at Topolobampo and it was simply scrumptious. The perfectly-cooked lamb didn't hurt.

                                          2. re: ChefJune

                                            ChefJune, make that Tre shirtless and I'll join you. I'll even bring the wine. :)

                                            1. re: ChefJune

                                              I've eaten Bayless' food, and found it to be outstanding. I'll take your table if you don't want it.

                                              1. re: Pylon

                                                and i'd love the extra seat if you've got one!

                                                1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                  GHG, you are always welcome at any table I pilfer.

                                                  CJ - I've never had a bad meal there, but you may have a larger sample size since I've only been once. I was there just after the filmed (but before the aired) the TCM S1 finale. I flat out Isabellaed the guac they made at the table (meaning I watched them, stole the recipe and impressed others with it). It was a great meal.

                                                  1. re: Pylon

                                                    "I flat out Isabellaed the guac they made at the table..."
                                                    ~~~~~~~~~
                                                    ROFLMAO! OK, that is SO going into my vernacular, Pylon!

                                                    1. re: Pylon

                                                      Pylon, thank you for the standing invite, and you're always welcome at any table of mine :) and that Isabella comment was PRICELESS. you know you've made it big when your name becomes a verb!

                                                      1. re: Pylon

                                                        Pylon: After my first visit there, I was saying the same as you. Many visits later, food is uneven, and so is the service. Wish I could say different. He is a GREAT teacher.

                                                    2. re: Pylon

                                                      Used to live in Chicago. I've eaten there when the food was FABulous, and also when it was, frankly, less than "meh." And Bayless was in the kitchen every time.. There are better Mexican restaurants in Chicago, if not as highly publicized.

                                                      OTOH, he writes excellent recipes (or someone writes them for him) and they all have worked, every time -- in my experience.

                                                      1. re: ChefJune

                                                        Yeah, gotta say when I was in Chicago husband and I were less than impressed at Frontera Grill. Yes, he was there, saw him back in the kitchen and out. I honestly never understood the love... he seems beyond cocky to me. I'm a little more than over what I perceive as a 'holier than thou' attitude.

                                                        As to original thread... don't know if I could choose. Keller, for sure, in Masters. I'm really torn between Izard, B. Voltaggio, and Blais . . . and Harold (can never spell his last name creeps in there too).

                                                      2. re: Pylon

                                                        You'd have to wrestle me for it.

                                                    3. Hmm, for regular Top Chef, probably would be Blais, he seems to combine the best of being innovative with still producing tasty food. For Masters, it's a toss up for me between Hubert Keller, who looks like he produces great food, and Wiley Defrense (hope I spelled that right) for his innovative techniques that I know I'd probably not see again in some time.

                                                      1 Reply
                                                      1. re: Cherveny

                                                        It's a tough one for masters Suser had a great place in Toronto, very good meal, but I think I would have to go with Wylie, the no reservations episode made him alright in my book

                                                      2. Michael Voltaggio. Haven eaten at The Dinning Room at Langham and eagerly awaiting the opening of Ink in LA. He would be my choice

                                                        1 Reply
                                                        1. re: chris2269

                                                          Yeah, although I hate to say it, but for one meal I'd probably pick Michael Voltaggio as well. His food just seems to have the right combination of refined technique and panache (more than his brother's which seemed a bit safer and fussier). But as for whose restaurant I'd want to patronize on a regular basis, probably Kevin or Stefanie.

                                                        2. Michael Voltaggio.

                                                          1. My first thought was Kevin Gillespie, but I am also torn between the Volt bros.
                                                            Totally different styles, but I like ALL kinds of food!

                                                            If I could watch the chef cook, then there would be no question at all - absolutely - Stefan!

                                                            5 Replies
                                                            1. re: NellyNel

                                                              That's who I was thinking of too. You know you'd have a blast with him.

                                                              1. re: 512window

                                                                NellyNel has made no secret of her 'fondness' for Stefan ;)

                                                                1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                                  :O)

                                                                  You know it!

                                                                  GHG - I'm surprised you didnt go for Tre!

                                                                  1. re: NellyNel

                                                                    of course you know i love to *watch* me some Tre :) he seems like a very talented chef, but i think the Volt brothers could out-cook him, and in this case i'm focusing on the food!

                                                                    1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                                      Only a woman that truly loves her food would say that!

                                                            2. I haven't watched all of the seasons, but based on what I have seen, I agree - KEVIN GILLESPIE!!! Love him.

                                                              1. It would honestly be depending on the day, time and my mood. But my immediate reaction was Kevin Gillespie. The Voltaggio Brothers, Carla, Richard and Dale T all rank highly for me too. Also, Stephanie. I really liked everything about her in her season.

                                                                1. Where's the love for Harold?
                                                                  He was my first TC love, he still stands as the one for me. Harold has heart, people.

                                                                  3 Replies
                                                                  1. re: rabaja

                                                                    rabaja, I loved Harold in his season. I agree - my first TC love. I think he could be in the mix; but after seeing Stephanie Izard's and Kevin Gillespie's plates, he drops into a 3rd place finish. :-)

                                                                    1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                      Thanks Linda! I don't even remember his food, he was just so goofy and sweet.

                                                                      1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                        Yes, I remember Harold was simple, American food. Had he been more recent, he may have been more in the front of my memory (I do remember I loved his approach).

