What Happened In Top Chef Season 7 (Top Chef DC)? (Full Recap)

Top Chef Season 7 Cover

In Season 7 of “Top Chef,” the last power play determines who has the skills to become “Top Chef” and pits the 17 new chef contestants against one another in the nation’s capital. Washington D.C.’s diverse preferences are well represented by this season and include appearances by some of the top figures in the community.

The challenges presented will be some of the most imaginative and unique yet. The chefs commandeer the concession stalls at the Nationals stadium, enter the heavily guarded CIA headquarters, and receive out-of-this-world instructions on one test from a NASA astronaut orbiting Earth.

Chefs Competing in Top Chef (Top Chef DC) Season 7

  • John Somerville, 42, from West Bloomfield, Michigan 
  • Jacqueline Lombard, 33, from Brooklyn, New York 
  • Tracey Bloom, 33, from Atlanta, Georgia 
  • Lynne Gigliotti, 51, from Hyde Park, New York 
  • Arnold Myint, 32, from Nashville, Tennessee
  • Timothy Dean, 39, from Baltimore, Maryland 
  • Tamesha Warren, 24, from Washington, D.C. 
  • Andrea Curto-Randazzo, 39, from Miami Beach, Florida 
  • Stephen Hopcraft, 40, from Las Vegas, Nevada 
  • Kenny Gilbert, 36, from Telluride, Colorado 
  • Alex Reznik, 33, from Hollywood, California 
  • Amanda Baumgarten, 27, from Los Angeles, California
  • Tiffany Derry, 26, from Dallas, Texas – Fan Favorite
  • Kelly Liken, 33, from Vail, Colorado 
  • Angelo Sosa, 34, from New York City, New York – Runner-up
  • Ed Cotton, 32, from Queens, New York – Runner-up
  • Kevin Sbraga, 30, from Willingboro, New Jersey – Winner

Judges of Top Chef (Top Chef DC) Season 7

  • Tom Colicchio (Head Judge)
  • Padma Lakshmi (Host)
  • Gail Simmons (Judge)
  • Eric Ripert (Judge)

Episode 1 - House of Chef - Presentatives

Top Chef S7 - Episode 1

At a celebration during the Cherry Blossom Festival, each chef prepared a dish representing their home country for 300 guests. The chef who produced the best meal in each group would be declared the winner, while the chef who had the least impressive dish in each group was susceptible to elimination.

The chefs on the four teams who would compete against each other in Quickfire were chosen by the four Quickfire finalists. The acclaimed chef Eric Ripert joins the show as a guest judge.

Episode 2 - Outside the Lunch Box

Top Chef S7 - Episode 2

The contestants in “Top Chef D.C.” are back to “Let’s Move!” a campaign against childhood obesity started by First Lady Michelle Obama. The chefs will cook and serve at the canteen at the neighborhood middle school and prepare meals for just $2.68 per serving for the students.

This is the reimbursement amount the National School Lunch Program pays schools for each student who qualifies for free lunch. Sam Kass, White House sous-chef, joins as the guest judge.

Episode 3 - Capitol Grill

Top Chef S7 - Episode 3

The chefs must create a pie from scratch for the quickfire. At Mount Vernon, the residence of the first president of the United States, George Washington, the chefs prepare a traditional picnic feast for interns working on Capitol Hill for the day.

The interns play croquet on the lawn as the chefs prepare delectable delicacies on the grill. Jonathan Waxman, the owner of Barbuto Restaurant in New York City, serves as the guest judge.

Episode 4 - Room Service

Top Chef S7 - Episode 4

In the quickfire challenge, the chef contestant will race to prepare baby food for Padma’s unborn child. The chefs are put to the test on their quality of hospitality service to be eliminated. To meet the demands of their guests, who are international travelers who demand constant access to wholesome, upscale food at reasonable prices, Hilton Hotels and Resorts works with chefs to develop a dish.

The chef contestants should prepare a complete meal for the day. Seven teams of two cooks are partnered to perform three services. The winning team will receive a vacation at Hilton, and their dish will be featured on Hilton menus across the country.

Nora Pouillon, the first certified organic chef in the country, and Beth Scott, vice president of Hilton’s restaurant concepts, will serve as special guest judges.

Episode 5 - Farm Policy

Top Chef S7 - Episode 5

This episode’s quickfire demands the chef contestants to work as a team while preparing mounds of blue crab; one of the state capital’s most well-known ingredients. They travel to a farm in Virginia for the elimination task, where they prepare food using fresh ingredients. The guest judge is Patrick O’Connell, who runs The Inn at Little Washington.

Episode 6 - Cold War

Top Chef S7 - Episode 6

The chefs are required to prepare a dish that is unusual or exotic. Ingredients include yak, Cayman crocodile, ostrich, frog legs, emu egg, duck white kidneys, testicles, foie gras, and duck tongue. Host Lakshmi instructed the competitors to exchange proteins with a nearby chef midway through the challenge. The Elimination Challenge was waived for the winning chef.

