On Thursday April 1, 2021, the world’s greatest cooking competition returns. In honor of this glorious event, I will now rank the previous 17 winners. I used a complicated formula that included how much I liked them.
1. Richard Blais – Season 8
Look at that face. Genuine surprise even though he body bagged everyone. During an All-Star season no less. I had to unfollow ol’ Richie boy from the Gram a long time ago because I did not care about him throwing a lacrosse ball around, but he’s easily the best Top Chef that ever chefed.
2. Mei Lin – Season 12
“Oh, I won another challenge? Ho hum.” Zero fucks given from your friendly neighborhood chef, Mei Lin. She worked under the number four Top Chef off all time, and eclipsed him during her reign.
3. Kristen Kish – Season 10
Kristen got kicked off because she has integrity and is a leader, and oh yeah had the worst teammate in the history of mankind (Josie). She rolled through Last Chance Kitchen and dominated the finals against the 5th best Top Chef of all time.
4. Michael Voltaggio – Season 6
Michael Voltaggio. I’m quite confident he’s not a human being. Just cracking skulls and racking up dubs. His own brother was on this season with him, and he barely acknowledged his existence. Winner winner chicken dinner.
5. Brooke Williamson – Season 14
She got worked by Kristen in her original season. She came back for another shot, somehow got eliminated, and also won after making it through Last Chance Kitchen. A great chef and probably one of the coolest chefs the show has ever had.
6. Hung Huynh – Season 3
Maybe the most self-confident (cocky) contestant ever on a show filled with self-confident (cocky) people. His legend was cemented when he tore about those chickens during the relay race. The man to beat from beginning to end.
7. Paul Qui – Season 9
He won so much money. Like, a lot of money. Win after win after win. His ranking here is exclusively based on his appearance on the show, where he seemed like a pretty awesome dude. A quick Google search, however, would show he’s maybe probably not as great a guy as he was in Texas.
8. Harold Dieterle – Season 1
Going back and watching the first season…it’s almost like watching a different show. But Harold was pretty clearly the best chef on that inaugural season. He also was not anyone’s bitch, bitch.
9. Nicholas Elmi – Season 11
Two things are in Nicholas’ favor. First, a strong and enchanting first name. Second, he once won immunity. He had said immunity during a team challenge. He made a terrible dish, one which normally would’ve sent him home. Being a team challenge, that meant someone on his team had to go home. He refused to give up his immunity, and people got all upset about. STFU. That’s what immunity is for. Good for you, Nicholas!
10. Jeremy Ford – Season 13
We’re getting into “I don’t really care” territory here. Jeremy was an absolute Cali bro. He won Season 13 of Top Chef.
11. Kelsey Barnard Clark – Season 16
She was good. I mean she won. My favorite part is that she beat Sarah, because Sarah whined about anything that had to do with competing. Newsflash: it’s a competition. Thanks Kelsey, you did us all a great service.
12. Kevin Sbraga – Season 7
I genuinely forget he won all of the time. I liked Kevin, but there were so many good chefs o the show, I just assume ne of them is somehow going to win. (Also, how the hell would I know the quality of these chefs?)
13. Stephanie Izard – Season 4
Stephanie was cool. She was good on the show. But let’s be real: she beat my man Richard because he choked. Sorry I’m not sorry.
14. Melissa King – Season 17
Melissa might actually be the best chef that has appeared on Top Chef. She wins all of the time, and seemingly makes some of the best food the judges have ever eaten. That’s cool. She beats people throughout her two seasons that I want to win, including Bryan Voltaggio (number four’s brother) during the latest All-Star season. No offense, Melissa, but this is personal.
15. Joe Flamm – Season 15
Could the people during this season like each other anymore? Gross. I don’t need RHONJ levels of drama, but it made for a pretty bland season. More boring than this description.
16. Hosea Rosenberg – Season 5
“Derp.” This douche somehow stumbled his way into winning. I still don’t understand how this happened. I was rooting for Stefan, but that’s beside the point. Like, how? How did this guy win? I’ve gotta reflect on some things.
17. Ilan Hall – Season 2
What a fucking prick. Marcel was made out to be the “bad guy” for most of the season because he was pretty insufferable and basically none of the other chefs liked him. But holy hell. Ilan is a certifiable asshole who clearly doesn’t know it, and like many others, thought way too highly of himself. Dick.