                                                                        He now has a Thai restaurant as well . . . maybe worth a visit to NYC?

                                                                    2. kevin, winner of season 7 seemed like he made really consistently tasty food. and of course kevin gillespie would also be one. if i knew they'd be at the top of their game for the whole meal, it would be carla.

                                                                      1. There's a difference between excelling at the Top Chef format the requires performing a variety of strange tasks in a short period of time (cook a meal from a vending machine, catch your own seafood and cook it, etc.) and preparing one good meal of your or your diner's choosing.

                                                                        So, with that in mind I picked chefs that cooked food I like and that I think would cook a meal I'd want to eat:
                                                                        MASTERS: Hubert Keller or Maria Hines
                                                                        REGULAR: Stephanie Izard or Carla Hall

                                                                        1. From Masters: Rick Moonen, hands down. From regular series: Lee Anne Wong. From Just Desserts: Not a damn one of them.

                                                                          2 Replies
                                                                          1. re: cigarmedic4

                                                                            Yeah, I can't believe I actually watched that whole season of Just Desserts . . .Never. Again.

                                                                            1. re: gaffk

                                                                              I managed to gag through two episodes, mid season. It was the pits, I don't think I liked anyone.

                                                                          2. I'd probably say Stephanie Izard. Even though contestants like Richard Blais and Michael Voltaggio have some interesting looking food out, I think I'd prefer the cooking of Izard. Her food seems very approachable yet with a bit of a funky twist.

                                                                            From the Masters candidates -- hmmm.... that's where it gets a bit harder. I've eaten some of their food so I'd probably pick somebody new that I would like to try. I would probably say Rick Tramanto. He's worked with Pierre Gagnaire (somebody that I ADORE!), and I've heard wonderful things about Tru.

                                                                            1. I've eaten at Perilla already, which I loved, so I'd say either Kevin G. or Carla. Although I think I'd enjoy watching Hung prepare the cereal smurf village again :)

                                                                              1 Reply
                                                                              1. re: lawgirl3278

                                                                                if Casey and I had a love child and...oh wait uhm....

                                                                                Actually for the same reasons as Taos, because they seem to cook the food I would want to eat...Masters would definitely be Jonathan Waxman and Regular would be Kevin Gillespie.

                                                                              2. Clay Bowen without a doubt.

                                                                                1. I"m a little late to the party, and while there are many good choices, put me down for Jen Carrol.

                                                                                  1 Reply
                                                                                  1. re: el bandito

                                                                                    A LITTLE late? I think the part has moved to a new location! (smile).

                                                                                  2. I would choose Mike Midgley. His Cheeto Amuse-Bouche was great.

                                                                                    1. My grandmother--if she weren't dead and had had the patience for Top Chef--which would never have happened. Micro greens carefully arranged? No way.

                                                                                      1. Harold Dieterle for me.

                                                                                        2 Replies
                                                                                        1. re: chefathome

                                                                                          +1 and very surprised there are not more votes. Second would be Dale after a doobie or several drinks. :)

                                                                                          1. re: AdamD

                                                                                            Surprises me, too. Though I really liked Dale too, I would have to pick Richard Blais as my second. Have a feeling he may not be as much fun as Dale, though. He's sort of intense but so am I in ways.

                                                                                        2. Foodie from Charlotte here, formerly from Chicago,I was scared when I moved to the south--not much diverisity in food or ethniticy - at least not eight years ago, Now we have had a great influx of residents from New York or New Jersey. As far as Top Chef--I have had the luck to be able to eat at couple of the winners. Chef Kevin Gillespie --who used to be at Woodfire Grill in Atlanta. We went to a Chefs tasting there with a wine pairing. It was costly and also the best money I have ever spent on food. The courses were incredible..Food was just out of the world and the mixologist and the wine sommelier was great. I have eaten at Richard Blais's Flip Burgers three times. He is a genius! Incredible burgers, sides that you could only dream up. Quality is great for a "Burger Joint" . I would love to try The Spence which is his new place. I have also eaten at Rick Bayless's Mexican Restaurant ( Top Chef Masters) in Chicago..Good but not my very favorite..traditional dished but very high priced and not worth it, ( also takes almost a year to get a reservation). I would have to say that Kevin Gillespie is very very talented and is exciting in his preparation of food! ..I would have to say --he is my favorite!

                                                                                          1. Probably Kevin Gillespie too. If we can pick a Masters contestant, I would like Susan Feniger, as long as she can come out and eat with me. She seems fun.

                                                                                            1. Marcel Vigneron for sure. His sparkling personality and love of foams won me over in season 2

                                                                                              1. Conflicted. Blais or Izzard I guess.

                                                                                                Stephen as sommelier, Spike to butcher the meat.

                                                                                                Carla Hall and Ed Lee for conversation.

                                                                                                Totally different set of Chefs if TCM is considered.

                                                                                                3 Replies
                                                                                                1. re: Phaedrus

                                                                                                  Considering the short work he made of the whole chickens, maybe Hung to butcher the meat?

                                                                                                  1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                    But Spike was very good at Tomahawk Steaks. :-)

                                                                                                    1. re: huiray

                                                                                                      That was what I was thinking, the tomahawk steaks.