The chefs were split into two groups to create individual meals that were best served cold. The opposing chefs joined the Quickfire winner and the panel of judges to evaluate the dish of their opponent. Each team suggested a top dish and a bottom dish. The prize was a six-night stay at the Hilton Hawaiian Village. Chef Michelle Bernstein is the guest judge.

Episode 7 - Power Lunch

Top Chef S7 - Episode 7

For the quickfire challenge, the chef contestants are required to prepare delectables that can be speared with a toothpick and served at a party of the Congressional Office. They had to make a business lunch at the upscale Palm restaurant in the city to be eliminated.

Illinois congressman Aaron Schock serves as the guest judge for the quickfire challenge, while former personal chef for Oprah Winfrey, Art Smith, is the guest judge for the elimination round.

Episode 8 - Foreign Affairs

Top Chef S7 - Episode 8

For the quickfire challenge, the chefs are required to prepare unusual Ethiopian cuisine. For the elimination, they are instructed to create a dish inspired by one of the foreign embassies in Washington, D.C.

Marcus Samuelsson, the proprietor of the NYC eatery Aquavit, and Jose Andrés, a Spanish chef and the host of the public television program “Made in Spain,” are the special guest judges.

Episode 9 - Restaurant Wars

Top Chef S7 - Episode 9

The chefs compete in a traditional cooking relay competition while blindfolded. Teams of donkeys and elephants are assigned to the chefs. Each dish will be sampled, and the diners will choose their favorite team. In addition to serving as a guest judge for the renowned Restaurant Wars challenge, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi will judge the quickfire competition.

Episode 10 - Covert Cuisine

Top Chef S7 - Episode 10

In the quickfire challenge, the chef contestants must guess the mystery box for the quickfire. Cooking for none other than CIA Director Leon Panetta, who is no stranger to adopting a new character, requires the cooks to modify a well-known dish for elimination completely. 

Inside the heavily guarded CIA headquarters, in Director Panetta’s exclusive dining area, the cooks serve Panetta and his closest allies. The owner of WD-50 in New York City, Wylie Dufrense, is the guest judge.

Episode 11 - Making Concessions

Top Chef S7 - Episode 11

The six remaining chefs go to Nationals Park in Washington, D.C. to continue the cooking challenge. They must take over two food stalls and prepare snacks for the team’s supporters. However, ballparks now offer a variety of delectable and more upscale dishes in addition to hotdogs and peanuts. 

Aside from serving as a guest judge, renowned seafood chef Rick Moonen also brings along Adam Dunn, Matt Capps, and John Lannon from the Washington Nationals.

Episode 12 - Gastro-nauts

Top Chef S7 - Episode 12

This week’s elimination challenge is to develop space culinary inventions. The chef contestants are given the challenge rules by an astronaut orbiting the Earth. The winning dish will be delivered to space.

The well-traveled Anthony Bourdain and Food & Wine magazine editor-in-chief Dana Cowin serve as the competition’s guest judges. Apollo Astronaut Buzz Aldrin makes an exceptional guest appearance.

Episode 13 - Finale Part 1

Top Chef S7 - Episode 13

The “Top Chef” show heads to Singapore in the first-ever internationally-based “Top Chef” finale. The four remaining chefs created a dish as a team to honor Singaporean cuisine for an event hosted by Food & Wine magazine. The challenge will determine who qualifies for the final round and who will win the “Top Chef” title.

Episode 14 - Finale Part 2

Top Chef S7 - Episode 14

A vegetable, red mullet, duck, and dessert were included in the best four-course meal the last three chefs could prepare. Former “Top Chef” champions selected through a knife pull assisted the finalist chefs. Ilan Hall was drawn by Ed, Hung Huynh by Angelo, and Michael Voltaggio by Kevin.

Kevin Sbraga was declared “Top Chef.”

Episode 15 - Reunion Special

Top Chef S7 - Reunion Special

The drama is heating up on Bravo’s “Top Chef: D.C. Reunion” as Padma Lakshmi, Tom Colicchio, Gail Simmons, and Eric Ripert meet with the chef contestants from season seven with host Andy Cohen. The chef competitors will reply to fan feedback and go over season 7’s good, bad, and overdone moments.

Top Chef Season 7 (Top Chef DC) Quick Facts

  • an American reality competition television series 
  • aired on Bravo TV from June 16, 2010, to September 22, 2010
  • with the following spin-offs: Top Chef Junior, Top Chef Masters, Top Chef: Just Desserts, Top Chef Amateurs, Life After Top Chef, Top Chef Duels, Top Chef Family Style, and Top Chef VIP
  • produced by Magical Elves Productions
  • hosted by Padma Lakshmi      
  • judges are Tom Colicchio, Ted Allen, and Gail Simmons
  • consists of 15 episodes 

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