How to Get Kicked Off of Top Chef

Someone will have to "pack their knives and go."

I’m watching Top Chef again. Just like last time, I’m moaning that every season is the same. Apparently, the chef-testants don’t watch the previous seasons, because this year — just like all the rest — several have broken the show’s cardinal rules.

In honor of the show I love to hate, here are the top things I’ve learned to never do on Top Chef.

On Top Chef, never, ever:

10. Volunteer to be front of the house during the restaurant wars episode. Yeah, the other cheftestants told you that you are a combination of charming and efficient — making you perfect for the job. That’s because they are smarter than you and know this role is the kiss of death.

9. Make panna cotta: I’ve never eaten panna cotta. I’m not even sure what it is. But I know from Top Chef that it’s supposed to jiggle like a woman’s breast (yuck), and it’s nearly impossible to make correctly.

8. Make any dessert: Actually, making nearly any dessert on Top Chef is a recipe for your demise. Volunteer to make the dessert course for a team challenge, and you might as well pre-pack your knives.

7. Have “too many components” in your dish: Tom Colicchio hates busy dishes.  And, apparently, having too much stuff on your plate makes you seem like an inexperienced, busy body chef. Either realize it’s all about the editing or find yourself edited out.

6. Under season: The judges like their food with salt..

5. Over season: … but not too much salt.

4. Throw your teammate under the bus: Don’t tell the judges that the person you are working with is incompetent or lazy. Depending on your tone, it makes you sound like a cry baby or just a jerk. Eventually, not even the producers, who are angling for some drama, will be able to to save you.

3. Used canned or pre-made anything:  The flour tortillas, canned oysters or package pasta calling to you? Don’t use them! No matter how nice it looks in Whole Foods at the beginning of the episode, somehow the judges always manage to suss out pre-made ingredients. They will find you, and send you packing.

2. Cook the meat incorrectly: In a country where dinner is a slab of meat with a sprinkling of veggie and starch, this is very important. Cook. The meat. Correctly. Screwing this up guarantees you a bus ticket home. Unless, someone else….

1. Make risotto: Is there an episode of Top Chef where someone makes risotto and does not get sent home? It must be out there, somewhere. But, even thinking about attempting this dish is the biggest sin on Top Chef. Do yourself and favor and step away from the Arborio.


  1. 11. If given the choice between immunity and a prize, take the prize.

    The people that take the prize always go home. Maybe it’s overconfidence from winning the quickfire, but no matter how good the prize is take the immunity. Some weird twist in the elimination challenge can and will end up sending you home.

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